Tag: creativity

Yes, you can afford art supplies

By Vanessa Bentley

Have you ever wanted to try painting but the paper, paint and brushes are all just too expensive? What if you only paint once and don’t like it? Worrying about the cost of the paper might also make you reluctant to experiment – and after all, what is art without experimentation?

A product brand that seems to be available in many stores is Rolfes. They make sketchbooks for a variety of applications. I was looking for something really affordable for illustration purposes, and this was right up my alley.

For the purposes of the illustration I wanted to do, I also purchased a set of watercolours. This set is perfect for someone who wants to try out watercolour paint for the first time and not worry about cost. These are also perfect for children – and in my case, for illustration purposes.

For the watercolour illustration, I decided that the Rolfes Watercolour pad would be the best choice. The first step was to draw my sketch in pencil.

Once I was happy with my sketch I could start adding colour. The lid of the paint container is lovely as it serves as a palette for your paints. Add a bit of water into the little lid of the paint tray, then add the colour to the water and your paint will be perfect for a wash.

For this painting I worked in layers, adding the colours until I had the look I wanted. To finish off, I waited until the paint was dry before adding details using pencil crayons and a bit of white gel pen.

By Vanessa Bentley

Did you know that the month of May will have many artists drawing, painting or illustrating mermaids? The official Mermay website says the following:
“MerMay is a month-long celebration of creativity, community and above all … MERMAIDS.”

Apart from the daily MerMay prompts provided by mermay.com, you can search for other prompt lists on Instagram by using #mermay or #mermay2022. There are many, so you should find one that suits you.

If creating daily mermaids is a bit much, then look out for shorter prompt lists. Some lists give one to three prompts per week, allowing busy creatives to still partake in this magical challenge.

Although most artists participating in the MerMay challenge work digitally, there are many who work traditionally using standard art materials.

Prompts are what make the challenge fun. The prompt list used to create the mermaids in the image below included prompts like best friend, 1920s, circus, fruit, ice and fairy.

So go out and find a prompt list that inspires you – and start creating your mermaids!

Studies show people who work in co-working spaces are on balance more satisfied, better performers and find more meaning in their work than those working in traditional offices.

What’s so special about co-working?

Linda Trim, Director at FutureSpace, says: “Co-working spaces attract diverse groups of people such as entrepreneurs, remote workers, independent professionals and people from large companies who work together in communal setting.

“This seems to be create a special alchemy of contentment.”

Trim cites a study in the Harvard Business Review by researchers Garrett, Bacevice and Spreitzer which found that people working at co-working spaces were not just more satisfied and productive than those in regular offices, but were also much more engaged in shaping their and their company’s future.

“But perhaps the most important factor that the research uncovered was that these people where thriving at work because they saw their work as more meaningful that those in regular offices.”

Why are there such differences?

Firstly, unlike a traditional office, co-working spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects. “Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in,” Trim noted. “Working amongst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger.”

Secondly, meaning may come from working in a culture where it is the norm to help each other out, and there are many opportunities to do so. The variety of workers in the space means that coworkers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members.

Meaning may also be derived from the essence of co-working coworking: community, collaboration and learning. “It’s not simply the case that a person is going to work; they’re also part of a global social movement,” Trim added. Co-workers often say that having a community to work in helps them create structures and discipline that motivates them.

Thirdly, they also have more job control. Co-working spaces are normally accessible 24/7. People can decide whether to put in a long day when they have a deadline or want to show progress, or can decide to take a long break in the middle of the day to go to the gym. Said Trim: “They can choose whether they want to work in a quiet space so they can focus, or in a more collaborative space with shared tables where interaction is easier.”

Even though the co-working movement has its origins among freelancers, entrepreneurs, and the tech industry, it’s increasingly relevant for a broader range of people and organisations.

“In fact, co-working can become part of your company’s strategy, and it can help your people and your business thrive. An increasing number of companies are incorporating co-working into their business strategies,” Trim concludes.

Paper is mightier than the microchip

Screen culture is damaging creativity. Increasingly, I see young creatives reach for their laptops whenever they have a problem to solve.

Hey, there are no new ideas on a screen. You’ll only find ideas that already exist. And you don’t want those. Do you?

The computer is a big cluttered cupboard, a superfast postman and a very clever professor. It’s not a creative tool.

Not when your task is to come up with new ideas.

The brain only truly ignites when the hand has a pen and it hovers over a huge pile of lovely white paper.

Screens encourage laziness.

Creatives simply do not bring the same mental effort to screens as they do when working with paper. Studies from around the world show that people working with screens are far more casual than those working with paper.

Paper demands more mental energy and commitment. In 2005, San José State University found that students using screens spent more time trying to take shortcuts than those working with paper.

Their time was spent browsing, scanning and hunting for keywords. The students using paper spent more time thinking. Their brains were more active in seeking out the problem. Screens tire us. They emit light that drains our energy, irritates our eyes and makes us feel tired. Paper does the exact opposite.

It reflects natural light. It has texture, weight and beauty. Paper is sensory. The physical aspects of writing and drawing on paper are simultaneously linked with our cognitive processes.

Our mind and body are interlinked.

Studies by Professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger in Norway show that our brains don’t work like computers.

We don’t sense things and process the sensory perceptions afterwards.

Mangen proved that sense and process are one.

And the best way of harnessing this is via the medium of paper.

There is a close connection between what we sense and do with our bodies and what we understand.

Paper is classical and speaks to us in a mental language we comprehend.

It has been the creative launch pad for centuries, inspiring Leonardo da Vinci, Steve Jobs and David Bowie along the way.

Jean Luc-Velay, a French neurophysiologist, has produced studies showing that writing and drawing by hand stimulates different electrical impulses in the brain.
These brain impulses are dormant when we work with screens.

Which explains why the smarter institutes of learning are bringing paper back into the classroom.

Paper reveals your very own emotional mind map.

It shows you the wide roads of unhindered thoughts, the side streets where you can stop to gaze at the mental architecture, the cul-de-sacs of curious concepts and the random roundabouts that make you giddy.

Paper gets you to your destination: the big idea.

And it allows you to understand your creative journey more fully.

The next time you have a brief, shut down your laptop and grab a layout pad and a marker.

You’ll get more ideas.

You’ll get more interesting ideas.

And it will be more fun.

And if someone tells you that you are wasting too much paper, tell them they shouldn’t work for an advertising agency. They should work for the Forestry Commission.

By Tony Cullingham for www.campaignlive.co.uk

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