Out in the Park (detail from Moleskine illustration by Joana Miranda

2020 has felt like a LONG year…and we’ve still got 4 months to go! Staying creative during the pandemic has been both a challenge and a life-saver for me. In this 5 Ways to Recharge Your Creativity post I’m happy to share the ways in which I’ve managed to keep the inspiration flowing.

5 Ways to Recharge Your Creativity

  • Take a Course Even though I’m largely self-taught as an artist, the few courses I have taken have provided an instant boost as well as long-lasting inspiration. Domestika has a huge range of art courses. You’ll find everything from drawing and illustration to photography, painting, and sewing. Furthermore you can also take courses in topics such as Instagram marketing and art direction for creative visual branding. Even better, the courses are self-paced and are VERY affordable (between $10 and $20).
  • Keep Moving When New York finally started to come out of strict lock down in late June, my first purchase was a new pair of running shoes. During the pandemic I’ve upped my morning exercise routine to include intervals of running. I almost always fit in an evening walk as well. I’ve found that I come up with some of my best cartoon gags when I’m out walking. I think that having a higher “ceiling” over my head (not to mention fresh air!) also gives me some much needed space to process the barrage of daily bad news.
  • Finish Everything You Create Sometimes the urge to scrap a drawing or illustration is really strong. (I often face this urge when I’m about a quarter of the way through an illustration!) Rather than scrapping the project, commit to finishing it. While the projects with the mistakes might not ever see the light of day, it is precisely those projects that will teach you the most.

Case in point…

Here’s an freehand drawn ink and watercolor illustration I worked on over the past two days:

5 Ways to Recharge Your Creativitiy - Out in the Park - An example of an illustration I didn't like but still finished.  Finishing what you start is one of 5 ways to recharge your creativity.

To be honest, I felt like I “killed” the illustration when I drew the wavy “path.” However, at my mom’s suggestion (thank you, Ma!) I decided to use only watercolor to “draw” the trees in the background. Though I don’t feel like this one’s a keeper, I do like the combination of the drawn versus the more freely painted elements. Even better, I plan to use that technique in my subsequent illustrations.

  • Try New Things (See the above illustration!) Giving yourself permission to try new things requires setting aside your inner critic. Rarely do new experiments come out perfectly, but the process of letting go is the essential fuel for creativity.
  • Rinse and Repeat Practice is the key to success. If you’re interested in learning to draw, then make sure you draw or sketch something daily.

Remember…

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.

Pele

P.S.

Having a nice space to work in does help to make the creative process easier, too. Here’s what my art “studio” looks like:

And here’s what it looks like when I’m away from home!

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