Making Time for Creativity--Growing Gills work through

  • SVS OG

    This is so interesting to me because, as my sketchbook pages above indicate, I have way too many ideas 😂.

    I think though that sometimes we let ideas go because we don’t think we are good enough to do them justice, in which case gaining confidence and ability is a good first step. This can easily become a trap, though, as the chapter indicates—our ideas will never be as good in reality as they are in our head. Like the Platonic Ideal/Essence of a thing that only exists in our head, but can never be perfectly translated into reality.

    Also just developing the habit of gathering ideas instead of letting them just slide away in the moment—it’s my personal belief that everyone has ideas, it’s just that some people grab hold of them and others don’t. 🤷♀️ But what do I know 🙃.

    Anyway, your project with your niece sounds really fun @demotlj 😁 I loved your bat image. I am excited to see what else you produce!

  • SVS OG

    @Sarah-LuAnn I love your reference to Platonic ideals. I have always thought of my sermons as shadows of Platonic ideals — that mere words can never really match the power of the spiritual ideal I am trying to communicate and I am coming to see art the same way. (I believe C.S. Lewis used that metaphor of living in the shadows of the ideal too though I don’t trust my memory enough to attempt to describe how he used it.)

  • The concept of idea debt really resonates with me. Because I do so many things (professionally and for fun), I always have more ideas than time, so most stuff gets catalogued in the back of my head only to resurface a couple times a year. Here's the list of just the stuff I've been thinking of doing/have started working on within the last 6 months:

    • “Big” digital painting for SVS
    • Short sci-fi comic to serve as a prologue to a larger graphic novel
    • Series 2 of “Bad Apples” acrylic paintings
    • Disney fan art digital paintings for my family
    • Flat Pop Portrait collections: Star Wars, Disney Animation, Pixar, Quentin Tarantino, Guardians of the Galaxy
    • Hard boiled/film noir fantasy screenplay
    • Translate Bad Apples paintings and Inktober illustrations to t-shirt designs
    • Write and record an alternative rock album
    • Creative a series of super short cartoons for my animation/motion graphics portfolio
    • Curate/strengthen/add to my illustration portfolio
    • Write and illustrate these picture books: The Wood Sprite, The Knight’s Son, an alphabet book. an animals around the world bedtime book, a polar bear christmas book, and an inner city twist on Little Red Riding Hood

    I'm really looking forward for later on in the book where we'll work on trimming down to focus on what we can actually get done, and to see all the great ideas that come out of the artists on this thread.

  • @Sarah-LuAnn My homework was really the five list:
    Nc animals paintings - this was "due" two months ago, but things came up. Need to hit it. I have one half done and can totally finish it. With 5 to 10 in a series I figure I can do a little booth at a local art fair. Sell my first painting maybe.
    Cute life comics -eh. This isn't a project. Just a thing I do.
    Cosmetics line - this is now at full steam. It's not full cosmetics line but palm/coconut free stuff for people with allergies. Apparently a difficult allergy and I've been formulating for my sister so may as well sell the products to recoup costs and help others with the same allergy. Label design is now! Love that part.
    Incubator project -I hereby cancel this. I literally got hit by a truck in the middle and need to let it go. Goodbye anchor from previous life.
    Video game - doing the concept art and art direction for an indie game with friends.

    I could add
    An addiction to reddit drawme, those are really warm ups though
    Need to finish some key svslearn classes before my smartschool class starts in Feb. Will need those skills plus may not have time for simultaneously doing them.
    I'm going to finish those darned master studies. They are important!

    Endless other stuff is swimming around but it's not creative.

  • SVS OG

    @demotlj I’m in the same idea desert. Constantly thinking i’m not good enough, having started so many svs- and other courses but finishing none. Feeling an imposter in the. Any facebook groups I joined. I also decided that this tear I would start to draw/paint regularly, I love your idea of doing a monthly painting for tou niece, someone to be accountable to to do your “work”.

  • SVS OG

    @Annemieke about what you said earlier--I'm still planning to keep to the one-chapter-per-week schedule so everyone (including me!) can keep up without feeling overwhelmed, but an accountability group is a great idea. Personally, I have two critique groups that I participate in that function as accountability groups and that is about all I have time and attention for, but I'm sure there are others in this forum that also need accountability partners to keep moving forward. You could wait until we get to that chapter (a couple months yet, at the pace we're moving at) OR just post your own thread in the forum and see who is interested.

  • SVS OG

    So the pattern the end of this week, read chapter 3 and do the exercise! See you then 😉

  • @SarahLuAnn I bought the book on Kindle and started reading it, but I’m far behind you guys! I don’t know if I’ll be able to catch up.

  • @Sarah-LuAnn I could kinda cheat at the cleanup exercise, because my desk has no space on it and I don't have much clutter yet from moving country. 😛 So that half is easy.

    My "Open loops" stuff may be harder. I'm putting it all in "Asana" right now and still find getting some stuff sorted exhausting. I'll see where I might have hidden procrastination clutter. Hmmm.

    Still contemplating removing "I'm busy" as a social niceties effects. You always have a choice, but I definitely wouldn't tell someone "What you want isn't a priority" even though when I say I'm busy I am telling them that implicitly. At work I would sometimes say "I've got X, Y, and Z and if I'm changing priorities to the thing you want I'll need to run that by manager" so maybe that's the same?

    How do you guys decline stuff? I sometimes do say I can't when I mean, "Yeah... Naw."

  • Has anybody had trouble downloading the workbook? When I fill out the form on her website it says its going to send it to me and then nothing happens. Tried on mobile and on my macbook and can’t seem to get it either way.

  • @Kristin-Wauson I don't really think you need it, tbh. It can mostly be done on paper. But I could email it to you if you want.

    So here is where I have to work. I have to roll things out every day so not much clutter yet.
    But, sometimes the clutter can hide in other places. I definitely have som "Open loops" that I just keep procrastinating in my Asana tracking thing....
    Also, my setup has an issue with "separating the means of production" as lean philosophy would call it. I have to go find all the sketches for whichever thing I'm working on and set up depending on project. Maybe I should finish one piece before I start another? Or even a series? Only one WIP? lol
    It could be an interesting experiment to apply lean to art, but maybe misplaced.
    (lean is a manufacturing approach that tries to avoid waste and has been trendy for a while now)

  • SVS OG

    @Kristin-Wauson go at your own pace, and let us know about your progress! You can try just doing a chapter per week like we've been doing if that works for you.
    The PDF link worked for me, but I've mostly been doing the exercises in my sketchbook/bullet journal so they're with all my other stuff and easy to find. I've been looking at the PDF on my computer to see how she sets up the pages for each exercise, but that's it.

    @ThisKateCreates Lucky you with an already-clear desk.... I meant to do a before/after picture but forgot to take the before one. My after is still not quite perfect, but it is vastly improved and I feel much better being in my space. 🙂 I, too, need a better way to organize sketches for works-in-progress, currently I just have them in a pile which I periodically file away when it gets too big... 🤷

    (Taken using the panorama function on my phone, thus the curvy perspective 😉 )


    There are still a couple "open loops" visible here... like, that pile of picture books on the corner of my desk. Those are books by authors who will be presenting at the SCBWI conference I'll be attending soon... also a reminder that I promised my toddler that I would take her to the "widdle teeny library" tomorrow. (We have two libraries close by that we go play at. One is large, the other... isn't 😂)

    But, the things that are out represent Current Projects rather than just any old to-do or undecided thing. I feel ready to move forward at least :-).

    How is everyone else doing? Still a couple days to go til Saturday 🙂

  • @Sarah-LuAnn I have to be honest, after reading the chapter about Open Loops, I still don't quite understand it. I mean, isn't life just a gigantic open loop, always full of things to do? I cleaned up my desk (because I like that idea that it is a space dedicated for illustration and nothing else), but what are some examples of open loops in your lives, guys? Maybe that will help me out with understanding it.

  • SVS OG

    This chapter for me described what I've been forced to learn on my own over the years through necessity. Physically, I live in a 960 square foot house in which I raised three kids so I had to be brutal about not keeping stuff around that I didn't absolutely need and that I thought I might get "around to someday." The hardest part of that has been letting go of books. As the kids' space needs expanded, I had to get rid of lots of beloved books that I was holding onto for sentimental reasons or books that I had picked up that I thought would be interesting to read. I also though have had to give up the electric piano I was going to learn one day, and the treadmill that was gathering dust and taunting me in the basement, and camera equipment I got back when I thought I'd learn nature photography. In a small house with active kids, space was so precious I had to learn to constantly ask myself, "Am I ever really going to get around to using this, reading this, doing this, making this, learning this, or any of the other reasons I am keeping stuff?" Small houses are great for "closing loops."

    As far as projects and open loops on my to do list, I know exactly what she is talking about because about five years ago I was getting really stressed out trying to keep all of the details of work and family in my head (which isn't helped by my really bad memory) so in desperation, I began reading all of this stuff on how to organize your life using "tickle files," and "brain dumps." The system I've used is very much what she describes and it really has helped. (Jake Parker described a similar concept on the podcast where they each talked about something they learned over the past year.)

    All in all, my reaction to this chapter was that I concur with her argument that open loops can add to our stress levels and learning how to close them really does help. (And having the kids finally move out also helps, though my youngest still comes home during college breaks and my daughter is still storing an awful lot of her stuff here. I keep threatening to give it all to Goodwill.)

  • SVS OG

    @Sarah-LuAnn thanks, since I’m travelling at the moment I’m not in a hurry to start the accountability group, since I don't have any crearive materials with me (and I’m also on a crazy sightseeing schedule). I’ll check in on this discussion thread from time to time to see how you guys are doing. Good luck!

  • SVS OG

    I love your thoughts on open loops @demotlj , its better than any explanation I could have given to @Laurel-Aylesworth. My understanding was simply that Open Loops are tasks or projects that have been started (even just by thinking of them or acquiring the materials) but not yet concluded--so they just sit there, unfinished, distracting you and making you feel guilty.

    She mentions the whole Magic of Tidying Up craze in the chapter, and while I'm not in favor of getting rid of posessions for the sake of being minimalist, I do agree that mess and clutter often represent projects, obligations, and decisions that we are avoiding.

  • @Laurel-Aylesworth I think you are right in a sense. Life is an open loop. Until it isn't at least. XD But I think she was specifically talking about tasks and projects you haven't finished and especially are procrastinating and storing in your head.

  • @Sarah-LuAnn thanks! I will do that. I finally found the email with the PDF download in my spam folder. I need to start time tracking exercise today and I don’t want to because I have wasted too much time doing nothing already today! 😂😂 I guess that’s the purpose of the exercise.

  • @demotlj Oh Demotlj! I so relate to you! I also spend too much time preparing instead of doing, never feel my skills are good enough for the result I am seeking, I have no creative idea and I feel I'm a fraud here and anywhere I meet artists. If it can give you comfort, I have to say you are a real inspiration to me : because you succeed in drawing on a regular basis for your niece and also, because I am seeing your progress here (I really liked seeing your process for Evelyn the bat and the end result is so great!). Keep it on, you are aiming in the right direction, I can tell!

  • SVS OG

    @Julia Thanks, Julia for the kind words. I've been trying to apply to myself the strategy I used raising my three kids. Whenever I praised them, I tried to avoid saying things like, "You are so bright;" or "You are so talented," because those are things that we can't control. I knew that if someday they failed a test or met someone more talented than they were, it could cause a fundamental identity crisis if that's only how they saw themselves. Instead I would say, "You are so determined; you are so persistent; you are a really hard worker; you never give up; you are so responsible, you are so kind, etc." because those were all things within their control. I have to constantly remind myself of the same -- I may not be as talented an artist as a lot of people here but I can be persistent! My "talent" is my stubborn refusal to give in to my doubts and lack of artistic skills!

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