Live Encore: Find Your Unique Creative Genius | Andy J. Pizza | Skillshare

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Live Encore: Find Your Unique Creative Genius

teacher avatar Andy J. Pizza, Illustrator, Designer & Podcaster

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Starting in the Right Direction


    • 3.

      Trying to “Make It” Too Soon


    • 4.

      Creative Sensibility


    • 5.

      Learning From What You Like


    • 6.

      You on a Plate


    • 7.

      Your Creative Hero on a Plate


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Learn about the importance of creative sensibility—and find your own unique perspective!

Throughout his years of being a successful illustrator and designer, Andy J. Pizza realized that good creative work isn’t about having technical skill, but is more about being able to bring all your experiences and inspirations into what you make. In this 50-minute class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—he shares his philosophy of creative sensibility and gives you some tools for discovering your own creative genius.

First, you’ll hear a little bit of Andy’s story, including some early failures that helped him understand the value of creative sensibility. Next, you’ll explore the creative sensibilities of several successful artists to see how various influences can come together to create a signature style. Finally, Andy will leave you with an activity to start to define your own creative sensibility.

No matter what creative medium you work in, this shift in perspective is bound to benefit you. Plus, this is an exercise you can do over and over again as you grow and change as a creative, so it will be helpful regardless of what stage of the creative journey you’re on. And all you need to participate is a writing utensil and paper, and a willingness to do some introspection and exploration!


While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Andy J. Pizza

Illustrator, Designer & Podcaster


Andy J. Pizza is an artist and designer creating work that is always evolving, but forever rooted in whimsical narrative and modern graphics.

Andy is the creator of the Indie Rock Coloring Book and the daily NOD drawing project, as well as a collaborator of the Color Me _______ Exhibition with Andrew Neyer.

He has worked on projects for Sony, Google, Smart Car, Urban Outfitters, Real Simple, Wired Magazine, Starburst Candy, Brisk Iced Tea, The Economist, Bloomberg, Converse, Yo Gabba Gabba, NYLON Magazine, Little White Lies, Shaun White, and Poketo.

Check out his work here on his website.


Watch the first episode of Unmaking the Myth with Andy below.


See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: It's not technical skill that makes the creative work good. It's something else. If you build your career heading towards technical skill, it's like looking for the Statue of Liberty going West. You're looking at the wrong direction. You're starting in the wrong place. If you do that, you will give up so much sooner or you might never find your creative genius. Hey, I'm Andy J. Pizza, and I'm an illustrator, podcaster, and public speaker. You might have seen my work in The New York Times, The Washington Post, on YouTube, and on Nickelodeon. Today's class is about finding your creative sensibility. I have a strong belief that your creative genius isn't what you can do, but it starts with how deep you can receive the ability of your sensitivity aka your sense-ability. We're going to go into my story to help dive into the philosophy behind why creative sensibility matters and then we're going to do some fun activities to help you start to tap into and unlock your own creative sensibility. This class is for any creative medium, whatever you create, whether it's writing, music, film, illustration. My hope for this class is that you get grounded and headed the right way on your creative journey. I think when you're making creative work, it's easy to feel like you've lost your way, or you're just fumbling through the dark. By starting with creative sensibility, I have a strong belief that you will be headed where you want to go in your creative practice. You might notice me talking about the chat and whatnot, that's because we have opportunity of doing this live and I'm interacting with the audience as we go. All right, let's do this. 2. Starting in the Right Direction: Hi, I am O'Brianna. I use she, her, hers pronouns and I'm a producer on the classes and content team here at Skillshare. So Andy, we are so excited to have you here and I would love to just have you first introduce yourself for those folks who don't know. Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do. Well, I'll tell you a little bit about me. I'm going to tell you a lot about me, actually probably more than you bargained for. I'm going to tell my story because it's so related to the stuff we're going to talk about today. My name is Andy J. Pizza. No, that's not my real name. Why does that matter? Everyone always asks me that question, it's like "Is your real name Pizza?" I'm not on the run from the law or anything. It's okay to have a moniker, if that's your choice. I'm going to tell my story because it links directly to the topic, which is the idea of creative sensibility. I have a philosophy on creativity and it has to do with the idea that great creative work is grounded on the foundation of your sensibility, the ability of your sensitivity. Not so much what you can do, as it is how deeply you receive, how sensitive you are to different things and I want to talk about leading from that because I think your genius hides there and not really in your skill. I think there is all this talk about 10,000 hours and put in the work and I am down with all that stuff. I think that is good stuff. I always say, if I told you to go find the Statue of Liberty and you are in Columbus, Ohio where I am, and you start going west, technically you could go there. You could get there if you just kept moving, you didn't give up. Just put in the work, just put in the 2,000 hours, you will get there, but you're more likely to give up if you start in the wrong direction. I want to talk about the starting block that really unlocked my creativity and that's creative sensibility. I want to just talk about what that means and talk a little bit about how to start unearthing and defining your sensibility. I just want to talk a little bit about how I ended up diving into this topic of creative sensibility and why and how it ended up having such a big impact on my illustration career, in my style, and in most of what I've done since that time. In order to do that, I have got to tell a little bit of my story. So I am going to go back to childhood but I'm not going to stay there long. Don't get like, "Oh God, I can't believe this guy is going back to the womb." I would see how many times I can say womb in this Zoom, Womb-Zoom. Anyway. [inaudible] moist, womb. I'm back, womb. Growing up, I always say that I was a Chaos Muppet. I don't know if you know this, but every Muppet fits into two different categories. When Jim Henson was making The Muppets, which I'm a big fan of, I've got at least three puppets over there, one of which is of myself. It's very weird. But when he was creating them, there's this dichotomy of there's the Order Muppets like Kermit, and then there are the Chaos Muppets like Piggy. They create all the story and I'm a Chaos Muppet. When you're in kindergarten, they love these crazy, if you make the weirdest face, you're the coolest kid in school, you're making cool drawings. You mention show and tell, I'm going to do a show-and-tell. That's actually how I see my profession and early in school, if you're good at show and tell, you're ruling it. But they boil you like a frog, these Chaos Muppets. First, they take away show and tell, then they take away recess, then they take away art, then it's only one day a week or one hour a week. Just as I was growing up in our society, it just became more and more apparent to me that creativity wasn't super valued and I also noticed that people like my mom, people like my close friends, these are creative people and they were desperately trying to not be creative and try to repress who they were as a person and try to just fit in the box and be normal. My mom and I both have ADHD and I watched her try to be a normal waitress, try to be a normal secretary, try to be a normal stay-at-home mom, and she just could not fit that mold and just ended up getting into so much tragedy and so much heartache from just trying to be something that she wasn't. By the time I got to high school, I think as people were saying, "What are you going to do for your career?" I was just like, "Hopefully not have one." If I could not have a job, that would be the best thing that I could do. I just couldn't figure it out and it wasn't until I started discovering alternative culture, things like Modest Mouse and band posters and all these stuff. I started to notice these people that weren't repressing their weirdness, but they were crystallizing it. They were leaning into that diversity of how their DNA works and how their brain works. I think watching my mom just really struggle and watching friends go through super dark times as they graduated high school, I think at that point I knew normal is trying to succeed at normal. I'm not even going to give that a shot because that's a failing path. I can see the end of that path, it's not going to be good for me. I fell in love with these band posters and they were illustrated and designed and they were these people that had really found their creative identity and were able to channel that into this creative work and they built a career around that and so I thought, all right, that's my best bet. I've got to bet on this weirdness and try to see if I can codify it and download it and be specific with it and figure out how do I get it into my creative work. 3. Trying to “Make It” Too Soon: First, let me tell you about what happens when you get your dream opportunities before you found your creative sensibility. When I went to college, I went in the UK and I went for illustration and design. I started that process by saying, I want to find my style while I'm here. I want to find what my work is going to be about. I was met with just that overlay, mysterious point of view that you see in creativity so often, which was you don't find your style, your style finds you. You can't control it if you're lucky to be one of the people who the gods of creativity gift a style then great, then you'll have it, but otherwise just forget it like you don't have a chance. I think that so deflated my passion and path to find myself as a creative that I think I just gave up. I just decided, I noticed I didn't know it at the time. But looking back, I can see that I was looking for shortcuts to a career, and I was just just banking on trends. You know what I mean? I think a lot of creative people get in the zone where they're just like, what's cool right now, how can I be part of that and whatever? Again, it was a weird attempt to be normal in the creative world. It was still not crystallizing myself. It still wasn't leaning into my weirdness and what made me different. I looked at that maze of finding myself, in finding myself in my work. I just thought in the chat you can tell me, I don't know if this is out of touch or what, but Super Mario Brothers 3, anybody played that? Or Briana, do you play that? No, I always just watch my friends playing video games. But yes, Francoise, Sarah [inaudible] I think it's my favorite Mario. I'm not 100 percent sure. If you are familiar, if you're not, I'll break it down. It's really, it's complicated idea. In that game there's this thing called a warp whistle. If you combine enough warp whistles, you can go on YouTube right now and see like speed runs of the game of people that got like three warp whistles, put them together in the right way you can skip all the levels and get to the end boss like really fast. I think in my mind, I was thinking, how do I use marketing or how do I get some hype or something to just be my creative career warp whistle and just skip to the creative Bowser, my dream client. This is where show and tell comes in. This is what I made. It's called the Indie Rock Coloring Book and I still like it. It's not that I hate this thing, but there was a lot of this kind of busy line work thing that was happening back in 2008 and I just jumped on the bandwagon, to be honest. It's a confession actually. It resonated with me, but it wasn't really me putting myself into the work. I created this project in college and ended up being a published book, and it took off. That was great and I thought amazing. A year out of college on the back of that stuff, I got an opportunity, which was my dream opportunity, it was to do illustration, to be animated on Nickelodeon. I was just like the warp whistle worked. I'm at Bowser, I've kicked this thing's ass and I'm ready to roll. I just gave that job every single thing that I had, every trick in my book, except I hadn't been making illustration that long, so I didn't have many tricks in my book. I often say it's like using every trick up my sleeve. Now, the magicians pulling the tissues out, but I didn't have that many tissues because I didn't have any tricks, so just like one tissue up my sleeve. Very small sleeve. If you have one tissue up your sleeve, it's not magic, it's just gross. I gave it everything I could. I sent over these final illustrations to this show at Nickelodeon and they replied really fast. This is what they said about my finals. They said, "Rough drafts look okay. Looking forward to seeing how it shapes up in the finals." Oh, God. That's a nightmare. We were eating pizza. We were eating homemade pizza when I got that email and I couldn't eat it, not kidding. I was like, I don't know how many of you shout out who's from the Midwest. We have a patron saint of the Midwest named Slim Shady, and he says, "You only get one shot. Do not miss your chance to blow," and I blew it. I don't really understand his lyrics. He said, I'm supposed to blow, I don't get it. Mom's spaghetti. Yeah, something about spaghetti, but I I had that opportunity. I couldn't even think of how to make that illustration better. I just said, "Those are the finals." It was a freaking disaster. That was right out of college. Long story short, I hit rock bottom, I gave up creativity. I took down my illustration portfolio, like my career after the hype of the Indie Rock Coloring Book dried up. All my clients dried up and I had to just go get a job and it was dark times. For a while I just thought I'm not going to be a creative. I'm just going to do something different. At some point through a series of all kinds of events, I ended up giving it another shot. 4. Creative Sensibility: Now let's talk about the difference between skilled creatives and creatives that have really tapped into their genius because there is a big difference. This gets to the freaking point that we're here today to talk about. There's a video circulating at the time by Ira Glass, The Gap video. He says that everybody gets into creative work because they have good taste, and I want to come back to that, but then he says that the problem is they start making work, and that same good taste that got them into it is telling them what you're making is terrible, you know because you have good taste, and so most people quit there. He said that the great creatives, they're the people that bridge the gap between their taste and their work, they stay making long enough for their work to catch up to their taste. The point of that video, and I think the takeaway that most people got, and it's not a bad takeaway, is that you've got to do the work, you've got to put in the time, and I think that is true. You do need to develop your craft, but the thing that rocked me was everybody gets into creative work because they have good taste, and I remember when he said that, I remember thinking, what? I've never heard anybody say that, that's not a given. Even that idea alone, I was like, do you know what I mean O'Brianna? That's not an accepted idea. No, yeah, no, definitely not. I would argue some creatives have bad taste even, but like to them, it's good. Anyway, I heard that, and I remember thinking, what the heck, and then that combined with this time, I'm a huge fan of celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay. I have a theory that maybe, well, I'm not going to go there. You can't. You can't do that. He's got a lot of like ADHD energy, and I really like that. But anyway, he's on a talk show, someone asked him, "What do you look for in a young chef that makes you certain that they have potential?" I thought he was going to say something about skill. I thought he was going to say something about putting the 10,000 hours, and like they cook a steak to perfection, they have knife skills, they plate things well. I thought it was going to be something like that, and he said, "I look for people with great taste because I they can't taste the difference between good food, and bad food, they have no chance." I started just like thinking about this idea, and that's what we're going to talk about today. I talk about taste through the lens of sensibility, the ability of your senses. I'll get back to what he was saying. He's saying that the genius of your creativity doesn't start in what you can do but in the depth of which you can receive. The intuition that guides your creativity, it starts with how deep can you receive things, how nuanced is your palate? So when I work with creative people, I'm always saying, what are the things that hit you on the deepest level? Because that's saying something about your sensitivity, and that sensitivity is what informs your ability, not your sensibility, and to give you an idea of what I mean by that, we all have the Uncle Roger who can play Stairway to Heaven backwards with his toes, and he's put in the hours. He's done the 10,000 hours, he's put in the work but why does nobody want to hear him play? I'm sorry Uncle Roger, and everybody is mad at me now, defending Uncle Roger, he's not even real, I don't have an Uncle Roger but you know what I'm saying. It's not technical skill that makes the creative work good, it's something else, and if you build your career heading towards technical skill, it's like looking for the Statue of Liberty going west, it's like you're looking the wrong direction, you're starting in the wrong place, and if you do that, you will give up so much sooner or you might never find your creative genius. Absolutely. It's like if you don't explore that, you don't really know the true north that you're even working towards, and so how could you have the tools to work towards it? Yeah, it's this like unwritten, invisible foundation that's really important. I think it's even more than that because there's a thing that happens when you have that sensitivity. You can taste the food, and you can actually say, "I know the ingredients." I can reverse the mechanics of how this happened in my mouth but the same thing happens with illustration. The people with an eye for pictures or an ear for music, they can hear a song on the radio, and they can say, "I know why that sounds like it's radio ready." I can reverse engineer it because of that sensitive palette, and if you don't have that palette, you're not going to be able to have that informed intuition. What we're looking for is where is your sensitivity? That is where you can build an intuition that will guide your creative work. 5. Learning From What You Like: Next, let's see what happens when I found my own creative sensibility. I'll just finish my story real quick and then we're going to do something. In that time when I gave up creative work, I don't know if it was those videos or not but I'd also heard a few of my favorite artists like, they're always talking about the formative creative things, the things that got them into art and how that impacted them in. I had just these little hints of maybe I'll just look at what do I like? It's an act of faith because there's a part of you start looking at the things that hit you in the most deep ways and looking at that sensitivity. It's an act of faith to say there's a reason why. It's not just I like. For instance, I started collecting all of my favorite illustrators, even movies, TV, music, everything. I started collecting these in little folders on my desktop. It was an act of faith of like something is here, I don't know what it is. It's things like I like when there's eyes in a tree trunk in a drawing. At first, you're like there's no reason, it's just cool. You just feel like it's cool. But I implore you to take that seriously and dive deep into it. This is what I did, this is stuff I started collecting in these folders, things like Orko from He-Man and then the Shy Guy back to Mario Brothers, and these middle illustration, the line work is from The Little Prince. The book The Little Prince was my favorite book. Dr. Seuss is on the right here. At first I didn't see it but then eventually I started noticing there's hiding in all of them. There's the every single page I'm going to go to. I'll show you this real quick. This is one of the things, this is one of my formative obsessions. Yeah. This page from Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss. Yeah. I just remember I pinpointed in my past, staring at that page as a kid and just being like, what is a vug? It says there's a vug under the rug and I remember just being like, what is that? Look at the kid he's like, ''What? No.'' I remember just looking at that and then I started reverse engineering the mechanics of. They're exploring the space between the words and the pictures. They're playing on that, and lots of the stuff I liked in illustration it was using the space in between words and pictures to revoke a feeling, to hit that sensitivity. That's why I was feeling that. Anyway, I started making a bunch of stuff that was inspired by this list, stuff that was hidden. This is the project I did. In this, you're going to see a lot of these hiding characters, these characters in masks. I was just exploring all of the pattern that I was finding in that work. I did that project. I was working on that. I did a new character every weekday for a year. We had this other, I had another project that I started. We ended up going to New York and we did an art show. We met a bunch of my creative heroes, it was really awesome. Then these three people came from Nickelodeon. Shortly after that I got an email and they were like, we love your characters. We want you to do some illustrations for our channel to be animated on our channel. Brian, did not remember you from. It was different people and it was years later. You were a different person. I was a different person. That is true. I made all my final illustrations, did every trick in the book and send them over. I don't remember exactly what they said, but I know that it was something like, ''Can we please have more?'' They loved it so much. They ended up hiring me like 15 times after that and Nickelodeon, the client that was almost my undoing, became the client that I built my freelance career on after finding my sensibility and actually putting in that work to get there. What did I learn from this process? The first thing I learned is the most important. Eminem is a liar. See he says you only get one shot and that's just not true people. I got another shot and you can too, have some of the grace for yourself. The other thing is this, do unto others idea. At the bottom of this sensibility thing. If you want to do the Buddhist way, there's a comedian and Buddhist master, Garry Shandling says, ''Give what you didn't get.'' It's just this idea that tapping into that sensitivity of what do I like in creative work? What does it for me? If you go down that road long enough, eventually no one will be making creative work that is exactly your thing. Exactly your flavor, and then you go make that work. That ends up unlocking your best stuff. That's my story. Yeah. I love that. Let's get to some of the activities. Yeah, totally because all of this is great, but it seems like I love the way that you talk about sense ability. It takes out this whole idea of like good taste, bad taste. No, it's just like what lights up your palate? That can be such a weird idiosyncratic thing. Yes. This so unique to you and that's the magic. These exercises, how do you find those things? Yeah, and I love that because that's actually why I quit using the word taste and started to use the word sensibility because I actually don't believe. Gordon Ramsay has a similar career to Guy Fieri and I'm assuming that Guy's taste isn't considered good taste. But what he does do is he leans into his point of view, his sensibility. He knows it. He knows what he's looking for in a nacho cheese hamburger, you know what I'm saying? It's not about right or wrong, it's not good or bad. It's about leaning into your sensibility and building from there. Let's get to some activities. 6. You on a Plate: Now let's talk about a structure I call You on a Plate, which will help you dive into your own pieces that make up your creative sensibility and the sensibility of your creative heroes. This is what we're going to talk about. We are going to start talking about your sensibility and your creative taste. This is the food pyramid that makes up that sensitivity. This is like all the different parts of your creative tongue. We've got guilty pleasures at the top. By the way, when I say guilty pleasure, I don't actually want you to feel guilty. It's just stuff that maybe you just have a weird thing for and other people don't get it, but you're proud of it. I want you to wave that high. I did my lift and my guilty pleasure on the project that I talked about, the new character every weekday for a year. I think the influence that was maybe the guilty pleasure there was Pokemon. I have hundreds of characters. There's just something, I think it's a neurodiversity thing. I just like personalities. I like infinite combinations. I loved the episodes of X-Men where it was multi universes coming together with the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man universe. It was like thousands of characters. I always liked that. So my guilty pleasures, I have Pokemon. New stuff, that's stuff that you're inspired by that's happening right now. I like the food pyramid saying that's not a huge portion. That was me with the Indie Rock Coloring Book. I was too inspired by the trends of the time and it ended up becoming fluffy because of that, because I was missing all these other pieces. Old and obscure stuff. That's the heroes from yesteryear; just the things from a long time ago that do it for you. For me that's Fraggle Rock, Jim Henson, that kind of stuff. That was stuff I put on my board, Dr. Seuss. Other mediums, this is a really good one. Some of my favorite inspiration has come from making a synaesthetic leap, meaning, what would that sound look like if I drew it? Sometimes, before I make an illustration, I'll create a playlist and I'll say this is how I want my illustration to sound. You see that little weird nonsensical leap, feels ever so slightly poetic and also just stupid, but that's what I like. How do you get inspired that? Surrealist photography, I'll take a little bit more liberally from that influence because it's a different medium. I think, actually, you can be a little bit more liberal when you're making that leap. Acquired tastes are really interesting. I think that's an interesting side of your sensibility, is that your sensitivity and your senses and your palate develops over time. One of the things I put in this category is Moomin. Probably, I'm guessing not the full class knows that what Moomin is. Let me show you really quick. Moomin, let's see. That's Moomin. I know you can't see it very well. [inaudible] screen. What a cutie. That's Moomin. That's the Moomin house. We've got some Moomin stands in the chat. There's a Moomin crew. I didn't discover it until I was living in England and my wife showed me the TV series from back in the day, and Tove Jansson. I just fell in love with all of her work and all the Moomin stuff, so that was later acquired. Then real life, that's the lion share, that's where you should be drawing the most influence, is stuff that's actually happening to you. One of the things I think a lot about is ADHD and neurodiversity. That daily drawing project I did turned into this poster back here, which you can't see very well, called Invisible Things. I just love a cast of characters. I think, even growing up, I was always trying to convince my corporate dad and step mom, "Not everybody's the same, man." We can't all just do that. We can't just all work at McDonald's and work your way up the corporate ladder. Anyway, I'm working out my therapy here. But your real life, how do you tap into that stuff? You guys want to play a game? Yes. Okay. Get ready. All right. We're going to do this activity called You on a Plate. It's inspired by Gordon Ramsay, one of my taste heroes where I learned some of these ideas. One of the things he always says when he's defining someone's sensibility, when he's defining someone's creative influence pyramid, when they make a dish that's really them, that really embodies their creative identity, he says, "That is you on a plate." If it's someone from the South and they've elevated biscuits and gravy to meet their New York taste because they moved to the city, that is you on a plate. Yeah, I love biscuits and gravy. There's actually a place locally that does elevate it. It's weird and it's really fantastic. But he'll say that's you on a plate. So we're going to look at a few plates that take these categories, and they're artists that are well-known in the design illustration world. We're going to see who can guess it. Guess who this is on a plate. Are you ready? Ready. I'm really afraid that I'm going to reveal it on accident clicking too many times. Here's one. Okay. I did it. Guilty pleasure of this artist is garage sales. This is one of their inspirations. The new artist that I've heard them talk about a lot is Hellcats, which they make a bunch of design ephemera. They make great stuff. Old influence, Paul Rand. Flaming lips, big fan. Thick lines, this is something that ends up becoming a huge thing for this person, and snowboarding culture. Who is it? There it is. Aaron Draplin. That's Aaron Draplin on a plate, ladies and gentlemen. All right. One more we're going to do, and then we're going to do one together [inaudible]. It is amazing how quickly you can get it, from none of his work is any one of these things, but that is him. That is Draplin. That's what I love about this little game, is you just start to notice like, that's what I'm aspiring for. I'm aspiring for people to see my plate and be like, I know who that is. I know this person. One of the things I'll always work on if I'm working with a creative person is, if I meet them and they're just completely different than their portfolio. If meeting them doesn't feel like looking at their portfolio, there's an issue, there's a gap. That's what this is all about. Are you ready for number 2? Yeah. We are ready. Trigger happy. I'm afraid I'm going to hit it twice. Okay. I swore on that on, I'm sorry. I hope nobody's disappointed in me. Guilty pleasure is pretty shit. That's their words, not mine. I'm not demeaning this person. They've recently been doing a lot of stuff with a friend of mine, Ade Hogue, who is a relatively new to the game lettering artist, who also has a Skillshare class. Then Louise Fili for older work. Other mediums, coding, which is a pretty interesting thing to be inspired by from this type of creative work. Acquired tastes, letterpress. They got into letterpress real hard, got their own machine. That ended up becoming a big thing. Then this is also kind of an acquired taste, I guess, because it happened later in the work, but being a parent ended up becoming a big influence to this person's work. It is Jessica Hische. Okay. That's the game. Now, I thought, if we have time, we must pull out one together. 7. Your Creative Hero on a Plate: Now in real-time, let's try to describe the sensibility of illustrator and fine artist Lisa Congdon, so that you can see the thinking behind how you find these pieces for your heroes. Okay. So let's do this. Does everybody know who Lisa Congdon is? For those who don't, what's the two seconds summary? Lisa is a friend of mine and so inspiring. She's been on my podcast a bunch of times and I love her work. She's an illustrator, she's a designer, she's a fine artist. Now she's into ceramics, and she's just a creative powerhouse who got into creativity a little bit later in life. I think started her art practice when she was 40, but now she's ruling the world in creativity, and she's just the sweetest person. She gives away so much information about making it as a creative person, and she just makes really gorgeous work. Okay. Should we get started? Yeah, awesome. Guilty pleasure. I have some answers, I have some ideas, but maybe people want to chime in of like, what do you think is a thing that inspires Lisa for those of you who are fans, that is maybe, I don't know, not high art, we'll say. Yeah. Okay. Erasers. Erasers. Yeah, you're right. Totally. Magic Kingdom. I don't know that. But Disney place? Yeah. Guilty pleasure for fun. All right. I'm going to do that. Erasers. Then I put in that same idea, is things organized neatly. She has a whole book about that and it's just her collections, and it's her taking these flat lay things where she's organizing a bunch of different things and erasers are one of those things. What is that? Anyway, well, let's talk about that for a minute. It's my damn show, I'll say something. So I was thinking how it's so interesting, a lot of her pieces of work actually look like those flat lays. There's equal space between things and there's a direct correlation there that she's inspired by these weird things that seem unrelated and seem like, you like things neat. It gives us the essence. It does. That's something about her and usually transfer over into here work, which is really cool. All right. New stuff. Quilting is something that she has been talking a lot about. I'm going to put that maybe in another category. But any artists that you've heard her talk about that are still practicing? This one's a little trickier. People are stumped. We'll move on. I've heard her talk a lot about Geoff McFetridge, we're both fans, illustrator designer in LA. I think there's a good influence there. Okay, old stuff. Come on. Mary Blair [inaudible] There you go. Also, Alexander Gerard, but Mary Blair has a big influence. Again, like I think there's something powerful about reaching into the past. Even in terms of fashion, you see how things just come back around and part of that sensitivity becomes a metal detector for like, what's old stuff that is going to resonate now and how do you pull inspiration from that? I think that she did that in a huge way. I feel like Mary Blair was a lot more unknown in modern taste before she was really inspired by her. Do you know Mary Blair, O'brianna? Oh, gosh. Come on. Are you cool? That's not what I'm saying. Should I lie? No, Mary Blair did all this work for Disney. Someone chimed in. A lot of the concept art for things like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. You ever seen paintings of Alice in Wonderland in olden books? Yeah. That's usually Mary Blair, and Small World, yeah, she designed It's a Small World. Oh, wow, that's haunting. I was obsessed with that, yeah. It is haunting, but I was obsessed with that and Mary Blair is a big influence on me, anyway. Well, that also picked up on your cast of characters, hidden. Definitely, I love that. Yeah, there was a crocodile that has a little umbrella that's standing in the rain and I just was like, whoa, I love that. Or maybe that's where my umbrella character came from. I don't know. The It's a Small World crocodile. Other mediums. This one was hard for her because she works in so many mediums now. Collage, yeah. I'm going to put one from earlier, which is quilts. Back on her Pinterest board, which I recommend we do this in the class, create Pinterest boards in these categories. In my Skillshare style class, we go through that. But back in the day she's got quilts on there, and yeah, she's making them now, ceramics. Before she was tapping into that stuff, she was pulling influence from these other mediums. Acquired tastes. I didn't have one for this, so I don't know if anybody has it. Is there anything that you know that she just got into? Biking. Yeah, that's a good one. I'm going to put biking over here because biking has been a big thing to her. She's designed jerseys, they're called, I believe, for cyclists, and that's filtered into a lot of her work lately. She's done a lot of LGBTQ stuff. She does a lot of work that's inspired by starting late in life. She's done a whole book about it, she does profiles, and illustrations, and portraits of people that have also done that, and that's all stuff in this category. You could have put quilts in there because quilts is a thing that she's been really into now. Then just because I have to complete it, we'll put the sculpture over there. I love it. Yeah. It's not like a math problem where there's a single right answers, it's always evolving too, and I'm sure always adding too, and if we did, it's valuable to do it maybe even first with someone who's your creative hero. Yeah. Then with yourself, there's probably a lot more there to excavate, I would imagine. Yes, I did this not just for this, but we did a similar thing for the class and having to name your influences and your favorite people, you get so much from it. Austin Kleon has a thing where he does a family tree of his influences, which is really cool as well. But yeah, I highly recommend doing that for heroes and then doing it for yourself. 8. Q&A: Now let's open it up for some questions from the audience. This is going back to your story of your work evolution, but how in the world did you harness your ADHD well enough to commit to that daily drawing project? Go for it. Fantastic question. Actually, one of the things I talk about a lot is the Joseph Campbell quote that, "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." For the longest time, I was afraid to get diagnosed. I actually thought I was ADHD in high school. I think a lot of people when they're struggling and they know they're different in some way. The cave you fear to enter is your shadow self. It's a part of you that you don't want to look at and see. When I really realized I have ADHD and I need to go to the doctor and talk about it. I need to look into this. What ends up happening when you bring that out into the light, is that you can understand it, you can grapple with it and you can work with it. Really so much of what I do is my hacking my ADHD brain, because I know how it works now. One of the things I know is that I don't have any executive, I have virtually no executive function, which just means the parent part of my brain loses to the toddler pretty much always. Which in another way of saying ADHD is just a terrible person. They don't want to do responsibilities. They don't get any satisfaction from completing a task just because they completed it, which has a normal function of a brain. What I just learned is I have to try to make everything I have to do what I want to do. When it comes to picking a project, yes I would be strategic about it, yes I tried to build in purpose and all that, but the number one thing, this is something that Kate Bingaman Burke says, thinks she's also a skill share class teacher. She's a friend of mine, she's amazing. She did a creative morning talk about this and she said, "Never do a personal project that you don't have to do." Like I had to do that once I had put all this research down and I started making these connections and I started seeing the stuff that I was interested in. I had to do it in that day 260, because I did every week day, not every day. Day 260 I was like, "I could do this forever." It hit like, "This is just me, man." I think that's the key, is like Jerry Seinfeld calls at figuring out what kind of chuck you are. [inaudible] chuck would. What do you Chuck? He says, "Is like he's a joke truck." He just does it. It's a function. He makes jokes. I think that a lot of this is about that. What's your automatic function? That's awesome. One more question. I have one more and then don't even worry, will be done. All right. But that's such a good one. This was from early on to, but would your taste in your work not both change over time? Is this an exercise that you repeat often? Yeah, absolutely. I actually do this at least once a week. Not the whole thing, but I'm always compiling on Pinterest, I have my own personal mood boards, a lot are not public because they're ugly and they're chaotic and crazy. I'm always compiling. Not only do you change and do you acquire new tastes, but you're also, in my opinion an infinite being of consciousness, which the layers go down never ending. You will never get to the bottom of this search. You are always going to be finding out a new thing, a new memory, a new passion, another layer. To me, this is your sensibility is a work in progress. It's a living document for ever. That means all this processes is evergreen. I think once you get some of these tools, you can actually just make it a part of your process. When you're making stuff, let me touch base with my sensibility. Make sure I'm not designing a t-shirt that I want to draw but wouldn't wear. That's how I go into, it as when I design a beer can a few weeks ago, the temptation is to just start drawing. But instead I try to land in a place of what beer I want to grab off the shelf? What's not there? How can I critique what's there with my own taste of like, "I wish there was this beer. I wish it looked like that. Why doesn't a beer can look like that?" I don't know if is was asked to talk about beer. I don't know. I'm always in trouble. My vision is we have Andy live where every time you quote some other inspiring person, everybody drinks from that beer. [inaudible] That's happy hour version. Yeah. Okay. Awesome. 9. Final Thoughts: Hey. Thanks for joining me on this creative journey. I hope that this class has helped you take off the burden of impressing people with your creative skill, and has emboldened you to go out there and create what you wish existed. Also I want to leave you with some homework, but don't worry, it's the good kind of homework. When your teacher was like, "Draw your favorite cartoon," that kind of homework. Check out the class resources, find that you want to play, Instagram Stories template, fill it out, and show the world your creative sensibility. Let's keep this family style. We might want to share things from different plates. Put your play into the Project Gallery so all the other students can check out what's inspiring you. I'm going to share mine, which is this right here. This is one I made. Guilty pleaseure: Pokemon. New stuff, I've been really digging this David Shrigley, Old stuff: Fraggle's. Barbara Hepworth for other mediums, Moomin and My ADHD. If you want to dive deeper into finding your creative identity, we have a class about finding your style with five other exercises. Go check it out on my Skillshare profile now. All right. Thanks, everybody. Stay pepped up.