Have you ever felt like this? You get an idea for a piece of work and you’re excited. Very excited. In your mind it looks like the best thing that you have ever and can ever create. You can imagine how proud you will be when it’s finished, when it’s wonderfulness is shared with the world in all its physicality. And that’s when the fear strikes. What if it’s absolute rubbish? What if I can’t do it? What if people laugh at my attempt? What if, what if, what if…….
This exact scenario happens to me on a fairly regular basis and makes me so afraid that I can’t even start. I procrastinate, I worry and I don’t try. Recently I’ve found a way to beat this quickly by doing what I would describe as a sort of artist’s meditation. All you need to do is this: Think of a short phrase or mantra that, if you accepted the words to be completely true, would help move you from stagnation to productivity. One that worked for me this week was “Feeling afraid is absolutely normal” but there are plenty of others that will also do the trick. Once you have your phrase in mind start making it in whatever medium you like to work in. I like to cut the letters out of paper and stick them on a bigger sheet but painting them or photographing letters from found objects would work just the same if that’s your medium of choice. This exercise is a very quick way of re-engaging with the process that you use to create images. By going through the motions of cutting and sticking my excitement for the actual act of making work is reignited. At the same time cutting out a positive phrase gives you the opportunity to concentrate on the words and their meaning and clear your mind of any other thoughts. Once your mind is clear and receptive new ideas can come flooding in. You may find, like I did earlier this week, that you are itching to get started on a real piece of work before you’ve even finished the first word of the phrase – I ended up shortening “Feeling afraid is absolutely normal” to “Feeling fear is ok” just so I could get going on a new image which I think may turn out to be my most ambitious to date….but more on that another time. Happy illustrating!