Saturday, November 17, 2012

Making Time | To Be Creative

The Making Time series began last week with a post about making time for yourself. This is a weekly series dedicated to time management. As a busy college student, I've had to learn a few things about this subject, the hard way. With the busy holiday season approaching, the daily balancing act is about to get even more difficult and so I asked a few friends to share their advice on managing a busy schedule.

This week's post is brought to you by a school friend of mine, Liatra, and focuses on staying creative and motivated. If you're looking for some motivation of your own, check out Liatra's blog or instagram feed! (Her artwork is drool worthy, people.)

As a working college student with many activities to juggle and events always happening, staying creative and working to consistently improve my art isn’t always at the top of my to do list. But as anyone even just sort of interested in art will tell you, it is very, very important to always strive to improve your skill and stay motivated. I, for one, have found that I even become more vulnerable to becoming depressed or moody whenever I’m not working on a project of any sort!

First things first, music is one of the main factors in my sanity. Some days I find myself halfway through the day without listening to any music yet due to business, phone calls, etc. But if you want to be in the best mood possible, you have got to listen to some good jams. (Can I add an "amen sista" in here..?) We also alter our state by the selection of artist, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to accomplish a large task.. For instance, trying to finish that essay while listening to Bon Iver is NOT going to fly.

Environment is everything. It also helps me to concentrate on tasks by giving myself a reward system. For example, go to your work shift and then you get to come home and practice embroidery, or do two hours worth of homework and then you get to finish that illustration! Time intervals (along with coffee and chocolate) are the best self-bribery systems available.

Being creative is sometimes challenging when you’re having a dry spell on ideas. I, for one, have a few specific things that always keep my thinking fresh and innovative - holidays, birthdays, blogs, and current events. Halloween consumed all of my creative thoughts throughout October and now I’m already coming up with ideas for December - including throwing a ‘Reindeer Rapture’ on December 21st. (I should totally copyright that. -- yes you should. I'm already convincing Trevor to let me throw my own!)

If you’re someone who wants to be creative or craft but has no idea where to start, don’t feel bad by going off of other people’s ideas! People publish blogs with the intent of spreading their ideas and projects, not to make you feel inferior for not thinking up that marshmallow reindeer pop yourself. We’re all in this together, and I certainly would have been lost this Halloween without Martha Stewart’s annual Halloween publication. The lady is a domesticated genius. and are also two of my favorite places to go when I’m feeling artistically uninspired. The ladies that run those websites are extraordinary and know their way around the craft store and kitchen.

Besides holidays, I usually draw influence from some of my favorite books and movies to base projects off of. I’ve been very into making collages and trying to learn embroidery lately, and every time I see a good movie I think to myself, “that quote is totally going into my next project.”

So always draw inspiration from your surroundings and never limit yourself to one media to work in. My favorite form of art has morphed from graphite, to ink, to 3D works, to needlepoint and back again. Learning multiple forms of art is also important to expand your artistic vocabulary and appreciation. I NEVER thought much of embroidery until I started myself, and now I have the upmost respect for any lady brave enough to pick up a needle.

Another thing I always try to do is create little nothing presents for friends and family. Care packages are the cutest things in the world, and lift your spirits as well as the recipients. A handwritten letter with personalized illustrations also goes a long way!

All in all, creativity is a choice and requires dedication to always be producing your best work. Switching things up never hurts anyone and allows yourself to develop more than you ever thought possible. (Me, enjoying watercolors? Never. Until I gave them a try and now we’re BFF status.) Always keep an open mind, never get discouraged over that portrait you’ve been trying to finish for over a year, and never stop exploring. (And make sure you check the Sunday newspaper for Michael’s coupons. So worthwhile.)

A lot of this advice was exactly what I needed to hear! With a busy schedule, I sometimes even struggle finding content to blog about. Staying creative can be difficult but Liatra's advice provides a lot of tips and tricks for continuing to work on your art.

Do you enjoy painting? Embroidery? Drawing? Photography? Do you find more inspiration during the changing autumn months or near the holidays?
Personally, I can't wait to start crafting for Christmas but, that kind of inspiration doesn't last all year for me. Rather than being a "spring cleaner", I've noticed that most of my motivation for decorating our home and designing new art for it comes during the start of fall. Hopefully we'll see  here again to share some of her other work!

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