Wednesday, January 06, 2016

PSA: You Are an Artist!

 I Believe In You

I watch a lot of crafting videos when working on writing reviews.  I find that crafters tend to think a little differently than I do, and it's often a refreshing change in point of view.  Watching these videos  gives me an idea of what topics *I* should cover, and it gives me fresh perspective on what you guys might be interested in reading.  Without crafter reviews, I would never have reviewed Distress Watercolor Markers, Clean Color Real Brush Markers (coming soon!), Distress Watercolor Cardstock (another coming soon!),

Unfortunately, something I hear, over and over again is the phrase 'You don't have to be an artist'.  It seems to be the mantra of many a Youtube crafter.

What's so wrong with being an artist?

I get it, they want their audiences to feel like this is something anyone can pick up.  They want to promote how easy these products are to use, how you don't need an art school education to put together an attractive page.

I'm on board with that- that's what this blog does.  Except that I think all of you are artists.  And I think anyone can be one.

To me, an artist is someone who takes the time to learn their craft, to explore new skills, to experiment with new products, and new ways of using old products.  I don't think there's anything wrong with being an artist.  I think anyone can become an artist, with a lot of time, the right mindset, and a willingness to make a lot of mistakes.  And if you can learn from these mistakes, or use them to make something else work, then you can become an artist.

Any crafter who utilizes multiple products in creative ways to design something that reflects what they care about is an artist.  Many of the products sold to crafters are just stripped down, plastic versions of the tools artists use in their studios.  Your embossing and die cutting machines are just printing presses with limited functionality.  Your pre-packaged, pre mixed spray mists are just watercolor mists that have been assembled ahead of time.

And if you already have these products, like Spectrum Aqua Watercolor markers, or Copic Markers, or colorful, fun papers, why not use them to explore a whole new world of art and creativity, outside the boundaries of cards and scrapbook pages?

There's nothing wrong with learning how to doodle, rather than buying stamps.  Even a simple doodle is a lot more creative than using someone else's stamp, and it's ok if it doesn't work out the first time- that's what erasers are for.  And a combination of creatively used stamps and your own doodles can make for cards and pages that are truly original- pieces that no one else will be able to make.  Rather than reaching for your stamps and pads, reach for your Microns and Multiliners, and doodle in those hearts, those stars, those smiley faced kiddos.  I believe in you!

You don't need to buy all the big brands, you don't need all the newest things, you don't need boxes delivered to your door daily, and you don't need a craftroom full of other people's designs.  You are just as creative as many of those stamp companies, and when you create your own, one of a kind designs, you are really doing something special.  Ditch that culture of artificial scarcity, and do it yourself.

In the future, I want to launch a series of tutorials for really basic doodles that anyone can do.  I want to make drawing even more accessible, for anyone at any age.

And if you are absolutely adverse to doing doodling of your own, please please at least consider spending some of that money on a flesh and blood artist for your designs, rather than a stamp company.  Commission an artist!  If you're having trouble finding someone who suits your taste, consider emailing me, and I can put you in contact with dozens of artists who would love to help you with your custom designs, myself included.  Many of us work for incredibly reasonable rates for designs that are exclusive to you (or your friends, if you choose to share with them).

And, if even THAT suggestion makes your stomach turn, why not ask your kids, your nieces and nephews, your grandkids, to do some drawing for you?  What is more charming than the collaboration between a child's drawing an adult's flourish?

When trying to make your technique or product accessible to a large number of people, don't slur artists.  We have it hard enough without people dragging what we do through the mud, or treating it like magic unattainable to all but a select few.  Elevate your audience!  Encourage them to be brave, to try new things, to get creative, and to embrace those mistakes.  Encourage them to nurture their inner artist, and to let go of a desire for perfection every time.

Please, lets all take the 'you don't have to be an artist' out of our vocabulary.  Let's change it to 'anyone can be an artist!'   Let's not say 'you don't have to be super creative', let's say 'you ARE super creative, so let's do this!'.  Let's stop unintentionally slamming artists who make a living (or just enjoy) drawing and illustrating, let's stop ignoring the fact that they exist and are creating, and let's learn from them.  Creative people should inspire, elevate, and collaborate with one another!  This is a fresh new year, so let's resolve to work together and get bigger and better things done!

Speaking of inspiration, I would love to see what you guys are up to!  Send me an email, leave me a comment, or Tweet me something recent you've worked on, and I'll retweet it so others can see what you've made.