Up Leveling Your Creativity

I’m thinking of naming this series “Chats with Susan”. We often meet up at Temple coffee and chat for a few hours about our businesses or our latest breakthrough in creativity.

Today’s topic was creating for yourself and not needing and wanting approval. Not focusing on “selling your art” or making it “desirable” to others, because that is not raw creativity. Instead, just simply focusing on what drives you to create.

Tips for Taking Your Creativity to the Next Level:

  1. Don’t have other’s feedback in your head when creating
  2. Don’t be afraid to try a concept or execution off the beaten path
  3. Work in chunks. Take frequent Breaks, avoid burn out.
  4. Don’t try to analyze while creating, save that for refinements at the end
  5. Travel, this will bring you more inspiration that any amount of time spent looking at magazines or browsing Pinterest ever will. Taking time away while admiring beautiful things is always worth it. The things I saw in Paris & Rome will stay with me forever. Can’t travel? Head to a local museum or art gallery.
  6. Know yourself. The more you know about yourself the easier it is to find your style. For me, I’ve found I love nature, resourcefulness, femininity, freedom and mystery. You will often find those themes in my creative work, be it painting, illustrating, design or photography. Each try you create, you will reveal more of yourself.
  7. Have an open mindset. New ideas can’t flow through you if you’re stuck in a negative place.
  8. Stop looking around. For the love of god, get off Instagram, Pinterest or whoever’s portfolio you’ve been admiring. It’s holding you back. There’s a time for inspiration and it’s not during your creation.
  9. Break the rules! More on this below…

 

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She also touched on a podcast; the Creative Good Life Project podcast, featuring Elizabeth Gilbert. The interview mentions how creativity doesn’t make sense. It’s not logical, it can be just plain messy or unrealistic.

I was sharing about my creative journey and realizing it’s time to break out of things I learned in school. Professors give young design students many rules, because they’re not ready to break them yet. I’m realizing that now 6 years into the business of graphic design, it’s time to start breaking rules. Rules hold me and my work back from reaching their full potential.

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Break the Rules

I don’t mean to just throw out all the rules. I think you should aim to break at least one rule with each piece you make. If people say to never use a certain pairing of fonts, to never shoot in certain lighting conditions or to never design without a grid. I remember hearing in school “to never use a gradient”. Now some of the most interesting work I’ve done has involved those. Granted you need to know how to use them in an elevated purposeful way.

As an INTJ, rules can often consume me, keep me in a box and prevent me from creating. I’m officially calling this “Phase 3” of my design career. Embarking on a new journey, I hope to break rules whenever possible. Create dangerously without fear because where is the fun in safety?

How have you been feeling stuck creatively? What’s holding you back?

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“You don’t drown by falling in water, you drown by staying there”

“In any given moment we have two options: step forward into growth or back into safety” –Abraham Moslow
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