If You Don’t Create It, Who Will?

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It’s important to my artist soul to remember that there will never be another person to create the things that I create. My artistic gifts, my artistic vision, is mine only. So if I don’t finish my project, it won’t exist. What a sad thought: that there is magic and joy that I am not allowing to spread because of my own self sabotage. I am not only getting in my own way, but depriving others of my special brand of joy and creativity. What if the one person whose soul my work was meant to touch and inspire them on their own path never sees that drawing? That plushie that makes them want to start creating with their own hands?

I know that my biggest self sabotage is with the Perfectionist. I am working to discover another way for the Perfectionist to be. A way that healthy rather than destructive. Maybe as an efficiency expert when I’m wasting time on something but don’t see it, or as a brilliant organizer. I will find a way to befriend and love the Perfectionist… eventually.

How do you sabotage yourself creatively?

~Seth

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Art as Therapy

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Intuitive creating for me would be about just moving with the inspiration – not plotting out color choices or designs. I used to just play around with a sketchpad and markers when we were listening to a radio show or Nevi was reading. Making “doodles”, but a lot of artwork and ideas came out of those doodles. It was just playtime, just drawing whatever came to mind. Flowing.

When I create from the heart, there is a visible joy in the work. Before it’s even colored, the drawings dance on the page.. They have life and energy. Making plushies and sewing is a joy, even when there are time-consuming little steps that have to be done, I’m happy. I’m having a good time feeling the fabric textures under my fingers and the excitement of watching all the little pieces becoming a whole thing. It becomes an escape from everything around me. My happy place.

When I create from my head, I become impatient and irritable when even little things aren’t “right.” Things that probably no one but me would notice if I don’t point them out. My artwork often comes out looking stiff or the poor little schwoopies look frozen on the page.. Creative expression doesn’t make me happy when I’m over-analyzing it. It saps the energy out of me and all the joy from my work.

The act of creating has to come from the joy in your heart or it just doesn’t work. There are days that I want to create, but I’m “having a bad day” or I’m stressed out and so I get nothing done. “I can’t make happy things when I’m unhappy,” I say. But that seems backwards. I should embrace artwork as therapy. Digging into the soul of that joyful self expression could be the therapy that brings me out of the un-happyness. This is the goal and I will keep working at it.

How about you? Are you able to use artistic therapy to bring you up when you’re down?

~Seth

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You’re Doing Art Wrong

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This is the first post in a series for the FLOW #30DAYJOURNAL project that I’m taking part in. Lisa Sonora Beam is always a great source of inspiration from me and (even though I admittedly can suck at journaling) I knew her Creative Flow journaling project was for me. It’s so perfect to exactly where I’m at right now, I just had to! I won’t be posting every day about the project, most likely, only because journaling is very private, but I will share my insights whenever I think they might serve others as well as myself. 🙂

Thinking about my creative beginnings… I would have to say that I really started to come to life creatively in high school. I played around here and there before then, but it wasn’t til high school art classes that I started to really express myself through my creativity, to open up a little of me into my work.

I was bullied a lot in elementary and junior high school by the same group of girls every year at school because I didn’t look like I was supposed to, wasn’t wearing the right brands, didn’t have the right hair. I didn’t grow up in the kind of house where we could afford name brand clothes and shopping at the mall. I found that the easiest thing for me to do was try to be invisible. It didn’t always work, but the last things I wanted was to draw attention to myself or show them any cracks. But when we got to high school, it was a whole nother world. They had to find their place in this new food change of hundreds just like I did. There were, of course, other bullies (aren’t there always?) but I was free of crush of those same voices year after year digging into me. It was a new school with so many new people and I made a lot of friends, which is something I never had much in the years before that.

It was truly a new beginning for me and I finally felt like I could start expressing a little of who I was inside. I took every art class I could in high school and the very first inklings of what my style would become years later are there when I look back at what I made. My work got decent grades (I always did hate that you get graded on your artwork – like someone has the right to decide who made artwork “right” and who didn’t) but I was never a star in the class. My stuff was always too cartoon-y. But there really wasn’t a path for illustrators in high school art class, so I didn’t know why I couldn’t paint and draw like everyone else, why all my work looked like coloring book pages and two dimensional. I understand now, so many years later looking back, that there wasn’t anything wrong with what I was doing and the stars in the class weren’t better artists than me. They were just a different kind of artist than me.

~Seth

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2014 Awesomeness Review

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Where to even start reviewing 2014… there was a lot going on this past year. Definitely. It was not necessarily an easy year by any mark, but the year brought an abundance of learning and new understandings.

I discovered so many new things:

  • Welcome To Night Vale – If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s this brilliant and creepy podcast about this little town of Night Vale in the desert. It’s… kinda hard to explain, really. But it fast became an addiction in my house and it’s sparked a lot of new creative ideas about writing, artwork, plushies..
  • Cards Against Humanity – Which is such a wrong, messed up, hilarious game. We have taken the original cards and added tons of fandom-inspired cards we’ve found online, plus added in a bunch of personal jokes. We die laughing every time.. and lose way too many games to the Faceless Old Woman..
  • Pirate Sentai Gokaiger – The original Japanese version of Power Rangers. (I know, right? lol) We were introduced to is ridiculousness by some friends we made at Nijicon in October and we’re totally hooked. The Gokaiger season is actually the 35th anniversary season and we’re probably going to end up searching out a bunch of the other seasons because the team has the power to transform into all the older teams and we keep wondering “Oh what team is that? They look so cool” or their leader will show up to teach the team something and then we want to know more about his team.. Also the 35th anniversary coincides with the 10th anniversary of “One Piece” and the team members were inspired by the OP crew members, so we were predisposed to love it.

I also celebrated this year the return of one of my favorite bands after a 3-year break up, Fall Out Boy, who came back with the best album they’ve made yet and a whole new energy. They’ve got another new album dropping this month and I can’t wait! So inspiring to see a band you love come back so much more alive and seeing what happens when they really come together as a band and give respect to what they all love to do.

Speaking of music, I love all these crowd-funding sites where I can help some of my favourite under-appreciated bands and musicians make the album that they want to make and enjoying hearing that love and freedom in their finished albums.

It’s been amazing watching all the victories in the Marriage Equality fight add up, for me and especially for my best friends. Seeing so many stories of couples who have waited years, lifetimes even, to have their life together respected and recognized. I just pray that we can keep the momentum moving in the right direction.

I finally worked my first convention this year (two actually) which I was so excited for. While I did enjoy part of the experience, I’m still left with mixed emotions about whether it’s something I want to do on a regular basis.. It seems like the convention environment is changing and maybe it’s not as good for independent, small business artists as it used to be.. which is really a shame.. But there are other ways to be seen and I’ll keep working at it.

I helped my besties at Hermit & Star Books rebrand their “Parliament of Twilight” series into something even bigger and better than it was before, kind of like crossing “Game of Thrones”, “Supernatural”, and “Queer as Folk” into this amazing, scary, brilliant epic story playing out across all these characters’ lives with intertwining plot lines.. Book Two is in the editing stages right now and they’re writing Book Three. As their editor and number one fangirl I can tell you they are just getting better.. or worse (depending on how much abuse you like your characters to have).

Creatively speaking, I learned to embroider eyes for my Deluxe Cuddle Buddies this year and they just look incredible. I’m so proud of the work I’ve been doing. I love comparing my creative progress to where I started, old plushies to new. Hard to believe I’ve only been making them for four years.. like this – the first Dr. Stein plushie I made to the one I made just a couple months ago.

Wow.. the difference is just crazy to me. And I tried something really new for me – my Usagi and Misaki plushies are made totally out of felt, clothes and all. They turned out SO CUTE! I think I’m gonna keep that style with the button eyes because it really suits them. Unless, of course, someone requests the embroidered ones. Gotta make some more baby ponies so I can see what they look like with the embroidered eyes.. so, so many things I want to work on!

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Like I said.. it’s been a very busy year! I’m sure that I’ve left something out but there was just too much going on.. and I’m hoping that 2015 will be just as busy, amazing and enlightening!

So how was your 2014?

~ Seth