Today’s blog post is brought to you by the letter C for cranky repressed creative person. I’m drinking some delicious pumpkin pie liqueur as we speak so I’m sure we can dump the repressed crank in a tick but while I am here in the land of pucker face, I’d like to make a disclaimer: This is only my opinion. It is not the only one on the topic and there is a possibility that it will not even be the opinion you agree with. I’m okay with that. Take what I say with a grain of salt.
One of the things that I continue to see over and over again in the small little art circles I currently frequent (and for those of you not in the, “know” this circle would be of the art journaling aficionado type) is a concern about having your own style or as I like to call it, “uniquism paranoia” How do I find my own style, how do I retain the knowledge I may learn from others and yet not have it make what I do a replica of their creative voice? Well, these are all very good questions my fine creative flock of creatives and I find it is not a topic talked about at length.
First, let us get this out of the way: You’re going to make art that looks like someone else’s at some point in time. This is inevitable. It is part of the learning process, it is the part of the discovery and in all honesty, it’s perfectly normal. Perhaps it is even something that you will enjoy doing for a long while before you move on to other things. That’s just fine and as long as you’re happy and if it brings you joy, then you’re doing it for the right reason. This post is not for you.
On the other hand maybe you’re wondering how you can make your pages a little more authentic, something that is easily recognized as yours. That can be hard, especially if you filled your head with the teachings of every type of art journaling/mixed media guru out there with a book, product or philosophy to sell. So how do you assimilate all of this information and visual stimulus without going into technique overload? Here are a few ideas that may work for you. Try them out and sleep on it for a good week. If they’re not a good fit, throw them out and start over again. That’s the fantastic thing about art. You can always smack some titanium white (or gesso) and begin again
. 1. Try things out without reading up on how others are using it.
A good friend of mine who happens to be a successful fine artist use to say that he was inspired by those who had no idea what they were doing because they were uninhibited and free. Trust your instincts, sometimes being educated in a technique can inhibit you. Personal style for the most part is distinct quirks and imperfections that are unique to the individual. Embrace them, they’re yours.
2. Step outside of the community box.
It’s easy to see what people who share your interests are doing. It’s also easy to fall prey to the nasty inner critic who tells you that whatever it is you do will never be as good as what you’re currently seeing in the community. Venture out and find inspiration in other areas of art. Ask yourself questions as to what you like or dislike about what you’re viewing. This will help understand your aesthetic and inspire you to try new things that appeal to that creative eye.
3. Learn and technique and then forget it.
This was something I left as a response on artjournaling.ning.com to someone new to the community. Supplies, techniques and community can easily overwhelm you. Take whatever it is that you've gleaned so far and throw it out the window. Just don't even think about it. Then open your journal and picking a few things that immediately call to you and do something -anything. I assure you, all the stuff you've been soaking up is in that mind of yours ready to be used but slightly altered by your memory so that what you found important stays with you. That’s the true secret to doing your own thing. It’s learning and filtering that education through the soft gauze of memories.** That way the heart of the technique is there but it has been altered to meet our needs.
There you have it folks. Nothing earth shattering or mind altering but I hope it is helpful nonetheless. The point of the matter is there is plenty for you to do and say without having to following anything currently out there. A little confidence and trust will take you a long way in the road of self-exploration and creative endevors.
** Of course this might be difficult if you have a photographic memory. To you my snapshot minded friend, I am not sure what to say. If you have any ideas of your own, I’d be happy to hear them.