When I sat down to write this post I thought I would focus on feedback. More specifically, how to give and receive feedback effectively during a project. However, I found myself thinking about constraints. How creativity and productivity often increase when a project or task has constraints placed on it.
For example, last year I started drawing again after not drawing much for a few years. I was fortunate to have discovered illustrator, Jake Parker, and his Inktober project around that time. Because I was so out of practice I shied away from doing Inktober, but realized I needed some kind of constraint otherwise I might not keep drawing. So I decided to do a project that I would call “Animals: A to Z”. I would set aside 1-2 hrs every evening to drawing an animal. I would use the first 10 -15 minutes to find reference images, then I would draw for the rest of the time. Sadly, I only made it to the letter “D”. In that four days of drawing I realized that I didn’t just want to draw animals. I wanted to write short stories and draw comics like I used to. After that I shifted my focus away from the animals to reinforcing my understanding of drawing fundamentals and written and visual storytelling skills. It’s been just over a year since I rediscovered my passion for illustration and storytelling. I now have two comic scripts in various stages of thumbnails and script revision.
If you’re still reading this you may be thinking, “Where are you going with this?”. I started this blog with the intention of focusing on graphic design fundamentals, principles, and processes based on what I’ve learned from my agency, in-house, and freelance experience. However, I find myself pursuing illustration and storytelling in my personal time instead of design. While graphic design and illustration are very similar and often cross paths, I find illustration refreshing after designing catalogs, ads, and graphic elements for the web at work. It also fulfills a need that I have to create something that I can call my own, something that I can share with people in hopes that they might enjoy it or resonate with it in a positive way.
So what do creative constraints look like for me right now? It looks like focusing on illustration and sharing my creative journey into visual storytelling. I also decided I’m going to participate in Inktober this year. I’m used to using Sharpie’s and Pigma Micron’s so I decided to pick up a couple inking pens. I got the Pentel Pocket Brush and the Pilot Futayaku Double-Sided Brush Pen. I’m enjoying learning how to use them both. The Pentel is by-far my favorite of the two. The ability it gives you to easily create whimsical and organic thick to thin lines is
I hope this helps you come up with ways to use creative constraints to your advantage in your creative pursuits.