Weekly Brain Mushings

I've been working away trying to get everything ready for the Etsy art show. I'm trying hard to get over my inner messy kid and find the perfectionist within. I'm working on measuring everything perfectly, over thinking everything and basically rethinking my entire life and career...

Yep, I'm driving myself nuts, but in a good way. It is pretty wonderful when you push your self father than you've gone in the past. And looking towards a hopeful future.

I came upon this wonderful TED talk by Alain de Botton.

 His talk really calms me. Basically he says we are all driving ourselves nuts.  Doesn't it feel good that we are all in this crazy world together?

Some Thoughts on Creativity

First off, a little update on the mini-book.  I'm still working on the sketches for the book but I am happy with the results so far. I am a huge perfectionist. It is one of those problems which I am really trying to fight and learn from at the same time. It is enough to drive ya crazy.

Saying that, I'll post whatever sketches I have in the next few days.  Then it will be pushed to the next stage,  painting of the final drawings, and then onto the conquering the layout of the book.

In my quest for more understanding my creative self, I've been reading the wonderful book, "The Creative Habit", by Twyla Tharp and have gained a whole new view of the creative process. The book is written through eyes of a  successful choreographer who has worked with some of the most amazing dancers and musicians on the planet. It is written for anyone who wants to improve their creative process.  She writes about how to gathering ideas and having strong "spines"(or backbones) behind your creations. Basically she shows you how turn your spark of creativity into full blown artistic amazingness.

Here is an excerpt from The Creative Habit from 43 Folders.

One of the things I am learning is, as an illustrator, this reminds me to truly think through all my ideas. I need to ask,  "Who...What..When and Why" whenever I begin a new drawing.  Having these questions figured out (and doing my homework) is the difference between a good illustration and a great one.

As for creating confidence in my work, (something I really, really need to do) I need to remind myself to practice my skills constantly...daily. I really liked this bit from the book, from Chapter 9, on Skill:
Confidence is a trait that has to be earned honestly and refreshed constantly; you have to work as hard to protect your skills as you did to develop them. This means vigilant practice and excellent practice habits. You've heard the phrase "Practice makes perfect"? Not true. Perfect practice makes perfect. The on e thing that creative souls around the world have in common is that they all have to practice to maintain their skills. Art is a vast democracy of habit.
So basically work, work, work till you get it and then work, work, work so you don't lose it.

Here is another person's look at creativity and on creative success.  I'm sure you all know Elizabeth Gilbert the author of "Eat, Pray, Love".  Here she is speaking about the role of creativity in  a semi-recent TED talk.

I really love the her take on the genius and the muse...

The 7 year itch

As some of you out there know, I am about to leave my full-time benefits filled job in a month or two (timing having to deal with a possible layoff), to work fulltime a freelance illustrator. In other words, my life is about to go through some major changes and challenges. It has been 7 years since I began working at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and I tell ya I am ready to go.

It has been a crazy seven years... I do want thank the museum for the fact that I was able to save up some money and do some traveling over the years, I was able to go to Paris, Laos and India, which opened my eyes to the world more than you can imagine. I was able to go back to school and study graphic design. I met the love of my life and got married.

I'm very thankful for the fact the museum was the first place to publish my illustrations. Thank you Stacy for giving me a try. Hopefully I will continue to do more illustrations for the museum and in the upcoming years as a freelancer.

Things that I am not so thankful for, are learning how easy it can be to get stuck in a dead end job and get seduced by the call of being a city employee with great benefits. I hate the fact that I lost so much confidence when ever I told people what I did for a living. (I work in Visitor Services selling tickets and memberships, BTW.)

Truthfully, I am ready and terrified about this upcoming year off. I'm scared I won't be able to do it. Jumping into a highly complex and competitive freelance world is going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done. I will have to be a kickass business person as well as a confident and talented artist. You know, I've always just gotten by some how. This is a year that I have to prove to the world and myself that I am actually the artist/illustrator I've only dreamed about being.

This next year is a time to rejuvenate and find what I am really all about.

Have you ever seen any of the TED talks? The are very inspiring. This is one of my favorites by graphic designer Stefan Stagmeister in which he talks about the year long sabbatical he takes every 7 years.


Any thoughts?