Making art is about getting curious, experimenting, having fun and seeing where your ideas, mistakes and practice takes you. There is no one set way for how things should look. You don’t have to make a thing that others will think is ‘good.’ We’ve been taught we should always aim to be the best, get the highest grade, gain praise or approval from our peers, teachers or bosses. But you can let go of all of that when you start making art.
You can bend, move and break any rules that you think exist. The artist Helen Frankenthaler argues “There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” Invent your own way of making art, draw whatever you like and pay no attention to any invisible rules you’ve been unknowingly following. There’s no ‘best’ award for making art for fun, no one-was-fits-all approach and nobody needs to like what you do.
No rules means more creativity and if you’re looking for permission to do whatever you like, this it it right here.
If you dream of a day in the future where you’ll make some art, know that there’s no better time than right now to start. This very minute. You don’t need much time, you don’t need fancy materials. You can take a pen and a scrap of paper and draw something, anything immediately in just 2 minutes. Seth Godin encourages us to merely begin: “With inadequate preparation, because you will never be fully prepared.”
Some day most likely means no day. Today is the best day for you to take action.
You don’t need anybody else’s permission to make art except your own. It’s challenging to ignore seemingly ‘helpful’ negative feedback and criticism from those around about your art. Criticism can cut deep, especially when sharing something as vulnerable as your first attempts (or any attempt) at making art. It could even stop you from making anything else, asking yourself “why AM I bothering making this when it’s not any ‘good’?” But good is subjective and irrelevant to the joy that comes from making art and feedback isn’t necessary to continue having fun making.
It’s best not to seek approval, criticism or even praise from anyone outside yourself. Tara Mohr in Playing Big describes that “Attachment to praise and avoidance of criticism keeps us from doing innovative, controversial work and — more simply — from following the paths we feel called toward, whether or not those around us understand or approve.” Seeking praise may mean editing your art to seek approval from others, instead of focusing on what YOU enjoy making.
Be your own cheerleader and advocate. Make art YOU like and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks because they’re not the ones making your art. Opinions are subjective thoughts, not facts. You only need to please yourself, which allows you to get on with the task of making art joyfully.
Do you spend any time standing still in your daily life or are you constantly rushing around like the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? If you’re always in ON mode, never disconnected from a device or other people, it’s harder to justify spending time making art. If you believe you don’t have the time to stand still, or to make any art then it will never happen.
“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” — The White Rabbit, Lewis Carroll
But the truth is you don’t need a huge block of time to make art. A 2 minute investment each day is all you need to get started (and it adds up significantly over time). We think we need to spend a bigger amount of time to make it worthwhile, otherwise what’s the point – Surely 2 minutes isn’t enough to make anything significant? But your art don’t need it to be significant for it to be a worth the time or effort investment. It’s much more important something gets made and that you had fun doing it.
Significance is overrated and is entirely subjective so it’s far better to judge how you feel once you’ve spent 2 minutes making art something compared to only thinking about it. Taking action brings feedback and clarity while thinking can bring fear, excuses and procrastination. So find a pocket of time to stand stand still and make something.
“Dig deep and return with a new interest”
“Let yourself be silently drawn to the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” — Rumi
How can you use your strange curiosities as inspiration for your art? Find robots fascinating? Draw them. Obsessed with a song? Play it while you make something. Got a favourite colour? Use only that colour. Hooked on a tv show? Draw while you watch.
If you don’t want to draw fruit in a bowl (because you’ve decided that’s what you should be drawing) then draw your passions. Make things that interest you. Don’t believe you have to draw or make art a certain way.
Whatever your loves, let them help pull you closer to your creativity.