Guest Post: Tessa | One To Nothin'

Guest Post: Tessa

Today I have a very special guest post from an incredibly talented artist and personal friend, Tessa, who is offering some excellent advice to those of you looking to express your creativity in new and exciting ways.

"If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent van Gogh

5 Ways to Let Your Creativity Take You Wherever It Wants to Go


Hi everyone!  My name is Tessa, and I blog over at How To Make Art.  My blog is full of all things arts and crafts related, so I thought I would write a little bit about how to nourish your creativity and allow it to grow and change over time.

1. Do not define yourself as just one type of maker.  Don’t declare yourself as simply a painter or a musician or a writer or a crafter.  Think of yourself as a creative person, and don’t be afraid to try things outside your area of expertise.  You’ll find that by trying things that are out of your comfort zone, your creativity will grow.  Perhaps you are a writer, but sometimes you feel like you might want to paint… You should try it!  It doesn’t matter that you haven’t formally studied painting – you should do it anyway and be gentle with yourself and not too critical of the initial results.  Be proud of yourself for experimenting, and don’t be afraid to be a beginner in a new form of creative expression. 

2. Don’t be a one trick pony.  Let’s say you are a painter, and it turns out you are really good at painting big red stars.  Every time you make a painting of a big red star, it sells immediately, and you become known as the Big Red Star Painter.  While it’s great that those paintings are selling, don’t get stuck in a rut and make stars the only subjects you paint, because you won’t grow as a creative person if you just
paint one thing over and over again. This works in all mediums: don’t be just a haiku writer – try all kinds
of poetry and writing; don’t just be an acoustic guitar player – maybe experiment with learning how to make some digital music as well.  You get the idea.  Don’t box yourself in too narrowly!

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things.  Not only should you be trying new creative things, but you could also experiment with new foods, seeing new places (even if they are close by and don’t require a big road trip or a plane ride), and meeting new people.  Not only will all this wonderful newness enrich your life as a person, but you might find that trying new things will also expand your creative horizons. Get out there and experiment!

4. Being a copycat is okay some of the time.  While I would never suggest running amok on the internet, grabbing photos that aren’t yours and renaming them as your own creations, a little bit of copying some of the time is okay!  For example, one of the exercises we had to do in art school was to pick pieces of artwork we liked from a specific list of “Master Artists” (like Picasso and Emily Carr) and reproduce them with only a pencil.  We learned so much about how to draw just by “trying on” the style of a master artist.  It was just an exercise, only practice for learning purposes, so it was okay to copy.  Here’s another example: when a friend and I used to write song lyrics together, sometimes we would choose an existing song by a popular artist, find the karaoke version on YouTube, and then re-write the lyrics
completely.  We were just doing it for fun and to get our creative juices flowing.  In most cases, it is okay to copy things if it is for personal use only and you aren’t trying to sell the work you made by copying.  Copying can be a fun learning experience!

5. You can cheat when you make your creative work, no one's watching!  Sometimes artists cheat by using a projector to blow up one of their drawings so that they can trace it onto a larger sheet of paper
to create a large-scale drawing. This is sort of like cheating, but not completely, because the artist is
using their own drawing as a jumping off point to create a larger work.  Musicians do similar types of
“cheating” when they sample other songs create mash-ups.  Sometimes cheating can be a good thing!

Don’t hold yourself back when you are being creative!  There are no rules in creativity, so
enjoy yourself and have a good time. :)

Thank you so much, Tessa!

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