Sunday, July 10, 2011

Response for Creative Management

General Overachiever had a wonderful post today, about creativity management. I was going to respond, but my answer was just too long, so I made it into my own post.

To answer your last questions first I definitely struggle with ruts and distractions of daily life. It becomes a vicious cycle of distraction, lack of motivation, or creative block. Making lists is the only way I survive these dry spells. By also being a observant you can a develop a project from a need tat you find. 

I am a dabbler. I paint, design, draw, carve, decorate, bake, photography, and I go through different moods of creative outlet. Often times I start a new project when the mood strikes, but I have gone through creative dry spells so I always keep a “to design wish list” either on my computer or on a white board. It also depends on which creative activity I want to do.

PAINTING: I never sketch first. I just paint what I feel, which is why my paintings are not cohesive.

BAKING: Another one where I just wait for the mood to strike and I will look up a food that seems tasty at the time. Also sometimes I will find a recipe while browsing the Internet and will have to try it out for myself.

DESIGN: I start by sketching. I have so many half started sketchbooks, but I always have a sketchbook on me. I have two sizes of sketchbooks one is small (3x4 ish) and one larger (9x11). I keep small in my purse and one at my desk at work and one at home. You never know when an idea will strike I can either write it down or sketch it out. When I do have a creative block I find it very amusing and inspirational to look through old books and find unfinished ideas.

CURRENTLY: I have to start working on some linoleum blocks prints. For this one I developed a plan.

  1. Find someone to cut the large block into smaller blocks (accomplished) 
  2. What do I want this print to appear on: card, wall art, part of a system, or some other purpose. 
  3. Make Sketches.
  4. Decide which sketch to utilize.
  5. Prepare the sketch for the print (prints you always have to carve backwards) 
  6. Carve the image. 
  7. Mix Ink 
  8. Make a print!

I do have an app on my phone from Behance that helps me organize projects with due dates and priority. The app is a pain sometimes, so I wish they would make some updates, but it can be helpful for long term projects. Deadlines can be a helpful way to make sure you do a project in a timely manner and not let it drag out for months/years.

Staying organized is crucial for a dabbler. I am list maker. Lists help me keep on track and I have lists within lists to organize projects that are more in depth. I also like to keep my desk clear to help show some outward organization, but it rarely happens. When I am deep in a project the messier I get and it can spread throughout the apartment. 

Proof of my sporadic paintings.

It’s always a challenge to work through periods of creative block, and sometimes you just have to push through it. I recommend lists, sketching, and observation. It can take time, but through the act of list you create goals to work towards. Sketching enables you to at least use mark making as a way to be creative. Use something you have never thought to use for art before. Did you know prints can be made from potatoes? Just by keeping your eyes open and thoughtful you can be creative in your observations day to day. Creative blocks eventually pass, and they will visit again so keep working at it! I hope these were some helpful suggests for you at General Overachiever.


  1. One of the things that really struck me is the idea of a "design wish list." I may invest in a whiteboard just for that purpose. Funny that the thought never occurred previously--after all, I have a folder overflowing with recipes that sound fun to try. So why not do the same with design projects? What a great way to keep inspiration on hand for dry spells.

    Totally with you on the list-making. I would not be able to survive without a daily to-do list. I honestly can't remember the last time I woke up without at LEAST two or three things on agenda.

    Loved this post.

  2. I do not know what the cost difference is, but you could also buy a pint of chalkboard paint and paint almost any surface with it. Then you can use multi-colored chalk to organize your list. You of course can do the same thing with many colored white board markers; it is just another option and might cost less!

  3. This is a great post! You have some fabulous ideas for organization. I'm a dabbler, too. Sometimes the amount of ideas crowding your head is incredibly overwhelming. Keeping a notebook on me is the only way I ever remember good ideas.

    I second Claire--a design wishlist is ingenious.


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