Make Your Art a Necessity

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by Deepti Menon

One of my greatest struggles as an artist has been staying motivated to create my own artwork while balancing all my other responsibilities. I’d always hoped that chunks of free time would be an opportunity to just create anything and everything.

However, jobs, internships, or just day-to-day activities were exhausting. Working on personal projects would just frustrate me more. My mind was in so many different places, so I would end up just staring at the paper or craving something less stressful. This became cycle of continuous frustration.

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During my time in art school, I had a professor who always emphasized the importance of working on bits of our projects everyday, rather than all at once. She emphasized the importance of working daily, making it a routine we cannot avoid. Recently, I was reminded of this important lesson through Art Prof itself!

Having recently graduated, “real-life” responsibilities started to consume my time and my art was left behind. That is until I saw Art Prof teaching assistant Lauryn Welch’s Art Hack video in which she explains how one should treat their art like hygiene – a daily necessity. If I can allot time each day to brush my teeth, shower, etc., I should do so with my art. After seeing Lauryn’s video, I started forcing myself to do something creative for at least 15 minutes a day. No rules, just create.

I started doing a rapid-fire doodle marathon right before bed, or I would take reference photographs on my walk to work. Waiting for bread to toast or pasta to boil became a creative opportunity. I brought my sketchbook everywhere and started finding inspiration in everything. Working daily in small amounts was so much easier to do, and there was no pressure.

The best thing about these quick spurts of creation is that I would forget about it afterwards. I’d place these creative moments between two tasks, or during a longer activity. By doing this, I wouldn’t have that much time to spend on each creation and, afterwards, I couldn’t dwell on what I wasn’t happy with. However, when I wanted to sit down and spend most of the day working on my artwork, I had an arsenal of ideas I could revisit. This process really validated my ideas as well; when I revisited my sketchbook, I saw what I was capable of doing in such a short amount of time, creating excitement, confidence, and inspiration to move forward.

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I realized that just making work and exploring ideas was more important than worrying about the end-product. I was able to just play around and put anything in my head onto paper, which was so informative when tackling larger projects.

Integrating the creative process into my daily life, making it a part of my daily routine, took off the pressure of making something “good”, it just forced me to create.

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ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

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