Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Five Steps to Fearless Creativity

These five steps are adapted from Dan, at EmptyEasel.com.

Sometimes I'm Afraid,
by Maribeth Boelts and Cheri Bladholm
1. Take a risk.  Or I might say, experiment.  I took the advice of a friend, and the gift certificate I received for my birthday, and headed to the art supply store.  I bought materials I don't use and don't feel comfortable with.  I also chose supplies that had an immediacy so I wouldn't procrastinate.  No one will ever see that stuff, but the experimentation has reintroduced fun and decreased the stress in my other illustration projects.

2. Document successes.  Last February I started keeping a journal of accomplishments toward my goal of a fulfilling art career.  It's to-the-point, takes a minute or less to write, and gives me the sense of moving forward, even when my current project is a little stalled.

3. Analyze failures.  If you fail, make a list of reasons why so you can focus on improving those things one at a time.  I might start researching a way to improve one thing, but in my daily sketching, work to improve something different.   I don't want too many doubts paralyzing me before I begin the next project.

I Will Not Be Afraid,
by Michelle Medlock Adams
and Jeremy Tugeau
4.  Diversify.  My art professors poo-pooed illustrators who did murals, commissions, and t-shirts.  But I've always admired artists who aren't afraid to try something new (see #1).  The 21st century is the perfect place to spread your artistic wings.  Almost any creative endeavor can have a positive impact on your work.

5. Commit.  Join a critique group.  Enter a contest.  Set some deadlines.  When you commit, you force yourself to see it through.  And yes, you might fail.  See above.  Learn.  Move forward.



These steps can just as easily be applied to writing.
Next week I plan to share some advice on fighting fear from a writer's perspective.

Check my previous posts on this topic: Advice from illustrator Greg Pizzoli, designer Martin Glaser, and others.
Thanks to all who shared this information with other struggling artists.  The sense of community gives me greater courage.

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