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When you go to work, make your art or go about your business, there are so many reasons to do a good job. Keeping your word, having a good reputation and being consistent are a few reasons. But even deeper than that, I think there are two main places people come from when they create a project: creativity, or competition.

Creativity is a pure motive. Creativity is unexpected, moving, breathing and fresh. It is unique only to you. When you’re in a place of creativity, ideas flow and you aren’t worried about what people think, or even if what you are making measures up to your standards. You let yourself feel, think and create what comes from your mind. You express your thoughts about the world, your emotions, and your aesthetic preferences without fear or striving. There is a lot of joy in being in this state. Sometimes there is a feeling of “this is too easy” or “I can’t believe that was in my brain”. There is more pleasure in making the art, because you’re in a state of making something come into being that is from a pure state, that came straight from your mind. There is a feeling of calm confidence in this state because you know that no one can reproduce exactly what you have. Your uniqueness is your strength.

Competition has a different feel to it. When you’re creating from competition, it can feel paralyzing. There is a feeling of “How can I create something that will measure up, stand out, or otherwise prove my worth?” There is a feeling of pressure, being overwhelmed, and even anger, or “I’ll show them.” When you’re in this state, you can alternate between periods of intense work, and being burnt out and overwhelmed. That’s because you’re not actually enjoying the process! You’re coming from a place of grinding out work in order to prove worth to the world. However, the world will never give you the approval you seek unless you give it to yourself first. You must believe that the work you create is enough, no matter what anyone thinks, because if you believe your art is worthwhile, then eventually other people will too.

I have created from both states, and speaking from personal experience, the art made from pure creativity is more interesting, flows better, and is a lot more fun to paint than art that is made from a place of trying to impress or show people how good I am. It is the unique visions that we need more of in this world, made with a giving spirit, rather than the work made to build up the artist. And I believe when you create from the creativity state, the goals you desire for your art will fall into place naturally because of the creativity and value you are pouring out into the world.

Below are a few ideas for sparking a more creative state:

  1. Put on your favorite music and sketch for 30 minutes. Not detailing each sketch, just getting as many ideas as you can to suggest themselves.
  2. Take a walk in nature
  3. Take a media fast from TV and consuming social media. The things we put in our mind influence our thoughts, so if you want a more pure state of unique creativity, eliminate excess entertainment
  4. Think about the ratio of producing and consuming. Strive to produce more than you consume. For instance, instead of trolling social media, maybe create an interesting post for your followers and leave it at that. Or instead of watching TV, research some ideas for your next artwork. Producing things, even in a small way (keeping a diary, going for a walk, sketching, giving a friend a call) keeps your mind more active, and stimulates creativity. It also gives you better sleep, because the mind has been more active.
  5. Travel somewhere new. It doesn’t need to be somewhere far—take a new route home from work, visit a park near you, go for a hike by a nearby river. Unfamiliar situations can jog the creative mind as well.
  6. Create a goal for yourself and stick to it. Let it be simple at first, like creating something everyday, even if it’s a small sketch. This is different than competition, because you are just giving your creativity a framework to work with. Don’t go to bed without having ticked off this simple goal for each day.
  7. Take ideas from your dreams. Keep a dream sketch journal and write or sketch your thoughts from the dreams you remember.
  8. Keep it fun! If it stops being fun, it means you’re out of the flow state of creativity. Let yourself get back to making art for the pleasure of creating, and the best, most unique art will come out of that.

I hope these ideas help you in your creative journey, fellow artists and artisans! Go forth and create with joy. As Lera Auerbach writes in Excess of Being, “Angels of daring, I call upon you!”

Speaking of creativity, I have started a new channel for my artwork, a Patreon page. Patreon is a way that patrons and supporters of my art can get monthly, exclusive rewards like prints and original art for being my patron. To check it out, please visit www.patreon.com/jessicalibor. Thank you readers for your support and enthusiasm for my work. I hope this writing was in service to you! I will leave you with my latest artwork, “Magic Garden,” an ink on watercolor paper drawing that was definitely done in a creative state.

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“Magic Garden,” ink on watercolor paper, 9×12″, Jessica Libor 2017


Until next time,