When I finished school in May, I grabbed a piece of lilac cardstock, a ruler, and a pen. I meticulously drew 6 small calendars. I was about to plan how I will finish my portfolio for grad school. I love to plan and in May, it appeared that finishing my portfolio was going to be easy. I taped my plan beside my bedroom door.
Submitting a portfolio is not easy whatsoever. Now we’re almost done July and I haven’t started. I stare at the calendar with disappointment every time I leave my room. When I go on Instagram and see the art people are making, my mind leaps. We can draw that too! My mind would enthusiastically get ready to draw but something holds me back. We can’t draw that, it’s too difficult. Plus you don’t have time, you’re busy at work.
This is a battle that overcomes my creativity every day. Why is it so difficult to just draw? I think it’s because of my fear of failure.
Elizabeth Gilbert spoke on the TED stage about her journey with creativity. She acknowledges that fear will always be there. In fact, she tells fear to take the back seat in her creative journey. Fear does not get to navigate the creative trip. I want to tell fear to take a back seat too. I’ve been listening to Creative Pep Talk with Andy J Miller. This podcast has changed my perspective but all his advice is easier said than done. It is easy to tell fear to take a backseat. But it’s also easy for fear to disregard what you say and take the driver’s seat instead. Fear has drove me to stop creating and put my plans for grad school on pause.
Every month and every time I look at that calendar, fear smiles because I have not done anything. I haven’t tackled any of my portfolio pieces. I thought they wouldn’t be good enough for my final portfolio. I know what past grad students can make, my work won’t do.
If you have seen my bullet journal, I dedicated a page to things I want to learn – how to code, how to draw hands and feet, and even more. I know that part of me is ready to create but I procrastinate. There are so many things I want to learn! But I distract myself with another YouTube video to watch or work on a different task. Instead of exploring and learning new things, I convince myself to make work that I have done before. For example, I created a whole series of flat design promo material. I finished the task, but I didn’t learn or make something new.
Screw all of that. It’s time to create.
In an attempt to explore, rather than to perfect art, I am challenging myself to create at least three pieces each month. Whether it’s with paint, Adobe Illustrator, or with a new software. Big or small, success or fail, I will share it. The goal of this challenge is to create anything without any expectations of how perfect it will turn out. It’s time to let my fear of failure truly take the back seat as I drive down my own creative journey. It’s also a good chance to relax and have fun.
Of course three is only the minimum. I can push myself to make more than three things. I thought three would be realistic for me. Based on how many days I work, devoting time to create three things is possible.
#Create3Challenge for June
For June, I played around with gouache and watercolors. I made five paintings. I went to my local public library and borrowed books that had images I wanted to recreate as paintings. I found one book (Contemporary Botanical Illustration with the Eden Project) and I tried to mimic the styles it taught. I then decided to freestyle and look at the other books to base my paintings on. Here is what I made.
This was my second attempt in using gouache. I thought I did a good job of preserving the highlight of the potato skin. I also enjoyed painting the dents and bruises of the potato. If I can improve it for next time, I would at a shadow at the bottom to make it more realistic.
This peach was also done in gouache. I wasn’t in love with how it turned out compared to the potato. I found it difficult to blend the colors. Instead of forcing myself to blend it perfectly, I decided to work with what I had. I went ahead and added opaque strokes of certain colors to add texture and shadows.
Here are the other paintings I had for June. I think the critiques I have for them are similar to the ones above so I won’t bother mentioning them. Take a look and if you have critiques let me know! I love feedback. Lastly, if you want to take on a creative challenge, join me! All you need to do is create at least 3 things this month. Paintings, baking, coding, sewing. Whatever it is, explore your creative side.