Hopefully these images of my process encourage you to share yours. One thing I've learned is that some of the best ideas + breakthroughs come from sharing your process with others.
STEP 01: Print the last 50 pictures/screengrabs that you've taken for your eyes only.
There are a lot of pictures of architecture. Being in Chicago, it shouldn't be a surprise. It's just not something I would have expected. It will be interesting to dive in to what that means. The rest is a mix of food, flowers, illustrations, snarky sayings, hand lettering, and inspirational quotes.
STEP 02: The last 15 people [who weren't friends/family] that you followed for inspiration + their attributes
A majority of the folks I followed were creative types, community builders, or storytellers - or a combo of the three. Some of the words I saw repeated were creative, illustration, storyteller, vulnerable, hopeful, fun... there are definitely some patterns here!
STEP 03: CALL YOUR MOM! Ask her to tell you stories about when you were little...
Oh man. My mom and I were in tears at one point laughing at how uncoordinated I was as a kid. My dear friend, Laura, would take me to the nurse's office every single day in elementary school because I'd trip over my own feet. I forever had bandaids on both knees. I just never stopped growing. Since my body was always changing, I could never get used to it. Thus constant bumps & bruises. :)
Creativity was always a part of my childhood. It ran in my family. My mom would always catch me red-handed taking supplies out of her craft cabinet without asking. Once I made a marionette puppet from found materials at home after my parents wouldn't buy one for me at a carnival. I went downstairs and worked on it for a few hours until I was done. I must have been 8 or 9 years old.
STEP 04: Find Hidden Treasure!
I narrowed down my selection to a stack of books:
All of them are great books, but the quote on the back of The Great Discontent magazine really caught me:
"Hustle is the dark horse of creativity, the close cousin of grit and tenacity. Without the hustle, drive, and complete devotion to making things happen, you are average" - Rebecca Rebouche, p 150
It reminded me of the stories my mom told me about how I'd get really focused on projects and see them through as a kid. So I thumbed through and landed on the interview with Dana Tanamachi.
I LOVE what she had to say about how community and relationships are important - more important than the work itself. How calling things out in other people is a gift and we should all do it more often. Making sure to incorporate play into your life - not everything has to be a demanding project.
--------------------------END OF PLAY EXERCISES------------------------------
Now to focus...
I'm letting my groupings breathe a bit on the wall in my hallway, but this is where they are at this point.
Group 01: Community
This idea that sharing stories, encouraging each other, and sharing all of this over a meal really resonates with me. It's not a new idea - for sure - but how often do we press pause on our busy lives and sit around a table with those we care about to really dig deep into each others' stories? Not often enough.
Group 02: Play
Something I've noticed about myself is that I can often get too wrapped up and TOO serious about the work that I'm doing. In the last few years, I've started to incorporate play into my process. Allowing myself to mess around with crayons or only using a pen - no eraser - forcing me to embrace the mistakes :)
It stems from starting to take artist dates when I was reading the Artists Way with a group. Even if you don't read the book, I'd highly recommend taking yourself on a date to do something that brings you joy :) Walking through the city, getting a fancy coffee, and taking a bike ride are some of my favorites.
Group 03: Appreciation of Craftsmanship/Detail
I've always loved the older architecture that I stumble across in the city. My favorite block in Chicago is where the Bloomindales is located [off of Wabash and Ontario]. Behind the Bloomindale's building is a smaller building with lots of charm and a cute bakery and antique housewares shop. I was so curious as to what it was before that I looked it up. To my surprise, it used to be an artist colony!
Part of why I love the old architecture is the care that's put into every detail. Things just aren't made that way anymore. The apartment I live in was built in 1895 and I love to wonder about how things were back then.
Detail takes time and care - something that isn't as valued these days.
Group 04: My process [?]
These last two groupings are still a bit of a question mark for me. I'm trying to see how they fit or make sense with the others.
In the image above, I started grouping how I've felt about my process lately. It represents how I feel about my current projects and where I'm at. Still on a journey, trying to make stuff, finding that I'm taking a lot of time to think about what my next steps are - mainly by myself. Hoping that things start to come together into a more focused beam like Elle talks about. Taking courage from the 'anonymity' quote from Dana Tanamachi that I have nothing to lose as I try things - even if I fail.
Group 05: Admiration [?]
Most of the cards in this grouping is work I admire. My main expression of creativity is drawing and I really like the shapes and work in this grouping. I'm half tempted to combine some of this with the 'fun' group and the other part of it with the 'detail' group. Maybe one or two with the community group.
I guess the main thread I was seeing here was work that I'm attracted to. I follow a lot of illustrators, both on instagram and twitter. Most of them are character designers, but there are others that illustrate for publications, books, and music.
Writing this out was really helpful. It forced me to put my thoughts into words - bringing a few new ideas to mind. I'm going to keep simmering on this over the weekend and see if anything else comes to the surface.
If any of you see any patterns, feel free to share your thoughts below! Sometimes it's hard to see things clearly when I'm so close to the work. :)
Now I'm finally ready to list out the four groups from the five I had before. It took me a while to re-assign some of the pieces and I still think some of them could be different, but I've decided to stick with what I have and post. :)
In order from the one that is most meaningful right now to the one that is least meaningful. [Though even the last one has to mean something if it made the cut :P ]
Group 01: Community
This one didn't change a whole lot, but there were a few more pieces added. I actually sat down with two friends over the weekend and put a date on the calendar to get some creative ladies together to start building a little community of support. I'm super excited!! I'm in charge of drinks and discussion - hopefully one helps the other :)
Group 02: Play
This one didn't change too much either. Play is important! Finding things to laugh at [including myself] really help brighten my day.
Group 03: Process
As I took some more time to think about this grouping, I realized that it described my thought process a bit more. I think that I tend to be a little more detailed in the idea/planning stage than I am in the actual production of a piece. The detailed architecture and drawings threw me off a bit :)
Group 04: Learn/growth [?]
I may have moved some cards away from this grouping. After letting the groups breathe for a few weeks, I realized this group spoke more toward things I want to learn or am in process of learning.
All that's left now is to create the piece from my cards. Hopefully I'll get started on it this week. I'll definitely post here once it's finished!
If you haven't posted your work in this process, would you? You have no idea who you may encourage or help by sharing your own story. I look forward to reading more stories as they go up! :)