Don't Know Where To Start?
Do you get that nagging feeling that you could be doing something creative with your life but you don’t know where to start? I hear this a lot inside my creative community along with:
I’m too old to learn something new
You can’t make money as an artist anyway so why bother
I’ll never be able to overcome the technology required to put my artwork out into the world
I don’t have a unique style so I’ll never be successful
I don’t have an art degree so no one will take me seriously
I’m here to tell you, implore you in fact, that these things are NOT TRUE. I re-invented myself at 58 and with dedication, passion and a lot of hard work, I now have a fabulous, joyful, growing creative business that I love. It’s taken me three years to get here and I’m not done yet. I don’t have an art degree. I hadn’t done any art of any kind since about the 4th grade. I’m not very tech savvy. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying this because if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!
If you’re in my creative community, you have a passion, or at least a high level of curiosity about surface design. It’s likely that you see patterns everywhere and have been dreaming for a long time about making products with your own designs on them. Let’s get practical. Here’s what it’s going to take and how to get started.
#1. Start Making Art
Commit to a daily practice. Make it enjoyable by creating a ritual or routine around it so it doesn’t feel like a chore but rather something you can’t wait to do each day. Draw by hand or use an iPad or drawing tablet if you have one. The tools you use don’t matter. It’s putting in the time to develop work that counts. If you need some ideas for how to create a ritual, check out my blog about Embracing The Creative Process.
I love these two rules from Sister Corita Kent, an artist and educator at Immaculate Heart College in the late 1960s. She has 10 rules in total and these two speak most directly to today’s topic on getting started:
“Consider everything an experiment”, and
“Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.”
Embrace these two concepts as you practice each day. They will help remove judgement that frequently lurks in the background of our minds. When you are creating a LOT of work, you can’t expect each piece to be a masterpiece! This removes a lot of the pressure we put on ourselves. Focusing on the making will also help remove other distractions and increase your enjoyment of the creation process itself.
#2. Stop Cruising The Internet. Go To A Museum Instead
It’s great to gather inspiration from others. It’s hard to create in a vacuum and there is nothing wrong with looking at other artists’ work to explore their techniques and get motivated. However, do that exploration at your local museum, exploratorium, or planetarium instead of on the internet. There are a couple of good reasons for this.
You’ll leave the house, drive or walk, and enjoy an excursion which gets you out and about and moving your body. You’ll be in an interesting physical space which adds to the overall experience and may, in fact, spark more inspiration than the items on the walls. This idea is not original to me. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, recommends taking what she calls An Artist’s Date each week. Watch my YouTube video about it called: What’s An Artist Date?
Another reason to gather inspiration from places other than the internet is volume control. What I mean here is that when you are scrolling and scrolling through Instagram or on Pinterest, the sheer amount of content you are trying to absorb is enormous. It’s more than the brain can handle. On the other hand, when you walk around a museum, you can better control the number of artworks you plan to study and enjoy.
#3 Share Your Creative Goals Judiciously
This is an important one so listen up. When you start to pursue your dreams and prioritize what’s really important to you, some people around you may not be all that supportive. This can be both crushing, unexpected and hugely demotivating. It’s hard enough to maintain the courage, drive and dedication to pursue your creative dreams. The last thing you need is to have people around you discouraging you, doubting you or telling you that you’re wasting your time.
I’m extremely fortunate that this has not been the case AT ALL in my own personal situation. As soon as I started down the path of exploring my creativity, everyone in my family was thrilled as were my friends. I think they all knew, before I did, that I’d discover my true passion and soar in this new life. I hope this is true for you as well.
If it’s not, pay attention to those you spend time with. Make sure they truly support what you are embarking upon and cheer you on at every stage. It’s a lot of work and there will be times when you doubt yourself. That’s natural and to be expected. Finally, don’t bother arguing with those who don’t see your path the way you do. It’s a waste of your creative energy and you won’t change their mind in the end anyway.
If you’re excited and eager to learn more about surface design, join the waitlist for my free LIVE workshop: How To Get Started In Surface Design. I only offer this free 4-part live workshop a few times a year. It’s super fun. Jump on the waitlist. Enrollment opens next week!
It’s Never Too Late to Create
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My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation. I grew up in Paris on the Place St. Sulpice and walked to school through the Luxembourg gardens. And that was only the beginning… Learn more by watching the video on my About page.