Publishing this post may mean that I will be put on a black list of a few manufacturers in our industry... Oops!
A few years ago I dived into scrapbooking and do you know what scrapbookers have a lot of? Sure you do, it's supplies. Some of them I would buy (expensive stuff and I was only a poor student!), some of it I was given to me by the manufacturers for whom I was supposed to provide weekly projects that featured the gifted products. Usual design-team situation (well, it seemed "usual" to me at the time, now I have a different view but that's a subject for another post). There was more and more stuff in my already tight one-bedroom flat. Every time a parcel would arrive I was super happy and excited, but then I started noticing one thing - the more I have the less I do/create. And I guess this isn't a cutting-edge thesis, but...
now I do mixed-media and I often see myself in need of a reminder.
Plus I see a lot of great people on my courses who also need it. So I'm going to say it:
None of the supplies that you already have and none of the supplies that you are about to buy are going to make you a better artist. No product on its own will help you develop your own style. I know this for sure.
Acrylic paint with added shimmer to it, acrylic paint with fancy name, acrylic paint that's in a jar, acrylic paint with a special sponge, acrylic paint used by that famous person, acrylic paint that dries slower or faster - this is still only paint. And it's never going to take you anywhere on its own...
but you can take it everywhere.
What I have learnt is that it's only hard (but mostly pleasant!) work that can get you closer to where you want to be. You can do magic with just two tubes of plain acrylic and a paintbrush, but you have to do it, you must show up and commit. And you know what else I know for sure?
I believe that daily art practice is the key to everything we crave for as artists.
You want to develop your own style? -> practise art daily
You want to master a certain technique or a process? -> practise art daily
You want to be a better artist -> practice art daily
You want to gain confidence to show your art to others? -> practice art daily
You want to say proudly "I'm an artist?" -> practice art daily
You want to lead more creative life? -> practice art daily
You want to become an instructor? -> practice art daily
You want others to notice you? -> practice art daily (and let people know)
...and much more.
No matter how good or bad the art that you are producing is (in your opinion), keep on doing it.
I also know that besides the daily art practice, there are many different ways to sort out the above. But somehow, magically this to me feels like the core of the whole art making process.
One more thing I must point out though, before you shout at me: none of the above means that you have to either have a lot of time on your hands, or that you must be well prepared in any way, or that you have to have experience or anything that gives you credit. All you have to do is to show up.
Daily art practice is not easy, I'm not going to lie. You may need to change some habits and adjust, but the rewards are great. One of the challenges that I set for my Advent Calendar course participants last year was to limit their supplies. So for those few days we forget about all the exciting products that we have in our drawers and get out only a few favourites that will keep us going. Almost 2000 people joined me on that course and and a few days ago I sent out a questionnaire. I asked about their experience, what they loved the most and other things. I've got tons of answers and guess what came up ridiculously often? The big difference that people noticed in the way they approach their daily practice once they limit their supplies.
I'm focusing on daily art journaling in my 100 Small Steps offering, if you'd like to join me to establish a more consistent art routine!
To finish this post off I'm going to say: I know that buying things makes us feel great, even if just for a minute. Buying is alright if you can afford it. My point is that sometimes we look at products and we feel that they may get us somewhere where we want to be, and this is not true. The more time you spend buying the further away you are getting from being more productive. All you need is you, you already have everything.
On the other hand sometimes just one new product can shake things up. But you definitely don't need 10 different variants of it. 😉