Logo Logic: Breathing Space

I began this series explaining how my long-standing self-doubt almost triggered creative freeze.

The leap from brief to beginning can be huge, ginormous, even.  I might pretend I’m researching a project, kidding myself that this constitutes Step 1 when I’m really hunting hypotheses instead of conducting the experiment.  However, when I feel my faith resurface, the leap to Step 2 can be sooooo much easier.

With this particular project, once I’d got the creative cogs turning in my brain my journey looked a little more achievable.  And researching the topic of diversity and inclusion rather than the logo design process was a better use of my time.

I spent four nights working on my idea, fiddling with it to make sure it was just right.  But even after I’d entered it into the competition I continued to worry about it, and sought the opinion of others.  Past experience left me doubting my own judgement, and I was back in limbo.  Now I’ve had a chance to step back from it I can celebrate making a start and finishing it too.  Whether or not I won isn’t so important.

Lesson 2: Give yourself and your creative project space to breathe, from beginning to end.  You’ll learn to trust your own judgement rather than relying on the opinions of others.

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Logo Logic: Creative Freeze

I’ve just spent the best part of a week wondering whether my outside-the-box logo design was a winner, having entered a staff competition to design one for my employer’s Diversity and Inclusion network.  The winner should have been announced on Friday, but wasn’t.

At this point I feel like I’m in limbo, unwilling to move onto another project and so facing another pause in my prolific creativeness.  On the flip side, this is a great time to reflect on what I’m feeling and where I go from here, and I’ll write about these insights over the next few posts.

Most work competitions involve a quiz or a guess the quantity of something, so a logo challenge excited me, closely followed by my well-rehearsed feelings of self-doubt – “five days isn’t long enough / what am I going to do? / will anyone like it? / my last one was terrible…” and so on.

When I was 15 I designed the winning logo for a local charity competition, and received lots of publicity, with my photo in the local press, and an interview on local radio.  I even met charity patron Kathy Botham (wife of Ian), and the Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket, who was appearing at the local theatre.  I’d won prizes in several school art competitions before and after then, and decided my future was in art.  However, another attempt at logo design was disastrous, prompting my sixth form art teacher to suggest I specialise in fine art instead of graphics.  It felt like I’d gone over the highest peak of my artistic potential and had started the slow descent.

You can imagine why it’s often easier to walk away from a challenge, if only to quieten the critical conversation you’re having in your head.  But I didn’t want to make up a pitiful excuse for not bothering (“my colleagues know I’m creative, they’ll expect me to enter”).  My only choice was to try.

Lesson 1: Acknowledge your fear, and coax it forward, or it will hold you back.

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Where Are They Now?

April isn’t typically the time of year most people think about setting New Year Resolutions.  But with a spring birthday, it’s a perfect time for me to reflect and set my goals for the next year of my life.

For the past year I set out to: i) overhaul my wardrobe, and ii) become prolifically creative.  However, as I write this on the eve of my blog’s first birthday, it’s difficult to pinpoint any significant changes I’ve made to achieve either.

Wardrobe Architect

My wardrobe is (slowly) improving.  Having changed a few shirt buttons, I’ve made some progress.  I still have about half-a-rail of mending/adjusting awaiting my attention.  However, reminding myself of my passion for sewing seems to have flicked the right internal switch; I’ve since finished a couple of ‘difficult’ projects.  But my real passion is for dressmaking, and I’m a sucker for a nice sewing pattern.  So hopefully I’ll get to make some new clothes for myself rather than just making do and mending the pieces I can’t bear to part with.

Prolific Creativity

When I set this goal last year I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to achieve.  Roll forward a few months and I decided that, for me, prolific creativity meant more than drawing for ten minutes every day.  Having attempted several drawing challenges since last April, I’ve learned that there’s more to this than turning up to the page and making a few choice marks.  I want my own journey to have a purpose, and when I choose my next ‘first’ step, the next ‘second’ one will naturally follow.

So, all that’s left to say is ‘Happy Birthday, Filbert & Smudge’, and ‘Cheers!’ to year number 2!

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A Drawing Dilemma

If you had a year to teach yourself to draw and paint, how would you go about it?

Here’s the thing…

I love drawing. I understand the theory, and can draw pretty well with either my right or left hand (and which hand I choose usually depends on my mood).  I’ve even taught drawing in an informal way.  But if I was suddenly asked to draw or paint something in front of me, without any mental or emotional preparation, I’m not sure I could do it.  As I spend the majority of my drawing time in life-drawing class, in my own head I feel I would struggle to draw anything else.  And with a new blog year pending, I’d like to approach this art thing in a whole new way.

As a recently returned dressmaker, I’m pacing my re-learning by choosing projects according to the fabric I wish to sew and the techniques I want to practice. My map will be drawn out by my Wardrobe Architect, and the souvenirs of my journey will be the new outfits I have to wear.

However, with drawing I’m completely stuck.  My key objective is to pick any of my art materials at random and draw (or paint) whatever is in front of me, without having to do a mental warm-up first.  But as this is driven by technique the subjects aren’t as obvious.  And without a plan, this challenge would be meaningless.  I’ve started listing things to try, such as line, tonal values and shading over a three-dimensional surface, but at the moment my short list isn’t firing up my enthusiasm.  So, I need your help…

If you had a year (or less) to teach yourself to draw and paint, how would you go about it?

Please add a comment or ‘get in touch’ (via Menu).

WordPress prompt: Meaningless

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