7 Life Lessons Creating Artwork Can Teach You

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Creating artwork, regardless of the medium you choose, will teach you much more than just the physical skills. Being creative and making something out of nothing requires you to learn some pretty important life lessons. Whether you are a writer, sculptor, actor, singer, photographer, scrapbooker, finger painter, composer, or just an avid doodler, being creative can teach you a lot of important life lessons.

1. Slow Down

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The creative process forces us to slow down and think. Whether composing a photograph, sketching out a painting, stringing together a melody, or drafting a work of fiction, we have no choice but to slow down and concentrate. We aren’t able to multitask like we do with our countless other tasks throughout the day, nor do we try to. We start to focus on our creation and our minds let go of all other worries and concerns. Creating, believe it or not, is a form of meditation and when we slow down we have better and deeper focus. We gain a better appreciation for what we have and what we are doing and as a result we have less stress and more enjoyment in our lives.

2. Visualizing

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A lot of people think of the skill of visualizing as something you either have or you don’t. They might say something like “my brain just doesn’t work that way.” or ” I don’t think in terms of pictures.” But visualizing doesn’t just mean seeing things, it means you have the ability to sense and feel how things can be. We all have the ability to visualize and like any other skill if you don’t practice it and use it then you won’t be that good at it. Creating art requires us to visualize what we are making. You don’t necessarily need to begin with the end in mind but once you do begin you can not helping visualizing how it might turn out. Once you have this end in mind it gets easier to direct your art in that direction. The more you create the stronger your visualization muscle gets and you start adopting this skill to other areas of your life and how you want them to be.

3. Express Yourself

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This one may sound like a no brainer but creating artwork teaches you how to express yourself. Maybe in the beginning while you are developing your skills you copy the techniques and ideas of artist who have come before you but it doesn’t take long before you start to discover your own style. The more you create the easier you will find it to get out your own ideas, thoughts, and emotions. If you don’t think of yourself as someone who can expresses themselves then one of the best ways to learn how is to start making artwork.

4. Think Outside the Box and Solving Problems

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Like any other area in life, problems will arise when you are creating a piece of artwork. Because there are no “rulebooks” when it comes to art and being creative, there is no real right or wrong way to solve any of these problems. These can range from everything regarding technique to different materials and everything in between. You could spend time googling your answer, searching for it in a book, or asking someone who you think might know, but often times you won’t because you don’t want someone else’s answer, you want to figure it out. You will play around with the problem and try different things until you eventually get it. When I was first starting out I was having a lot of trouble with my flash and the light coming out too harsh in my photos I knew I had to diffuse the light somehow. After experimenting with a few things I learned that if I covered my flash with a sheer napkin it did the job perfectly! Learning how to think outside of the box to solve problems will help you in almost every area of your life.

5. Take Risks

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Some of us are born risk takers, we crave the adrenaline rush we feel when facing uncertainty. Then there are those of us that fear it. Just the thought of something turning out negatively is enough for us to play it safe. For those of us that feel the latter creating artwork can be a good way easing into taking more risks. Why? because there are no real consequences when it comes to creating. No one has to see or experience your work unless you want them to. You make your art for yourself first and only share with the world if you feel ready. Making artwork requires you to take risks, it is the only way for you to improve your skills and grow as an artist. If you try something and it doesn’t work out then you trash it and start again, no biggie. After a while you start to see the payoffs taking risks can have and before you know it you will see yourself becoming more of a risk taker in life.

6.Taking Criticism

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This is by far one of the hardest lessons to learn. If you choose to share your art with the world after it has been created, its inevitable, some people will just not like it. You can show your work to 100 people and 99 can love it and one person can say something negative about it and what will you focus on? The one negative thing. This is enough to make a lot of artist stop sharing their work or even stop creating all together. If you stick with it (and you should) you will start to see that criticism will come in two forms, that which is constructive and that which is just insulting.

The insulting kind is the type we fear the most. People telling us our creations are “horrible” or  that it “sucks” without giving us any constructive feedback we can use to make our work better. These critiques hurt, there is no way around that but it is important to understand that these are the reviews that don’t matter. The people who say these things are only trying to bring you down to make them feel better about themselves for whatever reason. As an artist you need to know that these critiques have nothing to do with you or your artwork. These people aren’t really experiencing your creations, they are just trying to cut you down to raise themselves up. They probably would have said the same thing about any famous work of art as well. Because these critiques do nothing for you its important to cast them aside and not give them a second thought. Think of them like mosquitoes, yea they suck, but the don’t prevent you from going outside.

The second type of critique someone can give you on your work is actually pretty helpful once you learn how to deal with them, this is the constructive kind. Like the insults, these are hard to hear at first. No one wants to hear that are work isn’t perfect after we spent hours creating it. Constructive feedback is necessary though because it helps us understand what we can do to make our work better. If someone tells you that your perspective was off in your drawing or that a few of your notes in your song were flat then it gives you insight on what to work on to make your art better. Once we understand that this is helpful we stop fearing it and actually start craving it because we want to improve. We no longer feel insulted when someone critiques are work but instead feel grateful. Learning to taking constructive criticism and using it is a vital way to improve on anything you are working on.

7. What Failing Really Means

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Creating art teaches you what failing truly means. A lot of people believe failing means not reaching your desired result on your first try. They try something and if they don’t reach their goal then they think they failed. If that is the case, then in creating work you fail a lot, like I mean a lot, like on every piece you try to create. If thats true then why are there so many artists still making art? Simple, because thats not what failing is. Failing means you tried to reach you goal and where unsuccessful but you also learned something along the way, something you can use to get closer next time you try. Ask any artist you know if they have ever been able to capture perfectly what they see in their head in their art. They will tell you they haven’t, I haven’t met an artist yet who was that talented. Most artist will say that if they can capture 10% of what they visualize in their work then they are thrilled. Every time an artist attempts to create what they see in their heads they fail, but they learn something from that and they use what they learned in their next creation. Their skills improve and their talent grows. Through creating art you learn that there is no falling, just learning. Learning what works well and what doesn’t. You discover that if you keep using what you learned you will eventually reach your vision. The only time you really ever truly fail is when you stop reaching towards that vision.