Embracing Improvement

5 Ways to Develop Your Creativity with Focus

Our life's mission as creatives is to create, interpret, visualize, and communicate through our designs our ideas and messages to the world. But, how does an artist stand out from the crowd, be unique and have satisfaction in their work? This may seem impossible to achieve. So, how does one do it?


    Love Your Work First

    You have to love your work first. Because if you don't, then who will? Enjoy the process and celebrate your progress. Not everyone will like what you make. You might not like it at first either. But, find the reason why this image, or design in your head, or sketchbook speaks to you. As artists and designers we are interpreting a feeling or message by applying it visually for others to understand, feel, and interpret themselves.

    It is a lot like taking a photo. There are many ways to capture an image - Do I capture the image like a portrait or landscape? Or do I take the photo from the top or at profile? The angles are endless. Then you also have to factor in the lighting, the colour, the subject, etc. But why do you take the shot? The “why” (the reason) is what makes you unique. It is your artistic eye and reason that makes you different.

    Your message or purpose is the most important thing that you need to discover and finesse to become a more effective and interesting communicator. Do not lose who you are and why you are doing this.


    Celebrate Your Roots

    I have always thrown out my old work. I feel like when I enter a new “style” or “art/design era” in my  life, I have to burn the old one. But, just like history, we must not forget what we have gone through and where we come from. So, even if the thought terrifies you, trust me on this one: keep some of your old work for yourself (keep photos of them if not the physical copies).

    My sister kept some of my old work and when I look at them I cringe. But, when I really look at them, I remember the struggles of getting that perfect line, the amount of practice it took to get the proportions just right and how much I learned by going through the process. I can see the influences of artists and designers that I admired in my work and how their influence helped morph my aesthetic into what it is today. It is a great feeling, looking back. And, you may rediscover how you used to look at things and draw inspiration from those perspectives again.

  3. Showcase Your Progress and Learn to Appreciate It

    Many videos or blogs are of those where people document their progress and milestones. Whether it is losing weight or learning an instrument, I think marking our progress, as a reminder of how far we’ve come, is a great idea. I've always wanted to try this. But I'm already my worst critic, so why allow other people to justify my fears? I want the results fast and I want my progress to be flattering. (Who wants to see dark and blurry photos beside an Instagram feed of beautiful, colourful and amazing photos?) But most of the time (and especially at the start) progress is neither fast or flattering - at least not the kind of progress that you know you deep down that you’ve earned through perseverance.

    Progress is a consistent change. Even a little goes a long way. So the end results that I want for myself will take time and I know it. Losing a 5 pounds in a month or mastering a calligraphy stroke doesn’t happen overnight. But what matters is that we get into the head-space that these little changes, accumulated, will later have the gratifying results we desire.

    Some might question: Why do I need to show this progress to other people? In my opinion, having someone's feedback on my work can be supportive and fun. Developing your art or design is a journey, and with good friends or design squad at the ready, your work can only get better. Also, it's easy to forget, for a lot of videos, designs and images, it most likely required a group effort.

  4. Understand That Improvement Is a Lifelong Process

    Embracing improvement is my number one tip because it is the one that I am mindful of the most. Just like everyone else, I want to always show my best and be the best version of myself. I think everyone does. Although, looking at another artist's portfolio or feeds on Pinterest and Instagram can be inspiring and depressing at the same time, we have to keep in mind that these artists have probably have these similar thoughts: I have such a long way to go or How does she/he make it look so easy?

    We see the end products, but what we don’t always see are the sketches, reworks, late nights, planning, multiple shots taken and retaken, research and slinking back to the drawing board that every artist and designer goes through.

  5. You’re Always Changing - And That’s Awesome!

    What is so amazing about being an artist or designer is that we change. So, if I were to answer the question, who am I?, right now, I would say that I am a passionate Freelance Graphic Designer who specializes in branding and editorial layout design. I really love what I do and it makes me happy. Nevertheless, I also have an interest in photography and video editing. You see, our styles and preferences of creating change overtime. We hone certain skills out of habit of practice, to what comes easy or what we decide to do. We can just be discovering or rediscovering a passion for a different medium. So even if you might not know who you are yet, take that first step forward. Because once you decide and work hard towards being who you are now - then you can be anything! ■

Patricia Atienza