ART | Five tips on being a happy, healthy creator

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.

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ART | About me as a creative

ART | About me as a creative

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. This week’s topic?

52: About. Tell us about why you do what you do, what drives you, your passion and how you got to where you are now.

What do you do?

Well first off, I feel like we should discuss what it is I do. I illustrate as a hobby. Using pens and markers or my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, I create cartoonish illustrations of what I’m watching, what I’m reading, and the things that are happening in my life. Most of those illustrations can be found here on the blog, but occasionally I do throw one up on Twitter or Instagram without devoting a post towards it.

I have dabbled in other creative hobbies in the past. I played bass guitar as a teen, tried my hand at DSLR photography as a young adult, and have taken many art classes during school including ceramics and printmaking. Illustration has always been my favourite creative activity though and is the one I have never been able to completely shake.

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ART | Success! A month-long challenge of Disney doodles completed.

ART | Success! A month-long challenge of Disney doodles completed.

Do you remember that time I wrote a post about my attempt to take part in an Instagram challenge and how I came to the conclusion that it’s not considered failing when you decide an Instagram challenge is no longer for you? 

In case you need to refresh your memory, last summer I attempted to take part in #doodletimewithkaroline. Keyword: attempted. I lasted one week. And then, to make me feel better about myself, I devoted a blog post to my attempt at the challenge and assured everyone (including myself) that even though I didn’t complete the challenge by participating in all thirty prompts, I didn’t actually fail because I learned stuff about the community and my artwork. And who cares about quitting when you grow as a person and artist, right?

I still stand by the point of that post: you have the power to define what success is to you. But let’s be 100% real, when I joined that challenge, my goal wasn’t to learn. I wanted to complete it. I wanted my artwork to show up on that hashtag everyday. I wanted to be one of those kick-ass people who joined a month-long challenge and survived.

So with the start of the new year, I tried again. And guess what?

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!
I SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED A MONTH-LONG CHALLENGE!!!

As a result, I have to write another post about Instagram challenges. Because, you know, what’s a victory if you can’t celebrate it? I want everyone to know that not only can I succeed by bending the rules and looking at things my way, but that I can also succeed by doing it the right way.

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ART | The cringe artwork I didn’t want to share with you.

ART | The cringe artwork I didn’t want to share with you.

For the most part, I have shared every single piece of artwork I have created since I launched this blog in March. Whether it’s the silly little doodles I make for my life posts, the fan art I create to complement books, tv shows, and movies discussions in my stories posts, or the random illustrations I feature in my art posts – it’s pretty much all there and, generally speaking, I love and am proud of it all. That being said, every artist – whether illustrator or poet or author or photographer – has moments where the work they create causes great cringe and there has been one set of illustrations I have hid from you all since I launched this blog because… yikes.

You see, when my blog launched in March, I got really excited about creating and sort of became obsessed with the desire to doodle all the time. I almost want to say in a way it became more about creating a certain quantity of illustrations for me rather than a certain quality because I knew my work would never be as good as anyone else’s and I just wanted to have a lot of it done so that I would never run out of things to share here.

And that’s fine! This is my blog and I can do what I want. But the same thing happened as I mentioned in my thoughts on participating in an Instagram challenge: I realized I don’t want to create just for the sake of creating. My enjoyment wavers and the end results can sometimes be a bit scary when that happens.

So today, in the sake of transparency and to assure any creatives out there that they are not alone in their bad days, I thought I would share a collection of illustrations that I originally refused to post on the blog because I disliked them so much.

Behold my cringe (Sports Illustrated 2017 Swimsuit edition)!

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ART | It’s okay to give up on an Instagram challenge.

ART | It’s okay to give up on an Instagram challenge.

If you’ve been involved in any Instagram community, you’ll know that there are usually multiple challenges running that you can participate in. For bookstagrammers there’s #grimdragon, for those with art journals there’s #ohjournaletc, for the art and lettering types there #dndchallenge – the list goes on and on.

These challenges are great for inspiring content and getting involved in communities, but they are what they claim to be: a challenge. And you know what I’ve decided? It’s okay to give up after you join one of these challenge. Really, as long as you gave it a go and took something away from the attempt, it’s not failing. You’re just succeeding in an unexpected way.

I’m not sure why that realization was so hard for me to learn, but it was.

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