The Measure of Measure

As I sat down to type this I felt the familiar guilt of having done NOTHING in my sketchbook since my last post two weeks’ ago.  “But you have!” my inner voice tells me. I’d forgotten I’d drawn some character sketches for my Craftsy Expressive Picture Book Characters course, trying to figure out how to make an animal look upset.  But I’ve been asleep a few times since then.  And I’m so used to berating myself for not doing any drawing, that I don’t make a point of revelling when I do.

And this doesn’t take into account other creative things I’ve been doing during the last two weeks.  Mr C and I have started to design our front garden, which is currently a 12x6m patch of gravel, with no foliage.  I’ve also started to adjust a worn-once dress so I’ll wear it more often, and had to create stuff for work.  And although I added a few doodles to my character design sketchbook, that’s not the point.

Creativity can manifest itself in many ways, through words, images, ideas, conversations, and clothes, for example.  So, we shouldn’t use just one method to measure our creativity by, if at all.  The quality of our creative journey is probably a far better indicator of the progress we’re making, than the number of steps (pages/projects) we’ve taken to get there.

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Logo Logic: Fire Walking

When I embark on an art or design project, I always fluster.  Some of my ideas aren’t what you’d call mainstream and often have to be explained.  And that concerns me.

Take, for example, my diversity and inclusion logo design.  My first idea was a Venn diagram.  A bit boring, but no explanation needed.  Yet it just didn’t sit right with me.  I wanted to go with something a little less obvious.  And I did.

But with creative projects I feel I have to keep justifying my idea to myself, or explaining them to others.  At the moment I have limited faith (that comes from experience) but some of my ideas are just so far off the mark I end up on a completely different path to the one I should have been on (again, from experience).

Could I be a trailblazer, a brave pioneer of fresh new territory?  Or am I just lost?

A trailblazer is literally someone who makes marks along their trail so that others may follow behind.  They may not find the destination they were expecting, but if they hadn’t started their journey they would never have known.  I’ve begun to tell myself I’m blazing my own trail.  In time I hope someone feels curious enough to follow, find what I found, and discover where I’m headed next.

Lesson 5: It takes courage to blaze a new trail, so it’s okay to hesitate a little (and you won’t burn your feet).  Enjoy the journey or you’ll miss part of the fun, and take time to discover your destination when you finally get there.

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Logo Logic: Pathfinder

I won!  I actually won!  (Woo hoo!)

So, what now?  My long wait is over and I’m no longer frozen to the spot.  But I’m still feeling the cold through my feet.  It’s at this point I realise I’m going in the right direction, but I’m approaching it in the wrong way.  I make small, progressive steps, then pause to look around me, even looking backwards.  I’m hesitating about the next step, unsure of when to move.  I feel off-balance, unsteady, like I need some additional support.  Can I do this?  Turning back feels like a choice, but that would only get me back to the start, and all those previous steps wouldn’t count.

My path is made of stepping stones.  They have natural pauses and when you go too slowly you lose your flow.  If you hesitate at the wrong moment, you stumble into the water, and your feet get cold and wet.

It’s far better to take quick, successive steps.  That way you build momentum, and your sure-footedness increases with every stride.

Lesson 4: Hesitate on a path of stepping stones and you risk losing your balance.  Keep a smooth, steady pace until you reach the other side, and only then pause for breath, reflect back and prepare for the next one.

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