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Event: Salon of Inclusiveness

 

Come join me at the Salon of Inclusiveness opening night (Thursday, December 6th, 2018 & Friday, December 7th, 2018) at the Black Cat Showroom (1785 St Clair Ave West Toronto, ON M6N 1J6).

The new location is sure to impress with a ton of amazing local talent to look at and buy. The Salon of Inclusiveness runs from Thursday, December 6th, 2018 – January 7th, 2019.

“Life and Death” and “Teddy” are available for purchase during the Salon of Inclusiveness. I will be at the opening on Friday, December 7th when it opens at 7 pm.

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Event: Precious Snowflakes Holiday Art Show and Sale

POP!
Love, Cupcake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exciting news!

I will be showing two paintings at the Yellow House Gallery here in Toronto starting this Friday November 16th 2018.

The paintings are a part of the annual Precious Snowflakes art sale. It is the perfect opportunity to buy local work at great prices. The show and sale runs from November 16th  to January 12th 2019. There are over 100 small works by local artists so, lots of variety to purchase for yourself or a loved one for the holiday season.

The opening reception is on Friday November 16th 6:30- 9 pm and I will be there. Please come and show your support and check out the awesome show. I’ve already seen most of the work and is all wonderful. I am very excited to be a part of this and know the show will be a success!

The Yellow House Gallery is located at 921 Kingston Rd.  For more information on the gallery or the show/sale please check out their Website and Facebook page here:

http://www.yellowhousegallery.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/yellowhousegallery

 

 

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New Work: Raven & Life and Death

 

 

I recently took a dive back into my first love; acrylic paint. I had given it a break for a few years because paint and young children don’t mix. Instead I opted to paint with watercolours, digitally paint, or draw. Although I do still have young children I have been able to manage some quality paint time. It feels great to jump back in with something so familiar, there’s nothing like putting paint to canvas. It is a totally different experience to the other mediums I use.

The first one I did was on a small wooden panel (6 x 6 inches). I have been finding inspiration in birds lately, we happen to have a Pigeon that has nested on our balcony and has laid some eggs, we often check on them and give them a little food. I love birds in general, but I especially love owls (anyone who knows me knows I’ve been obsessed for a good 10 years), Ravens, and Hawks (we actually have one that lives around us, it often snatches other birds right out of the sky when it’s hungry, kind of morbid but it seems to like to do this in front of our windows… maybe I should be afraid). Anyway, these flying creatures have caught my attention and I enjoy painting them. They also come with a whole bunch of meaning, folk-lore, etc. which happens to also be something I like to work into my art when I can. Everything I do has some sort of meaning, whether it is obvious to others or something more personal to me, there is usually something in my work that is much deeper to me than just an appealing picture.

I ended up creating “Raven” (Available for purchase here). Using darker colours to bring in the darkness of the bird and adding in some pops of colour to bring out the richness, deepness, and often reflective nature of the feathers.  The added colour also plays towards light and dark, opposites are another subject I like to work into my work; the juxtaposition fascinates me.

You’ll notice in much of my work I like to play on things like light and dark, good and evil, life and death, fin and serious, etc.  In fact, I have been on a bit of a roll with these acrylic paints lately. The next thing I painted was “Life and Death”. The title is self-explanatory and there is lots to look at in this small piece. This time I put paint to canvas and played more with that juxtaposition I love so much, colours, subject matter, meaning, serious and fun elements all tangled together in this intriguing piece. “Life and Death” measures 12 x 6 inches and is available for purchase here.

Now that I’ve worked out some of the rust I am excited to go bigger! It has been interesting to see how my style translates into different mediums now that its developed and different from when I was painting before. Art is certainly a journey and so much of us is put into our work. I hope you all enjoy! I’d love to hear about what you’ve been working on lately. Be sure to let me know in the comments

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Until next time my Creative Friends!

 

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The #1 Mistake you are Making as an Artist

 

It is kind of funny that the number one mistake I see artists make doesn’t have anything to do with technically creating work. It’s not using the “wrong” materials, not their proportions, or their skill, etc. It goes much deeper than this…

The absolute biggest mistake I see artists make is: Undervaluing their work.

Creating art takes practice. It often takes many years, lots of patience, and a whole bunch of money (art supplies aren’t cheap, neither is school) to learn to create effectively. I know in my case I’ve spent the better part of my life working on this skill, and that is exactly what art is; a skill. One people get hired for, one people make a living with. I also spent years of my life and quite a bit of money to go to post secondary school to further my skills, just as most people do to be able to gain the knowledge and experience they need to work in a specialized field.

Although whether one needs or should go to art school is another topic for another day (one I will do soon) I know that not everyone does or can go through a post secondary education. There are plenty of people out there who have made art a living without doing this. These people still put in countless hours of practicing and honing their skills.

Art is undervalued in our society. We all love it, buy it, use it, appreciate it on the outside but very little thought seems to be put into it otherwise or into the artist themselves.

This mentality has been so ingrained in us that, as artists, we do this to ourselves. We don’t value our own time or work. It becomes a vicious cycle that perpetuates this notion that art has little value. People hire for things they either can’t do themselves or don’t have time to do themselves. It is usually the former they hire/purchase for. Like I said, art is a skill, it is a skill like anything else. When your pipes are clogged from the main line and just plunging them won’t help, what do you do? You call a plumber. When you’re in need of high quality printing for that book you’ve written, what do you do? You go through a publisher or hire a printer. Car breaks down? Tow truck and mechanic. Tooth ache? Dentist. Packaging design? Graphic designer. Big party? Event planner.

This is the biggest mistake I see artists making: they undervalue themselves and their work. You should be charging a fair fee for materials, time, and skill. If you cannot even cover material expenses you’re doing yourself a huge injustice.

I see this almost daily. I am in a lot of art groups online and know many artists, so this is something I see people struggle with. I see people posting online in search of illustrators for next to nothing, expecting free work, low balling excellent pieces of art, and even not paying for commissions they asked for. I see artists fighting for attention and work, offering their services at severely discounted prices just to snag the job, working for free, advertising along the lines of “professionally done illustrations for only $5 a page”. Then they do the work and sign a contract for exclusive rights to whoever hired them for that $5 a page. What is the point in this? You aren’t helping yourself or others, you are teaching everyone else that your work is worth $5 and that, that is the amount other artists should be working for. Paying yourself cents on the hour for work isn’t helping you get anywhere, just like working for” exposure” isn’t.
This doesn’t mean that you cannot ever discount your work. Say, you feel very passionately about a project, but the person just cannot afford your regular fees, there’s nothing to say you can’t work out another arrangement, use a payment plan, offer them a discount, etc. Where it hurts you is if you offer this to everyone and don’t charge enough to pay yourself.

Believe it or not it is okay to turn down work. I’ve done it many times, especially in illustration. I want to be the right fit for a project, I want the person hiring me to be proud of the work accomplished. If they are writing a book, I want them to be able to shout about it from the roof tops when they are done. If I don’t think I can do their work justice or it isn’t something I feel I could do well then I will respectfully pass. I’ve had plenty of people ask me to work for free, do sketches of their characters, etc. I politely decline and let them know that this is what I do for a living, what I went to school for and that I simply cannot afford to work for nothing.

For example, I’ve had people ask me to provide sample sketches for a book they’ve written when they were looking for an illustrator. These people are in talks with other artists as well. They ask you to do the sketches, and I tell them I would be happy to arrange that, but I will have to charge a small fee for my time. This could be something as small as $10 or $20 depending on what they want a sample of. They are asking other artists to do the same, so they can see who they would like to hire. While I understand their thought process of wanting this for free (you don’t pay to interview someone), that is what a portfolio is for. Say, you do the sketches, then what? Then you’ve done the work with no guarantee you’re going to be picked, they then have the sketches that you developed (creating the characters is a big part of the job) and they can use those sketches for whatever they want because you’ve handed them over and you’ve done so for nothing.
Savvy successful businesses don’t give everything away for nothing, if they did they wouldn’t be able to grow or even survive. We keep alive this notion of a starving artist because we do it to ourselves. Yes, the market is saturated, but most are, there is still enough room for people to create and make a living. There are clients out there for everyone.
The more you respect your work, the more others will. In turn, the more we collectively do this the less we feel the need to. When we value our work and our time, we are sending out the message that other people should as well.

I have worked with wonderful people who value and respect my time, talent, and what I do. The right clients and buyers are out there for you, there is room for all of us in this wonderfully beautiful art world we have created. It all starts with you.

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5 Ways my Art Career Changed My Life

Aside from obviously being an unfair amount of fun for a career, how is it that art as a career can change YOUR life?

It is an interesting topic, considering the opposite opinion is usually what people are cautioning others about. The whole “don’t become an artist because you’ll starve” argument that so many parents (although probably coming from a loving place and a place of wanting their children to succeed) throw at their kids when they want to get into a creative field.

Art and creative fields in general have become very popular, affording countless job opportunities. The gaming industry is a fantastic example of this. While traditional art may be harder to find something that you can make a more traditional and stable living doing these days it is all about the digital. Digital art is a very viable career option for those of you looking to get into the arts. If you go on a job searching website (something like monster or indeed, etc.) and type in “artist” you’ll get two things coming up: game design artists and sandwich artist. Okay, so maybe you don’t want to be a sandwich artist (they literally just make subs in chain restaurants) but the other options come with great starting rates and the opportunity to create, work on something other people are going to love, and it allows you to be in the arts with a real 9-5 job.

There are, of course many other examples of creative careers and careers in the arts but the gaming industry has come to the forefront here. Freelancing, running a gallery, illustrating, graphic design, interior decorating, creating your own shop and products, etc are other examples of careers in the arts. So, how can going into a creative career change your life and benefit you?

Here are a few examples:

Art is therapeutic, art therapy is an effective way to work through things you are feeling and going through. It is also another example of a career opportunity that has become more popular in the arts ( you do have to be qualified to do this though). Having a creative career allows you to spend your day creating, even if it isn’t your own work. The act of doing can help your mood, relieve stress, and help you enjoy your life.

You get to follow your passion! Seriously, that is one of the best feelings in the world. So many people push their passions and dreams aside, why not follow them? The benefits are obvious with this one. You only have one life to live, live it to its fullest, do what you love, and it will change your life for the better.

You get to make the world a more interesting and beautiful place. It is no secret that art enhances our lives just by looking at it. No matter where you fall in the creative world of business you are adding to people’s daily experiences; making them more interesting and/or beautiful. I find this to be a very rewarding point.

 

The arts are important yet they are often one of the first things to get cut when funding needs to be revaluated, and often are the career options that are dismissed without any real thought. We don’t think about how the arts have influenced our lives. The packaging we see on everything, the entertainment we watch to relax, the song that we have on repeat because we just love it so much, or that painting that we have hanging on our wall that brings us joy every single day.

 

I openly admit that I felt this way growing up. Art had always been apart of my life but growing up I didn’t consider it a viable career option. I ended up going in to another field which is when I realized how silly that thought process had been. I took a leap of faith and went to art school to follow my passion. I am so glad I did, it has changed my life!

 

Here are 5 ways pursuing an art career has changed my life:

 

  1. Freedom – because I freelance and own my own website, shop, sell courses, and use platforms like Youtube I am my own boss. I make my own schedule and take on only what I want, or feel is the right fit. I make my business work for me, not the other way around.

 

  1. Ability to work from home (or where ever I want) and Care for my children- Staying at home to care for my children was extremely important to me. Not only that but with the prices of child care in my city I would just be out working to cover the child care expenses. Having the ability and freedom to have my schedule work the way I want or need it to and to be able to spend the time I want and need to with my family is priceless for me. I am not just an artist, I am also a Mom and homemaker (which are like 2000 full time jobs in one, am I right?).

 

 

  1. I get to be creative. I get to spend everyday creating. To me that is amazing. When I was in college for social work I spent almost 2 full years without really creating much of anything, I hadn’t even picked up a pencil in that time. Knowing the burnout rate and how exhausting the career I would have gone into was I likely wouldn’t have had the time or energy to create.

 

  1. I get to help people and make a difference. I help other artists with their careers, I help other people bring their visions to life, I am able to teach others to create effectively and I get to make a difference by providing social commentary through art.

 

 

  1. I get to think outside the box. Of course, you can do this in any field you’re in but for me art epitomizes this. I have completely constructed my own business, I can be as “out there” as I want in regard to my work, and my possibilities are endless.

 

I’ve only listed 5 examples of this for myself, plus the other few I mentioned above but, there are so many more ways an artistic career can change your life and benefit you. Your answers could be a lot different than mine, perhaps even deeper or personal, but that is the beauty of all of this.

 

What are some ways your art career (or even just your art if you don’t want to or haven’t yet attempted to start an art career) has changed your life?

 

 

 

 

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Draw it Again Challenge

 

The “Draw it Again Challenge” is a fun and interesting way to see where you are with your art. You may be thinking that this challenge sounds familiar, it should! Not only has it been fairly popular over the internet it is a tool I use often like in my recent post: 7 Ways to Take your Art to the Next Level Right Now.

What is the Challenge, exactly? It is actually quite simple. You take a piece of work you’ve done. I suggest you use something at least a year old, you can go back farther if you like. Then you take the premise of that piece and you redo it. You do it again but as you would do it now. You can be as close to the original as you like. I often stick fairly close to the original unless my style has changed so much that, I just wouldn’t do the artwork the same at all anymore. You can do this challenge as often as you like but I do like to do it at least one a year.

Why would you redo old work? Isn’t that a waste of time? Nope! Going back to a piece can do quite a few things for you:

  1. Show where you’ve improved
  2. Show what you still need to work on
  3. Show you how your style has progressed
  4. Bring in new inspiration
  5. Give you a more polished and finished piece

I recently redid an old Inktober sketch of mine. I actually really enjoyed this particular piece and wouldn’t have changed much about it composition or content wise now. My style has changed a bit in this time though.

The process:

Usually I would start off with a sketch, try different placements, ideas, etc. I didn’t want to go that into detail with this particular piece. I was happy with it the way it was and was more interested in seeing my process in developing it; particularly the colours.

 


The original is mostly black ink on white paper with a bit of red for the balloon. My work these days is a lot more colourful.

 

I started off by drawing this lovely little robot in pencil in my sketch book.

Once I was happy with my rough outline I decided where I wanted to go with colour. I knew I wanted to make it more colourful than I had in the past. I toyed with idea of making the Robot himself a fully coloured and detailed component in the picture. Ultimately I decided that I liked the contrast of the Robot’s bold black outline and wanted to keep that against a lighter but still colourful background. He is the star of the show.

Because the Robot and his balloon are the focus of the image I wanted them to jump out against the background as much as possible. I decided, again, to stick with the darker, bolder red of the balloon in order to accomplish this.

 

I didn’t outline anything other than the Robot and balloon in black, unlike in the original ( everything was in black).

While I do enjoy this finished piece I did learn a lot from it. I do think it is an effective example of where my style and work has been moving to for some time now. I do not think it is a completely finished or effective piece on its own though. I do still love this little guy, I like that he is now surrounded by colour, I am mostly happy with it compositionally. Looking at it now and had I spent more time on it I would move the Robot down lower, he is too close to the edge of the paper and would do the composition more justice to have him overlapping the buildings instead of just kissing the tops of them. This leaves an awkward balance and flow in the area around his legs. I do think it is well-balanced and overall an acceptable piece but I do see a lot of work that needs to be done. The colours convey the dreamy and fun feeling I wanted but they aren’t as bright as I think I should have gone. Looking at this I’ve noticed that this has been happening in a lot of my work lately. I need to be more conscious of being too subtle with my colour, it isn’t my intention but it has been happening. Much of my work would be more effective being more saturated with colour. There isn’t much point in using these bright and vibrant colours if no one can see them. Playing it safe isn’t helping me here. This is something I have noted to work on for myself; perhaps a different medium would compliment this better.

 

 

Check out my YouTube channel on Friday (videos go up at 6 pm EST) to watch the creation of this lovely little Robot!

 

Have you done the draw it again challenge? Do you Plan on it? Or what do you think I could do differently with this picture? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Until next time, my Creative friends!

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Website Updates (June 10th 2018)

Website Updates as of June 10th, 2018:

I am so excited and happy to announce that I now have an e-mailing list!

Keep up with my art, blogs, videos, products and courses launching and it is all delivered right to your inbox so you never miss out!

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No spam but you will get first access to exclusive content, tips and tricks, blog posts, YouTube videos, sneak peeks, special offers, deals, and much more!

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How and Why I became an Artist

I have always drawn, painted, and created in general. The moment my Mother let me scribble on some paper with a pencil, that was it. I was hooked. Art was always the best part of the day, I spent my free time playing video games or creating, I spent my extracurricular activities taking classes at the community centre or doing something else creative there ( I danced, was in plays, etc), my summers were filled with art ( I was either creating or dancing), even my electives in high school allowed me to spend half my days in the art studios some semesters.

Growing up, being the oldest kid in my family by at least 7 years, I happened to be the only one interested in art (although I do have a couple talented family members now). My family has creative people in it; people who write, craft, sew, crochet but I am the artist. I feel very fortunate to come from a family of creative people even if they don’t see themselves that way. Art has always been apart of my life and my family, luckily, encouraged that. They were the ones trying to steer me into an artistic path when it came time to decide what I wanted to do with my life. They even suggested I become a tattoo artist, I mean, really… what family does that? I love them for that, so much.  I was the one that fought back against initially following art into the business world. It just didn’t seem like a viable option to me and I had other interests that seemed like they would be more stable, more lucrative. I love psychology, criminal psychology, biology, sociology, history, and even anthropology. Clearly I love to know why and how we work. My first career choice in high school was to go into the forensic sciences. That didn’t pan out, I didn’t take into account that I wouldn’t be able to do anything that required math (I have a mathematical learning disability), that and I hate it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, I found some more inspiration in my life and went with social work. It was similar to some of the things I already wanted to get in to and as an added bonus I could help people, which also happened to be a passion of mine. Going into social work wasn’t a mistake, I loved it and I was really truly good at it; I even graduated with honours. Towards the end of my social work program I realized that I hadn’t created anything in almost 2 years. I had a desire to pick up a pencil and let that part of me out. I had been so caught up in school and in life, that I just didn’t realize that such a large part of me was missing. As I was about to graduate and trying to figure out what to do once school was done ( find a full-time job in the field of social work) I felt unfulfilled. The idea of this didn’t excite me, it made me reflect instead. All of those years pushing back against art I had suddenly felt so stupid for thinking that way. Now that I had social work under my belt I felt like this was it, I could really go for it. I could go to art school and I would have social work to fall back on if I needed it. I got brave. In my mind I had taken the risk out of going to art school and pursuing the career I knew I was more passionate about. Realistically, it isn’t any more of a cushion to fall back on than anything else but it was what my mind needed for that push, it was my way of rationalizing going for my dreams. I am so glad I did. So, off I went to art school.

High School Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My life didn’t go exactly as planned ( does it ever?) even once I was in art school.  I was almost done my first trimester of my first pregnancy at my art school graduation. I ended up having some health issues during this time. Life was once again taking over. I kept my part-time shoe selling job as long as I could ( it helped support me through college) during my pregnancy but I did have to stop working there as the complications in my pregnancy progressed.

In this time I was trying to figure out what I could do for work while not being able to work and with a Fine Art Studio background. I found some online options (society 6 being the one I went with) and I uploaded a few of my pieces there. As I could manage I made some more to stick up but I wasn’t able to regularly work on this. Needless to say, nothing happened with my art career in this time. My shop didn’t magically take off with the whole 3 things I had available. No one was banging down my door to buy my work, no one was even SEEING my work and I wasn’t creating anymore.

High School Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once my son was born I was obviously very busy with him. Just after 8 months postpartum I realized that I had done this to myself yet again. I had pushed aside this part of me. I had pushed my dreams aside. Is becoming a Mother the best excuse ever for not focusing on art? Absolutely but that wasn’t the only reason. I had just let it all slip in the ups and downs of life. So, I went out on my birthday and grabbed myself my very first small set of Copic Markers because I had been eyeing them for so long. I slowly brought art back into my life. I even created my art channel on YouTube. I didn’t take it very seriously until about 6 months later ( mostly because of trouble we were having with our internet and service providers, we went months without any internet during this time).

My Boys

As I got going I got pregnant again, this time health issues on top of raising an incredibly active toddler that could give any monkey a run for its money. I had to let it slip again. I tried so hard to hold on this time but it just didn’t happen. After I was induced and my second son was born I went into heart failure and was readmitted to the hospital at 3 days postpartum. Luckily, we had caught it fast enough that we were able to remove the fluid around my heart before it caused any damage. Although I struggled with fluid retention and lingering issues after this happened I was and still am fine in those regards. This was a huge wake up call for me, as I am sure it would be for most people. I didn’t wait this time. Shortly after I was back from the hospital I started creating again ( The first piece I did after my Second Son, Benjamin,  was born is pictured below entitled “Birthday Bear”). I slowly built it up. I did stuff for myself, I found some illustration work, I put more work up on Society6, and I redid this website. I was working towards something now. I was working towards what I had wanted to do my whole adult life, so far. I had some set backs, I let life take hold every now and then. I had emergency surgery that set me out for a good month or so. I didn’t let it keep me down this time though, as soon as I was able I jumped back in.

Birthday Bear Painting by Letitia Pfinder
Birthday Bear – Watercolour on Paper 

I have learned my lesson, I will always keep pushing I will always be creating and I will always remember what a large part of me art is. I have the best reasons for pushing now. I have two amazing boys who look up to me. I want them to fight for what they want in life, I want them to always be pushing and always be true to themselves. I know there are other artists out there with similar struggles and I want to help you with them. I want to encourage the arts in everyone; whatever your age or stage may be. The arts are beneficial to everyone. In fact, I had seriously considered combining my two career paths into one with art therapy. Although I have ultimately decided that I am not going in that direction I am still able to help people through art the way I am now.

I am an artist because I love to create. I am an artist because I love to provide social commentary. I am an artist because I love to help bring other people’s visions to life; there is something magical about creating something for someone that was once something they could only picture in their minds. I am an artist because this is what I love, this is what I am passionate about. I am an artist because I am good at this and I am proud to be one. I am an artist and I am here because I want to and can help others in their creative journey.

Art was always there, even when I pushed it to the back. My life was always meant to be the creative journey of an artist. Looking back, I have no doubt about that. I am exactly where I should be.

 

If you take anything from reading this I hope that it is: it is NEVER too late to follow your dreams and to always go for what you want in life. 

 

Why and how did you become an artist? I would love to hear your story, my Creative Friend!

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My #1 Trick to get through Artist Block

As some of you know I am back from quite a long break. I went on a hiatus due to health issues in my last pregnancy and post partum; these life events took a big toll on me. Not just becoming a family of four but having a difficult pregnancy with complications, going in to heart failure, having surgery in December (unrelated to my heart), and just dealing with life in general. My time away was not something I wanted or planned. I am now, very luckily, doing well, in good health and getting better every day while I work towards being the healthiest me I can be.

As you can imagine, and as the long break will suggest, my life was full of stuff in this time. In the past year I did still find some time here and there to create but it was quite limited. I allowed myself to be caught up with everything else, not taking time for this, for my art. Understandable? Yes, I am sure it is but truthfully, this is me. Being an artist is who I am, it is how I express myself, work through things, relax, make sense of the world, create beauty, and help others do the same.

Birthday Bear Painting by Letitia Pfinder
Birthday Bear – Watercolour on Paper- This was the first thing and one of the few things I created in this past 14 months.

Getting back in to creating is not an easy thing for a person to do. You know the saying, “if you don’t use it you lose it”. I’m sure you’ve also heard the phrase “writer’s block”, fortunately for writers yet unfortunately for every other creative being it is not something that is solely a writer’s curse. Any creative person can suffer from a block.

You have the urge to create setting the blank page in front of you. You grab your pencil ready to make some beautiful creative magic. Put the pencil to the paper and…. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You cannot think of something to draw for the life of you, the disappointment and stress of the attempt makes you put your pencil away. This continues, one day you’ll pick it back up and force it. You’ll scribble something random on a page, perhaps something sitting right in front of you, but it doesn’t turn out right, it never does when this happens. It is like running in to a brick wall that you just can’t seem to find a way over. Quite literally a block that your brain just won’t get past.

I know the feeling all too well, I have had this happen many a-times in my life. Most recently while all these health issues were going on. Then it just got to the point where it was like I just didn’t know how to anymore. Nothing I did was good enough, nothing felt right or done, my skills had depleted (luckily this is another cliché example, but it is just like riding a bike, it comes back with practice).

I am not telling you all of this, so you can throw me a pity party. I am telling you this so that you know, you’re not the only one. You are most certainly not alone in this creative block. At this very moment there are countless creatives just as frustrated as you. What is about to set you apart is that you came here. You came here looking for a way out.

One of the ways I help myself out of blocks (because they can and do happen throughout your life) is to use prompts. More specifically, I use challenges when I really need something continual to get me going. I am sure you’ve seen month-long drawing challenges out there. Some popular ones include Inktober and MerMay.

Why a month-long challenge?

I use a month-long challenge as a tool to get me drawing daily. These don’t have to be frame ready or Instagram worthy masterpieces. You can grab a sketch book or even some scrap paper and go for it. It doesn’t have to be good, it just must be done.

Using a longer challenge instead of a single prompt works on a few levels:

 

  1. The, above mentioned, push to create daily. Building good creative habits is important. Pushing through will allow you to keep those creative channels open and eventually allowing them to flow again. The daily prompts that often come along with these challenges takes the “I don’t know what to draw, so I just won’t” excuse out of the equation. Even if you are literal about your take on the prompt or super simple, no worries. No one has to see it but you.

 

  1. The “challenge” aspect. As a competitive person I like a good challenge. Having a goal to work towards, especially if written down, is commonly regarded as one of the most effective ways to achieve what you want. Allow the challenge to drive you to complete the entire month of drawings, paintings, whatever it is you are doing.

  1. Community. Ever heard the saying, “it takes a village”? Humans are social creatures, in fact socializing and having healthy relationships with others is an important part of wellness for us humanoids. Challenges, especially popular ones, allow you to take part in something bigger (even if via social media). There is no reason you couldn’t set up a challenge for you and your artsy peers as well. Something you can all work towards. Having people cheer you on is a great motivator. If you would like to keep it all to yourself it is still an awesome way to get inspiration and join in. You may not be posting your own stuff but you can still join in by commenting on other people’s work while you do your own thing in private.

 

This year I happened to hear about MerMay as I was looking for a push. I’m not the biggest mermaid fan. Not that I don’t love mythical creatures, I had just never had the urge to draw them. I went for it anyway. I did different things; drawing, painting, digital. My goal wasn’t to make gorgeous work, I just knew I needed to get myself going again, and I happened across an announcement for this challenge. It is also a great exercise to create something you wouldn’t normally. So, I gave it a go.

 

The best piece of advice I can give a person who is struggling to create is: KEEP GOING! It may sound cheesy, like a lot of the cliché phrases I used in this post, but it is the biggest piece of truth I can give you.

 

Let me know in the comments below what your biggest struggle currently is artistically.

 

Until next time, my creative friends!

 

 

Open post

Youtube Update: May 27th, 2018

 

Hello my Creative Friends,

 

I am incredibly happy to announce that I will be back on Youtube with weekly videos (every Friday at 6 pm EST) starting this coming Friday, June 1st!

This has been a long time coming. I had to stop Youtube suddenly with all the health issues I was having, I just couldn’t keep up and my energy had to be put in to my family and my health. Now that my life is stable I am ecstatic to be back, it was never my intention to leave, certainly not so abruptly.

Although I have kept in touch with some of the Youtube Community I have missed you all so much. I am excited to be jumping back in, reconnecting with old friends and making new creative friends! I know much has changed within Youtube since my departure which will make for an interesting journey but nevertheless I am happy to be sharing it with you all again.

Thank you all for your continued support, well wishes, and encouragement.

 

Blog posts every Wednesday at 10 am EST and Youtube videos ever Friday at 6 pm EST

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