Tackling Creative Perfectionism: 7 Challenges to Address Roadblocks | Ohn Mar Win | Skillshare

Tackling Creative Perfectionism: 7 Challenges to Address Roadblocks

Ohn Mar Win, Illustrator surface designer teacher

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22 Lessons (2h 10m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:22
    • 2. What is Perfectionism

      3:37
    • 3. My Perfectionist Story and Disclaimer

      4:27
    • 4. Who This Class is For

      2:25
    • 5. Fear and Comfort Zones

      3:02
    • 6. Roadblock 1 - Procrastination

      5:29
    • 7. Roadblock 2 - Unrealistic Expectations

      10:07
    • 8. Roadblock 3 - Fear of Failure or Making Mistakes

      8:51
    • 9. Roadblock 4 - Fear of Judgement or Criticism

      6:33
    • 10. Roadblock 5 - Controlling Outcomes or Avoiding Uncertainty

      5:43
    • 11. Roadblock 6 - Self criticism or the Inner Critic

      7:33
    • 12. Roadblock 7 - Vulnerability

      6:47
    • 13. Alternative - Strive Be a Achiever

      3:03
    • 14. Final Thoughts

      5:50
    • 15. My 7 Day challenge

      2:00
    • 16. Day 1

      11:30
    • 17. Day 2

      7:27
    • 18. Day 3

      4:34
    • 19. Day 4

      8:04
    • 20. Day 5

      8:39
    • 21. Day 6

      6:07
    • 22. Day 7

      7:00
28 students are watching this class

About This Class

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Hearing your stories as a teacher here on Skillshare and as practicing illustrator and designer I know how perfectionism can impair and trips us up when we’re trying to be creative. As a recovering perfectionist myself I totally understand how some of these issues can be paralysing and disruptive. So I have tried to create a class which has an objective but mindful approach to explore how certain tendencies like fear of failure or being self critical can hamper the creative process.

In this class you will learn how to recognise when one or several perfectionist roadblocks have come into play. By familiarising and applying the importance of learning through repetition as well as from our mistakes, we can address the following roadblocks and gently lean into our fears 

• Procrastination

• Unrealistic Expectations

• Fear of Failure or Making Mistakes

• Fear of Judgement or Criticism and Feedback

• Controlling Outcomes or Avoiding Uncertainty

• Self Criticism  or the Inner Critic

• Vulnerability

Whether you’re a beginner or a experienced creative this class is open to all levels, including those who’d like to better understand how the dynamics of perfectionism impacts on our creativity. I really hope over 7 days we can begin to gently shift our perspective and attitudes through asking key questions to evaluate our creative strengths and progress more effectively. I have provided handy PDFs for the tasks for each day in the Projects Tab

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Transcripts

1. Introduction : Hello. I'm Emmah, and hearing your stories as a teacher here on Skillshare and as a practicing illustrator and designer, I know how perfectionism can impair and creep us up when we're trying to be creative. I'm also a recovering perfectionist myself and I totally understand how some of the issues can be incredibly paralyzing and disruptive. So I've tried to create a class which has an objective but mindful approach to explore how certain tendencies like the fear of failure or being self-critical can hamper the creative process. In this class, you will learn how to recognize when one or several of these perfectionist road blocks have come into play. By familiarizing and applying the importance of learning through repetition, as well as from our mistakes, and we will make mistakes. We can gently lean into our fears, the uncertainty, and also the need for outcomes. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced creative, this class is open to all levels, including those who just want to have a better understanding about the dynamics of perfectionism impacting on our creativity. I really hope over seven days we can begin to gently shift our perspective and attitudes through asking key questions to evaluate our creative strengths, and progress a lot more effectively. 2. What is Perfectionism: Let's have a look at the Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of perfectionism. It says, "A disposition to regard anything short of perfection is unacceptable.". Here, the word unacceptable is the key to understanding the many traits that limit the scope of our creativity, although it can creep into other areas of your life and work. To paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert, she said perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes, pretending to be elegant. It really stops us creative folks from creating our art. Sometimes we even stop ourselves from beginning of project in the first place because we've decided in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory. We weren't even bother trying, and that might be for lettering or for creating a repeat pattern or calligraphy. Because we've already made that assumption, we're already tripping ourselves up. As research for this class, I sent out a questionnaire to my Skillshare followers and received over 280 responses with which I was able to create this graph. As you can see, the top four responses were, I often can't decide what to paint at number 1. I have to create a good-looking piece of art every time at number 2. I am often easily distracted with other things that take priority at number 3, and at number 4 was I have too many ideas and I can't focus. I've come up with seven traits that I feel fall under the umbrella of perfectionism and they are focusing on outcomes or trying to avoid that uncertainty, procrastination, which is where we're delaying or not finishing something, unrealistic expectations and comparison with other artists. We also have fear of failure or make mistakes, fear of judgment, and focusing on the outcomes and trying to skip the uncertainty of the creative process. I was able to place the statements from the questionnaire within the seven traits. Before we begin, I know there are some really heavy concepts being presented here so whenever possible, I will try to refine them into much more manageable bullet points, graphs, and diagrams to present the information before moving on to the actual art-making. I'm going to say now that some of the points on the details may overlap because this is not a one-size-fits-all type of class. Please try to have an open mind and think of all the different possibilities and approaches that I'm presenting to you. You don't have to do all of them. I just want you to consider them and I also want to thank you in advance for having the courage to even view this class because you're taking the first step into acknowledging that you may have a few perfectionist tendencies and it may not be serving your best interests. Whether you're designing or illustrating or painting, as part of the seven-day challenge, I want you to know it is not a quick fix. It might take quite a long time, several weeks, several months in my case, it's taken years. Hopefully just being mindful of the seven tendencies, there's probably more, but this is what I'm presenting. I hope that you will start to make firmer resolutions to overcome some of the roadblocks when you create. 3. My Perfectionist Story and Disclaimer: I haven't always been affiliated illustrator and service designer. Much earlier in my career, I was actually an editorial illustrator for health and beauty and lifestyle magazines, and I fell into it by chance and my work looked similar to this. As you can see, what I was creating was pretty graphic linework. It was ink traced over pencil lines as a guide with flat color laid on top and then scanned for vectorizing. Those pencil lines caused an awful lot of grief for me. I started to agonize over every single line, whether it was in the arm or the neck or even the heel. What often happened was I would rub those lines out over and over again and I would draw the lines over and over again. Sometimes my pencil would just go through the paper because I had rubbed out so much. What was happening was the image I saw in my mind had to be exactly what needed to be on the paper and eventually what appeared on the screen of my computer. I really felt I had to get that linework exactly perfect because I was getting paid for it. If the art director asked for amendments, I would start this all over again and work really late into the night to meet that deadline. I know it doesn't make any sense to waste time like this and to expect so much of myself. I think part of my issue was I left college wanting to be a printmaker. I never intended to be an editorial illustrator, so I had to catch up with several years worth of Photoshop and Illustrator, which I thought I needed to prove that I could be a proper illustrator, and then I'd go and compare myself to other figure work artists who I perceived had a much higher skill level and I found myself wanting. I want to say I was incredibly angry and frustrated at that stage of my career and I was suffering probably from a fair few mental and physical health issues. I eventually left that type of illustration behind after the birth of my son. There was very little creative work for the next eight years, there was this massive gap. But when I did return to this creative business, I was certainly a lot more mindful of my attitudes when I was creating and how perfectionism could strike and really looking into the causes of my procrastination. Procrastination is probably one of my biggest downfalls even now, but at least I'm mindful of it. I also want you to remember that this time four years ago, I didn't have a website. There was no social media. Everything that you see now, I've built up in those four years. I don't think I would have got as far as I have if I was still holding onto a lot of those perfectionist tendencies because I have to lean into a lot of fear. Although I know I've got those issues still, it still lingers, I don't want you to have to carry around the burden of perfectionism with your creativity for as long as I have. I also want to make it clear that I am not a trained psychologist or some sort of a life coach. I'm only drawing on my own experiences for this class and I talk to a lot of other artists and designers who are in different stages of their creative journeys and their careers. We actually do face very similar challenges, like the procrastination, the fear of judgment, the fear of failure, and we are disappointed sometimes. But what I'm putting forward is a lot of tiny changes to make in order to reach a point where you feel really successful. It is just a tiny bit of leaning into that discomfort every time that you show up to create. Sometimes it is going to be hard, I won't lie, but ultimately, it will pay dividends. I really hope you will give some of these tips and tasks a try, or at least read through them. 4. Who This Class is For: I wanted to create this class for creative folks who may have taken quite a few schools share classes, but away from the structure and safety of tutorials, they may feel a bit lost and stuck in a cycle of overwhelm procrastination and comparing ourselves to others. You may want to progress creatively, but you feel that you're getting in your own way in dealing with the inner critic is no fun when you're trying to find your own style. We're dealing with a big topic here and big issues. So I've tried to break it down as much as possible, hopefully by explaining a brief background of why you may have these roadblocks, it will help you to understand and progress. Our put forward information about seven roadblocks that can hinder your creative success. I authored over the seven day challenge, the mindful tasks for each day are available as PDFs which can be found under the project tab. I asked that over the seven day challenge, you'd be hyper aware or mindful of that particular trait. Say the fear of judgment. I urge you to look at the PDFs and fill them in for your own personal creative tasks. I very much hope that tips and actions I've outlined are applicable to any creative project you're wishing to take on. But it's best to start with a small one for the duration of the seven days. The operative word being small, as you want to set yourself up for success as optional video classes, I'll be showing you a quick tutorials using masking fluid as a vehicle for the information I'm discussing for each roadblock, I will concentrate on the key concepts of each day and use them to demonstrate and highlight certain points. They may well be a lot of overlap, but this is the nature of the topic. It is a multi-layered issue. I'm stressing again, you do not have to undertake making fluid exercise to reap the benefits. Just complete a small project of your own choosing. Maybe one you've put off for a while, but broken down over the seven days. So it's manageable. You can write down or show what you've completed each day in the class projects and maybe how you felt about it. I really want to highlight the importance of the mindfulness during the process here, rather than the final destination. If you'd like to chart your seven day challenge on social media or IG stories. Please mentioned this class and use the hashtag omosco share, and I will do my very best to like and comment on your wonderful work. 5. Fear and Comfort Zones: Before we begin the bulk of this class, I want to give you the briefest overview of the origins of fear in humans. I just wanted to give a little bit of context to what we're going to cover in the rest of the class. You probably wondering how on earth this is going to help with your creativity, but please do hear me out. Millions of years a go fear was our brain's way of alerting us to possible danger. Then it would give us a burst of adrenaline to escape from that saber tooth tiger or whatever parals we happen to be facing. Unfortunately, although this response was useful when avoiding jeopardy to keep us alive way back then, these days, most of our threats are not all that life threatening, but the same system in our brain is still at work. Today, fear is more of a signal that we must stay alert and cautious. Our brains are simply trying to keep her safe and in our comfort zones. Comfort zone equates playing it safe, getting by and mediocre efforts. There is very little room for growth here. The next circle out, I've called the groan zone, because you probably don't enjoy anything unfamiliar or uncertain. But the great thing is the next circle out is called the growth zone, or the learning zone, which deals with courage and abundance and exploration, as well as success. But there is also a huge dose of risk. Thoughts of learning can happen here. When you get to the outer circle, which is the panic zone, which includes things like having to pay your taxes and skydiving. This is not a great place to learn. Why would we stay in our comfort zones? It's because it takes effort and energy to take action. Although we may not be completely happy with our skills in goulash or typography or gif animation, we actually fear that discomfort by having to step outside of what we know and that fear is greater than staying unfulfilled. In order to grow and progress in your creativity, I'm afraid you have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know that doesn't sound very pleasant. One of the ways is to trick yourself to step outside, just one tiny step outside of your comfort zone so that you lower the resistance to taking that risk. Just the act of doing that may very well kick-start you and you will start the ball rolling where you feel energy and confidence and just that momentum starts where you can take bigger steps outside of your comfort zone. It's like having a muscle. The more you use that muscle, the more accustomed it becomes to repeating a task and the easier it is. In theory. 6. Roadblock 1 - Procrastination: I want to start with procrastination because talking to a lot of people in consultations and as a teacher, and somebody who inspires others on Instagram, this is something that comes up so much. The definition of procrastination that I found was, procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It could be further stated as a habitual or intentional delay of starting or finishing a task despite its negative consequences. I'm going to show you my procrastination pie. We do all sorts of things to avoid creative tasks as well as others, because we know, it probably involves a lot of effort and hard work. As you can see, I distract myself with mindless scrolling on various social media platforms, and also make excuses to clean half the house, because I perceive it is a lot easier than tackling a lingering hand lettering project or something else that is on our business to-do list. Now, let's bring in the statements from the questionnaire, because I found that seven of the 23 fell under this procrastination umbrella, and that is the most of any traits I'm discussing. Things like my lifestyle doesn't give me the room to practice like X Y Z artist, or I often can't decide what to paint or I've got too many ideas, or I need all the correct art materials before I begin. If we look at these statements, looking at the bottom of them all would be that fear. This fear will stop us from doing what we really want, because it involves risk and the unknown. It would involve also leaving that comfort zone where we feel safe, where we familiar things. I know it's not easy to admit that we may be self sabotaging our creative cells by distracting ourselves with Netflix, or cooking and eating in my case. Here are a few possible causes of general procrastination, ranging from overwhelming or unpleasant tasks to lack of motivation and uncertainty. Note, there isn't just one cause and it's going to be different for each of us. It is certainly easier and requires a lot less effort to stay within the boundaries of what you know, than to step into the discomfort and anxiety. The good news is, if you stuck is because you know where you want to go and what you want to do, but as you guess, it does involve effort. I want to put forward these tools in order to tackle procrastination. First of all, you need to state your purpose and why it might be important to you, and then chunk it down into really small tasks. It has to all take place within a realistic time-frame. You must say no to distractions like YouTube. I feel getting an accountability partner is really helpful, somebody that you can trust, and I'm going to give myself a reward at the end. I'd like to stress that when writing down your ideas and tasks, the actual act of getting it out of your head and putting them down on paper in a actionable system is really important. Please remember to pick a relatively small task to begin with. This is mine, which is to create sketchbook pages to explore different ways of using masking fluid. It's important to me because I want to better understand how this medium works, and maybe possible applications for my future art. Now, I am chunking it down. There are bullet points or diagrams of all the different small jobs I'm going to nee. Let's say, the materials and the inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram, and which techniques I might use. The time-frame is going to be, for me, a sketch of no more than 20 or 30 minutes. I'm going to do it as soon as I've done the school drop-off at 9:30, and again, there is no e-mail, no Instagram or eating, or that I'm allowed cups of tea. My accountability partner is Nick, and I will show her what I've done at the end of each session. My reward will be having a morning coffee with a friend. Extreme procrastination is really inefficient. Never starting something is a really good way of never failing. I think all of us love to take off our to-do lists. It is the small tiny victories that we'll build up our confidence and our eagerness, and that motivation to continue with the bigger tasks, and eventually we'll be able to cross them off as well. You can use this same method that I've outlined to create another piece of art, update your website, or start blogging or reaching out to potential clients. It's not about doing small task to avoid the big task, it's including the small steps in your daily to-do list, to build up the momentum. 7. Roadblock 2 - Unrealistic Expectations: As a perfectionist, I used to set myself ridiculous high standards and have really unrealistic expectations of myself and my artwork with fairly limited skills. That was from when I was at college all the way to the beginnings of that creative career as a professional artist. Of course I wasn't aware that I was setting myself up for failure because those unattainable goals and my inability to reach them, would often set off that negative self talk, which we will cover in a later video lesson. If you are relatively early in your creative career or your journey, then this can be really hard to comprehend, because we now live in a society where things move so fast and images of people's artwork can be shared instantly. It's natural as human beings that we want change to happen swiftly and we become really frustrated with this slower pace, because we see what other people are doing and we just feel like, we need to be keeping pace with them. I was exactly the same when I started with watercolors four years ago. I'd look at August Wren's work and I'd say, "I really love how she's able to paint like that," or, "She's using gouache now, I wish I could use gouache. " However, there was a huge gaping gap, where I actually was in my skill level and my creativity and where I wanted to be. If you had a time with art progression chart, ideally, you'd want that graph to look like this. A beautiful linear progression with a clear and concise line showing an upward trend, with every single piece of our design, which was always better than the one before. The reality often looks like this. For most of us, it's a freaking hot mess and it is all over the place, with a gradual upward trend and lots of twists and turns. I want to show you the analogy of success as an iceberg. As you can see, the majority of its mass is hidden underwater. Officially, with icebergs, 90 percent is hidden under the water. All you can see is the small tip, that's the perceived success and it looks majestic and beautiful. What you can't view is the huge bulk underneath, and that is the massive proportion that is made up of disappointments, hard work, failures, and if you're a professional artist, rejection, persistence, learning, and a lot of discipline. The reality is many artists and designers face similar challenges and have done so for a lot longer if they are inspiring you and they've been in the creative industry for a long time. Now let's bring in those statements that I feel fall under unrealistic expectations. Things like my work will never be good as xyz artist, so I might as well give up now, or I feel like I've wasted my time if the resulting artwork doesn't look nice. While we may believe it's helpful to set super high standards for ourselves, often they are rigid and don't have any room for flexibility, so it's black or white. This can interfere when we're trying to learn new techniques or skills because you feel it's not okay to make mistakes and then you are less likely to take any risks. There is no room for error, and you can't recognize what you may have achieved. A failed expectation will arise, but this doesn't mean that you're not capable or that you're a failure. I totally get that you will be disappointed. But every attempt, whether you thought it turned out well, or you thought it was an abysmal failure, is actually a blessing in disguise, because we can learn from both. In this diagram, you can see the expectations and your current ability in whatever, calligraphy let's say. Please trust me, I have been there, I have been a beginner in illustration as well. I think it's worth mentioning that the inevitable comparing of our arts or talents with other artists is going to crop up. I'm also going to say that, I think social media has created an arena where we're only seeing the artist's highlights. Their best work and it'd be really easy to convince yourself that for every single image, the artists just churns out and is exactly how it was meant to be. But behind the scenes, over the previous days or weeks, there might have been 10 or 20 stages, or sketches that they had to go through in order to get to that image or design. If you look at the strengths of other artists and then compare them to your weaknesses, which is probably what you're doing, you may be looking at years of effort, years of training, years of mastering their skill, and then comparing your beginnings to their end. These comparisons are really unfair as we are all on different creative paths. When you're comparing, you see something that you would like for yourself. But I think the best mindset is to turn the attention off the other artists and to turn it back on yourself. Ask yourself, how can they inspire me and motivate me? But focus on your art life and how that's going. Less focus on what others are up to and concentrate on your abilities and your strengths. I'd really like you to try this, find an older piece of art and design that didn't really live up to your expectations and we're going to ask a few questions, objective ones, so that we can learn from it before moving on. Again, these questions are available as PDFs in the class materials section. The first one is, how long ago did I create this piece and where was I in my creative journey at the time? For me, this was very early on in my career where I barely knew how to create a repeat pattern in Illustrator. The next question is, what did I learn from this piece? This was for a Spoonflower competition and way back then, I didn't understand how people were using fabric in their crafting projects. I just thought it looked really pretty, these spoons overlapping, but I didn't realize that they want to be able to cut around the spoons. The next question is, have I moved on stylistically or creatively since this piece was created? I was now armed with the knowledge of creating patterns for Spoonflower, which are a lot more simpler, and the icons are arranged differently, so less of this overlapping. Another question to ask yourself is, does this piece of art change who I am or what I'm capable of? What I realized when I went back to the original line drawings that I did, it was pen and ink, that I'm actually really strong with my line work and I should utilize this a lot more. That in itself was quite a revelation for me. The last question is, do I understand this was only one attempt that didn't quite work out? For me, I was disappointed, I didn't get hardly any votes. But I thought, I want to learn from the designs that did get the most votes, that came in the top 10. It made me want to learn more and although I haven't returned to this piece, I think if I did so now, I would be in a much better place with the four years of experience. We're now moving on to Task 2, again, we are going to be looking at old work, but this time picking out aspects of it that we really think we did a good job on. One of the things that I do when I find myself comparing myself to other artists, is to go to the beginning or near the beginning of my Instagram feed and to pick out pieces of art that I really enjoyed creating or think, "I like the way I arranged that, " or, "I like the Posca pens over that area there," or, "In this teapot, I love the way that I created the highlights by leaving the white paper sharing". I do urge you to only look for the aspects of your art or sketches or illustrations that you really like, even if it's just a tiny corner where you think, "Wow, the line work in these lilacs is really good, I did a good job there." When you compare yourself to others' work, you think your work is lacking. But hopefully by doing this, you'll realize that you have had some amazing pieces and an amazing successes and don't forget that. I forget that I've had my illustrations on products and just to remind you to be mindful of where you are in your journey and to see how far you've come. This was work that I did three years ago. Spend at least 15-20 minutes looking at your art and finding parts of it that you really like. Brussel sprouts are not great, but I did a really good pen drawing of Brussels sprouts and beet root and bok choy here. Please write down a list of 10 things that you think you've done a great job on or achieved in the months or years that you've been practicing your craft. We really have to celebrate every single thing that you got right, because so much that you have done in your creative journey and you mustn't forget that. 8. Roadblock 3 - Fear of Failure or Making Mistakes: I know for a lot of us that fear of failure or the fear of making mistakes is a really big stumbling block, and it sometimes, for me in the past it has actually lead to paralysis where I'm not creating anything because I am so afraid, and it's something that is so difficult to overcome. But I hope what I'm presenting will be a much gentler method to ease yourself into that uncomfortable position where you're not so fearful to create. There's a quote by Woody Allen which goes, ''If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything innovative''. I'm afraid being innovative and creative means you may have to face failure, or at least make a few mistakes. Wherever you are in your creative journey, we all have to confront our fear of failure, but it's when it actually stops us from doing the creative tasks that moves us forward that it will become an issue. At this point it's worth mentioning that we all have different definitions of failure because we are all using different benchmarks to measure success, and this depends on where we may be in our creative journeys. Failure for one artist might be a great learning experience for another, and it's entirely up to us to decide how to look at it. Let's look again at the statements that I think belong in this section. I tried watercolors and pastels in the past but I was awful at it, so I'm not doing it again. I do hear this one a lot, a blank sketch book page or sheet of paper makes me nervous. My sketchbook or my paints were really expensive, so I don't want to waste them. I do feel that the time and the experience that we put into designing a logo that may have got rejected or creating a messy mess in your sketchbook is never wasted. When we create, we are always dealing with the unknown and the path that takes us there has value, whatever the outcome. When we change our point of view towards designing or art-making, that blank piece of paper will still be there in front of us. But if we're in a head space where we feel more capable, and confident, and excited that any possible mistakes can actually be viewed in a different light. In one of my other Skillshare classes, Secret Life of a sketchbook. I share in real time how I fill a few pages of my latest sketchbook with a running commentary of what I'm doing, but also how I'm feeling, and despite filling over 16 sketchbooks, I do still feel fair amount of fear. This fear makes me hold my breath and there is tension in my body, and I'm very aware that what I create may not look very good and it might not work out at all. I actually procrastinated for about 20 seconds about what to do next, because I was very afraid that I was going to paint something wrong. It's here. Naval goes across like that, a bit thicker, and there is a banner here. Let's just leave it at that because I'm going to let the ink line do the rest of it. Often when you want something to really work out, you do get more emotionally attached to the outcome. But if it doesn't work out, I'll just paint it again. Consider this quote from Edison, ''I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. He's the inventor of light bulb. Thomas Edison realize failure is really just a stepping stone and it's only a temporary setback to finding success with design and a product that worked. Every time we produce a piece of work and we're not altogether pleased with it, we can choose to look for the lesson like we did in the unrealistic expectations class. I want to stress again, that by assessing where we may have gone wrong, say we over applied the ink line, for example, it can help us grow in our art so that next time we can better understand what not to do. Doctor Brene Brown is Research Professor of courage, vulnerability, and shame, and she says that, "It is he or she who's willing to be the most uncomfortable who can rise strong." I know this is getting a bit deep for some of you, but please take around because I want to tell you from personal experience, that leaning into this discomfort is sometimes really overwhelming and sometimes it is exhausting. But without embracing some of these temporary iciness feelings of an uncertainty, I couldn't progress. Let's look at another chart, so this is what I think it would look like if you had a failure times the rate of learning on the axes. This demonstrates how failure actually strengthens and escalates the rate of learning. You don't have to get it right the first time round or even the third or ninth time, the aim is progress over the perceived perfection. Instead of seeing those creative mistakes as massive failures, we can choose to adopt a growth mindset instead. When we have an attitude that's based towards growth, we are more inclined to see mistakes as a normal part and actually a helpful part of the art-making process. Instead of trying to avoid mistakes, it's worth re-framing them as unexpected an essential part of your growth as an artist or designer. Although it's always great to start a new piece of art or a project with a mindset of, I can totally do this and I'm going to be on the ball, there is going to be occasions when you feel like this is going horribly wrong, and there are aspects where, maybe, I have failed in this project. But there are ways to tackle these feelings and to actually learn from them. Again, like the other video lessons, we are going to be asking ourselves a series of mindful questions to help with our fear of making mistakes. What I'm going to show you is how I filled it out, but you are going to have completely different attitudes to the fear of failure and how you're going to confront it and lean into it, so it's entirely up to you, there is no right or wrong answer. The first question is, what can I do to become more comfortable with possible failure before I start creating, and then think about that during the creation process, and then after you have created? You will then be better place to deal with this. I've written down things like don't panic, step away for a few minutes, and to assess areas where I have had success and where I may need more work. The next set of questions to consider is, how can I change my feelings towards perceived failures? How could I learn to appreciate or lean into those uncomfortable feelings? and also, what could I do to associate mistakes as progress within my creative path? There is one thing known in theory that failures are stepping stones to success, but it's another thing changing what you're telling yourself in your head and when you're actually creating. The last two questions considering is, what would I like to do today creatively that I'm not doing because of fear? and also how will I reward myself for trying something different? These are really valid and I hope you'll take notice of them. I want to end by saying that acknowledging our fear of failure or making mistakes is often a vital step in a successful creative process, because it will give us greater creative freedom which allows us to explore more, take more risks, and also innovating bigger ways. By leaving the comfort zone, you're also leaving behind those shoulds, and musts, and ought tos and all the other negative thoughts. I do feel that putting in that huge effort and understanding that there are going to be failures around the corner, it will lead to great rewards, a lot of progress, and also learning. 9. Roadblock 4 - Fear of Judgement or Criticism: I think for many of us who create, this is quite a consuming topic because we expect our art to be judged and we very much want to avoid any criticism. We're now inundated with likes, follows, and heart emojis as various ways that our art can be evaluated in some ways. Or perhaps if you send out your work to a potential client and they say no, dreadfully, sorry, it still hurts. Or you show your partner and they may not give you the comment you were hoping for, for all these examples that probably that sinking feeling in your stomach or you have a hard time swallowing or breathing because it feels like slap in the face. Let's deal with some of the statements from the questionnaire. What if I don't get many likes in my Instagram posts or my art looks clumsy and stupid and it's not worth sharing anyhow. We often feel that the art and designs we create, are an extension of ourselves and including all the tears and risk of creating it. Rejection is painful and it does tend to lurk in our minds for quite long time afterwards, so we do try to avoid it as much as possible. Yet, by trying to avoid it, by not sharing or posting on social media and not sending out samples of your illustrations or designs to art directors, or by simply not finishing a project, you can avoid being judged or receiving feedback. What you're doing is hiding your art to avoid embarrassment and all those uncomfortable feelings and emotions that are propping up. The strategy for avoiding criticism or feedback or judgment from others is more damaging than you think. Aristotle said, there is only one way to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing, so avoiding criticism means you're also withholding your gifts and talents from the world, and I'm a firm believer that creativity should be shared and celebrated. I cannot stress enough that your art cannot be validated or measured by the numbers of hearts or thumbs up, and there is no need to chase approval, and it certainly is not a popularity contest, your worth as an artist and creator is not tied to the whims of a fecal algorithm, for instance, not everybody is keen on my food illustration compared to my watercolors, yet it doesn't change the way I feel when I create illustrations of beetroot, or red peppers. Absolutely everybody has different tastes, and the reality is as a professional illustrator, he gets paid for illustrating peas or cabbage or slices of orange, at the end of the day, I'm hustling for briefs and paid work from senior designers and art editors, and the only way to do that is to be seen either through social media or sending stuff out, there's no way around this. I'd also like to point out for every job that I quote for, only half come to fruition, so I'm very much used to hearing no. Maria Ferloe said, if you make art, you'll have critics because it's easier to critique than it is to make a thing. How you react to the feedback or critique, even if it's constructive, plays a really important part in your response to it. The key is not to get overly emotional or overreact, just take a few deep breaths and step away for a few minutes if needed, the vast majority of the time, criticism is not meant to be a personal attack, it's probably not about you, so don't think of it as exposing any supposed flaws in your art or design, but instead, helping you make new self-discoveries, think of your creative activities as on the job training. Some of the most important things can only be learned in the process of doing them, so if you don't finish a release art into the world for fear of being wrong or doing it poorly, you'll never get feedback, and therefore, you may never get to improve. By reaching out and asking for judgment or feedback, you could learn more about your audience, your clients, build your self-confidence and become a better artist. We do care about the critics, but it's best carry on regardless, so it doesn't stall us in our creative path. Mental toughness is a skill like any other, and it can be developed. Getting over your fear of judgment is like any other habit, start small and increase slowly. Get to know your strengths and limitations, know what you're good at, also, where you may have challenges and become comfortable with them. You can re-frame the fear of criticism, create support systems, and always reward yourself for your achievements. Consider these questions, copies of which are in the class materials, what you believe are your creative strengths. Again, here, I'm just putting down ideas that came into my head when I was trying to fill it out and you, please fill in the way that you think is going to help you best. What you believe are some of your creative weaknesses, things that you know that you could improve on here. What have others told you about your creativity that were not true? Often this may be feedback or criticism you've received in the past. Hopefully, you are now in a better place to understand that it wasn't necessarily about you, and also, please consider, were they in a good position to judge? Are they creatives and do they put their art out? Also, what steps can I take to improve and lessen some of my weaknesses? It's always great to have a support network or a group of people you can turn to for valid critique. A supportive community is really important for weathering the storms of criticism and rejection. The second part is to do with sharing your art on Instagram or when you reach out to clients, and you may have a fear of doing this because you do fear that you're going to be rejected, so you have to weigh up if the outcome is actually be beneficial for you, consider what is the best possible outcome for doing this, and also what is the worst possible outcome for doing this? Does my art being seen outweigh the cost of not sharing it with an art director or on social media? Finally, will sharing my art bring me a step closer to what I'd like to happen or creative goals that I've got? 10. Roadblock 5 - Controlling Outcomes or Avoiding Uncertainty: As I explained in the earlier part of this class, my experience with the need for control got really out of hand because I really didn't like dealing with the uncertainty. Part of it was my anxiety about being freelance and self employed. It is a career that is unpredictable. It's still is unpredictable. But I tried to minimize anything that might cause me to fail. So that's why each sketch, each line had to be amazing. The art director said, yes straight away, this need for controlling outcomes, again, is rooted in fear. I was so rigidly attached to the outcome that I had already set myself up for disappointment because I was stylistically stuck where I was drawing the same sort of people drawing the same things over and over and over again. I wasn't developing, I was going nowhere. I was really unhappy as well. I was completely lounging in my comfort zone and I know that is not a good place to be if you're trying to be an artist. Let's start off with some of the statements that we saw from the survey. Some people said, I have to know exactly what I'm going to paint before I painted and I have to create a good looking piece of art every time one person who answered the questionnaire said it would have been better to say, sometimes I have to know exactly what I'm going to paint, which would have made more sense for sure. The thing is they would still be focused on a future time and your mind is already raced ahead because you want to skip that uncertainty in between and avoid those tough feelings. Even with the best will in the world and years of experience, there is no way you can command a painting or a sketch to look amazing every single time. Is that familiar pattern of wanting to control things to prevent perceived failure and you have to find a healthy balance. Another statement that came up was, I don't know when to stop painting and I overwork my pieces. I know from my own experience that overworking comes from a place where you want your painting or your illustration, to look like what you have in your head. I've actually had people make fun of me because I used the phrase don't over think it in almost every Skillshare video that I produced. What I mean by that is don't spend too much time pondering or over analyzing of what might happen or could happen or should happen. Because this will only restrict your creative flow. You will become overly cautious and afraid to take on any more creative risks. This perceived control actually gives a false sense of security because it just leads to more anxiety and frustration. In order to grow. You have to abandon the control and accept there will always be unexpected results even after years and years of painting and perseverance. It is actually what makes a piece of art or design interesting. A way to decontrol this is to enjoy the process over the outcome. So I am now in mindful to create in the present moment. Enjoying the process involves trusting the process, which in turn involves going through the process without numbing ourselves because we fear the results are not as we hoped. For the task, I want to say that letting go doesn't mean giving up on that desired results. It's more of letting go of the struggle associated with creating it. These are some questions that may be beneficial to ask yourself before you create a piece of art or design, what do I want to happen? What is the intended result that you want? What do I fear could happen? You put a paintbrush wrong you choose the wrong color. There are endless things that could happen. But also ask yourself, do I know for sure that my piece will turn out like that or develop in that way. To re-frame it, ask yourself, is there a more empowering way to think about this task or project? Like let see how it turns out I'm really excited to find out, what would somebody that you really admire. So I'll just put August Wren. What would August Wren do in this situation? How would she solve this? Then finally, before you begin, think what expectations would be more beneficial or helpful before I start creating, such as this piece is just a stepping stone and I'm going to learn either way. There are some questions you can ask afterwards, and I know that sounds repetitive throughout this process. It's about being mindful of what you are thinking. So the first question could be, did it work out as expected? Does it matter if it didn't work out as you intended? Were there any new areas of knowledge that has emerged because I went through this process. So you can state at least three, I'm sure you would have learned something. Are there any other conclusions that you've reached and has it changed your belief about your creative abilities? Finally, are there any ways that I could be more flexible about how I create art in the future. The way you answer these questions are going to be unique to you. Unique to the way you work and your mindset going into the process and coming out of the process. 11. Roadblock 6 - Self criticism or the Inner Critic: I think we are all aware of the inner critic or the inner commentary that accompanies us all day long pretty much in some cases, not just when we're creating art. It is hugely important to remind yourself that the messages you're giving yourself before, during and after the creation process is really important because the way you talk to yourself makes a huge impact on the way you view your art. I think you can guess by now but that inner voice or the inner critic is actually trying to protect you from harm as a form of that very early self survival. That part of your brain senses that you're in a threatening situation for example when you're faced with that blank sketchbook page and it kicks in in modern era when it thinks it's a threat. If you've ever tried to quieten it, dealing with that inner critic is exhausting. I'm sure you've had similar thoughts to these when we've been creating things like you completely suck at this you ought to stop now or you've created something and you just think that was a total waste of my time or things like, "I'm too old to be learning about Photoshop" and sometimes I even here, "I want to tear this page out of my sketchbook. It looks so rubbish." In all honesty, would you talk to a good friend using this type of language? Would you really be vicious and mean to them? These are the sort of unhelpful thoughts that are probably going around in a loop where we have those other fears and procrastination doing the rounds. This is what it looks like, you're creating from an already negative head space like I can't paint like so-and-so so why bother. Then you become distressed and not creating what you had imagined in your head and then that inner critic makes you doubt your abilities even further. Because what they're whispering to you seem so real you become demotivated and again, you are creating from a negative or low creative head space. When you have these mental conversations actually consider if you're being kind to yourself because we all make mistakes and feel inadequate at times. In order to take charge of your critical voice, it would be wise to become mindful of the thoughts that lurk just before, during and after the creative process. This begins by taking control of your language patterns. Instead of criticizing yourself, try practicing self-compassion. Think of this new voice as a compassionate and supportive mentor or trusted friend who's really encouraging and helping you to see things clearer and in a much more balanced way. This new friend can also help you to remember that no one is perfect and help you to see that although the critical voices were trying to help us, they were being harsh because they were misguided in their efforts to protect you. When we bring self-compassion into creativity along with everything else that we have been talking about on this class, you will become aware that you do have choices and you'll be able to allow yourself to pause and be mindful of what you're doing before you take any more action so that you're aware of the situation. You'll learn from your experiences and you'll be a lot more patient with yourself while you're learning these skills and developing your technique. Also being self compassionate, you are less judgmental and you're going to compare yourself less to others and if you do, it will be a motivating factor rather than a negative. If we were aware of how often, where and how that inner critic strikes, we can learn to be mindful when the situation arises. Try tracking the inner voice or any thoughts when you start comparing yourself to other artists or designers. Try for a few hours or longer. I've included a handy PDF to help you with this. Often seeing these thoughts written down will show up certain patterns and you can learn from them. Once you've observed the negative self-talk, just pause. Don't beat yourself up about it or feel bad. Just acknowledge that you had these two thoughts. Take a look at your creative strengths again because I'm sure these are unique and you'll be reminded how gifted you are in many areas and what you contribute to the artistic community and how you may inspire others. Another task you may like to try is to write a pretend letter to your inner critic. I know it sounds crazy but I have done this before and it really helped. You can follow the format outlined in the PDF or make your own. My dear inner critic, you have been a loud and constant voice in my life. I know you thought you were keeping me safe and I understand that keeping me in my comfort zone is important for you. I thank you for your years of good service. However, I'd like to say a few things to you. You made me feel small when I was trying to create a painting of those avocados because the paint ran off the page. When I tried to draw those peppers, you made me anxious because I started second-guessing myself because they weren't proportionally correct and I really don't like it when you say my color choices are all wrong because then I really start to doubt if I got any of it right. Remember the time I wanted to create an abstract piece and you said it looked like somebody had vomited on the page. I don't think that was very kind. I'd like you to take a step back from your duties and I want to let you know that I am now focused and confident in my work. I'm free of judgment and my creativity is flowing freely. I'm releasing all over thinking and I am moving on. I give you leave to be more absent in my life from now on. You're sincerely, Ohn Mar Win, Artist and Illustrator. Some other empowering phrases you might like to use are things like, I acknowledge my own self-worth and my confidence in art-making is rising and I trust my intuition and always make wise decisions. Things like I'm letting go of all negative beliefs that have stood in the way of my success. If it's not for you, that's absolutely fine. I just want to say over the years, my inner critic has definitely hushed up a lot but it will just pounce at the most inopportune moments like when I'm a little bit stressed about creating a new piece of artwork for a client and it'll start niggling away at me. But because I'm aware that it has a tendency to crop up in those situations, it's almost like I'm expecting it and I have built up resilience towards it and I'll just say, look, hold on, give it a rest. I know what I'm doing. Can you just step to one side please and let me get on with what I need to get on with it. Sometimes it's easier than at other times. I honestly do think that it has got to the point where I have a lot more control over what is happening inside here and I'm hoping that eventually the same will happen to you. 12. Roadblock 7 - Vulnerability: You may be wondering why this video class is here, what the connection is to creativity, and I didn't understand it myself for many years. It's only in recent times that I really get the connection between creating a brand-new piece of art or design or lecturing that has never existed before, and all the different emotions that you have to go through in order to arrive at a pretty finished piece that you're proud of. It set yourself up for all the different things that we have discussed here, like the fear of failure, the judgment, and the self-critical voice. This is a quote by Brené Brown. ''Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It's tough to do that when we're terrified about what people might see or think.'' She goes on to say vulnerability is everything that we have been discussing in this class. The uncertainty, the risk, and the emotional exposure. Drawing, designing, painting, sculpting, whatever you're creating is a courageous act because you're sharing a piece of yourself with the world, and because of this, it encompasses the entire creative circle from the way we think about our world and share those talents. When we're constantly worried and fearful of what people think or that inner critic who is constantly whispering "Oh you are not very good at this, are you?" It's really tough to show up in our Studio or wherever we create. She goes on to say, ''We end up hustling for our worthiness. It's when who I think I should be become more important than who I am, because you hide in parts of your creative journey for fear of rejection and judgment, and you seek approval with likes and followers. I want to say right now, I bet each one of them have stories in the creative Marina is a beautiful mass. I know this is getting pretty deep and perhaps, it's way out of your comfort zone to hear stuff like this. But remember, our own human mind is sensitive to potentially harmful situations, and in this case, well, having ideas or work rejected. Although it isn't life threatening, it can feel devastating because we feel very exposed. Those feelings of embarrassment or anxiety that your work is unappealing. We try to protect ourselves with various defenses including their procrastination or by trying to mask and hide. This can take on the form of playing small or allowing the fear and self-doubt to conceal that we're having a really hard time with typography or Alpha channels or repeat patterns. We don't want others to see our struggle because it does play into that fear of judgment and failure. I want to say again, the act of creating something new when there was nothing before, always carries an element of risk and uncertainty, and it's something that we cannot side step. You have to be brave. Otherwise, you can't move beyond those initial sketches or concept, and you'll be stuck in this creative no man's land, where you can't progress any further. To live a creative life, you must take action despite of your fears and doubts. Vulnerability means to be authentic and to be honest, and for me, it's something that I've only just started to understand. Only in the last few months, I've been able to open up more about challenges, when I create and when I share my art. Despite having filled 17 sketchbooks, and illustrated for cookery books, and well-known brands, I still have insecurities about my art, and they will probably never go away. But the difference is, I can now manage them and not trying to fight them. When we humble ourselves to open up enough during those challenging times, and when we share some of the doubts that we may have, you'd probably be surprised with the responses you receive. Brené Brown says, ''When we're accepting that were vulnerable, we will be rewarded with the gifts of imperfection, which are courage, compassion, and connection.'' This is a recent Instagram post where I talked about a project I did for UNICEF. I was really afraid of sharing it, and I didn't do so for absolutely ages. Even though UNICEF is a big deal. Yes, it's a really worthy project to fight childhood malnutrition in Burma, which is a third world country, and I was born there. But I was really worried with the recent negative news about the country of my birth. That I was going to be judged and criticized for illustrations for a project-based in that country. I know it sounds illogical. Choosing to tell my story about this anxiety that I had, opening up about my fear, I receive such heart-warming messages of support. I really was astounded and it's now given me so much more courage to speak plainly, and share the parts of the iceberg that are not often seen, and also see my art as a force for good. These comments I received were really understanding, and compassionate, and incredibly kind, and it's always a great idea to practice self compassion when we view our art, and to be really kind to ourselves when we create and more so if it doesn't turn out as expected. Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, being self-compassionate means, you are kind and understanding when confronted with imperfect creations. The task for this section is to take a piece of art that you created recently, maybe for your Seven-Day Challenge project, and I want you to genuinely and truthfully describe how you felt about it. About five or six sentences, about the feelings you experienced during the process, including all the challenges, and the setback, also the positives and how you felt afterwards having been completed it. You can either create Instagram post to describe this or you can just tell your accountability partner. The second task is totally optional. I'll give you a link to a website, that is a self-compassionate test, and if I had done this 12-18 months ago, I don't think I would [inaudible] so well, and it's only in the last 12 months that I've been able to see the importance of self-compassion and kindness in my creative and personal life. I feel a lot more satisfied and I think I have developed a lot better emotional resilience. I'm happier, I'm more optimistic, and also I've let go of a lot of the self-criticism. 13. Alternative - Strive Be a Achiever : In this video lesson, I'm just going to quickly go over the differences between being a high achiever and a perfectionist. It may seem similar in some ways, but the difference is, the first is healthy and the second is not. When you work towards being a high achiever, you're trying your best, but you're not trying to be perfect or not trying to put yourself down because, no piece of work is effortless. It's not going to cause you so much anxiety that you can't carry on with the task because you understand that good enough is enough. If it goes well, that's fine. If it doesn't, that's fine as well because next time you make it work better. As mentioned in the last video, practicing some self-compassion when you create, we'll help you understand that making mistakes doesn't mean that you're a bad artist. The way I've set out the video classes, with the mindful tasks at the end for you to consider, is to help you see where you can make adjustments and improve and progress. Your answers should help you self analyze and find solutions that will help in situations, especially during the art-making process, to see where you might have pricked yourself up and produced better results moving forward. Perfectionist tend to worry that they haven't done enough, even when things go well. As a high achiever, when you see that you've done something well, you pat yourself on the back and give yourself credit for doing a good job and recognize that you are improving. So you do it well, more and more often, making fewer errors. This table lists just a few areas in which you can compare being a creative high achiever to being a perfectionist. High achievers will research the project, give it their best effort, and complete it in a timely fashion and then feel good about what they've created. [inaudible] also research project, put it off for awhile and then work on it over and over again to reach a version of what they think is perfect. Then perhaps, abandon it because they think it's not good enough. High achievers acknowledge their achievements and feel proud of themselves for accomplishing them. Perfectionist may have achieved many things, but they can't feel satisfaction because their art is never absolutely perfect. Achievers understand that they make mistakes in their art, but appreciate them because they learned from them. They can evaluate what happened and think about how to avoid it for the next time. However, perfectionist, when they make mistakes, feel very anxious and try to hide them up so no one knows that they made them. High achievers are excited to learn new skills and practice their craft because they know the value of their art and creativity. Perfectionist know, although there is a massive learning curve when you learn something new and mistakes are common, they avoid putting themselves in that position because they can't deal with some of the feelings that come with it. 14. Final Thoughts: I'm really glad you've made it this far. I know there's been an awful lot of ground to cover and some of it was probably being unfamiliar and also uncomfortable. When we go out of our way to avoid risk and failure, even if we're not aware of it, we are actually avoiding growth and new experiences which are really important to feeding your creativity, whichever field you're in from fine art to photography to a writer, failure is necessary for growth and expansion. Sometimes looking clumsy, awkward, and stupid when we don't produce the best piece of art or writing or photograph is necessary for expanding our creative talents. To paraphrase Brene Brown in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, She says we need to put down that 20 times shield of perfection because it's not doing us any favors, and it's really what's preventing us from being ourselves. There's a quote that says, "Life happens at the edge of your comfort zone," and that edge is real messy, angsty and scary. But it also means that you try new things and taking calculated risks despite the fears that could hold you back. Referring back to my class, The Secret Life of a sketchbook, I wanted to demonstrate that even with several years of mindfulness; when I'm in a creative space, I still have issues almost every time I fill a page of my sketchbook. Having the intellectual knowledge is not enough. You really do have to put it into practice. If you look at the optional videos in this class, you'll see that often I have to step away or encourage stepping away when things don't go as planned. And I certainly do not produce perfect pieces. I'd like to end by sharing a few more tips with you. "Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction" by Harry Truman. It is better to have finished projects, painting sketches that you're proud of despite having a few flaws than not having created anything because fear held you back. You would have discovered what works and what doesn't, what lessons were learned and not so good ideas were discarded. A year from now, you'll be a better artist or designer for having tried. There's another quote, "Life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it". Attitude is everything when you are trying to create and it will determine your reality. We have the power within ourselves, how to approach our creativity and how we apply it. I know it's not easy to have our thoughts in check but at least we can monitor and be mindful of them. Fears and anxiety; one control us. We do have the power to turn most creative situations around by changing our attitude to outcomes. Define what success means to you. Remember, success is not measured the same by everyone. No two people will strive for exactly the same thing based on their own individual needs and goals. My definition of success has evolved and changed over the years. You get to decide what it looks like and whatever it is will be powerful and meaningful to you. There is a wonderful quote by Theodore Roosevelt, is often referred to as the Man in the Arena speech. I won't bore you by repeating it in its entirety. But he's basically saying there are no mistakes in life. If you are the one out there, trying to be creative by putting yourself in the arena, the creative arena, it requires enormous amounts of courage and tenacity. Success and failures are inseparable. You will stumble, but you will get up, and every time this happens, not just with art, but with life too, we will grow and learn and stumble again and grow and learn again and build and build and build from your failures. I've been trying various exercises and routine to tackle procrastination and controlling outcomes for many years now. On some days it's easier than on other days. But the only way we have is right now. Being present when you create is really important. I also want to stress over the seven day challenge. Just being aware and being mindful, especially if you are creating, is a step in the right direction. I do urge you to try the exercises, say assessing the trade off between the need to keep all your art materials neat and tidy and actually stepping outside of the comfort zone and making a mess with all the art materials. This may not come naturally after seven days or even seven weeks, but you just have to keep reminding yourself that what is it costing you to stay stuck? Learning and growth really is really scary. But on the flip side, there's also excitement and exhilaration, once you get going. Are we discussing at the beginning of each video? 15. My 7 Day challenge: I just want to say a few words about the 7 Day Challenge. You can either follow along with the tutorials that I'm going show you now, or choose a slightly different subject matter or different project entirely. The main thing here is not the end results, it's more of the process and I want you to be mindful during the process. Think about the tasks that I presented in each section. Try to at least look at what was on that PDF, or to complete a few of them before attempting the art making. During the creation of your project, if you start to feel anxious, the best thing is to simply take a break. Walk away and have a walk around your garden, and then come back with a much clearer head. With practice and the mindfulness, you'll know when it's time to assess, by taking short pauses, looking around your piece and seeing what actions you need to take next. Creating art and designs, whether you're painting or creating a repeat pattern, you have to be really patient with yourself and with the process. Go easy on yourself and acknowledge that sometimes we're going to have a tough ride. But that is absolutely part of the process. It's something that we will learn to appreciate when the going is easy. At the end of each art making section, I want you to assess your piece using these questions: What aspects did I enjoy the most? Which areas do I think I would like to explore further? Where could I improve for next time? Also, what could I be mindful of going forward? Sometimes I actually come up with the answers to these questions while I'm creating. I make mental notes to try and remember them for my next practice. 16. Day 1: I really hope you have picked a really compelling project that is going to see you through the next seven days and you'll still feel excited over that period. Also, it's great to have a rough plan of action of what you're going to do on each day, including now. Always start with something small and simple and don't spend more than 20 minutes. When it comes to creative procrastination, I'm not talking about the business side of running an art career, it's really important that you choose a project that compels you to take action. Not something that you're going to find boring. I always do a lot of research in order for me to be inspired and excited by what I'm about to embark on. It may take a while, but you'll start to get a better feeling about what is going to be a priority for you instead of, "I should do this. Other people are doing this." We're talking about what excites you. This sort of stuff I just mentioned does remind me of batik. So I'm just going to see if there is any batik type stuff. Maybe because I'm drawn to it because I'm from Southeast Asia and I'm used to that iconography. I like this very much. It actually says it's an African type design. But look what else is coming up. When you heard me say, ooh, oh, it is what I'm drawn to. Directly underneath it says Japanese Boro Clothing. Although this isn't anything to do with resist technique, I love that sort of simple book bold imagery. Let's see what else comes up. This is all embroidery. It's bringing up really happy emotions for me. It would be wonderful if we could capture the essence of excitement from when we initially have an idea and to just let that excitement build our momentum by taking action. I know it doesn't always work that way. Your own compelling why. The why you want to do a certain project or create a certain pattern. That should be enough to follow you through that tough time when you might be facing procrastination. First of all, we are going to work within our limits. This is our very first image that we're going to try and create. I want to do something that is within what I am truly capable of. I like this. This is really simple but yet effective. I just saw something else here. This is so simple, but I think this would be a really good start for me. It is literally a series of dots. I could do that just by dabbing on little bits of masking fluid and see how we go with this one. I might use this as inspiration. These are the materials that I'm going to be using. That really isn't very much. I'm just going to quickly go through them. First of all, is the masking fluid. I actually have two. This one's by Winsor & Newton and the other one's by Daler Rowney. They pretty much work the same. Any masking fluid will do for this exercise. I don't have a preference for either of them. I chose masking fluid for the very nature that it is slightly unpredictable. I can use a certain degree of control. But it's not until you take it off that you really start to gauge where it's worked well and where it hasn't quite adhered to the paper. Next is a pretty basic water color set. This is the Winsor & Newton Cotman. It's just a student's set. For this exercise, I'm literally only going to use one color. Which is indigo, or roughly a version of indigo. I'm going to see how it works with a water color first. In subsequent days, I might see if I can bring in other mediums. But I don't know at this stage. For masking fluid you'll also need a brush that is not good. This is actually my daughter's brush. I haven't told her I'm using it. The nature of masking fluid means that it will be ruined almost. You can wash it off with hot soapy water. But you can see I've already used this brush for masking fluid. I don't need a perfect brush. I also need a large brush to spread on the paint or whatever medium I'm going to use. This has got big nib and I'm not going to be going in very tight. I just want to spread that paint around. Lastly is rubber to take off the masking fluid once it's completely dry. This is the sketch I'm going to be using. I'm going to quickly show you that. This is my messy sketchbook. It is literally cartridge paper. If you've seen my other sketchbook practice classes I do all of my exercises and this is what I use. I'm not going to be precious. You do not have to spend lots of money. I can't make the excuse that my paper was expensive or my materials were expensive. The whole reason I'm doing it in here is to prove to you still create lovely pieces of art with few art materials and not using expensive products. We're going to work small because we want to accomplish something in a relatively short period of time. I'm just going to dip this paint brush straight into there. You have to work really fast because it has a tendency to dry quickly on that brush. Let's start putting some little dots down in a circular pattern. I'm going to start up here. Just teeny weeny dots. Let's see how quickly I can do this. They are not exact and they are not perfect. I'm going to leave a space there because there's going to be some floral shape there and do roughly the same here. As you can see, some blobs are bigger than other blobs and that's absolutely fine. We won't know until we take the whole thing off how it's going to turn out. That's a bit lobsided. But that is going to be fine. The main thing is I am putting this masking fluid down, which is the first step. I think that is enough for now. Now I'm going to do the little floral details, like little petals they look like. I'll try my best using this brush. I might have to change over to something else. I'm not sure. That's not bad. This one's going to have seven petals on it because I didn't judge the distance very well. But that's okay. Although it as stated in the questionnaire that they needed all the right art materials before starting, or it seems that they can only start in ideal conditions. This is a form of procrastination because by waiting for everything to be just right you feel like you have a better chance of succeeding. This again is self-sabotage. I'm going to quickly go and soak this brush in some hot soapy water and let this dry. You can use a hair dryer to speed up the process. But you must make sure it's completely dry. Otherwise, this technique isn't going to work so well. Now I've started mixing up a version of an indigo using the watercolors that I've got. I don't actually think this is going to be quite dark enough for what I want so let's try adding a little bit of this tropic burnt sienna. It's a much more desirable shade. I'll try and mix up as much as I can. We're not trying to create an even texture. Shibori is a bit like deep dyeing so it's not perfect science. I'm not here for perfection either. This is completely dried. I've double checked that. Let's start putting some of this paint down. Again, we're not trying to cover a large area. It's approximately 10 centimeters by maybe 12. I've just realized, I think I might have used this page for wax resist experiment. Well, that's a turn off for the book, isn't it? I wasn't expecting that, but that's fine. Let's just carry on adding a bit more blue because this is a little bit washed out. I might actually have to let it dry and then stick another layer on just because it's not quite as intense as I'd like it. This is now completely dry. You can see that where I've used the hair dryer it's gone off the angles. But that's fine because we're more interested in the textures that we can create from the masking fluid. You can see where it's dry, there is some curly flowering happening there, and that's adding to this textural quality which I really wanted to achieve. I'm going to put another layer on because it's a bit too insipid for me. So let's do that. Later on in the class, I'm going to go into a lot more details of different ways you can assess your after design before, during, and after the creation. But just at this moment, I just wanted to make it darker. We have to make sure it's completely dry. Otherwise we're going to smudge it when we take the masking fluid off. This is where the rubber comes in. Again, this is my daughters. She has said, yes, I can use this. We're just going to rub it out. You can use your fingertips, but it's a lot easier to use a rubber like this. Now that it's dry, I'd really like to assess certain aspects of it. The first question I ask myself is, which part did I enjoy the most? For me, it was actually rubbing it off as always. The areas that I really like looking at is this particular corner where the paint has pulled. It's created all kinds of mysterious things happening in there and I really enjoy that. Also what I like with the masking fluid is it sometimes joins up, so it creates shapes that you weren't even expecting. 17. Day 2: On Day 2, we are going to be looking at unrealistic expectations and try to trust in your capabilities and understand, you are where you are in your journey, but you are going to be making progress by completing this challenge. Throughout today's art-making, give yourself little complements like I really like that area, I really like the way I apply the paint there, just to keep you present and involved with the positive aspect of making your art. Then at the end, compare the results from Day 1. I'm looking at my Pinterest inspiration again. You can create your own board if you want. This pattern here I'm really liking the real unpredictability about it. There's a formality about it but I also like the fact that there's a series of large and small shapes happening there and its in a row. I might recreate that. I know, in the example on Pinterest, it's red, but I'm still wanting to continue with the indigo blue so I'm putting down masking fluid. I think I started off a bit to regular. I'm going to try and make it a bit more irregular and blobby because that's what I'm really liking about that example that I'm seeing. The rim rows that above and below. I'm trying to not have my hand in the way. Let's try something. I like how in the example some of the splotches joined together. So let's try that. When you're viewing this tutorial and the others that are in this section. I don't want you to slavishly copy exactly what I'm doing. Please try to step a tiny bit outside of your comfort zone and create a unique pattern that is something that you're interested in.Fine patterns that appeal to you.You will not go wrong.You will find out something that is a lot more in keeping with your tastes and preferences. Watch this video by all means but please try and do something that would interest you more. That could be good. Carrying on with that thing, you can see where I'm trying new things and it's giving me ideas for other things. I don't know exactly how it's going to turn out and it's absolutely fine. Whatever it turns out, because we're building upon what we know little by little, literally minute by minute in some cases. I think I want dashes down here. Oh, yes. Like that maybe. That could be good and just because I can and I have the space, I'm going to add a row of something rather. Although I hadn't planned out the pattern in my head, I knew from the reference roughly what I was going to do next. It might be a bit scary for you not to have a complete plan.That's why it's important to pause every few minutes and to assess where your piece might need extra work or improve the composition. Because yesterday I had to go over the watercolor twice to get the depth of color. I think I'm going to try gouache and mix it up to quite a thin consistency, but it might give me a little bit more depth of color, I'm not sure. I've not done this, but I'm just going to give it a go and see what happens. Just putting that gouache into a plate, I think this is going to give me a nicer, deeper blue for sure.This is the ultramarine Winsor and Newton designers gouache. But it's not quite indigo enough for me.I'm hoping that by adding a dabbled of black, it's just going to deepen it. Let's see. I think that is definitely going to work a lot better than mine. I might've mixed it up a little bit too much, but I'm just going to apply it. This is definitely dry, she says. Yes, it does look dry. Let's put on that. That's so much better. Isn't it? That's so much deeper.Very nice, but I still want that slightly uneven tone gouache does give a lot more even texture, but I'm just going to mix it up, just the ultramarine on its own and add a bit of that as well. Just to give it contrast so that it's not one color. That's just my thing. Obviously, you can do whatever pleases you. I'm going to give this another dry and then we can peel off that masking glue and see what the results are.Taking the time to let it dry, it gives you a great chance to assess, where you've come at this stage, maybe compared to yesterday and to check in with how your body is feeling and take a chance to stretch and have something to drink. I'm unsure how this is going to turn out, but there's only one way to find out and it is to take it off with the rubber now. There are areas which I'm not sure if I've added a bit too much paint, but let's see.If we ask the same questions again.The thing I enjoyed most, with this particular practice was creating the edges that had the uneven line. I do like the smooth line, but I also think I'd like to explore further if we're using brushes which are going to create marks like that. It's very uneven, but I really am drawn to that texture. The areas that I feel happiest with is the intense indigo, where it's contrasting wonderfully well with the white of the cartridge paper that's showing through and I think that is definitely intensity that I was wanting to achieve. In terms of what idea's it might have given me, is I realized I can achieve quite nice line effect using that paint brush and then another line down here. It is a little bit uneven, but I'm going to look at that for sure and try and incorporate it. I've just done that second image, the second skip. Although I really wanted it to look very similar to the shrubbery indigo dye technique that i saw on Pinterest. I'm using wax resistant. They're using like advanced tie dyeing techniques and it's never going to look the same. Even though I am pleased with the result, it was unrealistic of me to think that I could achieve a very close resemblance to it because I'm using two completely different techniques. But even so, I'm still learning something which is really great from my point of view. 18. Day 3: Now you're almost halfway through the week and maybe your anxiety is still there, try to lean into it. Take a lot of deep breaths. See this anxiety and your fears as a step in the creative journey and the mistakes that you may well be making, are signs that we're all progressing and then compare and contrast the results of the previous days and see how you're fairing. Remember, I was trying to achieve this look here, and then when I scrolled through on Pinterest I really liked this pattern as well, and I'm going to take what I've learned from the last two sessions and create something that is formal, let's say, but informal because I don't want it to be too rigid. That's something that I'm not overly keen on, but it might be something that you like to explore, but I'm going to see what I can achieve with masking fluid and if we can do something similar to that. With the third day of practice, I'm going to be combining dots that I'm quite familiar with, making now with line work. Last time I tried straight lines. This is more curve like a leaf shaped that I'm forming here you can see that the dots are still pretty uneven. That's because the brush that I'm using, the masking fluid is drying on, it is creating this a lot more uneven results. I didn't have a plan for how I was going to create the regularity of the shapes. I didn't have a pencil line there. I know for some of you, it would be quite tricky for you to create a pattern like this without a pencil guide, and if it works for you, that's fine. I don't feel that I need it. Creating art in this, let say freestyle manner might be pretty scary because there is so much that could potentially go wrong. I think every artist at some point will become more comfortable. The Feelings of risk-taking. Remember that a lot of the time you can only create outside of your comfort zones in order to grow and you have to weigh up the cost. Do you want to stay where you are or step outside that comfort zone? Perhaps face failure, perhaps face uncertainty. How much do you really want to live that creative lie? I again, used gouache because I just loved that indigo that was coming through and it was so intense and I didn't have to mix it thoroughly. It might seem that I'm applying the paint quite haphazardly. I think in this instance where we're applying the resist first, the paint is actually secondary and we won't know until that masking fluid comes off, what the effects are going to be and what the results we have to play with. As we had applied that indigo in gouache, I felt that we could play around by adding a bit of water to mess things about a little bit because I felt the point in keeping with the tie-dye she bore that I was seeing. I just took a wet brush and applied it in some places, pushing the paint around. Some areas were bright white and some were more muted, blue-grey almost. Contrasts was mixed up a lot more, and this has a lot more interesting for me anyway. I was really aware of how much I was enjoying this part of the process. I've not at done anything like this before. I was so thrilled with the results I was achieving and I knew that I wanted to explore this a lot more for future practice. Find other ways of utilizing this method. In terms of what I would do slightly different next time pattern I created is a little bit lopsided, so if I had spent maybe just another 30 seconds working out where center of each of that star, then I would have been able to build the shape around it in a much more regular fashion. But I think I can still use this to create a repeat pattern. I think the favorite part for me is the unevenness of that color. It fades in and out and it's so imperfect, and I actually love that aspect of it. 19. Day 4: If you haven't checked in with your accountability partner, this would be a great time to do so and show them what you created over the last few days. Also have a look at what you have created and seek out the small successes. If you do decide to share on social media, explain what you're doing and why it's important for you. The patents that I'm looking at now are a bit more elaborate and I'm wondering if I can achieve some of these cranky weighted tonal, light, and dark shades, I'm not sure if I can pull it off, but I really want to give it a go just to stretch myself a little bit further. I'm still using the same brush, because it still gives me a quite good degree of different thicknesses and textures. I'm creating a lot more elaborate shapes. My competence is growing somewhat, so, I'm creating a lot more elaborate marks. Again, it's freestyle, I'm not going on any guide, I'm just looking at the negative space and seeing where I can fit in some of these barriers circled starburst, let's say, or the two rounds of dots. Creating like this for me comes from quite a few years of practice and now I do it quite intuitively. You may find it a little bit more tricky to get the spacing correct, but even for me, it's quite tricky. Again, I do have paved plan on what I'm doing based on the reference that I've looked at in Pinterest, but we are every day stepping into a little bit more unknown territory, although we're building upon what we did the day before, it is still a risk because I haven't done this before. Let's say you tell your accountability partner the journey that you are trying to make in this week or you post about it on social media, please say, "Give me some grace because I'm trying something new and it's out of my comfort zone, and I'm feeling uncomfortable." I decided to use pretty watered down goulash list so that I had much lighter background, and then on top of that, my intention was to add much more intense layers of blue in certain areas. That was my intention. Again, I haven't done this before and I just had to follow it through. I started adding very thick indigo to the center of the starburst floors I don't know what to call them, just to see if I could build up that color, I found the edges were too harsh, so, I watch it the corners and there is a little bit or flow happening back. At this stage, I thought this is going to be good, this looks actually pretty good. Then I took off the masking theory and I really wasn't very happy with the results. Right. I stopped filming because I am little bit worried about the background color of this experiment that I'm doing. It is really pio and there isn't enough contrast between what the masking fluid was masking and the background. The best thing to do if this happens, is to step away, make yourself a cup of tea, go and do something else for a few minutes. Just step away from your painting, or your sketchbook, or your computer. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but you need to give yourself space to think about it. The worst thing that you can do is to just keep working at it, working at it. That's when a lot of mistakes tend to happen because you are so fixated on sorting it out there and then, taking a deep breath and stepping away, it is still going to be there when you get back [BACKGROUND]. Giving myself that five minute break to decide on the next course of action was really important because I realized that I could still go ahead with that intention. I made the contrast even more noticeable by adding more indigo to the central sections of the starburst, and I felt this was already a much better approach. I let this layer dry and then I assessed it again and I realized that there was too much negative space in the background. So what I decided to do, was to add a simple device that was going to fill it up. I've seen a cross [inaudible] from, I made my miniature Pinterest Research, and I hope this was perfect way to add a bit more interest to that background because it really was looking very plain. So I used my tip pen,its the the geologic mapping pen and just some blue ink that I had. This absolutely was not part of the plan when I set out to do today's piece, I was totally improvising. That break made me realize that I had to fill that negative space up. It's a really tricky decision to make, because either where you don't know if it's going to work out and you really have to accept and lean into that fear of the unknown and have faith that you have the skills to pull this off. Although it might seem like a really simple idea, it just creates a lovely bit of [inaudible] and contrast compared to those larger, loose shapes. These crosses are a bit more geometric and rigid, and also smaller in scale, which is important for creating contrast too. I think overall, I am really quite fond of this piece because of the fact that it went wrong halfway through. I was able to salvage the situation and lessen my panic and anxiety. Think a lot straighter and understand what needs to be done in this situation. I had been sending Nic little reports of what I've been doing, and she was so supportive, and she actually gave me some more words of wisdom. Nic is a really wise lady, and I'm really pleased that she understood that it was a learning experience. It's really important to focus on that aspect of today's creative journey rather than replaying the anxiety in your mind, I consider this quite a big success. We've reached for days now, and I just want to spend a tiny amount of time just to go over what we've achieved, and it is really important to assess what you've accomplished every few days and then you won't lose track of where you've come from and a direction that you're going into, so, he started off very simply here, and we're just building up and building up. It's just the step by step process and a progression that you may not think is happening, but it really is. As I mentioned, I was a little bit concerned about this at one point. However, looking at this now, at whiter interval, I really like this organic look. This is rigid, but there is some flow there, but I'd like to produce something that is a little bit more organic, I think. So that's what I'm going to try and do next, because it's what I'm interested in. You can go off and at your own tangent, there is no right or wrong, gets what you're interested in, is what ideas are presented to you as you move through each stage. 20. Day 5: I'm hoping by day five you are still using the task to stay mindful and to be in a really good head space before you start creating. Is still really important to understand that the process is still very important part of the learning. Even when things go wrong, you can still learn from it. Do you remember to stay calm if anything unexpected happens as you'll see later, and please be mindful of how you view your creative abilities today. The great thing about Pinterest is as you scroll through, it suggests things that are linked with what your search term was. This one here, on this fact and bringing up a little bit closer, is really what I was after. What you just saw me do on day 4, I think I would like to explore a lot more organic line work. I wanted to create more precise line. So I'm actually going to use a dip pen. This is the [inaudible] mapping pen, but any dip pen should do and it's going to be okay as long as you clean that dip pen afterwards. It won't cause too much damage as long as you look after it. I'm just going to create some swells. They just look like random lines at the moment. I did find using this dip pen a little bit clunky and it wasn't quite behaving in the way that I thought it was going to, but I carried on with it, and I think it's still created some nice effects there. At this stage, I thought it would be nice to add different contrast in thickness. I've got a old brush, it was already mattered on one side. I used it to create these swirls to contrast with the thinner inclined. There's quite a lot of texture happening in there. I want to stress that I didn't plan it this way. I just made that decision on the spot. As perfectionists, we tend to focus on the very end results which will happen at some point in the future and forget the process it takes to get there. I made a decision based on what I was seeing. Yes, it is a messy process, but is also incredibly important because it's happening right now in the present. Part of the joy lies in the unexpected, whether happy accidents provide more opportunities. I told you in my younger years I hated uncertainty, but I've since realized that I have to go through this incredibly messy stage where I do not know how it's going to turn out and I get anxious about it like anybody else. But that is totally part of the process and I have to get used to it. I think I might tried doing is mixing these two inks together. I don't know how it will turn out because this is a calligraphy ink and this is Indian ink. The only way to find out is to try it. Let's see what happens. I just used a white rabbit dish to mix up the inks. I didn't water it down. I just had a vague notion of how it would look before applying it to my dry mastering fluid. I think that's a little bit green for my liking. I might have to add a little bit more of the blue, but I don't mind it too much. I used the blue ink straight out of the bottle and it did give a really intense effect. It looks almost a bit like stained glass and I really enjoyed seeing this come to life. As I've been saying, always take time out to assess even if it's only a minute before you start drawing it, because it really is going to help out when you make your next move and you have a better understanding of what needs to be done. My thoughts were the blue just wasn't quite intense enough. It looked a little bit to acquiesce, so I decided to put on another layer of the blue ink before letting it dry again and then cleaning it off. I just wanted to add that after I took that masking fluid off, I was a little bit taken back by how heavy handed or in English we might cat candid it looked, and I was looking for something a lot more refined. But I wouldn't have known, it was going to turn out looking unrefined unless I did it. Going into the next day, I will think of another instrument that I can lay the masking fluid with, something that's going to give me a lot better definition. Even though I wished I hadn't seen it almost, I am glad that it's made me aware that I'm going to have to do something slightly different tomorrow. Let's go through those questions again. Look at this objectively. What did I enjoy most about this was, I didn't know how those two inks were going to work. Although it isn't really indigo, I still love the effects that I've achieved within that. It does have a lot more flow, which is more, I was after. I did think that depend was going to work better, and the brush on itself, it looks a little bit heavy handed. I can still work with this. I don't want to leave it like this. I think we're almost there. What I'm going to do, is add some pen line. If you look at my other skill share classes, I do use a posca pen in some of them, and this is like a paint in a pen and I'm going to use a uni-ball white gel. I just want to pick out some details and add to this decorative fill. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do to it at the moment, but actually I might start with the medium sized posca because that gives me a lot better lines. The thing with posca is, it is co-op fairly uniform, and I'm not necessarily after uniform, not for this practice. Although I wasn't able to recreate exactly what I wanted just using masking fluid, I'm already sensing a much happier version for me now. When I'm working in my sketchbook, a good 80 -90 percent of the time, I am not sure I like what I've done or even hate it, but a good proportion of the time 20 seconds later, I think this is great. What I was doing before just a few minutes ago was to put the white dots in a fairly random areas. As I'm doing it just even in the last minute I am able to asses. I like it more when I group these dots together, I think they are more impactfull like that, so it's no longer come blindly going forward, I'm just hoping that it all works out. There is a slight method to my madness. This is the corner that I started off with, and you can see the dots are fairly random. If I move down to this corner here, they saw I did towards the end, and you can see where even in the last few moments I was thinking hold on, there is so much more effective if I group them together. I'm building upon these random actions. Do you know any theory that you can only learn from doing? The act of courage of putting that posca pen down and not knowing if it's going to work well with the two rounds. Is it going to be balanced composition? It does come with practice, and there will be a point where you know that you have that balance right. I did text Nick, and I showed her what I've done, and I said he was a little bit heavy handed, but she doesn't see the imperfections like I would have done. I think I'm going to give myself a pat on the back because I think, [inaudible] did a good job considering I was a little bit uneasy and unsure part of the way through. 21. Day 6: On day 6, we are going to look at the inner critic and probably know that it is always lurking. It may be really tricky to not let it affect you, but let's try anyway. If they do turn up say, "No thank you, not today." One last thing I'd like to say is please acknowledge any breakthroughs you may have experienced so far. Even though it's only a small thing, it all adds up and it's always a step in the right direction. I'm still in the area of the indigo, but I am exploring more of the Batik, which I've mentioned quite a few times now. It's just something that I'm naturally drawn to. Looking at the the piece that I just created, I think moving on, I would like to try something a bit more elaborate. I know I had issues using the dip pen to create some of these lines. I think next time I'm going to use a different dip pen and see if I can achieve a slightly better result. For example, this is lovely. This is really lovely, but I would need something a lot finer to put down the masking fluid. I think I do want to go down a more floral route, maybe halfway between this one and this one. Let's see how I get on with the dip pen. These are the other two dip pens that I've got. I'm going to give these a go because I was a little bit disappointed. There's nothing wrong with it. I gave it a go, it didn't quite work out so I'm going to try something different and we just building upon the experience and learning from it. This is actually the [inaudible] Let's just give it a go. Let's see if the masking fluid flows out of this one. That is better. I usually find that the [inaudible] for me is a little bit, I have to press down really hard. But for this method it might actually work to my advantage. Look that unfolding creatively or leaf. Let me add a few more. I might actually put the framework in first. I want to point out again, there wasn't any painting line underneath all this, but if you feel the need, you could possibly add a very faint pencil line just as a guide. I really enjoy working like this is very free and I always had the option manipulating things in Photoshop. That's creating this part of the sketch. I was very much in the zone and I wasn't aware of that critical voice at all. Although it had been quite prevalent in the previous days, I think, because I was a lot more comfortable using this technique and a lot more comfortable using this particular dip pen that was working out well for me, it really didn't matter if that critical voice turned up. I think it would have been easy to switch them off. I do feel that we've each passing day, I was becoming a lot more resilient to that inner critic because I was building upon what I already knew. I also want to point out, I do not think I would have been able to use the dip pen like this on my very first day, I had to build it up gradually in order to gain the confidence and to gain the experience. Learning from what I did in previous days, I'm actually going to go back and use the blue ash. I just felt that I could have a bit more control over the shade. Even though I love the vibrancy of this blue it's not quite what I'm after. I'm going to go back and mix some more Indigo. Initially, I mixed paint a little bit to sort of blue gray. I just added in some more of that ultramarine to frighten the alphabet and it gives a lot more of a punch, just applying it pretty loosely with a number 14 brush, so it covers quite a large area quickly. I stop here and I assess it, let it dry, work out what my next move is going to be. I often go and have a cup of tea, and those few minutes that you go away and you come back and take the time to reflect on it really will pay dividends. Just giving yourself that part of your brain timeout is quite crucial, I feel in creating a more successful piece and it will lessen the chance of you overworking. As soon as you think, I'm might be going a bit too far here just step away. As you can see, I decided to add a bit more posco pen work. This time I've decided to use the universal signal white gel pen to add the really fine details. Always I'm trying to find a bit of contrast between thick lines, and thin lines, and uniform lines, and more textured lines. This is something that I personally look for in my work. It might not relate to the way you do your work, but I'm always trying to find ways that interests me that will compel me to finish this piece and take something new from it. I'm so tremendously pleased with this particular part of the sketchbook. It just seemed to go so smoothly. I had found a happy place with the dip pen, the line work just flowed, that critical voice just couldn't turn up because I was having a ball. Next time the critical voice turns up, say, "Remember that piece I did, well, that's pretty good evidence to tell you that I'm a pretty amazing artist. So you can just back-off." I think all of these Indigo sketches would make wonderful repeat patters. I might actually scanned them in and use the offset filter. It should be quite easy. 22. Day 7: So we've reached the last and final day of this project challenge. On this day, it's been great to make a full assessment of everything that you have achieved in the last seven days, including all of the progress that you've made and I'm sure you have. If you seek them out, you will find them, and I'd rather that you concentrated on this, than try to say, "I didn't do that very well." Just say you were challenged by some sections and found them tricky. I really ask you to be kind to yourself when doing this assessment. I know this pen nib works well with the most [inaudible] , I'm going to carry on using that. I do want to do something slightly floral. I am looking at reference and what I like about the reference is, there is a mixture of thick and thin lines. I'm going to go back and use my daughter's brush. Just the stem here. This is the beginning of a flower, actually gets really quite thick towards the bottom. I'm going to try and follow that guide. Actually there's an elaborate leaf which I'm going to try and then add here. What you're seeing me doing is actually a combination of different references that I saw on [inaudible] design. Again, it is completely freehand and it's how I like to work fully here [inaudible]. I am incorporating everything that I've learned over the last seven days. The thicker blobs and the thin line. All about the contrasts that I am particularly interested in, thinking of this last piece as a combination of everything that you've learned in the previous six days. You've taken a step forward every day, perhaps several steps forward every day. You've now reached the stage where you're incredibly confident producing something similar to this, it would be easy to have given up at some point during the previous days. I've learnt from my own dealings with anxiety and insecurity when creating that it's better to stop defining our value by how perfect a piece of art looks. It's so much better if we can re-frame it, by recognizing we have value because we create. What separate artist and designers from those who are successful and those who allow fear to hold them back is the willingness to act, the willingness to create in spite of that fear. The best way to get over that fear is to walk directly into it. On some days it takes an incredible amount of courage. But walking into fear is never as bad as you think is going to be. I wanted to show you a close-up of the brush I was using just in that previous stretcher video. Is actually a brush that masking floaters dried onto it and I left it to dry and I'm now able to use it as an implement like a stick, almost because it is uneven, it gives me slightly uneven stroke. It's worth knowing. Drying stage is a mixture of apprehension and also excitement because I really want to know how it's going to turn out. If it is going to turn out the way I'd hoped and what would I do about it if it didn't. If you haven't done so get up, have a walk around the garden, or something let this dry naturally. Don't be impatient. I really hope by day seven you have relaxed into your practice, and you're really enjoying your 20 minutes that you are with your paint or sketchbook or whatever is happening for you with your project. Is a time to understand that you have reached a point where you have a greater degree of control over what you're doing. That's why I've always been emphasizing from day 2 to day 4, always assess where you've been and where you've come from. Say that you do appreciate that you have made progress. If you have a stretch of seven days, you can chart it from day one. How was I feeling then to day seven. How do I feel about what I'm creating now? You can see that I've been adding more Pascaline work and Joel line for the fine details. I absolutely could not have done this on day two or three because I haven't reached that point yet where I understood that in order to create this kind of decorative context, I had to refine my technique somewhat and also bringing a lot more organic elements that made the line-work flow instead of being so static. Although the slightly geometric patterns have that place, what I really hope to have instilled over the last seven days is you cannot avoid certain situations. Things are going to get blobby, things are going to get messy. Just accept that this is going to happen accept that you have to deal with the mistakes. It's okay to deal with the mistakes because we're learning from them every single time we create and there's nothing wrong with that. It is all part of this grand process and you'll become a better artist from it. I really want to emphasize again, the journey that you have to take, the progress that you make, is all a combination of having to deal with the critical voice, to deal with the judgment that you're expecting to deal with the fear of failure or the other things that we've been talking about. This is the day 7 version. It is the result of lots of creative decisions made over quite a long time. It isn't something that I arrived at immediately. In the majority of cases, creativity is something that is built upon and build upon, and it is better demonstrated like this. If each step represents a day and on each day we created a piece of art, whatever project that you had is something that you build upon and you learn for the next day and you take what you've learned and progress to the next day. Whether it was tricky, whether it was challenging whatever you learned, you have taken it on board. Then when you eventually arrive on step number seven, a few days later, it's been so worthwhile. You probably had to deal with the procrastination to even get to this stage, look at the progress you would have made, its incremental progress, but it is progress and you really have to be proud of what you've achieved because it demonstrates that you have had to deal with the expectations and the fear of failure and the controlling outcomes along with everything else in order to have got to this stage. So that's magnificent.