Clear, concise articles designed to improve your creative thinking, condition your brain to generate new ideas, and expand your imagination.
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Work In Progress Newsletter #005 by Drengr
“Great spirits have always encountered oppositions from mediocre minds.”
Imagine an egg. Not just any regular egg. An egg that no one has ever seen before. A completely new kind of egg, unlike anything on Earth.
Got it pictured? Take a minute to draw your newly invented egg. A quick sketch of your idea is all you need!
Now here's your task.
Think about the ways that your newly invented egg is different from a typical egg found here on Earth (like a chicken egg). How is it different in size, shape, color, texture, etc.? The further away your new egg is from a typical egg, the greater your conceptual expansion!
What is conceptual expansion?
Conceptual expansion is your ability to form new perspectives or associations with concepts that are familiar to you. Let's take a look at the iPhone. What made this concept so innovative? Its unprecedented multifunctionality.
For the first time in human history, you could make calls, listen to your favorite tunes, and access the world wide web all from one device on the go, easily. The combination of these services created a new perspective on what was possible. Conceptual expansion was the key cognitive skill involved in forming this novel product idea. Taking concepts already familiar:
making phone calls
listening to music
and combining them in a new, appropriate way (mobile friendly).
Ready to hone in on your abilities? Try practicing the activity above but this time with a different object! Keep a small notebook of your drawings and notes to reflect on your progress!
"80% of the battle is showing up. Those who succeed are those who fail most. They fail often because they try often."
"Self-identity is the key to forming new habits. First, identify as the type of person you wish to become. Ask yourself, what would X person do? How would X person handle this? Now prove it to yourself with small wins. Affirm and repeat. Embrace your new habit!"
"You can not climb Mt. Everest in a straight, upward pattern. You must climb up, rest, descend a bit, and repeat. Remember this as you evaluate your goal progress. Setbacks and regression are natural. Persistence creates success."
Work In Progress Newsletter #004 by Drengr
“There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward, you can remove all traces of reality.”
There comes a moment in every artist's life when you sit down to work and nothing... You stare into the void, frozen in where to begin. Maybe this void is your DAW, an empty page, or a blank canvas. Whatever the medium, this is a universal experience among creatives.
It can feel nearly impossible to get started, be completely demotivating, compounding its effects with each session that goes by. It doesn't have to be this way. Here are 3 proven strategies to get you unstuck and reach new creative breakthroughs even in the face of the great void.
Start with something familiar. Start with what you know. Is there a piece you’ve practiced before? Is there a fundamental exercise or rhythm that is key to honing your skills? Start here. Think of it as a warm-up. Once you get started, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you fall into the process.
Use your environment for inspiration. Whether you feel attuned to it or not, you are surrounded by nuggets of inspiration. Is there a song playing in the background or a favorite playlist on repeat? Use it as a writing prompt. Maybe you look outside only to see and hear rainfall. The subtle pitter-patter of the droplets could be the next beat for your song; transform it. Stuck on a Netflix binge? Use that show as a baseline theme for your next painting or sculpture. Connect with the present to find those bits of inspiration.
Use the 5-minute rule challenge. If you haven’t heard of (or just neglected to apply) the 5-minute rule, this will be a game-changer for you. Put on a timer for 5 minutes and get to work. Don’t overthink this. Hit that snare, write down your stream of consciousness, bust out the new paints, open an unfinished after effects project, just do something. By making a small commitment of 5 minutes, you subconsciously alleviate the pressure of creating (a real feeling no matter your love for the art). Also, get comfortable with the idea that the first draft, edit, or version will NOT be the final, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. It needs to be done. Great art, stellar art, comes from the process. It comes from repeated practice. When the timer finally goes off, if you’re not enjoying yourself, then stop. You’ve completed practice for the day. However, you will find that maybe another 15 or 30 minutes feels right.
Each of these strategies can be used solo or in conjunction with each other to kick start your sessions. It is important to note that if you “always” seem to have this feeling each session, check-in with yourself. Maybe you are procrastinating due to a deadline? It could be that you’re unnecessarily hypercritical of yourself. What about a break and time to recharge? Dig a little. At the end of the day, the creative process is fulfilling. It should be fun, enjoyable, and downright flippant at times! Don’t lose sight of this!
"Stop aiming for perfection. Aim for execution. Picasso created over 50,000 pieces of art. ~100 are considered masterpieces today. That's 0.2% of his work. Create and share your work courageously."
"Your best art comes from dedicated practice and happy accidents."
"Who do you want to become? Prove it to yourself with small wins via habits. Become the person you're meant to be."
Work In Progress Newsletter #003 by Drengr
“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.”
The Business of Art
Explore niches. Tailor your art to a specific niche to generate new revenue and hone your skills. Are you a photographer? Target clients looking to capture photos of their pets (painters could use this too) or try tailoring your service to pictures for dating profiles. Music producers, open up your availability to producing podcasts. Work with podcasters to mix and master their audio files. Targeting in this fashion not only provides additional income but builds your client base and work portfolio. Other opportunities will come your too as you expand your network of clients. You never know who you might meet.
Know Your Audience. Not all fans (customers) are created equal. It's important to identify your audience to find those most likely to purchase your work. Here are 7 questions to help you identify your target customers.
Where do your customers buy art?
What type of buyer understands your work?
Where do these buyers live, travel, or hang out?
What age group and/or income level of fan can afford your pieces?
What are their hobbies? Attitudes? Style? Interests?
What connection can you find between you, your art, and your buyers?
What kind of marketing would reach them best (word of mouth, email, social media, flier)?
"Originality is the unique modification of what already exists."
"Master your tools and techniques. An artist with a full arsenal is ever ready when inspiration strikes."
"Redefine success. Success is not a destination. An end goal. Tangible. In reality, success is a process. Consistency. A lifestyle."
Work In Progress Newsletter #002 by Drengr
“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”
-George Bernard Shaw
The Business of Art
Commission Based Work. One of the most effective ways to build a client base is to start with people you know. Reach out to your network of friends, family, and professionals to commission work in exchange for a review. Social proof (a positive review) has a significant impact on your ability to acquire new customers. Think, reading Amazon reviews pre-purchase.
Emotional Experiences. The idea of “selling” your art can feel a bit cringe-worthy at times. After all, art is emotion. Instead of framing your art as a product, consider it an experience. People buy experiences. As you look to garner more attention (and yes, sales) for your artwork, focus on the emotional experience that your works provide. While globally recognized artists have social currency attached to their work, emotional experiences win major, no matter your recognition status. Check out more on how emotions influence our purchase decisions.
"It's not motivation you lack but clarity. Without a clear goal or task, it's nearly impossible to make progress. Focus on clearly identifying one major goal for your day that is actionable. Define when and where it will happen. See results."
Habits + Intentional Practice = Mastery. That is the "secret" formula.
"Your experiences shape your perspective. Live more. See more. Feel more. Be more."
Work In Progress Newsletter #001 by Drengr
Sourced from GIPHY
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
The Business of Art
Find your dream 100. Focus on creating music, written content, digital art, etc. that appeals to 100 people, not the masses. When you focus on curating for fewer people (yourself included) the inevitable result is better and more meaningful work. Capture these dedicated fans via an email list, which you can later leverage to share and sell your art.
Set up a business entity for your art (if you haven't yet)! An LLC aka "limited liability company" is a popular choice. With an LLC you're able to get a tax identification number (a social security number for businesses essentially) and open a bank account under your business's name, rather than your own.
An LLC limits personal liability because an LLC is legally separate from its owners. LLC's are responsible for their own debts and obligations, and although you can lose the money you have invested in your company, personal assets such as your home and bank account can't be used to collect on business debts. Check out the advantages of an LLC here.
"Being successful as an artist does not mean selling out. Selling out is intentionally compromising your artistic vision in exchange for viewership and/or money. Know the difference."
"Embrace what makes your creative perspective unique. No one can create the way you do. That's your edge."
"The difference between professional artists and amateurs is only two-fold: mindset and habit. The professional has made the mental commitment to their craft. The amateur still considers it a hobby. The professional shows up to create every day, no matter what, no matter the circumstance. The amateur shows up when they feel like it. Choose your path."