Do Things, Tell People: How I Learned to be Creative

Learning to be Creative

Starting a new creative venture can be scary — even if you are in a creative field or would describe yourself as ‘a Creative.' Below is a collection of personal truths about creativity I collected through my experience playing with lettering over the past few months.

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Do the thing

I find the hardest part of doing something new is actually starting to do it. I will put something off forever if the idea of doing it is uncomfortable or scary (like writing this blog post), but feeling that uncomfortable or scared feeling just means you have a lot to gain by doing the thing. One of the mantras taught to me early on in my creative career was to get comfortable being uncomfortable — being uncomfortable means you are learning and stretching yourself to do things you didn’t think you could do.

Learning to be CreativeL Sketches, Do The Thing

<3 the thing

The Thing should be something you enjoy doing, and should be a relaxing outlet for you, not something you stress yourself out about.

Do the thing for your friends

Cards, gifts, random requests — doing things for other people is fun and motivates me to do good work. They are usually pretty stoked about it too.

Learning to be Creative: CSlackdesign on Instagram

Know thyself

For me personally, the second I commit to doing something publicly (the dreaded “I’m going to start a 30-day drawing challenge” Facebook/Instagram post), I will immediately also start coming up with a list of reasons why I can’t/shouldn’t do that thing in the back of my head. I have to almost trick myself into drawing every day. I do this by strategically leaving the things I need to draw in the places where I spend the most time NOT working (I also do this when I want to read more), so when I get home from work and I sit down in my living room to watch season 3 of Community for the 4th time, all of my drawing stuff is already there on my coffee table, just asking to be drawn on. This 'sitting in the living room watching netflix and drawing' thing then becomes a routine, which I do almost every day. The awesome part is, I actually really look forward to this part of my day now. I get to doodle, I get to relax, and I feel totally refreshed after doing it.

Get inspired by other people who do the thing.

Follow other people who do the thing you do. Get inspired by what they do. If you make something based off their work, give them a shout out, who knows, they might even dig it!

Learning to be Creative: Know Thy Self

The thing doesn’t have to be expensive

The things you use to create DO NOT have to be expensive. My favourite drawing tools are a $1 mechanical pencil (which I totally just ‘borrowed’ from my room mate), a Sharpie, an eraser and some printer or sketchbook paper. Use what you already have lying around and have fun with it. I recently had some leakage under the sink in my kitchen and got a pretty cool drawing surface out of it.

Learning to be Creative: Creativity Doesn't Need to be Expensive

Challenge yourself

When you finally get into the groove of doing your thing, start challenging yourself. I started out my little type adventure by only drawing from references and drawing the same word over and over again (#hustle). Then (with some prodding from my friends who were getting tired of my Hustle-filled instagram feed) I started moving out of my new-found hustle comfort zone and into new non-hustle-related territory. The results have been awesome, and I’m having even more fun than before.

 Learning to be Creative: Challenge Yourself

Share the thing

Document your thing, share it with your friends (even if you don’t think it’s good). Your friends will push you to do more challenging things. I never would have gotten out of drawing letters from reference and doing the same word over and over if it weren’t for my friends. I got lots of encouragement and they challenged me to get even further out of my comfort zone. (Special Thanks to Jamie Dean and Andrea Emery for being awesome motivators)

Learning to be Creative: Share Your Design

The results were really awesome. I never expected to be able to draw without a reference typeface or some sort of guide to go off.

Learning to be Creative: Find Feedback on Social Media

Once I did one drawing without reference, I immediately became less afraid of doing it, which lead to even more drawing and fun!

Learning to be Creative: CSlack Sketches

Seriously, do the thing

For me spending time drawing and lettering (almost) every day has been an awesome, fun, and super rewarding experience. Your thing doesn’t have to be drawing. It could be baking, sewing, writing, singing, coding.. really anything you have an interest in. Commit to (or trick yourself into) doing something creative every day and get comfortable being uncomfortable. Go forth and do your thing!

Join me on Instagram and share your thing! I'd love to see what you are working on.


What's your thing?

Tell us in the comments below what you've done to challenge yourself creatively.

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