Monday, September 26, 2016

2 Podcast Recommendations for Creatives

As you know from reading my profile at the right, I love to listen to podcasts on creative subjects. Recently I listened to 2 episodes that I thought I would mention.  If you would like to listen to either of these podcasts click on the episode title.

The first one I recommend wholeheartedly for anyone doing any sort of creative endeavor.
"How to Gain Clarity in Your Work"  by Todd Henry at the Accidental Creative.  If you've ever thought of writing a Creative Manifesto, this episode will tell you how to do it and more importantly why.  It's a short listen, 18 minutes, short as far as podcasts go.  And it's to the point and full of strategy, philosophy and examples.

The second recommendation I give with half a heart and for a specific few. The episode is  "The Art of Comics with Josh Neufeld"  by Srini Rao at the Unmistakable Creative.  The title caught my attention since comics are something I'm interested in but what the title and even the episode description doesn't mention is that Josh writes comics in a really tight niche Comic Journalism.*   Ok I'm still on board with that but it's not until the second half of the interview that they get around to talking about it.  The first half is all questions about his unusual childhood, parenting, art in education.   Now  I know this is a pet peeve of mine but I want them to get to the point.  I feel like the title is a promise - I'm going to teach you about the art of comics. And yes, sometimes this kind of talk can be illuminating but in this case I felt even the interviewee was confused by the questions and wondering when they were going to talk about his work?  

Well, I'm happy to say in the second half of the interview the title promise is fulfilled and for anyone interested in sequential art and specifically nonfiction comic journalism, you will learn a lot from this episode.  So, if that's your thing give it a listen, just maybe skip to the second half.  

*To be fair at the bottom of the podcast page it does say Josh Neufeld is a cartoonist who works primarily in the field of non-fiction comics, specifically as a comic journalist.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Need a New Idea? Read!

"What you know + Something new you learned = A new idea"
-Levi Belnap

Just read the article How to Read to Learn and Exercise Your Brain by Levi Belnap.   Here's the break down:

Step 1 - Read something you can mull over.
Step 2 - Mull it over.  And take notes while you read.
Step 3 - Decide what info is worth keeping and meaningful to you.

My favorite part is the pull-out quote above.    

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sometimes the Muse is Behind You

What's chasing you creatively?  How does your past play into your art?  Is it helping you or hurting you?  Just some things to think about...

Oh and this video came from a post at Motto talking about branded content.  So if you're like me and didn't get it, the above video is an ad for Saucony running shoes.  Nice shoes but I'm more interested in the story.  So is it a bad ad?  I'm not going to buy them but I did repost it.... Just some thing else to think about.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fire and Art

If you were to make a list of art supplies fire would probably not come to mind.  Yet it can be used in traditional and nontraditional ways to make beautiful art.

A traditional example -
My husband, Michael Brenn, makes birdhouses that he sells on Etsy.  He uses a torch to bring out the texture and grain in the wood giving it a deep, rich quality.

wood Birdhouse

A nontraditional example -
Artist Steve Spazuk uses candles and soot to create surreal wonders.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Creative Combination

Calligraphy + Origami = Calligami

Try the idea of creative combinations for yourself.  Combine 2 things and see what creative ideas happen.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In a Creative Rut Try This

Just read this article  7 Fun exercises to quickly improve creative thinking and tried exercise #6 Make a Treasure out of Trash.  I looked in the bin and found the container for my daily vitamin is a nice thin foil.  So I bent and scratched and etched out a few letters to make a monogram.  

Cassie's Take Away
1. Keep Your Eyes Open
I would have never thought about using those packets as art material.  What else am I overlooking?

2.  Play Matters
Okay I don't know if I really made a treasure but it was fun and tactile.  And started me thinking about the rounded shapes of the letters.  I want to work with that more and see where it leads.

Friday, September 9, 2016

How to Improve Your Creative Skills

Cassie's Take Away from the article The 4 Rituals That Will Make You an Expert at Anything by Eric Barker at Barking Up the Wrong Tree.  I should mention that these tips are from Barker's interview with Anders Ericsson author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.

1.  Get out of your comfort zone
If you want to really grow at your skills and improve you need to push yourself.  You'll know if you are outside of your zone if you mess up over half the time you try.  If you can't do it at all, it's too hard.  Barker suggests a failure rate of 50-80% is where you want to be.

2.  Go Do
Knowing what to do will not necessarily make you better at it.  You need to go and do it.  Barker suggests using the 3 Fs - Focus, Feedback, Fix it.

That's also the philosophy behind Skillshare's project based classes.  Watch the class, do the project, get feedback from teachers and classmates.  Try it for yourself.

3.  Train Your Feedback Muscle                                                      
We've all heard the phrase Practice Makes Perfect.  Well, someone very wise who I should have written down their name once said, Imperfect Practice Makes Imperfect.  In other words, practice won't make you better if your not doing it right.  You'll just get really good at doing it wrong.  So, getting feedback is crucial to improving.   But you're not always in a situation to get feedback from another person.  Barker suggests looking at past works with established outcomes.  Look at creative works that have been reviewed or evaluated for certain criteria that your interested in.  But before you read the review, evaluate the work for yourself.  Now compare what you found with the established view.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Finding Your Style

Checking out Typography Mania 
Here are some works that excited me.  
So, what can I learn about my own creative style by looking at these as a group?
It's important to look at them as a group.  If you look at them individually you run the risk of just copying another artist's style.  But instead if you look at a group of art works, you are discovering style elements.  I see I'm drawn to messy styles, blocky letters,  and lay outs that don't follow a standard grid.  Now I have some creative elements that I can explore and play with in my own art works.

Try this for yourself.   Do you have a pinterest board of your favorite art?  Look at it as a cohesive group.  What are the creative elements that bind this group?  What do they have in common?




Thursday, September 1, 2016

Finding Your Creative Niche

I don't remember where I first heard this but someone wise once said that it's the thing that is weird about you, that makes you special.  Maybe it's the thing that got you teased as a kid.  In other words, the thing that makes you different from others is what makes you unique.  In this presentation by Musician Heather Dale, she talks about being a nerdy kid before that was cool - she enjoyed things like Dungeons and Dragons, vampires and medieval history.  When she first started to make music, she tried to be mainstream with little success.  It wasn't until she found  others who liked the same thing she did, that she embraced her true self.  When she started writing music that reflected those interests, she found success.

It's almost cliche to say "Follow Your Passion" but as we learned from the interview with Font Designer Mark Simonson, why waste your time on something you don't really care about.  That is what Dale discovered but she takes that one step further.  She found others who shared her passions, she found her tribe.  Find the people that love what you do, find out where they hang out and go there.

 Now if you'll excuse me I must find the people who enjoy napping and watching videos on creativity.