|There Are No Mistakes Just Happy Accidents mug by LennyMud|
Every so often I'll receive a sweet, little note from a fellow artist or “aspiring” creative individual inquiring about my style, my technique, and how they can get started doing the same thing. Considering the fact that I had the very same questions for my peers when I was starting out, I thought it best to share my feelings on the subject in case there are others out there with similar questions.
Is there a magical formula to creativity?
First off, if you love creating and believe whole-heartedly that without creating, life simply would not be enjoyable, I would say that automatically makes you an artist. Leave out the “aspiring” part and just be an artist. If you can’t accept the fact that you’re an artist, then why should anyone else? I don’t care if you’re six years old or 60, as far as I’m concerned, you can become an artist or designer/crafter/craftsman at any age you decide to.
As for anyone’s style -- that is extremely individual and most likely something that a person has been cultivating since they were born. I've been working on my "style" for years -- constantly honing it, pushing myself harder, and becoming more technical with my work. Asking someone how they came about their unique style for the purpose of mimicking them just doesn't seem like you're putting in the time or care for your own work when that should be your top priority. Certainly we're all influenced by other artists and styles and are inspired by certain aspects of nature and life experiences, but the way a person views the world and expresses it is different from each person to the next.
How do you view the world?
If you close your eyes, how can you remember a beautiful place you have visited or have seen in pictures? For example, the way you would see and remember the Eiffel Tower would be entirely different from my memory -- even if we we had seen and experienced the same thing at the same time. The way I would portray my memory of the Eiffel Tower on paper in pen and ink would certainly be different from yours.
My “technique” is a product of years of art classes, museum/gallery visits, extracurricular activities, travel, work experiences, internships, doodling while working and interning, interactions with people, trial and error, many mistakes, some things I happened to do right, tons of research, and hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of drawing. If you had told me in kindergarten that when I “grew up” I would be an artist, I would have accepted the fact without question because I actually wanted to be an artist when I was five years old. But if you had told me the same thing in tenth grade, I don’t think I would have believed you. Somewhere along the way of “growing up," the idea of becoming a full-time artist just never seemed realistic or perhaps wasn't encouraged enough in school. The thing is that no one can tell you that you are an artist, you can be an artist, or you will be an artist -- only you can decide that. And I’m sure that goes for just about any occupation. You are a product of what you want to be -- if you wish to change, then start today. Only you can make it happen.
Well, how do you get started?
The best advice I was given was from my brother -- he told me to just walk into an art shop and explore everything there. And yes, this is where I began. I’m a pen and ink artist, so naturally, I perused all the pens and inks, felt every type of paper, and walked out with my first step to being the artist I wanted to be. The thing is, I can’t tell you what paper you will like or what paint brushes are the best for what you do. You really must try everything firsthand to see if it is right for you. For instance, in order to find the perfect pen to use for my work, I’ve literally bought just about every pen there is on the market (and I’m still not 100% satisfied with what I use). What feels right in my hand may not necessarily feel right in yours, so I encourage everyone to find what works for them by trial and error.
So you see, it is very personal. There is no magical formula for creating per se, it's what you can come up with on your own that makes you happy. You can begin your research online, in libraries, bookstores, creative communities like Etsy Teams, and local places that offer classes or offer workspace, etc. What makes you an individual artist is all the millions of tiny details that go into deciding what to do next. Every step is equally as exciting as the next and I hope all of you who have a hunger for being creative will begin exploring today.