ART | Five tips on being a happy, healthy creator

I am a part of GESSO, a small online community for bloggers who create, and as a member I have chosen to take part in the Gesso: Primed Creatives Blogging Challenge. This year-long challenge requires you to complete a list of blog prompts of your choosing and I’m aiming for the Silver Award which requires one contribution per week (but will more realistically achieve the Bronze Award).

1: Happy Creativity.What are your thoughts/beliefs/tips for being a happy, healthy creative?

Ooh, what a fun discussion topic. I have five tips that I think contribute greatly to my happiness as a creative that I’d like to share. I’m curious to see if you agree with them!

But first, let me preface this post by saying my choice of creativity (illustration) is currently limited to hobby status. I feel like that has a huge impact on how I think as a creative because I’m not relying on this profession to provide me with an income and therefore have a lot of freedom when it comes to what and when I create. As a result, these tips are directed more towards casual creators like myself rather than the professionals.

Embrace the fails.

The first tip I have for being a happy, healthy creator is actually inspired by one of my favourite artists, Pam Wishbow. I follow her on Twitter and when this post this tweet of hers popped up in my feed it really struck a chord with me:

I love this advice.

We all have our weaknesses. We all have areas in our art where we know we will struggle and occasionally fail. The best thing to do is to embrace those areas of discomfort and create anyways – and if you can make it a purposeful part of your work, even better.

Just don’t let your flaws stop you from creating. You can always get better. In the meantime, have fun with it.

Give yourself a reality check.

For me, this is one of the most things I have to turn to the most when admiring other creatives on social media.

It is so easy to compare yourself to others when on Instagram or Twitter. Masterpiece after masterpiece continually pops up in your feeds and a small little voice inside your head can sometimes pop up and say: “What’s the point in even trying? I’ll never be as good as that.”

Don’t listen to that voice. Instead, take a step back and actually look at that artist’s journey you’re hopelessly comparing yourself to. 

That’s right, scroll through their feed until you get all the way to beginning and just take a look. Was their work five years ago as amazing as it is now? What were their weaknesses in the beginning? What have they done to get better?

I feel like if you’re going to make the mistake of comparing yourself to another creative, at least go all the way and look at the whole picture. If you’re anything like me, you’ll not only appreciate that person’s work so much more but be reminded that you have only just begun your only creative journey. It’ll take time, but you can get there.

Don’t Feel Guilty When Not Creating

My creative drive is that of an ocean. It comes and goes. Comes and goes. And sometimes it’s there and all I do is take a piss in it. (Too far?)

Yes, the more you do the more you will improve. And yes, if it makes you happy you should do it regularly. But there are just some days that you might not feel like doing anything and that’s okay.

Personally, I find sometimes that if I force myself to do things when I’m not feeling it I only ruin my love for those things even more. Sure there may be consequences if you stop for a while, things may get a bit rusty and people may forget who you are, but it’s not worth sacrificing your love of what you do. If you need a break, take a break.

Create Content That Makes You Happy

Deciding what I want to create can be one of my biggest struggles. There’s a part of me that wants to branch out and create these amazing fantastical illustrations, but I honestly feel like I lack imagination and creativity. For me, the content I’m most comfortable creating is that which I can pull from my every day life because I can see it and feel it.

Sometimes I’m worried that no one will really care about my little diary doodles or that they’ll get sick and tired of seeing 800 self-portraits of lil ol me, but I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter. If the content you create inspires you and makes you enjoy your process, then keep doing it. You will find an audience eventually, even if it’s just an audience of one (yourself).

Compare this illustration to the one in my backyard wedding ceremony post I drew at the end of 2017. SO much progress.

Celebrate Your Progress

Lastly, I’m all about celebrating your progress. Remember how I said you should scroll back to look at the previous work of your favourite creatives from years ago? Scroll back and look at your older work too. See how much you’ve changed and give yourself credit for the progress you’re making.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the growth you’re having when just looking at your recent pieces. But if you compare your work over the months and years, you will definitely see a difference. (And if you’re still having trouble seeing it, try redrawing an old piece. That always works for me!)

Be proud of the changes that are taking place and allow that progress to inspire you growth in you in the future. You may not like something about your art now, but that’s okay. It will all change over time. Just give yourself a chance.

Let’s Chat

What tips do you have on being a happy, healthy creator? Do you agree with any of mine? Is there anything you’ve been struggling with that hasn’t been touched on here? Let’s chat in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “ART | Five tips on being a happy, healthy creator

  1. Ohhh I love love these tips so much. AHHH. It’s actually a bit of a reality check for me right now because I’m reading blogs to distract myself from stressing majorly about some fails I’ve just had in my art 😭😂well…I mean writing art, but these tips still really work for writing too! Comparison just UGH. I hate it!! But it’s so hard not to do it!! And knowing nobody just suddenly exploded from the ground being a perfect artist and putting out constant perfect work…must remember that too. Also not overworking?? I try to pull myself up when I’m overworking because it’s not good for one’s health and it’s a pretty poisonous mentality to never give yourself breaks!

    Anyway, I am rambling. But much love for your tips.💛💛

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    1. I actually think the best thing about authors is the fact that you guys manage to keep writing even when you know what you’re creating may be shit and can be edited/fixed up later. I rarely go back to work and fix it up, unless I’m doing a redraw, so I tend to feel like every piece I’m doing has to be a finished piece and so don’t go in with that open mindset. Maybe I should try it sometime though!

      And I’m not surprised by your admission that you’re an overworker. Not only do you write novels but also blog posts and you run a shop and you comment on blogs, it’s crazy! I’d also think it’s sort of hard because even though blogging started as a hobby I’d assume it’s somewhat of a work thing for you now too? Because it helps you stay engaged with an audience and connect with readers and all that? So yeah, you definitely do a lot. I think it’s great you try to pull yourself up when overworking so you can stop and take care of your health. We all prefer you happy and healthy even if it means taking a break rather than always around but falling apart. 🖤

      Like

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