If you yearn for a creative practice, the best piece of advice I can offer is: Just start.
That’s what I did several years ago and let me tell you how.
I hadn’t done any artwork since 4th grade when I decided to explore my creativity. But here I was, starting from scratch with literally NO IDEA of what I might like or what I might be drawn to (no pun intended).
With voices inside my head saying: “You can’t draw, what are you thinking?”, I wasn’t sure where to start. I’m also a neat freak and making art is messy – literally! You have to gather your supplies. You might spill. You have to put everything away afterwards. So why even start, right? I’m sharing this because - geez – I was putting up some pretty crazy barriers for myself.
Moving past our idiosyncrasies is challenging. And silencing those negative voices is hard. We believe them because we have this picture inside our mind of what’s “good”. But remember, there was only one Michelangelo, and he’s dead (RIP).
It’s my belief that EVERYONE can draw. We all draw differently and that’s the beauty right there.
With the goal of finding a class that would introduce me to a little bit of everything – drawing, painting, mixed media – I found Carla Sonheim’s year-long class called Y is for Yellow.
This class was perfect for me. Every two weeks, a new assignment arrived in my email box. For the first few months, we explored very basic techniques around drawing that I’d never heard of before. I gather that these are taught in most art schools but since I didn’t go to art school, it was all new to me.
One of the best things about this period was trying out various art tools (pencils, pens, crayons, charcoal) and discovering what you like and don’t like. Even better was the fact that many of the techniques forced me to let go of my “I can’t draw” fears.
One particularly good example of this is a technique where you draw with your non-dominant hand. What’s great about trying this is that you can’t possibly expect the drawing to be very good. The pressure is off – Yay! Also, I found that I had to concentrate really hard on looking at what I was drawing. Those tendencies to draw what you think you know about an object instead of drawing what you actually see disappear.
And finally, in the end, you may create something quirky and adorable. Here are a few of mine!
So please, just start! Unleashing your creativity is incredibly rewarding as a personal exploration and the journey never ends. I continue to seek out new techniques to learn and creative industries I didn’t know existed such as pattern design. But that’s for another blog…
And remember: It’s Never Too Late To Create.
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