Breathe Beauty

I’ve written quite a few posts on how to keep going, how to keep pushing yourself and remain creative. But, today, I wanted to write why I think it is important to keep making art.

My belief in art starts with my parents. They have both encouraged me from the moment I wanted to be an author, as a tiny 8-year old, to the moment I took my first drawing lessons and wanted to be an artist. They’ve always believed in the power and influence of art. Be it visual, written, performed or otherwise, they believe in beauty. They also believed in me.

That’s why I think making art is so important: belief. Art has this incredible ability to make us believe. Art bridges the gap between our hearts and mind, and somehow makes us believe. It makes us believe in an adventure where a Hobbit finds a ring, deep in a cave, or in the beauty of mercy and honesty. It can also reveal darker sides of our existence, without becoming defeatist. It helps us to grow. It helps us to mature.

As a kid I learned from the Disney movies that everything is possible. From C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, I learned that virtue is close to suffering but that in the end, somehow everything pays off. From Craig Thompson I’ve learned of the nuances of faith, and of the suffering of poverty and sex slaves. From Jonathan Franzen I’ve learned the significance of the details of everyday life. From AquaSixio I’ve learned of the connection between the environment and the psyché. From Van Gogh I’ve learned that a broken vase can still breathe beauty.

Art shapes the way we see and behave in the world. To make art is important because it allows us to dream, and helps our friends to keep on dreaming. It’s not an easy path. But if you have anything inside of you worth telling the world, become proficient in whichever artistic language you choose.

Because that’s the only way you’ll make yourself heard.

That’s the only way you’ll make a difference.

Through the child’s heart. In an adult’s mind.

Hooray! We’re in August and I’m so happy I’ve been able to write and update this blog throughout this summer so far! In the month of July we had 83 visitors and 132 views! 24 more visitors and 23 views than the last month! Let’s celebrate small achievements! Woohooo!

If you’d like to get updates when blog posts come out, you can follow my Facebook page, or sign up for the mailing list that WordPress has set up — it’s on the bar to the side I believe!

Hope to see you soon! Or next week more precisely, at 10AM!

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The Discipline to Create Art

Night Wolf - Illustration

This is something every artist struggles with. At least I do. It’s something I want to improve, to get better at: the discipline to make myself do art. The discipline to be my own boss. Why not write about it? Maybe it’ll make me more disciplined. And let’s be honest, I’m always writing for myself. So, whatever you get out of this, it’s a bonus.

How to be disciplined? Take one step at a time

If you read, watch, or follow other artists online, you’ll find out that, for someone pursuing a career in the field of creativity, “just surviving” college isn’t enough. School can only teach you so much. You need to spend time pursuing your own projects and your own dreams. One step at a time.

In fact, one of Jason Brubaker’s main pieces of advice from his book, Unnatural Talent, is to work on your personal project. Develop it, nourish it and make it grow. Something personal, that you feel passionate about.

So how do you do that? How do you discipline yourself to get your own projects done? I’m not sure, if I’m honest. I haven’t gotten to a point where I’m satisfied with my discipline. But I have made a couple of attempts at improving and learned some things from those. Here’s a list of suggestions and tips for you to try out:

 

Blog_Numbers1Choose a specific topic or style and stick with it for a week. See how you can say or show the same subject in a different way.

This can be a fun challenge to see how creative you can get within certain boundaries – like using a tool you’ve never had. Or making a series of 4 in. sized paintings. How creative can you be with the limitations you have?

 

Blog_Numbers2Get other people involved. Tell them you’ll work on a project for 7 straight days. Or let them have a sneak peek of your work in progress – put your honor on the line somehow.

This one is tricky, because if you don’t do what you promised you might feel bad about yourself and do even less. But it works great if it motivates to just sit down and do it. I usually tell one person about one project I want to work on, and to another person a different project. I’ll probably not do all of them, but at least one of those I’ll feel I need to get done, and indeed get it done.

 

Blog_Numbers3Set aside a time and place to work.

This is one of the most often-repeated-that-no-one-follows pieces of advice given. And hearing it again and again doesn’t make it easier. My tip is for you to find a special place where you can be by yourself, and spread out your materials and art. In that space that you have set aside eliminate as many distractions as you can. Turn off your cellphone, close all other tabs that are not-art-you’re-making-right-now-related. You might be amazed by how much you can do without technology distracting you.

Also, don’t be afraid to have a day in the week where you don’t do art. You need to rest from your art and just enjoy life! I consider it part of my self-care of the week. Making sure you don’t do art for a day will recharge you to come in super excited for the coming week!

 

Blog_Numbers4Look at yourself in the mirror. Stare deep into your eyes. Find your soul. Punch it a couple times until it realizes that making art is a necessity, not a commodity. And get to work.

Sometimes you just have to get to it. Stop making excuses and make art.

As I said. There’s no easy way to get discipline, or to keep yourself motivated. I’m still figuring it out for myself. But I think the last part of the trick is to never give up on being disciplined. Don’t stop trying to be disciplined just because you didn’t do art that one day, or that one week.

Never give up on being disciplined

Discipline can only come with a clear vision for what you want from your talent, natural or not. There will be days or weeks when you’ll be disciplined, and there’ll be days you’ll struggle with it. But just keep trying, for if you give up—there’s nothing we can do to help you out.