Snippet posts are collections of mostly unrelated writings that are too short for publication on their own. Usually I try to group the together in like subjects, but they’re all stand-alone.
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The Creative Process Isn’t Nebulous
You know, I don’t think the creative process is nebulous at all. People act like art needs to be bestowed to the artist in the form of inspiration brought down from the heavens in the arms of angels. I don’t think this is the case at all. See, this view of art is way too easy. It excuses the artist if they don’t get anything done. It’s not their fault: they were just waiting for inspiration, and it never came. I think inspiration comes from the creative process, not the other way around.
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Do you doodle?
Do you doodle? Have you ever felt slightly ashamed that you do? Doodling can kind of have a negative stigma, as if the doodler is devoting more attention to their doodle and thus less to the teacher. This idea comes from an idea of scarcity: that humans have a finite amount of attention, and the more of it they give to doodling, the less there is for the speaker. I don’t believe this. Doodling actually stimulates attention span – it improves your comprehension. The more attention to pay to doodling, the more attention you are able to pay to the speaker. It helps your brain zero in on what the person is saying and focus. Savvy teachers actually like it when their students doodle, because it actually means their paying more attention, not less.
Doodling also can show some key things about your mind: If you are focused on what the teacher is saying, you usually aren’t paying much attention to what you’re drawing. I don’t know how many times in college I would open up my notebook at find a doodle that I didn’t remember drawing – it was sometimes quite surprising what my unconsciously scribbling mind came up with. I mean, Abe Lincoln with a cigar and a tommy gun? I missed the history lesson that linked him and the mafia. These random outpourings of the mind can be the fodder for some amazing work. There are many really great visual symbols that arise. For example, I once drew a penguin over and over again on pages of my notebook. It ended up getting more and more abstracted and I came up with some pretty amazing variations that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Doodling also tends to bypass a lot of the filters you impose on your art. Do you have head problems, letting outside expectations and influences change your work? doodle while watching a movie or listening to a podcast. You might be surprised (and pleased) with what you come up with when you don’t feel that you have to live up to outside forces. Doodling was sort of the basis for my abstract digital paintings. Before I found out that I loved it, I would usually roll my eyes, being much too cynical to enjoy abstract. Then I looked at my doodles, at the scribblings that were unencumbered by this image I had of myself as a “practical artist”, and I realized that I loved abstract. How crazy is that?
So, ultimately, you should look for any of these filters and expectations you place on yourself and your art, and try to understand why they are there. Is it just an image you have of yourself that needs to be removed? Is it an image that someone else has? Doodle your way to freedom.
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Doing Creative Battle
Yes, doing creative work is a constant battle. But it’s not a battle against the art, certainly not. The art is your collaborator, your project, not the enemy. Nor is it a battle against other people; creative, life changing work only gives to other people, it doesn’t take anything away: so they have no reason to fight, even if you seem to be competing. I fully believe that any artistic, important creation is a constant battle, though. It’s a battle against yourself. It’s not a battle against facebook: it’s a battle against your desire to take the easy route. It’s not a battle against lack of time: it’s a battle against your lack of priorities. It’s not a battle against distractions: it’s a battle against your barely concealed, deep-seated fear. Next time you have to sit down and make something life-changing but you find yourself distracted, unmotivated or scared, don’t get angry at x situation or y outside force: go to a mirror, look the real enemy in the eye, and smack him upside the head. Not literally, of course. Unless it makes you get to work.