Life happened… art didn’t. Some tips to get you back in the saddle.

As some of you may know from a previous post of mine, I have only quite recently (over the past year) rekindled my love for creating art after a gap of about twenty years. Not twenty planned years of taking a break from art, but just twenty years where life happened… and art didn’t.
What I have noticed by various comments from some of you out there, is that I am not alone! There are many just like me, who have shelved their art for reasons none of us can really put our finger on. Or perhaps you are the one that has always wanted to get into art, but again life just happened and art didn’t. If this is sounding at all familiar, then this post is for you!

Make Time for Art

Remember a time in your life when art was a part of it – even if it was just art at school or doodling at home. Do you remember how it made you feel to create? Somehow creating art has a way of nourishing our soul – a feeling that nobody can really describe, but you know how good it feels. If right now you are feeling that yearning brewing deep inside, then here are a few tips to get you back in the saddle.

Don’t try to find time – MAKE time!

How often do we say ‘I will try to find the time to…’? What we need to do is MAKE time. We have so many things that we see as important in life, but why do we find it so difficult to schedule the things that make us feel good into our busy lives? Why do we feel guilty, when the people around us benefit from us feeling good too?

You will find you are a nicer person when you nurture your creativity, as you will be in better moods and feel more fulfilled. Up art’s level of importance in your life and add it into your schedule. Don’t let it be the thing that gets dropped when time is tight – make it important. Even just 10-15 minutes a day will help – and who can’t find 10-15 minutes somewhere in a day? Or once or twice a week, set an hour or so aside for art – as if it were an exercise program. Find an excuse to do it, rather than finding an excuse not to do it. Find a recipe that suits you to have art as part of your life… and get cooking. You will soon find that art becomes your much-needed retreat from your every day crazy.

Be inspired, but don’t compare.

Don't Compare to other Artists
Colouring illustration

My new art journey started after seeing a pastel work, done of a leopard, which made me do a double-take, thinking it was a photograph. I then started exploring and found many such works by various artists. I immediately felt the tingle inside of that old creative spirit just yearning to be given a chance again. Of course as quickly as that feeling happens, then so does the little voice that says ‘but you can’t EVER do something like that!’. Comparing can make you quit before you even get started.

It’s wonderful to browse through works of various artists and it certainly helps to get you inspired, but once you start creating again, the trap to be careful of… is comparing. Be inspired, but don’t compare your outcome to that of anyone else. You have something to give the world with your art, and its unique to you! It just takes a look around the art world to realise there is a place for everyone’s art. What one person likes, the next, won’t. Some wise person once said “Some people like peanuts and others don’t. It has nothing to do with the peanut”. Find your art, the kind that makes your soul sing, and be proud to let the world see it.

Set yourself up to succeed

Something to remember is that we are not the same artist we used to be before we took a break – we are probably no longer even the same person. Or if you are just starting out you may not know what type of artist you have hidden inside. Setting ourselves unrealistic goals can result in us not trying again as we will feel as though we have failed.

You may not know where to start, but when you do… keep it simple. Forget what you could do and allow yourself to discover what you are able to do now. Start with something small or simple and have no expectations of how it will turn out. The exciting thing about starting again is you can do anything you want. Experiment with a few different mediums. You may even find that the medium you used to use no longer appeals to you as much and you head in a completely different direction. Get the hang of what you are doing before really challenging yourself with something too difficult or too big. I think the biggest reason people quit is because they outfaced themselves in the first place. Art is supposed to be fun and fulfilling so just remember to set yourself up to succeed.

A bit of support goes a long way

Derwent Inktense
Finished illustration

As humans, we all want a place to belong – a place where we can share our thoughts and ideas. It can be extremely difficult when you have an interest, to find that nobody in your close circle shares that interest. It is very important on your art journey to surround yourself with at least a few people that can understand your passion for art. Sometimes all you need is a few supportive words to get you inspired or to stop you from quitting.

We have a small group that gets together every second Saturday for an afternoon art workshop. I have found this to be a great help along my journey, as well as a place to try different things. I would certainly recommend enquiring around to see if there is some type of art workshop group in your area that you can join, or be the one to start one – you may be surprised how many people will jump at the chance to spend some time doing art. It could be a more formal workshop run by an artist of some sort, or you could keep it relaxed. An idea is to choose a theme or medium for the day – and everyone can do whatever tickles their fancy.

Another great place to find a community to belong to, is social media. There are so many great groups out there which allow you to connect with other creatives. From tips and tricks to advice on your own work, or even just where to get your art supplies – you will be amazed at how willing other artists are to help. Don’t be shy to connect with them – chances are you could even make yourself some life long friends. You will soon discover that you are not alone on your journey and that many others are on the same path, albeit in different stages perhaps. You may even find yourself giving tips to others as you learn from your experiences along the way.

Hopefully, this post has left you inspired and rearing to go. Conquer your fears, overthrow your doubts, and get out there to start creating – the world needs your art!

The illustration for this post was done using Copic Markers and Derwent Inktense.

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