Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category
Post by Clio.
Denise Nestor is an illustrator and artist originally from Mayo in the west of Ireland. She has been living and working in Dublin for nearly ten years. Denise’s illustrations are very sensitive, personal and beautifully natural. The mix of faces, facial structures and animals in her work is at the same time arresting and compelling. I can’t help but stare at these drawings —luckily I was given Unravel for Christmas so I can continue to do so for the rest of my days—the fact that such beauty can be created with a pencil is incredible.
Guest Post by Greg Lewis.
Anyone who’s spent time around kids knows that they’re natural artists. Crayons and little hands go together like peanut butter and jelly! And while kids of all ages love to create, and they naturally learn important skills like language and fine motor skills along the way, there’s no rule saying we as adults can’t benefit too. Here are some easy ways to let a little of that creative energy rub off on you.
1. Speak universally – Kids do this automatically; for us it may take a bit of relearning. Since children create art long before they can write or otherwise communicate with adults, their artwork tells a story with pictures instead of words. We can do this too.(Fundamentally, this is how communication began — as pictures serving as a universal language. A horse is a horse, visually of course, in any language.) Watch how kids use art to present what’s on their minds, and take the hint: Try drawing instead of writing, and tell your stories with your pictures.
2. Notice the details – Have you ever seen a kid’s drawing that *didn’t* have some unexpected little detail? Kids see things differently, and their artwork reflects that — in part through all the little “extra” stuff we adults tend to miss. Since kids use their art to examine people, places and things, learning about them and interpreting their place in the world, their attention to the seemingly unimportant can teach us a lesson about all that we may be overlooking in everyday life. An experiment in kid-like close examination of the world around us can give you a surge of creativity.
3. Focus – Walk into any preschool classroom during arts and crafts time and you’ll see a room full of kids with more concentration than many of us adults can muster. Little tongues sticking out the sides of mouths, bright eyes laser-locked on the task at hand… that is some intense focus. Society puts a preference on multi-tasking, but in getting more done, we are focusing less on each task, leading to subpar work. Learn from children’s focus on their artwork and try your hand a one-task-at-a-time mentality. Tongue placement is optional.
4. Build self-esteem – “LOOK! I drew it myself!!!” That’s the rallying cry of a child who’s proud of her artwork. No matter how scribbled, messy or unusual the artwork looks, the budding artist will be beaming as she holds that construction-paper canvas aloft. And it’s only natural for us as adults to receive the art with the same gusto, building up and praising the child for whatever she’s created. “That’s awesome, kiddo!” The lesson here? Self-esteem matters, whether you’re growing up or not. Praise for others goes a long way, so make sure you acknowledge when others do a great job, and help to build them up when they fall short. Be confident in yourself, too, and be proud of your accomplishments, small and large. Your successes are important to you, and what’s important to you will be important to others.
5. Have fun and be free – You might say creating art is the “happy place” for many youngsters. There’s something about a fresh set of crayons or bright, colorful markers or messy finger paint that deeply appeals to children. Arts and crafts time for children tends to turn into a wonderful mess, often without the kids even realizing it. That white canvas or blank coloring book is a place where they can be free to create whatever they want. We should look forward to each artwork — and each day, really — with this same approach. The brevity of childhood is a daily reminder that life’s too short to not have fun. So channel your inner little person, learn all you can from any kids you’re lucky enough to spend time with, and grab your camera or sketchpad for an enjoyable and important trip to your “happy place.”
:: Greg Lewis has been writing about children’s artwork as well as visual arts education for kids for more than a decade. When not writing, you can find Greg volunteering with one of Chicago’s many non-profit organizations.
The Sketchbook Project, in case you haven’t heard of this ingenious and inspiring undertaking, is a collection of creative works in the form of art contributed by people from around the world. (Kind of like Illustration Friday, come to think of it…) In this case, the art is in the form of sketchbooks – more than 22,000 of them and counting – created by some 70,000 artists in more than 130 countries. Wow! The really cool thing is that since its inception 6 years ago, the project has shared the wealth by sending the art around (more than 40,000 miles so far), spreading inspiration and creative collaboration all over. And, just this month, they launched a brand new, reinvented Sketchbook Project, with the goal of making participation easier and more engaging.
Co-Founder Steven Peterman summed it up thusly: “We knew it was time to evolve. The idea of a yearly, traveling project was just not sustainable. We wanted something that would be more accessible to our participants and easier for us to visit more cities and reach more people.”
With that in mind, The Sketchbook Project staff created The Mobile Library — a custom-built 16-foot trailer that will travel the country, year-round, reaching as many as 45 cities a year. (It already has a schedule of 20 cities for 2013.) Here’s how they describe the new process: creative-minded people can head over to the website and order an official Sketchbook Project sketchbook. Once you get your sketchbook, you can register your book for one of six tours.
“We wanted to allow our participants more options and a chance to ‘curate’ their own tour in some way,” said Peterman.
With each tour, you not only get to select a theme for your book, but you get to select the 3 to 4 city tour your book will go on. Pick a city near you, or pick a whole different part of the country! It’s all up to you. Once your book goes on it’s tour, it will be come part of the permanent collection at The Brooklyn Art Library in Brooklyn, NY. There, visitors can search and look through all 22,000 books in the collection. Want your book to be seen even more? Select the digitizing option when getting your book. The Sketchbook Project digital library has had over 1.3 million books viewed and more than half the books have had over 100 different views.
As Peterman explains, “By selecting the digitizing option, you will open your book to a whole new audience. The digital library receives over 1,700 views a day from people all over the world. It will also allow us to select your book for curated and alternative exhibitions.”
Not only will The Mobile Library take the sketchbooks on tour, contributed art will also be used for curated exhibitions using the Project’s past sketchbooks. Just this past month, The Mobile Library brought 1,100 books from the collection to Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor and Cleveland on its inaugural 3-city tour curated by Christopher Jobson from thisiscolossal.com.
Final words from the founders: “It’s never been easier to join The Sketchbook Project, and we want the Illustration Friday community to get involved! Collaboration, participation and creativity are what The Sketchbook Project and Illustration Friday are all about. Put it down in drawing, painting or any medium. Fill a sketchbook and send it out on the road.”
What a FUN idea! Andy J. Miller collaborated with Andrew Neyer for this exhibition at The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. Andy recently wrote this guest post for IF and just exudes creativity. He recently updated his website where you can see more of his bright, graphic work.
Guest Post by Molly Malone.
Think about what led you on the path toward becoming the artist, illustrator, or designer you are today. Did your parents tell you that you were always drawing as a toddler? Did you get in trouble more than few times for drawing on the walls with your Crayolas? Perhaps you were a huge fan of Bob Ross, and wanted to paint “happy little trees” just like him.
Or perhaps you were never stereotypically “artsy,” and just decided it was a career path you’d enjoy embarking on. Now ask yourself what’s more important to you and your success – the talent you may have been born with, or the skills you have picked up along the way? The training vs. talent debate is an age-old one in the creative fields, but revisiting it can be eye-opening, especially if you’re feeling uninspired. Pondering your process can actually help jumpstart your creativity.
In an article by online colleges resource eCollegeFinder, two graphic designers offer their views on what makes designers and artists successful. Basically, they both name innate talent as the driving factor (read the full PDF text here). One goes on to say that though training is certainly important, not everyone has a natural ability to thrive in the art and design worlds.
In her words, “We are constantly bombarded by digital images and messages – if designing were based wholly upon training, wouldn’t we all be experts through exposure alone? There is a certain natural ability that has to be present in a person [to succeed].”
But plenty of people disagree. In this article from Inspiredology, the author claims that talent has a falloff, and skill does not. In other words, natural talent gets you so far, but it’s continuously honing your skills that ensures a long, successful career.
So if you’ve hit a wall or are feeling particularly uninspired, you’ve got options. Go take a class, attend a lecture, have coffee with other artists or designers. Any or all can help you break out of a rut and keep growing. After all, if you’re in agreement with the article at least, talent is just the seed. It still needs nourishment if it’s ever going to bloom.
But what do you think? What side are you on?
:: Molly Malone is a Philadelphia-based writer, creative, and overall lover of the internet who has worked in design, copywriting, social media, and more.
Illustration is a difficult game! There seem to be so many illustrators out there today and everything seems to be derivative of something else. In my opinion that is actually true, something cannot come from nothing. But on the other hand you are unique, and you have a unique voice that can come through in your work.
Here are five ways to dig deeper and unearth this uniqueness:
1. What Response Are You Hoping For?
When you create an illustration it helps to understand what response you are hoping for from your audience. Surprise, joy, confusion, empathy, sadness, laughter…
Obviously not all of your illustration is going to have the same purpose, so you won’t be hoping for the same response every time, however I do believe it’s a good step to decide what you feel the ultimate response would be to your work. When you have landed on a certain response and you head that direction, your work starts to develop a tone; this tone will be unique to you. Also it helps you decide what type of illustration to pursue (editorial, books, etc).
A good way to decide on the type of response you are looking for is asking yourself this: what response have I had to art in the past that I hope to evoke with my own art? Try to think of the most impactful or memorable response you have ever had to any form of art. The good news is it probably won’t be from illustration, which leads to point number 2…
2. Find Influence Outside Illustration
It’s tough to be influenced by something very different from what you do, but a good place to start is getting inspired by disciplines outside your own. Take note of when you feel the most inspired, and return to those things before or while you create illustration.
This could be music, film, novels, etc. This is more likely to lead you to more unique outcomes in your work than just taking influence from other illustrators.
3. Trace Back Your Influence’s Influence’s Influence
It is good to take influence outside illustration, but there is nothing wrong with having illustration influence too; actually, it’s essential. I think it’s important, early in your journey to become an illustrator, to surround yourself in what’s happening today in illustration, understand it, and be influenced by it.
As you develop, though, I think it’s vital to step away from feasting your eyes too regularly on today’s illustration offerings. This poses a problem: You still need to be inspired and influenced to continue to grow and get better at what you do. One solution to developing more unique work is researching who influenced your modern-day influences, and then even take it another step further to who influenced the person who influenced your influence! Getting back to the roots of your niche can be a super-valuable and inspiring process.
4. Tackle New Subject Matter
Something that will force you to create unique work is tackling subject matter that you have never seen tackled before visually. This can be a difficult process, and it may not create portfolio pieces, but it can be very valuable to your development.
Think of objects, animals, and places you can’t remember seeing drawn before, then try to draw them with your style. This will force you to make original decisions in how to approach representing this image. These discoveries can transfer to the rest of your work.
5. Understand What Makes You You
The most important part of crafting unique work is understanding why you are different. Have you ever encountered someone eerily similar to you? Even those people are dramatically different to you.
The first step to this process is to get to know yourself as well as you can. Who are you? Where do you come from? What do you love? How do you learn? What makes you most sad? What gets you most excited? What were the most formative occurrences in your past? How do you deal with stress? When do you feel most energized?
Understanding these sorts of things will help you understand how your work should appear, and how it should differ from other illustrators’ work.
It’s only logical
With all the work being created today, it can feel overwhelming to try and add something completely unique to this conversation, but it is possible. Although it may sound cliché and cheesy, remember that no one is exactly like you, or has the same experiences you have had, so logically creating unique work is possible! Good luck and keep working hard!
These are some of the ways I have tried to make my work more unique, but I’m interested: What has been most helpful to you?
:: Andy J. Miller was born in the midwest USA but went to college in the UK. Andy stole a British wife from across the pond and brought her back home. They now have two rascals and live in the great Columbus, Indiana. Andy draws for a living. His drawings naturally look like they came from a guy who grew up in suburbia watching Fraggle Rock and Ninja Turtles, and then developed his craft in Europe surrounded by modern design.