Being Creative: The Art of Making Mistakes

Can you be truly “creative” if you don’t make mistakes? Who decides on how creative you are, or if you are even creative at all? Is being creative a state of mind or is it displaying things in exhibitions and galleries for all to see?

As someone who has struggled with being a perfectionist, I often argue with myself about not doing things right vs chilling out and accepting my “faults”. I’m not quite sure where this comes from. Whether it’s my upbringing from parents; my education; my “catholic guilt syndrome”; or just my own in-built conflict.

Cause and effect

I remember being in school and drawing a lot of Christmas cards for my friends in class, at one point, I was even drawing cards for other classes. They were all entered into the annual Christmas Card competition and a card would always win which had an element drawn by me in it, yet I never won. In my last year of school I did receive a certificate saying “Highly Commended” which (to this day) still leaves me asking the question “…was it pity for all the drawings I did” or “…was it a because they noticed something looked the same on all the cards”?? Either way the result was my card just wasn’t good (or “creative”) enough, right? These experiences took me down the path to attempt at being “perfect”.  I.e. not taking risks. But being creative must be the opposite.

As a “creative”, I think your mind should be free. Light. Expressive. Colourful. Have no fear of taking risks. But even though I have quite a surreal imagination, and pretty much visualise and mashup conversations all the time, I don’t consider myself as “that creative”. Maybe it’s because society says “your portfolio doesn’t stand up to the quality of this person” or “you’re work is not critically acclaimed by someone at the national galley”. Or some people don’t hold the same value or you work and therefore doesn’t put a monetary value to it (does that make it less creative.)

Embrace your mistakes

Over the last few years I’ve actually gone out of my way to do things out of my comfort zone and break away from this quest of being perfect, which to me, can suffocate my creativity. I like to experiment… So, if I’m experimenting… this means I have to mistakes… and ultimately take RISKS.

Everyone has different measurement of risk, but for me I started doing small things like drawing in pen so I couldn’t rub out. Surprisingly I didn’t get agitated or angry over an ill placed pen stroke, I just covered up the mistake using cross hatching or by over the correct line with more pen pressure. Without realising it, I was creating a solution to a problem without much thought at all. Some people say “thinking outside the box” or “blue sky thinking“, but ultimately its called “being creative” and finding a solution to a problem!!!

When creativity turns into perfection

Being creative isn’t new (but it is “thinking new”) but it’s something you care about then embracing it to find a “new way”, improving you and others around you. In this TEDx talk, How to get better at the things you care about, Eduardo Briceño describes how Beyoncé reviews her performances each night and works to make them better. 

But at what point does an idea… stop being “new” or creative and turn into perfection?

Beauty (or mistakes) are in the eyes of the beholder

The glorious web is littered in artists who have made a creative career by accident!

 

More Mishaps

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Just Add Colour

5 Books to Colour Your Stress Away

In this hectic, high pressure, on demand world, it’s easy to end up with a brain flooded with things to do. When you do get a moment to yourself, how many times have you wished to go back to childhood or a time when things were simpler? Well, fear not, as a stealthy resurgence is now occurring in the art and graphic design world; colouring books are making a comeback! Without being sciency, colouring in allows us to relax and destress by focusing on the task at hand, whilst being free to get creative and use whatever colours (including media) we want! I have been guilty of hunching over a white A4 sheet of paper with a black outline of a lego man at 3am, using the free crayons in 24 hour Mc D’s which to this day fills me with joy and a feeling of freedom! Simple things I know and I have no shame! Here 5 of adult colouring books to help you chill out.

1. Lost Ocean Inky Adventure by Johanna Basford

Created by worldwide bestseller author Johanna Basford, Lost Ocean invites colour-inners of all ages to go underwater from where ever you choose to colour-in. The book also comes with a large double-sided pull-out poster to colour and keep. Get lost under the sea and de-stress as your pencils (or pens) glide over the smooth, untextured ivory paper.

2. Memos to Shitty People by James Alexander

Incompetent co-worker? Annoying neighbour? Rubbish friend? Colour away your frustration with over thirty-five delightful and vulgar phrases you wish you’d said out loud.

Each single-sided page includes such tension-busting phrases as, ‘Seriously, Bitch?’ and ‘Oh look … the fuck-up fairy has visited’ alongside friendly critters and intricate flora to calm your nerves.

WARNING contains seriously colourful language!

3. Swear Words Colouring Book by Outrageous Katie

For those of you who have a passion for spraying a flurry of F bombs, this one is for you!  You can colour in your colourful language and relieve your stresses upon Outrageous Katie’s awesome illustrations. This book decorates offensive expletives with mandalas, animals, ornate shapes and flowers on each page. Obviously this is not for kids so FFS please don’t leave it on the coffee table with the little ones’ copy of Pig Peppa (I know what I said…) magazine!

4. Anti-Stress Colouring: doodle & dream by Christina Rose

“Creativity replaces anxiousness when pencils and pens are put to paper in this intricate collection of illustrations.” I couldn’t have put it better myself! Anti-Stress is just one in a series of doodle & dream coloring books by Christina Rose where each illustration has an inspirationall quote to help shift those dark clouds. This book encourages you to even cut out your final piece and frame it with pride, just like when mum or dad used to stick you picture up on the fridge!

5. The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress art therapy for busy people by Emma Farrarons

Good things come in small packages (so they say!) and this is one of the good things. This bestselling adult colouring book is an awesome pocket-sized stress beater. Emma Farraons book is packed full of drawings which allow you to focus on the exercise whilst distracting you from the things getting you down. Whip out your pencil wherever you are, and colour your way to calm!


There are plenty of adult colouring books out there waiting to be filled in with colour. If your not sure about the value of colouring in, the next time you’re at a restaurant and you see a kids menu, look around for the crayons. Pick them up and draw on the play sheet! If it doesn’t stress you out from trying to be perfect and keeping between the lines, it may be just the thing for you.

Don’t forget your pencils…


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