Thursday, June 30, 2016

Invite Criticism


Ad for Miami Ad School Toronto via Visual News

No one likes to hear bad things about their art work but if you think of it as a learning experience it becomes an opportunity for growth.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Stretch your Creativity

If you're into graffiti art, if you're into creative film making, if you're into artist at work, then you'll be into this video.

If not ... well... why not?   Exploring different art forms can be inspiring.   Who knows where it will take you.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Muse Spotting - Maps

Some see streets, some see animals, some see alphabets.  What do you see?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Creativity Everyday

15 Quotes To Nurture Your Creative Soul! from DesignMantic

Here are my 2 Favorite Quotes from the presentation -

"Inspiration comes and goes, creativity is the result of practice"
- Phil Cousineau

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Design is knowing which ones to keep."
- Scott Adams

So my Take Away is that you need to schedule time to do creative work everyday and do lots of it without judgment.  Later you can let the "Designer" decide what the good stuff worth keeping is.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

1 Take Away from Chip Kidd

This is my take away from an interview with Book Cover Designer Chip Kidd.  You can listen to it here at The Great Discontent Website.

1.  Give yourself a problem  
Staring at a blank canvas and don't know what to do?   Chip Kidd calls it Blank Canvas Syndrome.  And it's the reason he didn't go into the fine arts but instead choose to become a graphic designer.  He says Graphic designers are problem solvers.  Clients give him a brief with their needs and he sets to work.   Ironically, He does enjoy the freedom that side projects bring.  So, how does he overcome the Blank Canvas in those situations?  He gives himself a problem to solve.

Whether you are an artist or a writer staring at the blank page, take a cue from Chip and make up your own problem to solve.  

Chip also has a class on Skillshare you can take a look at it here

Friday, June 24, 2016

Be Inspired

Look inside the creative process of Google Doodler Olivia Huynh's doodle for Lotte Reiniger's 117th birthday.  Two artist at work, twice the inspiration.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

3 Take Aways from Emma Rogan

 This TED Talk by Emma Rogan is about The 100 Days Project and what she learned about creativity.  Here are my 3 Take Aways -

1.  Give Yourself Permission to Create
When Emma started the 100 Day Project she was surprised to find many non-artist signed up.  It seemed natural for artist to want to commit to daily practicing skills that they could apply to their artistic work but what did non artist get from this exercise?  The answer turned out to be a License to Create.  It gave their desire to be creative validation.  But the truth is you don't need this external validation if you want to create.  Just create.

2.  Don't Over Think it
Emma describes children's creativity as being the same as play.   Kids work fast and don't overthink things like we do when we grow up and start to worry about making things or what other people think.  What would happen if you allowed yourself to just create for the fun of it?  And if you get stuck, well, just have a cookie and play outside for a while.

3.  Know Your Limits
It might seem counter intuitive but setting limitations can be freeing.  It forces you to be more flexible in your thinking.  For example, one of the project participants in Emma's lecture decided to take a selfie everyday but her obstacle was not to show her face in the photo.  The woman had to be very creative in coming up with ways to do this.  If you are feeling stuck or bored with your current art practice try setting some limitations such as you can't use your favorite pen or color palette.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

3 Take Aways from Franchesca Ramsey

Writing for Late Night from Center for Communication on Vimeo.

Even if you aren't interested in Comedy Writing, this video is worth watching for insights into the creative process and making a living from your creative work.  My 3 take aways are from just one answer given by panelist Franchesca Ramsey, writer and performer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

1.  Challenge
Before getting a job in comedy, Franchesca and her friends set a goal of emailing each other 10 jokes a day that they had written.   Setting a goal or a challenge can help you be more productive.  The second part of this is that she didn't work in comedy but that didn't stop her from doing the type of work she wanted to do.

2.  Accountability
If you have a partner who is expecting your email it will help you be more accountable to your goal. This is great for people who have problems getting motivated to do things on their own.  (for more on the topic of accountability check out

3.  No, no, no, YES!
Franchesca mentions that maybe 8 out of the 10 jokes are bad but 2 are good.  This might sound like a terrible ratio but if you keep it up everyday you'll have a handful of good jokes at the end of the week.  Not every idea is going to be a winner, but if you keep producing the amount of winners will increase.  Sometimes you have to get rid of the bad to find the good.

Last but not least, if you are interested in Comedy Writing, I want to mention that I found this video via Joe Toplyn's blog .   His book, Comedy Writing for Late Night TV is a must read.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Creative Workout - Make it Small

For fresh ideas to boost your creative juices try thinking small. Can you miniaturize your work?

Here are some examples -
These tiny books redefine short stories.
Mini bouquets bring maximum flower power.
Little foods for big mouths.
Wearable Mini Embroidery hoops (pictured above from

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Show and Tell - Goldi "Pick" Locks

Here is my latest work.  This is my first try at Linoleum block printing and I've got to tell you I'm in love.  I love the design process, the hands-on cutting and proofing, everything.   I call it Goldi "Pick" locks.  It's my fun little twist on the classic tale.  I mean really how did that girl get in to the 3 bears house anyway.  

I started printmaking just last month after taking a class from fellow Skillshare teacher Leitha Matz.  The class is called Quick and Easy Block Printing.  Click on the class title if you want to check it out.  (If you are not a member of Skillshare click here to get a 3 month trial membership for 99 cents.) Just goes to show that you should try new things because you never know when cupid's arrow will hit you.  

I wish I thought of that!

I love the blog The Jealous Curator.  Not only is it a great place to see artwork that made blog creator and author Danielle Krysa think, "Damn, I wish I thought of that."  but I love the whole idea behind it.  In her bio which you can read here and in the video above, she describes how seeing others artwork often made her feel awful about herself.  I know the feeling personally and I'm sure many Creatives can relate to it.  But the good news is she turned around this toxic thinking into a source of inspiration that she now uses as "fuel for her creative fires."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Artist at Work: Henri Matisse

From the ArtFundUK YouTube Channel

1. Adjustments are part of the Process
Henri Matisse called his cut out work painting with scissors.  He cut shapes.  Lots of them.
He cut them, then they were pinned to the wall,  where he viewed, adjusted, re-cut, and readjusted them again and again until he was satisfied.  Only then did he glue them down and make them permanent.  Game designers do the same thing in their play testing phase.  They call it iterating.

2. Reconnect with your Youth
Gretchen Rubin author of  the books The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, often talks about finding pleasure by asking yourself the question "What did you enjoy doing when you were 10 years old?"  For Matisse it was getting back to the basics of cutting and collage.

3. Give yourself a Second Life
Matisse created his cut outs late in life and from the confines of a wheelchair but he found his work so inspiring that he called it his Second Life.  Are obstacles keeping you from creating?  Can you find new inspirations, new techniques and give yourself a Second Life?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Oscar Wilde Once Said ...

Quote from Oscar Wilde
Photo Napoleon Sarony [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Are you Poking the System?

What Modern Art can teach us about Creativity from Podium Wisdom

Judging by my posts, I seem to have a rebellious streak going lately.  Here's a quote that jumped out at me from the above lecture.
"There's a feeling of rebellion in any act of creativity."
-Philippe Petit, The Man on the Wire

Sunday, June 12, 2016

If you love Art...

Art (2008) from Andrea Dorfman on Vimeo.

Andrea Dorfman's song on loving art brings up many ideas that most Creatives can relate to.  Things like...
"Art...If I make it, will they take it." 
Click on her name above to check out Andrea's website.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

4 Takeaways from Printmaker Dave Lefner

The [ahr-tuh-zen] Project: Dave Lefner from Serena Creative on Vimeo.

Just watched this great video on the art and process of printmaker Dave Lefner.  Here are my 4 takeaways. watch the video and find yours.

1. Subject as Muse
Dave makes art prints using the reduction technique of linocut printmaking.  His subject is neon signs around Los Angeles.  The love of his subject shines through in his work and process.  What do you love?  Can you make it your muse?

2. Greater Purpose
His subject matter not only highlights the beauty of the signs but he's also keenly aware that he is documenting this piece of history that is slowly fading away.

3. Making his own Rules
After being scolded by a painting professor for leaving the whites of the eyes unpainted in an assignment, Dave remained true to his own ideals...
"I thought to myself, 'Well, this is art and I can do anything I want to for one.' So I always use the white of the paper in my prints as sort of my ... you know... thumbing my nose at my paint professor."

4. Embrace the Mystery of Art and Life
"I have an idea of what I want in a final piece but even I don't know what it's going to look like until usually that final color and I just have to give over to the mystery of that process.  Whether it's in my art or the process or in life that you have to really just slow down and enjoy the journey as well as the destination."