10 Golden Rules
I read a few of hers and, before continuing, decided to first of all write down my own rules that help me stay focused. After quickly scribbling more than ten ideas, that came to my mind, I went back to Katherine’s blog to see what else I could learn.
I’m not a proper artist, i.e. that’s not what I do for a living. I can find time for this hobby only occasionally, so most of my rules are designed to help me save time. There’s nothing about marketing or exhibitions, that’s why I recommend you read the original set published on Making a Mark as well and only then create your golden ten.
So this is what my original quick ideas turned into…
10 Golden Rules for Busy Artists & Other Creative Individuals
1. If possible start in the morning. An early bird catches the worm, right? I know that I am most active and productive in the mornings. An early start also gives me a massive advantage – bright natural light.
2. Have everything at hand. I’d say studio is a must, but even a little corner, where you can keep all of your materials will do. The less time you spend looking for a particular pencil, tube of paint or scissors, the better. Ideas do turn up without a warning and reacting to them immediately increases the chance of success.
3. Dedicate time and stay focused. Forget everything around you, allocate at least a few hours and work. You can use anything that makes your creative juices flow – for e.g. if music helps, have it playing in the background, yet I say a strong “NO” to phones and computers.
4. Use quality materials. There’s nothing more annoying than a hard eraser that’s likely to simply tear a hole in the paper or gouache that falls of in bits once it starts drying.
5. Clean up after you’ve finished. I know it’s hard, I know it’s annoying, yet not impossible. If you develop a habit to clean your work-space and replace something you’ve used up you’ll avoid getting angry next time inspiration hits you. Imagine not being able to find a fresh brush when you decide to paint – for me this would be a disaster!
6. Write down your ideas. I’d recommend keeping a diary where you can put anything that comes to your mind. My paintings and illustrations are born a long time before they reach canvas or paper. I start with an idea which grows while I think of all the details I could portray and only when I know that I can’t keep it inside anymore, I sit down and paint.
7. Keep your eyes open and practice. Inspiration hides everywhere you look, you just need to capture it. You suddenly see a beautiful building and decide you’d like to try drawing it? Do so! The more often you draw, paint, take photographs, knit, cook etc., the more you improve your skills.
8. Catalog your creations. I’d suggest signing you artwork (although I never do this) or at least writing the year, so you can remember when you created it. Design a system that you could use to catalog your creations, this will let you find everything easily and quickly.
9. Don’t be too harsh judging your own work. Don’t be in a hurry to rip something up just because it’s not as good as you imagined it would look once finished. Put it away, hide it if need be and examine the piece only when you are in a better mood.
10. Value your work. If you are good at something and you like doing this it doesn’t mean you have to turn into a miracle gift bearer. There’s nothing wrong with giving your creations as a present to someone who’ll appreciate your work (I even encourage to do so; let me repeat Anne Frank’s thought – “no one has ever become poor by giving”.), yet you have to find some kind of balance. You have to be able to pay for tools and materials you use, right?
That’s it. Please let me know what you think – were they helpful? By they way, it would be brilliant if you decided to share your rules, just leave a comment below with a link where I could find them.