Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Design A Day Challenge

Recently, I’ve hit a bit of a creative wall and I’ve been struggling to find the energy to create new work. I have the ideas but I’m finding it all too easy to blame a lack of time for this designing slump. It’s easier to make endless cups of tea or to tweak existing designs than to sit down with a blank pad of paper and begin something afresh. What happened?!

I’ve decided to set myself a challenge to try and rekindle my love for drawing, creating and experimenting. I know that I’m at my happiest when I’m doodling some new characters and taking the time to really enjoy the process, so I’ve set some basic rules to get back into the creative bubble.

1) Create one ‘Design a Day’ for a week

That’s it - just one design. It can be a pattern, a placement, a doodle, an illustration or a mix of elements. I have to produce something every day for a week, and if it’s a success, I’ll extend the time scale.
I’ll set myself time limits on some days if I have a lot of other jobs to fit in too, and if my timetable is a bit more open then I’ll devote that extra time to the Design of the Day.

2 ) Experiment

Rule two - I’m not allowed to use the same materials or processes as the day before. I love trying new things but these days I’m finding that the creeping voice of doom is suppressing this freedom to experiment. It tells me: “I don’t really have time to try this is if isn’t going to work… Free time is a bit short at the moment so everything I do has to mean something.” And this leads neatly onto the final rule…

3) No Pressure - JUST DO SOMETHING!

The designs might not be my proudest achievements, but I firmly believe that everything you create is leading somewhere important eventually. If the techniques I’m trying aren’t working, then I’ve only spent one day’s design time on it. It’s always good to try out new ideas to see if they’re worth continuing over a longer time frame. 

When I used to work in a design studio, time pressure had a huge impact on my work and processes. I’m certain that I produced some of my best work with this tight time limit and the pressure that every design had to count, but it also stifled my need to experiment and to have a bit of fun. 

Now, this is my own creative business, and if I can’t enjoy the designing element then where’s the joy? It certainly isn’t in the book-keeping and admin! So deep breath, fears aside, and let’s create!!

Do you find yourself in a creative slump sometimes? What are your tips for getting back into the zone?

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