I seem to have got a bit behind with my creative kickstart this month! It’s been a tricky time, with my parent’s being away on holiday for 2 weeks, as I usually rely on them for two days of childcare a week. Squidlet naturally decided that this would be a good time to drop her nap, so I have been struggling to fit much in.
So, what inspiring me during June?
This was a very pen and pencil inspired month!
Pen drawing/drawing inspiring women – I’m still using my Promarkers. I wanted to do some portraits of women that inspire me, after reading a quote that starts ‘You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.’ The quote is widely misattributed to Diana Vreeland, but actually written by lexicographer Erin McKean. The quote really spoke to me, as I’ve never felt like I fitted in looks wise, or was conventionally pretty. I often feel that people have not really ‘seen’ me because with my wonky face and barrel shaped body I don’t fit neatly into the way we expect women to look. It made me want to celebrate women who don’t fit in, who transcend the focus that the media puts on women’s bodies and on their looks. At this point I still thought the original quote was from Diana Vreeland, and I drew her, alongside a different quote (that I think really is from her this time!). I’m hoping I will get a chance to expand on my portraits. Something I would like to do in the future is profile women who I find inspirational, in how they allow their experiences to change the world – I am thinking I might do a piece on Camila Batmanghelidjh soon. I would like to use my own illustrations for these pieces, but I really need to work on my drawing skills for this.
Life drawing – I think this must have been around the beginning of June that I went to another DRAW Brighton life drawing session, as the details seem slightly lost to me amongst sleepless nights and hectic days. This one was about the face and how it connects to the body. I haven’t been life drawing for ages, but had been drawing at home, and it felt like something clicked in this session. I also felt like there were noticeable improvements in my drawing this time. I really regret abandoning my drawing skills after leaving art school, and I feel like drawing is something that sustains me, whether or not the results are good, but it is always quite pleasing when you do feel that you’ve captured a likeness with an image.
Hand lettering – This is something I was doing alongside my pen portraits, having got into looking at handlettered fonts for my logo redesign. I’m a little bit torn between whether I love or hate handlettered quotes. Sometimes I think it is very useful and enlivening to see little inspirational bursts of text, that you can relate to. Other times I feel like they have over saturated the internet and the instant-read, instant-click, instant reblog nature of these out of context multitude of quotes replaces reading more in depth layered and nuanced writing. But I love the contemplative process of actually doing the hand lettering, and the balance between care and letting go that is needed to write beautifully. I am still not very good yet!
Mandalas or wreaths in flowers and petals – I have many photos of these on my camera, ready to process and upload to Instagram. I love making these, in some ways, but again I wonder if I am trying to imitate these ‘flower wreathed inspirational text’ memes that are so ubiquitous to Instagram now. I read a piece by Georgie St Clair (who I think deals with flowers in a highly original way) about how she has felt pressured to please people in what she creates in order to make sales. I feel the same thing about making images to be popular on Instagram. I can see what type of images get a lot of love, and it is tempting to make those kind of images (which definitely please me on a visual level) rather than ones that fulfill me on many different levels. I am trying to explore ways that I can illustrate my blog that will be visually appealing, but also be ‘me’ not ‘what everyone else is doing’.
Reading – having said I didn’t have much time for anything this month, here is one thing I did find time for! This is partly because Squidlet doesn’t seem to mind if I sit and read a book while she plays, whereas if I pick up the tablet to do some work, I get told off! I haven’t felt like I have had the concentration power to read many books since having a child. Okay, I have read most of the Game of Thrones series, but nothing much else to speak of. This month I read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee for the first time (I know , I can’t believe I have never read it before either), and ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman. Both books are absolutely incredible. Both really explore the American experience. To Kill a Mockingbird made me think on the ways in which racial oppression are still playing out in America, and how important, yet painful, it is to listen to the voice inside that tells us ‘this is wrong’ when we see injustice. If I have the time to write them, I would like to include book reviews on here, but I wonder if this will become one of the ‘if I had enough time’s that don’t get managed in the end!
Writing – I didn’t do as much writing as I wanted to do this month, just two pieces, one for Emily Loves Japan and one for The Collative on how I create. I started seeing opportunities for writing everywhere. Doing more writing for this blog has made me realise how intrinsic to my creative process writing is for me (I loved this article on how transformative the process of writing can be), and how maybe this is something I would like to do more of, as guest posts on other people’s blogs and maybe even one day as paid articles. If you woould like me to guest post on your blog, please get in touch!
Amanda Palmer – Bigger on the Inside – I actually forgot to include this in the image – oops! There was going to be some more handlettering saying ‘Bigger On The Inside’ but everything was a rush and I forgot it! I want to include this even though it’s not really in the image because this month I’ve been following Amanda Palmer’s updates about her friend Anthony dying, which are so honest and raw and vulnerable, alongside her pregnancy. It has been harrowing, and moving. She is actually a huge influence on how I try to approach life, and approach writing a blog. To put yourself out there, keep creative, to find a way to make a living being creative, to stay honest, stay vulnerable, to fuck up, to be flawed. I really hope she finds a way to balance her huge creative drive with motherhood when her child arrives.
Please keep posting your #creativekickstart images using the hashtag! I am so thrilled that people are really joining in with it! I will probably be looking for images to feature over the next week so as not to get too behind with things, so if you have an idea of what you want to share, get making your image!