Every day I pick up my four-year old daughter from day care and every day each student produces at least two new art projects! I admire and aspire to their level of output (and to have mandatory naps and play time), but what impresses me most is the freedom and joy in their work. Kids aren’t overly concerned about proficiency and perfection, they just want to express themselves and get their ideas out. The results are always creative, interesting, and original—isn’t that what EVERY artist wants?
Level one! Monster to-do list:
1. Take an 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of paper. It’s better if it’s a piece of paper you were planning to throw away.
2. Fold it into four quarters, so it’s divided into four chambers.
3. Take a pencil or a pen. On one chamber, make a squiggle.
4. On another chamber, make a closed shape, like a square or a rhombus.
5. On the third quarter, make another squiggle.
6. Set a timer for two minutes, that’s how much time you have to turn that first squiggle into a monster. You know, eyeballs, teeth, claws, etc. Repeat for all four chambers.
7. Make a list of 10 things you have to do that you’re not doing. (I have to do my laundry, go to the dentist, etc.)
8. Look at that list, and figure out which monster has to do what.
9. Write those tasks above those monsters. It’s an instant comic and the results are often hilarious.
Level two! Monster parenting
1. Fold another sheet of paper into quarters.
2. Take any one of those monsters, and now draw that monster’s parents.
3. Think about the task that monster has to do — like go to the dentist. Make one parent loves the monster “Honey those teeth aren’t important, what’s matter is you’re happy.” Make another parent hate you “Of course you’re not going to the dentist.”
4. Just have them start talking about the problem. It’s instant! And the most important thing is it makes you start laughing.
Academy Award winning filmmaker Liz Garbus has directed a long overdue documentary on Nina Simone using unseen archival music, photos, and film footage tell the story of a fiercely creative, complex, and socially conscious artist.
Nina Simone is personally inspiring because of her singular commitment to her craft, her art, and her message. During the height of the civil rights struggle, she put it all on the line—her fame, her reputation, and her career—to reflect the times in which she lived.
I, for one, am excited to see this film and not the fictional movie on Ms. Simone, as portrayed by Zoe Saldana(!).
“Artists love to trot out the tired line, ‘My work speaks for itself,’ but the truth is, our work doesn’t speak for itself. Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them.” –Austin Kleon, Show Your Work! Chapter 5
Remember the old adage “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around, does it make a sound?” I used to think this was an absurd question (“of course it makes a sound!”), but what one approaches the question metaphorically, I have a difference of opinion.
One’s creative output is like the tree and putting in the work (chopping it down) isn’t enough. One must make sure people are around to hear the sound. Show the work, explain the work, analyze the work, accept feedback on the work, learn from the work, and create new work.
It’s not easy and it takes dedication, discipline, and patience, but the potential for growth and reward is great. Besides, if no one at first notices one or two felled trees, they will surely notice the clearing you’ve created if you keep on chopping!
Last week on vacation I made time to read Austin Kleon’s, Share Your Work and it inspired me to revisit his previous book Steal Like An Artist one year later.
Mr. Kleon’s intelligent, humorous and straightforward observation of the creative process builds a persuasive case for starting work NOW and sharing it with others (one of my professional mentors refers to it as a “bias towards action”). These books are essential reading for any creative professional or aspiring creative. Happy Reading!
As discussed in part 2, Adobe Shape CC is an incredibly useful tool for scanning sketches into vector files, but I find the Adobe Draw CC’s ability to DRAW directly into the application to be faster and more functional.
I am creating a poster design inspired by the film Whiplash and Adobe Draw CC is ideal for importing my photo layer from my Creative Cloud library and tracing the image layer with a Bamboo Stylus Pen.
At this point, I can use Draw CC’s layers, brushes, color palette, and opacity functions to modify the image, or export the file to Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
Adobe Draw CC is also a useful tool for creating custom fonts, so I am experimenting with the brush tool to render different hand-drawn text treatments for the poster’s titling.
As an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber I have recently added a suite of their mobile applications to my iPad to test their functionality and possibly integrate into my workflow and I have been impressed by these powerful, yet easy to use tools.
Create layouts, illustrations, edit photos and video, export them to Adobe CC applications.
Share completed and work-in-progress projects via the Community Drawings portal, powered by Behance.
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