Be a producer and not just a consumer

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

With an endless supply of creative (and not so creative) content at our fingertips, it can be easy to only spend time consuming and not spend any making art. Perhaps it feels pointless to make art when so much exists already, or that your art won’t be as good as the next persons. But you may be underestimating the creative potential that’s buried within making something—the richness of experience that comes from making something out of nothing.

Drawing and sketching is one way to get create that require minimal art supplies to get started. Ben Crothers in Presto Sketching says “creating your own visuals with sketching means that you’re not just a consumer of others’ content and ideas, but a producer of content and ideas too… All you need is a pen and paper, and the will to make your mark.”

Why then, is the idea of making marks filled with nervousness and trepidation? Crothers offers this explanation: “By the time you hit the workforce or university, the world around you told you that the very act of picking up a pencil to draw was risky. If you weren’t on your way to being a successful artist, designer, or architect, anything to do with drawing was for your personal pleasure only. A hobby. Not the real world. You drew at your own risk and on your own dime.

Children see drawing as a fun and joyful activity. They don’t hesitate to make scribbles and scrappy marks. There’s no concern about the value of the art, or if they’re making the ‘right’ kind of marks. Children make art instinctually, for the pure enjoyment of the process. This laid-back, playful attitude is something we can reclaim as adults, if we choose to see the process as a fun activity. Decide to see getting creative as an opportunity to make scribbles, messy art and experiment. The riskiest thing you can do is not to try at all.






Relearning to let loose

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

As young children, making art was incredibly easy. We didn’t worry about making ‘good’ or ‘bad art.’ We were loose, playful and regularly experimented, happily colouring outside the lines and revealing creatures from our imagination. Making marks on paper is a fun way to reconnect with that forgotten childlike wonder, before things got serious and you felt art needed to look a certain way. David Maclagan in Line Let Loose describes how as children our “careless marking” allowed us to explore beyond language. But how “In the course of growing up, most people gradually lose touch with this creativity, which at first seemed so natural and spontaneous but subsequently has to be coaxed out of its hiding place.

Creating with a sense of freedom or abandonment is a skill many adults try to recapture as well as even trained artists. Maclagan speaks to this: “Trained artists often have to un-learn their carefully acquired skills in order to do this, but there are ways in which even those of us who are not artists can catch a glimpse of this innocent originality, and scribbling or doodling is foremost among them.”

Scribbling and doodling is a form of art. It may may not be the refined, perfected, socially sought after art-commodity that sells in galleries. But you’re making art for yourself, not some invisible audience. Scribbling and doodling starts you off in a gentle way, ignoring constraints of what art should look like. You get to start making marks right now, ones that speak of freedom and self-expression that allow you to reconnected with your colourful childhood creativity.

“Don’t worry about a style. It will creep up on you and eventually you will have to undo it in order to go further. Be like a river and accept everything,” — Gary Panter