Most artists take good care of their art supplies… that’s a given. It is, however, equally important to care for and nurture your creativity, whether you’re naturally creative or have developed your talents through training.
Leslie Kavanaugh recommends the following four techniques to all artists in need of a creative boost:
Have an Art-Related Idea Journal
Carry a spiral notebook with you at all times to record ideas, sketches, and references for later use. It’s similar to keeping an art diary, but it’s only for your eyes so that you can record everything.
It is referred to as a “swipe file” by writers. It does not imply that you should plagiarise what you find—that would be ethically wrong and unoriginal! But, whether we admit it or not, we’re all inspired by what is around us and what has come before us.
It is the purpose of this journal. Explore things that inspire you and save them for later use. You never know what will come in handy later, and it will save you time rediscovering things you’ve already worked through and provide you with a reservoir of creative ideas for when the well runs dry.
Create a Bulletin Board for Art Ideas
Many artists have a similar board in their studio for art ideas.
Post anything that comes to mind, pictures, quotes, ads—whatever comes to mind or catches your eye. You never know what these artifacts will produce.
Construct an Idea Treasure Chest
Collect images from magazine covers, quotes, postcards, and other sources. It can be anything that inspires future work and keep them in an easily accessible location.
It’s an incredible feeling to open your treasure trove of ideas and reinvent things that once inspired or excited you. Maybe you were not ready for them when you discovered them and placed them in the box, but you might be prepared for one or more of the suggestions now.
Pay Attention to Your Energy Levels
Do your most important art projects or art marketing tasks when you are at your most creative. Keep the more mundane tasks for when your creative tank is running low.
It is sometimes necessary to take a complete break from art to allow new ideas to germinate. Try not to compel creativity. Accept the lull. It’s usually a reasonable incubation period, and ideas will emerge later. The tank will be refilled.
Artists have varying periods and stages of the day when they can produce high-quality work. Recognize and respect your rhythms. When the “inner bell” rings, it’s time to move on to something else that requires less energy.
Everything, including creativity, ebbs and flows, an unfortunate fact of life. And, as much as we would like our creativity to just flow out of us whenever we want it, there are times when we need a few “tricks up our sleeves” to get out of the ebb and back into the flow.
Hopefully, some of the techniques suggested above by Leslie Kavanaugh to drive creativity in your art have already struck a chord with you. If not, we encourage you to give one or two a shot. More creativity is always a plus, no matter where it comes from.