Ponderings: Having multiple outlets of creativity

After an unintended 2 months long hiatus, I finally feel the drive to be back. There’s not much to say about the hiatus, except that I haven’t done a lot of art during this time, and I hardly wrote anything as well.

Which brings me to the topic at hand: of having multiple outlets of creativity. As you might (or might not) know, I engage in several creative activities: art, writing, music. A friend asked me about the progress in my writing the other day, and I had to embarrassingly admit that I had not made any progress since the last time he read them. It ended up with me lamenting about how I have no idea why I can’t find the energy and drive to write when everything is already vaguely in my head. But then he made an acute observation and link that I never realised: the reason that I didn’t have the creative energy to write is because I’ve been spending all my creative energy for the past 2 months on music.

And he’s quite right. I spent a lot of time thinking about music, on the bus, on the train, walking to the bus stop, any time that I don’t have to focus particularly on anything. It’s like I have this finite creative budget and I spent it all on music, leaving nothing for art or writing. Now that I am aware of my creative budget, I start to consciously spend more time thinking about art and writing, and actively trying to use up a fair portion of that budget. And it’s working, because I have since churned out more writing (if you would include this blog post as well), and I have been catching up on my backlog of YouTube subscriptions.

I still won’t say that I’m back in the full swing of “things”, whatever that might mean. I use to write and do art every single week, but that was during the period when I had little to no focus on music. Right now, I have music practices every week (though that will stop soon when concert is over next Saturday), while I write and art sparingly. I have yet to find a balance on all three of them at the moment, but I think I’m making some headway.

Is spending all my creative budget on one outlet of creativity a bad thing? I would think no. Even though I couldn’t produce anything substantial for my art and writing, I didn’t feel the sense of frustration that comes with a dry spell. It was merely a “I don’t really feel like doing this today even though I know I haven’t done it for a well.. Oh well I’m ok with not doing anything until the next time I feel like doing something.” In fact, it felt great to be buzzing with all these different outlets of creativity, because they somehow feed each other without you having to do anything. I’ll take this anytime over a creativity dry spell.

One interesting thing I noticed about my art is that most of them are done for art sake, rather then for something deeper on an emotional level. Journaling is always an important part of my art journals and scrapbooking, but it’s something I have not really done for these past 2 months. Going directly into art is something I have not experienced in a long time, so I’m embracing it as it comes, and just really enjoy the process of playing around without any specific aim or endpoint in mind.

Here’s two recent art that I did:

One was a painting I did following a step by step guide which I got for free during my last Spotlight shopping trip. I couldn’t follow it completely because I don’t have the brands/colours they suggested, but I tried to mix the colours as best as I could. Another lesson in colour mixing! It’s not a good quality photo because I didn’t have intentions to share it online then so I just haphazardly snapped it and sent it over What’sApp to a friend.

Watercolours on watercolour paper

Second is an unpolished quick sketch I did on my phone yesterday, just because I felt like it. Took me about 15 minutes to do it, barely any time taken out of my day but it turned out great anyway (at least to me). Haven done any digital sketching for a while and I was very pleased that I even did something at all.


I hope you enjoyed this little update and chat on creativity budget. Now that I learnt something about my creative process, it becomes easier to work with it rather than work against it. In case you are wondering, I’m going to post my monthly Instagram updates pretty soon, though as I’ve said, there wasn’t much arty stuff going around these past few months.


A collection of small things I want to share. 

Writing down notes from magazine articles.
I borrowed 3 magazines from the library: Artful Blogging, frieze, and Geographical. I have started reading the first two and while reading I have also been making notes, be it tips, quotes or reflections. I feel that writing down notes help me digest the information more, and crystallises what I read into my brain, which also makes reading all the more meaningful.

Immersing in my creative self.
Doing bits of art every now and then, starting and stopping. Basically just going about doing whatever comes into my mind at the moment, and putting aside plans. I have taken out my Creative Handbook once again (free download by Amy Tangerine) and the small scale of the handbook is perfect for my start and stop way of working right now. Finally have the time too to take the online classes that I have previously purchased but haven’t had the time to look at them. I am hoping to add more to the blog this holidays too while I have the time to do so.

Writing my fanfiction.
Have started to write stories for my fanfiction account again, after a short hiatus before the exams. I like it when the words/stories flows and when I get excited about my stories/characters. It’s like the feeling of loving your art but more than that because it’s like living through the story/characters when you write them.

One recent work of art.Boy with a hat

This was inspired by a simple magazine image I saw. I was intrigued by how simple the hands looked in that image (the portion where the boy holds the hat) and decided to give it a try because it looked so simple. I always had an aversion to drawing hands, because I never seem to do it right, or know how to do it. (See this previous work where I avoided drawing real hands.) So I was pleasantly pleased to find that I could actually draw hands if I really focus on it, and by using my hands as a model. This is also the first time I drew a boy; I have always been drawing girls in my journal but I felt that a boy works better with the hat lifting. If there is something that you have been avoiding, maybe now is a good time to try! You never know if it might work out if you put your heart into it.

Quotes I’ve read.

“The world is full of people who are as confused and inspired by our strange and wonderful planet as you and I, and have responded to it in endless creative ways.”

Read this in frieze, one of the magazine I borrowed. It’s been great to find the online community of crafters and to be inspired by the many creative things others do. I feel fortunate that I have taken the leap of faith, and to follow my heart in seeking art once again.

Hope you like this short sharing. A little hard to keep on task this couple of days because we have relatives visiting and staying for a week. But at least it’s always lively around the house when there are more people around (:

Ponderings: Tired of studying… 

Getting really tired of studying for exams now, though the good news is that everything will be over by Tuesday. I keep gravitating towards other stuff besides my notes and books, a sure sign of procrastination, but at least my restless soul is a little appeased from the breaks.
Here’s a summary of what I do during breaks:

Ponderings: Tired of studying...  (watercolour sketch)
A little bit of art and online shopping because it’s Black Friday week. Not the only piece of art I did during these past 3 weeks or so but this is the most recent one from today, after I placed my shopping orders. The image just popped up in my head and I knew I had to put it down to paper somehow. This is just a watercolour sketch on a pre-painted background in my art journal. It’s not watercolour paper so the paint appears a little splotchy but I like the textures it produces.

I am typing this post on my new iPad, which my cousin sold me at a discount. Not the fastest way to type but I wanted to give it a try. Had been wanting to get one for school because I have decided to go digital instead of printing piles of readings and papers. I must say though that it had been rather useful and convenient these past 3 weeks while I study for my exams.

Hope you have managed to find time to do art while you are busy. I find that just doing something small everyday keeps me sane, even if it’s just dipping a paintbrush in watercolours and randomly applying brush strokes for 5 seconds. Hope you got a good haul during this Black Friday as well! We all know the happiness of buying discounted goods and getting new art supplies.

I should be back next week with some posts. Hopefully the art momentum will continue in full swing since it was not broken in the first place. Thanks for stopping by!

Rethinking your supplies

If you have noticed through this blog, watercolour is one of the most go-to medium I use, because it’s quick to set up and easy to clean up. All I need to do it to open the lid to my pan watercolours, uncap my water brush and voila, I can do whatever I want. And to clean up, I just need to scribble off the paint on my waterbrush somewhere and then leave the watercolour pans to dry.

I own a basic set of Reeves’ watercolour, with just 12 colours. Which doesn’t really matter to me because I can mix my own colours, and I’m getting better at mixing the colours I want. (It’s also a good way to force myself to learn colour mixing through trial and error and practicing.) But recently, I’ve been getting into a dilemma, for while I can mix almost any colours under the sun with my watercolours, I am unable mix every shade under the sun. I find that with my set of watercolours, I am unable to mix bright colours, something that I am rather attracted to right now from other artists such as Amy Tangerine and Wilna Furstenberg. I really tried, but I can’t seem to mix the bright colours that would resonate with my heart. Both of them uses pan watercolour too, and judging from the pictures I see of their watercolour, their pans originally comes in those bright colours. And so, these couple of days I have been contemplating getting a set of watercolour that has these bright colours and wondering where best to get them.

But earlier today, I had a serendipitous moment. I pulled out my incomplete scrapbook page from last week (I often leave them half complete when I feel like things are not going smoothly or when I get tired), and was intending to work on the title. It’s the last element to be added to my page, and I was contemplating between hand stitching or watercolour scripting but decided on watercolour in the end because as I said above, it’s a lot easier and more convenient. It’s a nice pastel paper from one of Dear Lizzy’s old collection, and I wanted a colour that would match it.

And so I set about mixing a teal green like colour between my blues and greens, but again, couldn’t get the right shade I want. Feeling frustrated and puzzled, I thought to myself why it is so difficult to mix a teal with my watercolours when I don’t have that much of a problem with my inktense blocks? And *ding* there comes my serendipitous moment – I can mix bright colours with my inktense!! It’s so simple I’m hitting my head as to why I didn’t think of it earlier. And so, I took out my inktense block and started mixing, and the title was done just a little while after it.

So learn from my mistake! The point here is, I guess, to have a better grasp of your supply, and that’s it’s always ok to mix supplies around. In this case, watercolours and inktense are both wet media that can work together or in place of each other. And thus lesson learnt now! That there are other medias that I already own that allows me to mix my bright colours. And also feeling happy now that I can do that. ^^

Ponderings: Mood change

It’s funny how our emotions can change in a matter of minutes isn’t it? One minute I will feeling happy topped with all the inner squeals and next minute I find myself filling low and empty all over again. When people ask if I like dawn or dusk better, I like to reply dusk, because I like to end the day on a high note than to start the day on one, because there is a lot of time and opportunities after dawn for things to screw up the day.

I had intended to post this traveller’s notebook spread on Instagram, but had scrolled through my Instagram feed first. Ever since I’ve been adding people within my social circle on Instagram, I’ve found myself much more self conscious of the things I’ve posted because people I know would see them. Silly I know, but I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m completely comfortable with sharing my true self with the people I know than the strangers I don’t. 

A spread from my Midori Traveller's notebook. Each page are done on separate days.

The spread features heavily on watercolour scripting and I’m proud to say that I have reached the stage of liking the way I script my phrases after the down beginner’s phase where things don’t turn out the way you imagined it. I attempted a rainbow hue on the right page.. only to find out after I’ve started that I’ve begun with the wrong colour. But I made it work around the idea by following the colour wheel. Pleased to day that the colour transition improved as I scripted too so that’s definitely a new skill to add to my watercolour scripting.

Talking about crafting and colours made me spirits lift again. I find it odd how my emotions change so easily, but I’m not complaining, as long as I still have something to depend on to lift myself up again. Does crafting means more to you than just crafting too?