Archive for the ‘Challenges’ Category

drawing project

Learning to Love Drawing

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Drawing your Way to a Better Life

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Why Everyone Should Draw More

I still don't know what to call this project. All I know is that I want it to happen. I want to spend a year drawing as much as possible, learning to improve my skills, but more importantly, learning to calm the critical voices in my head that make drawing so unpleasant. I want to find a way back to childhood, back to when drawing was FUN. Will you join me?

Why spend a year drawing?

People who love drawing really love it. I've been reading a lot of books and blog articles by artist Danny Gregory and he talks about how drawing basically saved his life. It helped him to slow down and recognize the detail and beauty of his life. It brought him out of depression and showed him how to really live.

On the other hand, people who hate drawing really hate it. It can inspire so much anxiety, resistance, fear, and self-loathing that it's no wonder that most people don't even bother trying it. "I can't draw," is what many people will tell you when you bring it up.

We all drew at one point. As children we all felt the joy of making our mark. But once it became clear that childish lines were no longer acceptable, we stopped. Some of us keep trying, and keep coming up against fearsome mental and emotional obstacles. I have a love-hate relationship with drawing: I love the way it feels when it's going well and I lose track of time. I hate the frustration and negative self-talk that attacks me when it's not. To illustrate my relationship with drawing, and to help explain why I want to spend a year facing my biggest creative challenge head-on, here are three stories. (more…)

finishing what you startLast week I finally finished the creative experiment that I started way back in November. I got the book Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists, by Marion Deuchars, for my birthday last year and I decided that I would do every single exercise in the book, and document my progress on Instagram. I thought it would take me 4 months, but it ended up taking 6 1/2. I'm so happy to report that last week I finished the final exercise. Doesn't this book look amazing? I used the heck out of it.

The point of the project, as I wrote about here and here, was to build up a weekly creative habit, develop some discipline, and see if I could learn to let go of my inner critic and just play with the exercises.

The first few months were great. I couldn't wait to start working on each assignment and was reluctant to move on to other things once my time was up. However, almost right after writing my mid-project recap, I hit a bit of a wall. (more…)

creative experiment

Back in November I started working through Marion Deuchar's book Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists, committing to doing every single exercise.

I called this project a creative experiment because I wasn't really sure what would happen. I hypothesized that working through every exercise in this book would yield creative returns, but I didn't know what those would look like. I hoped that it would help me to develop some creative discipline and that I would get better at creative play. You can read more about my expectations about the project here.

I'm halfway through the book now - I've (almost) completed 9 of the 18 artists - and I'm happy to report that it's going even better than I had hoped. This book has become a cornerstone of my creative practice, and it sets the tone for the work that I do later in the day. I've definitely become hooked on creative play, though the idea of discipline is kind of out the window since I look forward to each exercise so much and hate walking away when my time is up. I don't think I've ever been so happy to stick to an artistic commitment - I can't get enough!

Besides pure pleasure, here are some other things I've gotten from/learned from this experiment: (more…)

Draw Paint Print Marion DeucharsIn my constant effort to bring a little more creativity to my everyday life, I've decided to start a new project. I have come across dozens of books with exercises meant to get creativity flowing. I tend to read them quickly, anxious to get to the next thing, and I rarely do very many of the exercises, if any. However, after receiving Marion Deuchar's book Draw Paint Print as a birthday gift, I've decided to work my way through it and - gasp - do every single exercise. 

This book is a treat to look at. Deuchars based the exercises on the work of well known artists that have been influential to her. Each chapter starts with a sketch of the artist, and a graphic explanation of what makes them unique. This is followed by exercises ranging from quite simple to more complex, all in an effort to get the creative juices flowing and help the reader better understand how art comes together. It's bold and bright and colourful, and the texture of the paper reminds me of a colouring book. I definitely ignored my family's conversation as I leafed through it, trying to soak it up, wishing I had pencil crayons with me. The book is meant for younger audiences, but that's part of the appeal. It's simple, clean, and easy to follow.

My immediate thought was that I didn't want this book to languish on my shelf unused. It was meant to be drawn and painted in and I wanted to fill it up with playful experiments. Sadly, I knew my tendency to start working on something and then lose interest early on (see the perils and joys of being multi-passionate). I realized that I would have to make my efforts public. If I tell the world that I'm doing this, then I have do it, right?

So here's my plan. There are 18 artists in the book. I'm going to do the exercises for one artist each week, which will take me just over 4 months. I'll be posting my progress on Instagram and Facebook if you would like to follow along. If you're really keen you can order the book from the publisher or if you live in Edmonton, you can ask Audrey's Books to order it for you (go local book stores!). In case you're wondering, I'm not affiliated with the book in any way - I'm just really excited about it.

This week I'm starting with Joan Miro and experimenting with lines and shapes. I'll try to post progress reports throughout and a recap when I'm done. If this goes well I might start doing a regular series with other creativity boosting books. I can't wait to see what happens!

 

Creative ChallengeOctober is an amazing, crazy month. Birthdays, anniversaries, Halloween, Thanksgiving (my favourite holiday - and yes, here in Canada we celebrate it in October)... and I'm moving. The days are getting shorter, the last of the green leaves are turning colour and falling to the ground, and that inescapable winter chill is starting to creep in. It's a month of celebration and transition. What better time to sharpen my creative muscles and focus more clearly on the world around me?

This month, my creative challenge is back with #InspireOctober.

Last week I wrote about the importance of rituals, habits, and routines to help you stay creative every day. This week I have just the thing to help you with that goal! Introducing #InspireOctober, a 31-day creativity challenge that will inject some inspiration into your creative practice every day this month. It's easy to play along: Each number on the calendar is a day of the month. Using that day's prompt as a jumping off point, take a picture or write a short post and publish it on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hastag #InspireOctober. That's it! Full "rules" (there are no rules though, really) below. Enjoy!

The Mission:

To stretch our creative muscles a little bit each day in October. To open our imaginations and share our stories.

The Rules:

1. Use the words above as prompts to create a story: either a visual image or a small piece of text each day.

2. Post the story you create to TwitterInstagram, or Facebook using the hashtag #InspireOctober, along with the word that inspired it. Follow me on these platforms for even more inspiration.

3. Interpret the prompts any way you want, literally or off-the-wall figuratively.

4. Use any media you want. Try to stretch a little bit and think about the different stories you can tell with each word. Will you sketch or paint a picture? Make a collage? Take a photo? Use found objects to make a sculpture? Take a video? Use found text? Transcribe overheard conversations? Create a map? Of course, if you want to use all photographs that’s fine too!

5. Do as many or as few as you want, in any order you want. I don’t want to stress anyone out, so make this challenge whatever you need it to be to have fun.

6. Share with your friends! The more people we have playing along, the more fun it will be.

The challenge starts tomorrow and will go to the end of October. I hope you’ll join in on the creative adventures!

 
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creative challengeIn July I ran my first creative challenge and it was a lot of fun. Incredibly challenging, but a lot of fun. This is what one of the participants had to say about her experience:

All in all, I've had a blast. Not all of them had been winners, but I've felt a definite sense of pride at what I've accomplished. It was something to look forward to everyday in July. 

I'm really glad a few people were inspired to look at their days a little differently during the challenge. I know it certainly stretched me and I learned a lot. Here are some things I thought about throughout the month: (more…)

#InspireJuly

Welcome to my very first creativity challenge!

The Mission:

To stretch our creative muscles a little bit each day in July. To open our imaginations and share our stories.

The Rules:

1. Use the words above as prompts to create a story: either a visual image or a small Tweetable piece of text each day.

2. Post the story you create to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #InspireJuly, along with the word that inspired it.

3. Interpret the prompts any way you want, literally or off-the-wall figuratively.

4. Use any media you want. Try to stretch a little bit and think about the different stories you can tell with each word. Will you sketch or paint a picture? Make a collage? Take a photo? Use found objects to make a sculpture? Take a video? Use found text? Transcribe overheard conversations? Create a map? Of course, if you want to use all photographs that's fine too!

5. Do as many or as few as you want, in any order you want. I don't want to stress anyone out, so make this challenge whatever you need it to be to have fun.

6. Share with your friends! The more people we have playing along, the more fun it will be.

The challenge starts tomorrow and will go to the end of July. I hope you'll join in on the creative adventures!

Last month I challenged myself to draw 30 sketches of Edmonton (my home city) in 30 days, and I invited people to join me in the challenge. The goals were to create new perspectives of the city and to create a consistent creative practice while breaking down creative barriers. It was hard! Though I didn't make it to 30 and there were some days when the last thing I wanted to do was sketch, I learned a lot. I've decided to share some of the photos and a bit of my creative journey throughout the month. You can see all my sketches and those that other people sent in on the project blog at sketchesofyeg.tumblr.com.

The first sketches I did felt liberating and exciting. The idea came out of a desire to be creative every day, and to encourage others to be creative, and at first I felt like this project was really going to help. I was bringing my sketchbook everywhere, finding inspiration in unlikely places, and even pushing myself to draw while I was with people.

Playground     

And then something happened. I started to judge my sketches more harshly. I started to feel embarrassed when the sketches I was posting weren’t perfectly accurate and polished and I was frustrated that they didn’t look the way I thought they should. Soon I saw my daily drawing as a chore, rather than a fun way to inject creativity in my day.

What went wrong? (more…)