Take a look back at that thing you wrote down on Day 1. Do you still feel excited about that thing? Have you taken steps towards doing that creative thing daily? Whatever you do please remember that those steps towards creating might led you on an exciting adventure or could take you to a dead end. It might even inspire you to try a completely different path. Regardless of what happens enjoy every moment. Learn from your mistakes and cheer at your triumphs. Soak it all up because this (creative) journey is all about the experiences you create along the way.
If you are someone who wants to see their designs or illustrations on product or simply want to produce a small run of items but don't know where to go this post is for you. Back in grad school my homie Rae Ann put together a list of resources for design students who wanted to get stuff made. It was an awesome resource. Over the years I've updated and refined a version of that list that I share with my students. And now would like to share some of those items from that collection with you.
It's super fun to see your work produced professionally. In a lot of ways it feels polished, finished, and real. Just remember to be mindful of producing more stuff. Think about the environment, printing practices, and your needed inventory. Do your research and ask questions to help determine the right fit and amount for your project (for example considering a print-to-order system vs. printing a small quantity). Don't let the excitement of getting something made cloud the process, think it though.
Tees + Things
Busy Beaver: buttons
Cotton Bureau: print and sell t-shirts
MakIt: customize plastic plates, platters, bowls, mugs, coasters and trays
Society6: print and sell your work
Sticker Mule: sticker printing
Custom Ink: custom t-shirt printing
TeeSpring: print and sell tees using a campaign system
Cafe Press: customize items like tees, cards, home decor, and mugs
OoShirts: digitally and screen-printed tees
Zazzle: tees, prints, posters, mugs, cards and mouse-pads
Printful: print and sell tees
Can't wait to see what you make! Do you have any resources you can recommend?
We all have some level of doubt when pursuing our creative interests. Some people let it stop them in their tracks while others push through believing there's something beautiful and magical waiting for them on the other side. I've been on both sides, but now always trying to remember to keep going despite the doubt.
And I do have doubts. Matter-of-fact, I cried just two days ago because of some doubtful thoughts. I was feeling so unsure about some decisions I had to make and felt really overwhelmed with having to navigate those decisions in addition to getting my work done.
Although times like these can be difficult it's important to give ourselves permission to feel it, but to not drown in it. It's necessary to recognize the moment to move through the doubt no matter what. So after feeling sorry for myself for about five minutes I dried my tears and powered through knowing that in the end all would be ok.
Unsure about your drawings? That cake recipe turned out to be a flop? Business idea feels too risky? Analyze those doubts and power through. Try again, ask questions, and be sure to listen to your gut.
It's awesome to be inspired by what's happening in our world today but in order to really capture an idea we have to dig a little deeper. And sometimes digging deeper means looking back at the questions and answers from the past. Here's an example, if you're working on a logo or a designing a pair of shoes and searching on Pinterest for inspiration try finding the historical references of the inspiration and start from there. Appropriating the appropriation leaves an idea disconnected. Go deeper. Get off the computer and visit a library or museum and be inspired by the innovations of early makers.
After a talk I presented back in October a young woman asked, "tell us how we can support you." It was so kind and sincere, and totally unexpected that it made me stumble through my response. That question has stuck with me since. Now whenever I can I try to remember to ask that question to my friends in my creative tribe. Whether it's re-posting someone's work you like, telling a writer their work is dope, or hanging posters promoting a friend's exhibit supporting your creative community helps it thrive. And it's a great way to boost your creative karma.
Remembering why you like doing something is a great motivator for doing more of that thing. Knowing "why" will also help you determine the true intentions behind what you do with your creative endeavors. When there's a genuine interest we're filled with joy. When we do something just to get more attention or to get by then it can generate anxiety and less joy. This list should help you figure this out.
Surround yourself in beauty. Hanging up art work, images from a favorite magazine or an old book is a great way to be inspired. You're not necessarily creating a vision board or mood board, these are just images you find to be beautiful, which then become subtle reminders that you can create beauty, too.
Sometimes when we're stuck or need some inspiration it's great to look to people who are doing the things we want to do. If it's someone that is well-known or someone who has a following it's more likely that you can find articles, books, or even video about that person. Read, watch, and learn from other people's experiences and mistakes. Use that information and take notes. (Make note taking a practice when engaging in enlightening conversations or learning about something.) With this creative challenge tip you're building a library of notes, ideas, and thoughts that you can revisit and use as needed.
If it's someone who isn't well known, then maybe you can just email them or invite them out for coffee if they're local (read my tips here on how to approach someone online).
Be careful with today's tip, though. Understand that every path is different and what works for some may not work for you. Examine what you've learned from your "virtual mentor" and really think about how it applies to you, think about what inspired you about their words or statement, and figure out if it's something you can incorporate into your own creative practice.
Is there someone you admire you're interested in knowing more about? I'm curious to learn more about other illustrators doing fun projects and collaborations.
Most of January was a month of rest and rejuvenation. I spent the entire month in Stockholm, with a brief stop-over in London, and literally slept for the first two weeks. I was beat.
But it's February (my birthday month — cheers to another rotation around the sun) and I'm back in Baltimore ready to get things popping. What does that mean? New projects, including book number 2!!!, and committing to my creative practice even more. And I'd like for you to join me.
With love day upon us I thought it would be fun to work together on nurturing something we love doing creatively. Sometimes we neglect the very thing that inspires us and brings us so much joy. So here's an opportunity to give your creativity some love.
Whether you're a full-time designer, a dancer, or just want to get motivated to create something this 14 day challenge is for you. Here on Fly and on Instagram (starting today) I'll be sharing exercises and info I've learned over the years as a designer/illustrator and design educator. These are all tips and tricks (and some reminders) that I use when I feel stuck or need a new perspective, and some that I use when working with my design students.
What do you need in order to participate? Just visit here or follow me on IG at @andreapippins daily to see the prompt for the day, and set aside a few minutes a day to flex that creative muscle. I will be posting more in-depth posts here to supplement some of the info.
We'll be using the #iamcreative hashtag to document the progression of the days. If you feel comfortable enough to share your experience please use the hashtag if you post images. I'd love to see what you're thinking.
Here is day 1:
What is that one thing you love to do and wish you could do every day, even for a few moments? Drawing, singing, cooking, painting, sewing? Sometimes we think we can't do it and then make excuses that keep us from our creative passions. For example, not having time or "I'm not creative enough." Honey, that's fear talking. Five minutes less on social media or 30 minutes less watching TV is plenty of time. And not creative enough? How do you really know unless you nurture it and let it grow? When you write down the 3 things that you think are stopping you let those inspire the things you can do to make time every day for a little creative expression. And then do them.