Creativity is important in solving the most complicated problems, no matter the medium or subject.
Want to know what fosters creativity? In this blog post, I’ll share a list of 6 fundamentals that have worked for me. These fundamentals, in a sweeping way, are the building blocks to how I have I have built my career, including the creation of this woodblock print “Steps”.
Creativity takes time and sometimes lots of it. In order for me to achieve my goals, I have had to prioritize my schedule and declare time for creating.
Space can mean the physical, like a workshop or studio, but it can also mean space in your mind. I like to access the open spaces in my mind by not having my time overly scheduled, not being surrounded by a lot of clutter, and by not allowing myself to become distracted.
Have a vision for the end results, then back up, and break it into parts.
The woodblock print “Steps”, started with a complete color sketch, then on separate pieces of paper I broke it into all the different color parts.
The prints below were made specifically to show the separate parts in the process. Each print is from a separate block.
Sometimes my vision is about creating an image of a place. Sometimes my vision involves the story behind an image, or working in particular colors. There are lots of ways to see and interpret, there are lots of stories to tell. Everyone’s vision is unique.
In some regards, I’ve failed a lot. I’ve lost jobs, choked in front of crowds, and I’ve made a LOT of bad art.
But in other regards, I kind-of don’t believe in failure, because everything is a steppingstone to someplace else. Every “failure” is a success inasmuch as it has taken me further done the road.
What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?
I’ve had a kind of burn-in-my-belly to do well at my chosen medium. I’ve been both focused and motivated. This may also be described as being committed or even “having blinders on.”
If you have focus, you already are off to a good start.
If you stay focused, you’ll finish!
My art “practice” has been to carve into woodblocks, brush ink on the carved blocks, and press on the back of the paper to make my prints … over and over and over. Eventually, my actions became learned into an automatic, muscle memory.
Think of any really great musician, or even athlete, and imagine how many hours, weeks, months, and years have been dedicated to their craft. Practically nobody gets to the top of their field quickly. There are simply few, if any, shortcuts.
You must practice your medium.
Knowing what motivates you and surrounding yourself with the support you need, is a big step to doing anything well. We are all influenced by our relationships with one another.
Some people thrive best with lots of love and support while others thrive in an atmosphere of competition. For me, it’s a bit of a mix. For instance, if someone tells me I can’t do something it might motivate me to prove them wrong.
Finding time and space, understanding failures, having a vision, staying focused, practicing your craft, and knowing yourself – is a list of fundamentals that is by no means exhaustive. Perhaps you could add to this!
The world is waiting for inspiring and creative solutions in art, and to multitudes of other important challenges.
What’s stopping you from being your best creative self? How can you help move humankind forward?
* Original Woodblock Prints * Guest Lecturer and Instructor * Documentary Film * Note Cards *
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