There I was – stuck in a creative rut... A deep one. How do I get refreshed? Do I take a break from my work? Do I go to Greyhouse and drown myself in matcha tea? Do I go to Vons and find quirky things that I don't need but buy anyway? Do I just curl up with my cats and take a nap?
I have a t-shirt that says "Most days I wish I was a cat..." Nothing felt more accurate to me while I was stuck in a creative rut.
I have a full time graphic design position and for the first couple years my brain would be ZAPPED by 5pm. I love being creative and making things, but at the end of a day where all I do is create things, the last thing I want to do is CONTINUE to create things. I NEED A BREAK.
Seeing other designers and illustrators have their own specific style was a huge challenge for me because it made me feel like there was something wrong with me because I had no idea what my style was. Granted I wasn't raised as a fine artist and that wasn't my goal, but I still see all kinds of people developing their styles. Art professors always talk about "finding your voice as an artist." Wow, wow, wow it is so hard to do - for me anyways!
I REALLY felt like I needed a style. But I got a perspective shift...
One day my HUSBAND (capitalized upon his request because he likes to feel special) said "Hey, think of it as a brand instead of a style so you don't feel like you're only allowed to do that one thing." This helped me view my artwork differently, and got me thinking of the brand Wonderful Wild Souls as opposed to my style Wonderful Wild Souls... The gears started to turn.
A former co-worker of mine, Emily Knapp, suggested I pick up the book Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon. First of all, Lisa you are awesome. Second, your BOOK is AWESOME. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Check it out.
I plowed through this book and ate up all of the advice, interviews and nitty gritty details it could throw at me. Thinking about Wonderful Wild Souls as a brand allowed me to envision products and how I could actually build up a business that makes people smile and spread positivity.
I started seeing posters of all sizes being sold, and stickers because I'm obsessed with stickers, and notebooks, and custom stuffed animals, and enamel pins and I now have this long list of products I would love to get my Wonderful Wild Souls printed on. I'm running a business here! We have to stay FRESH. Keep people coming back for morrrre.
So I'm on my creative business trek and if anyone has any beautiful words of encouragement I AM ALL EARS. Because, man... it is hard. But it's so worth it in the end because I am building something that is mine. And there are so many people that have helped me gain the confidence and creative ability to do what I am doing today. Lift each other up! You will go farther.
Here are my final words of advice...
About the header image: This was my process of how my Stay Fresh illustration came to life. From scribble, to sketch, to computer. This scribble is actually courtesy of one of my friends from college, Rebecca Cravatta. Sometimes if I was stuck, I would ask someone to scribble something random on a page and I would turn it into a piece of art. This one in particular turned out pretty funky! Enjoy. :)
Hi Jess. You did good.