Hello & Happy July!
It's time for another new desktop calendar wallpaper already.
This one has been sent to everyone on my email list today. If you would like this free wallpaper, here is a link to subscribe to my mailing list:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST
With all the lovely sunshine of June and the school summer holidays a few weeks away, I think these sunny coastal birds and sea shells set the right mood for July....
June has been filled with all sorts of work and I have featured some of the new designs I have been developing last month throughout this blog post. These designs can be found as prints in my Etsy shop and print on demand designs over at my Society 6 and Spoonflower stores.
In a few days time it will mark 8 years since I started my 'Artwork By Angie' journey.
On 11th July 2010, I posted my first ever blog post followed a few days later by my first ever attempt at Illustration Friday. It was from those first tiny baby steps that what you see on this website has grown into my actual, proper job.
I can't tell you how nervous I felt to make those first steps. My nerves were founded in fear of failing, rejection, being caught out for being an imposter. The thing that made me do it is knowing I would definitely be failing myself if I didn't even try and give it a go to see what happens - I had nothing really to lose and everything to gain. I am so glad I did and have been continually making scary little steps into the unknown ever since, it's the only way to move forward...
This past month I really needed to remind myself of all of that.
It sometimes gets difficult to see how much progress we make and what we've learnt and achieved over time when we are just getting on with the day-to-day. Like so many others, I've found social media a big strain over the past weeks. To be honest, I've had a love/dislike relationship with it from the very start.
I LOVE social media - because it has enabled me to do so many things that have never been possible before social media. Such as connect with a wonderful community of likeminded creative people, get my work in front of so many eyes, for feedback, encouragement and most importantly - to sell it and make enough to keep going. All of this done from my home, because geography is no longer a boundary. I sell my work all over the world and have work in bricks and mortar shops nationwide - it was social media and the internet that has absolutely enabled me to do this and I am very grateful for it (hence love and dislike, not hate).
I DISLIKE social media - because you have to relentlessly feed it with content to keep algorithms happy and continue to be seen. Which means you can easily get hung up on feeding social media rather than producing work that satisfies your heart's desire. Which can be particularly unhelpful if you are going through 'The Creative Gap' - which is where your skills haven't caught up with your tastes yet - this can leave you feeling disappointed in your own creative work.
If you've not heard about this creative gap before, it comes from a quote from an American Radio and TV presenter called Ira Glass. I discovered it through this Vimeo clip of his showing up in my Facebook timeline one day. I'm glad it did and it's another reason to like social media. I recommend a quick watch of it here:
I am convinced this 'creative gap' he's identified is the root of all the other adverse creative stuff that artists and designers sometimes experience and are widely discussed, like imposter syndrome and negative comparison...
The good thing is to recognise this stuff creeping in uninvited, call it out, give it a name and then say to it a big:
'Oi, NO! Not today thank you!'
I've been working on so many different types of project lately that I hadn't really had a chance to stop and realise that I wasn't factoring in time to work on things that help me bridge that gap. To just do more practice and learn more of the stuff I have in my head.
Which is why, halfway through June, I found myself lacking a bit of enthusiasm about my creative work. So I stopped social media for a few days, to plan a way to work which allows time to develop the skills to achieve those designs I have in my head and close that gap...
I believe it's never too late to learn new skills and a little bit each day always adds up to big things over the weeks, months and years.
It doesn't need to be a massive commitment or a big financial outlay to learning. Sites like Skillshare and You Tube have been vital to help me learn the techniques I've needed to put into practice over the years....
Of course there are lots of great online courses and college courses to take if you are up for a greater commitment to learning and really want to immerse yourself in it.
The point I am trying to make is, if like me, you find yourself getting lost in the scroll down of social media and feeling a bit lack lustre about your own creative endeavours. It may just be 'The Creative Gap' making itself known to you. Where you find your ideas are forming based on your tastes, but your skills haven't quite caught up with it all yet.
Please don't despair and certainly NEVER give up.
Simply stop, identify the skills you need to work on, then plan a way to learn and practice to bridge that gap...
When I look back at the work I was producing eight years ago compared to now, I can clearly see how investing time in practice, learning and simply showing up each day has paid off. There is still so much to learn...but then again, so much has been learnt along the way too, much more than I could have dreamt of.
I can also see this with other artists and designers I admire, when I look at their first ever blog or Instagram posts from years ago. We can all take heart from the fact that absolutely everyone starts from zero!
So here's to showing up and I wish you all a very positive and productive new month!