4 Ways to Spark Your Creative Practice

Many of us want to do more creative things with our lives, but can’t get started. It’s easy to say “I want to paint” or “I want to write music,” but it’s a far different thing to actually do it. Whether you’re planning a new career, or taking up a new hobby, every aspiration you have is worthless if you don’t actually do something about it.

Far too often we allow passivity to creep into our lives, as outside forces and self-imposed restrictions get in the way of us doing what we want to do. And the only solution to passivity is activity, taking deliberate steps to change our status quo.

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Learning how to make art

Can you learn how to be an artist from reading a book or a blog? No, not really.

But there are aspects of making art that you can learn from being told. Or that you can understand by reading about them. You can learn that hard pencils make lighter marks than soft pencils. You can understand that blue paint and yellow paint can be mixed together to make green. But you won’t really know what to do with that knowledge until you actually pick up a pencil or a paint brush.

In the most general sense, creating visual art is about seeing something with your eyes, processing that information with your brain, and then telling your body to do something with that information.

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What not to ask an artist (and how not to answer)

A common question I get from people who are looking at my art is “how long did it take to do that?” I’ve always hated that question.

For one thing, I’m not usually looking at a clock when I’m creating something, so I usually don’t know the honest answer. But for another thing, I always have a feeling that telling you how many hours, weeks, or months I spent actually drawing or painting the thing won’t accurately reflect the energy I put into creating it. It won’t reflect the time I spent thinking about my art, the time I spent preparing to create a particular piece, it won’t reflect the many times I tried and failed to create art over the years.

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How to start making art

You’ve heard or read how satisfying it can be to create something. You’ve enjoyed viewing other people’s art and then told yourself, that might be interesting to try. You’ve scoffed at former President Bush’s paintings, then seethed in jealousy that he’s actually doing something that he loves to do.

So what is stopping you from creating art yourself? How do you start making art?

Well, first, remove the primary impediment — your own self doubt. There’s no reason why you can’t create something, and there’s no reason why you should be telling yourself otherwise. If you’re intimidated by the concept of “creating” or “art,” then don’t call it that.

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