I was minded to like this book even before I received my copy through the post. I myself, as well as being MD here at the3rdi magazine, am a professional artist, selling sculptures in galleries across the country. I know how much more productive I am across the whole range of my working life when I am in touch with my creative side. This book sets out to explain just what it means to be creative and to explore why so many people feel blocked.
Many people I meet say, “I wish I could draw like you”, “I can’t draw at all”, “I’d love to do something creative”. But being creative isn’t just about art, we are being inventive in our working and personal lives all of the time and this book uses art as a way of helping to acknowledge the creativity that already exists and to allow it to grow. The quotation on the introduction states it perfectly;
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ~ Picasso.
This book points out that we all have creative talents and that even if you don’t think that you have, it doesn’t matter! Just start with who you are and where you are and go from there.
I have read and reviewed a number of “self-help” books over the years – the “Coach yourself to health…or to wealth…or to a new career – you know the type, and I half expected The Confident Creative to be in that mould. To unlock creativity in order to gain your perfect life. I was hugely relieved that it is no such thing. It is a guide to unlock your creativity in order to…unlock your creativity! Simple as that. Once it is unlocked then who knows where it may take you!
The book is a manual; it helps you to decide when (now) and where (anywhere you are comfortable) to start and what you will need (as simple as a pencil and a piece of paper). The point to which is always returns is “Make a mark-just do it. ” All you need to do is to show up and take action.
It talks about drawing from your imagination, drawing what you see. It explores ways to help you make your mark, drawing to music, trying different materials, drawing fast/slow, even drawing with your eyes closed. By urging that you try different methods the book helps you to find the method that will work for you, to unlock your creativity.
It is beautifully and extensively illustrated with pictures from artists, including the author, and with graphics from people using the techniques described in the book. These second style of illustration are particularly inspirational as they are not perfect! They show what can be done and that all is art! Even if you feel that you can draw, try drawing with your non-dominant hand. I did. The results were extraordinary and helped to unlock something new for me.
The book lost me in Chapter 10, Energy, as the explanation of energy and the intelligence of the universe is anything but logical. And it was entirely uneccessary. There is no need to slip into pseudo-science. The book works perfectly well without it and is the worse for this brief interlude. Mercifully it comes back on track in Chapter 11 and the chapters about true creativity, overcoming the negative thoughts that arise when we feel that we are not ‘making progress‘ and drawing as meditation are a delight.
The book teaches how to make your mark, how to be accepting of success and failure, how to experiment to uncover new areas of creativity, how to overcome the fear of getting started, how to love yourself through what you create but most of all it urges us all to JUST DO IT. The results are not as important as the creative process itself.
I’ll end with an example from my own life to illustrate this point. In the early 1990’s I visited an exhibition by Scottish artist Peter Howson. The pictures were incredibly powerful and the painting and drawing superb. That is not what affected me most though. I wanted to be an artist but had hardly put pen to paper for 2-3 years. Peter Howson was the same age as me and had filled about a dozen rooms with canvases. It wasn’t the quality of the work that impressed me most, it was the fact that he had done it. What made him an artist was that he had created hundreds of works.
So just pick up this fantastic book, then pick up pencil and paper and unlock your creativity!
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