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The most important thing about creating art is to create. If you want to be at ease with creativity, you have to immerse yourself in it, and do a little bit every day. Even if that little bit is only to take five minutes while waiting for the bus to come and do a gesture drawing of a man reading his book across the street from you. Or to take the moment to scribble down a thumbnail rough sketch of a concept that occurs to you. Do a little bit each day. Train your brain to think visually.

It can be difficult at first, accustoming yourself to make this small bit of time, because you’ll think:
“I don’t have enough time for it.”
“Art is hard!”
“I’m not good enough yet for that piece I’ve always wanted to do.”
or
“I’m stuck. Artist’ block.”

These are all excuses. Yes art IS hard. Yes, you might not be good enough yet to do that masterwork that you’ve been dreaming of, but let me let you in on a secret: No artist ever is. Sure, there is satisfaction that comes when the last detail is polished, and your signature scrawled across the bottom corner with its flourishing declaration of “Finis!” Every new painting is a milestone of achievement, hopefully with lessons learned and skills advanced. But if you let yourself rest too long on that satisfaction, then you’re not challenging and pushing yourself onward enough. I like to think that if I still feel a piece I did three years ago is among my best work, then I’m doing something wrong. The best is always going to be among the most recent few, with better ones on the horizon.

That masterwork that you just don’t think you have the skills for yet to tackle? You won’t gain those skills unless you try for it. Take it head on. Make the best attempt you can. Or tackle a small portion or element of it. Maybe it’s dramatic lighting. Maybe it’s multiple figures interacting. Maybe it’s something small like facial expression, or even just how to paint a tree. When you think you have mastered that, move onto the next item on the list, and the next, until you can face the behemoth. It might be you’ll like the result. If you don’t, then figure out what parts didn’t work for you. Don’t just condemn the entirety. Learn to isolate the individual aspects that could be worked on, and then make that your goal of improvement in the next piece.

Preciousness is the enemy of an artist who wants to grow.
1) Precious Time
2) Precious Artwork

To let the Muse work her magic, you have to let go of attachments to those two concepts. Even as a professional who has been drawing and painting every day for almost two decades, I had to learn this lesson recently. I'm not immune to these pitfalls any more than a beginning artist is. I had long ago gotten past the hump of just getting myself to do art every day. That part I took for granted. In fact, after so long, it becomes a necessity — you train yourself to have an artistic outlet, and then it becomes a part of you, as much as breathing and sleeping.

But due to the vagaries of the grand adventure of life, I found my art-time throttled back, and then I fell into the trap that (1) Time was precious.

Because I had little of it to dedicate to creating, it became a commodity, and every moment of it had to matter. Every second sitting at my desk with a pencil or paintbrush in hand had to be momentous because (2) Artwork was precious, and I couldn’t waste my time with non-essentials. There was only enough time for masterpieces.

When you fall into that mode of thinking, your brain and your creativity does the only thing it can: It shuts up completely. That kind of pressure is just too much to expect of yourself.

Every work can’t be a masterpiece. Sometimes, you have to just let your subconscious have its way, and let the creativity flow from whatever small outlet it feels inclined to at the moment. Great art doesn’t happen on a time line. And I’m not talking about an individual painting that you finish for a client’s deadline. I’m talking more about the overarching body of artwork, and self-imposed expectations and time limits.

Make time for the little stuff. For the gesture drawings at the bus stop. For the scribbled thumbnails in your pocket sketchbook when random inspiration strikes at inopportune moments. For the doodles on napkins at a cafe, or in the margins of meeting notes at your day job or class.

Sleep researchers speculate that REM sleep and dreams are necessary for the brain to process the events of a day, work out problems, and experiment. That’s what all the non-masterpiece artworks that you create are. They’re never a waste of time, no matter how small. They are the myriad visual dreams made of paint and ink and paper that make a safe space for your creativity to reach for greater heights.
I was starting to write a chapter in my next upcoming Dreamscapes book about sketching, and instead somewhere in the second paragraph, I got carried away. Anyway, for other ramblings like this, check out my blog: [link] or facebook: [link] )
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:icongeaausten:
GeaAusten Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Professional General Artist
can I please share ths in my journal ? Its so helpful ,, :-)
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner May 9, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes you may.  Thanks!
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:icongeaausten:
GeaAusten Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Professional General Artist
Thankyou for writing this,, its absolutely true, and just what I needed to read !
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
You're very welcome!
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:iconthaily:
thaily Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2015
I just picked up the book, it looks great! Can't wait to check it out!
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:iconsoftbluewind:
SoftBluewind Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thank you very much, I was in need of some advice like this, sometimes we get lost in the way,
and some of us don't know where to move next. Thanks again! : )
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome!
Reply
:iconjamaal1386:
Jamaal1386 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2015
Thank you. An inspirational message that really helps.
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome, and I'm really glad to hear it resonates!
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:iconwhimsicalsjane:
WhimsicalSJane Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for your lovely advice. :) xx
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:iconvnsipped:
vnsipped Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014
Thank you for this!!!It's all i needed to hear right now.*Free Icon/Emote* Pusheen (...I Wuv It!) 
 
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You're very welcome.
Reply
:iconvnsipped:
vnsipped Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2014
Heart 
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:iconmiouqueuing:
MiouQueuing Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Hey there,

Thank you very much for your advice! :hug:

I guess the same is true if it comes to creative writing. I find the best ideas come to me at the most inconvenient moments, e.g. in the morning when I have to rush off to work or similar situations. I will grab my note book and scribble down little glimpses of my fictional character's lives. They are not perfect and badly need improvement, but I always feel that I wrote down the essence of one scene or dialogue, which is a great place to re-visit and seriously get going.

Now, I just hope to put them all together one day! - I'll have to make time for it, though! ;-)

Best regards
Miou B-)
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, at least you're getting them down!
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:iconmiouqueuing:
MiouQueuing Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
That's what I am telling myself time and again. ;-)

Take care and good luck with your beautiful artwork
Miou B-)
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:iconsenecal:
Senecal Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Spot on. I've actually said the very words in your title, to other painter friends (and myself).

Letting go and letting a little chaos in is scary and rewarding.
It's a kind of destruction, maybe that's what Picasso was talking about.

Great article.
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconnenamatahari:
Nenamatahari Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! This is helpful.
Reply
:icondashatr-n:
dashatr-n Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Love this, thank you!!!
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:iconbringcastle:
bringcastle Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014
Oh, my heavy day today, just start read your journal. How I like read about master arts! I haven`t my favourite art, be couse I like it all! One, I like thank that You use word „ create” to pinned your journal on begun, couse it`s make a clear style to joy while create any ideas about Art. I think “headline” is not appreciated, every of us have a conclusion of that jobbing in Nature, so let Nature pays XD.
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:iconenvisualist:
Envisualist Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much,  you've basically summed up the problem I've been having for a very long time. The "do a bit to prepare for your masterpiece" mindset is really good advice!
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
you're welcome!  I hope it helps.
Reply
:iconmidnightpheonix:
Midnightpheonix Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
lovely!!
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:iconeerinvink:
EerinVink Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
"Because I had little of it to dedicate to creating, it became a commodity, and every moment of it had to matter. Every second sitting at my desk with a pencil or paintbrush in hand had to be momentous because (2) Artwork was precious, and I couldn’t waste my time with non-essentials. There was only enough time for masterpieces."

---
This is exactly the problem that I have been having for years now. It is taking so long for me to change, so that I can let creativity flow again, like it used to years ago. I am so sad about it all the time, I feel so empty, because the things that matter to me, are made unimportant by my way of thinking. 
I do not have a good day job, and lost my ability to be creative enough to make money with that. The lack of money causes me to feel, every second of the day, that I have to do things to get me out of this situation. When I do 'useless' things, I become angry at myself because I have to use every minute to find a job, and be responsible for myself. This makes me stop drawing, the minute I start. Because time is to precious, 'art is too useless', it does not matter enough. It does not help me to get a job. 

While the real me believes that creativity is something very important for everyone, something beautiful, and art is not useless.. Creativity is something that is part of me, something that I need and breathe, and something that I love. The 'scared and financial disaster' me holds me back from using it. Its like fighting my self created huge and horrible monster.
This 'monster' also causes me to never give my everything for a drawing or painting. I have never ever tried my hardest, because something in me feels it is useless anyway. I can do better then I have done before, way better I think, but I find it hard to believe this for a long enough time to finish a painting. 

Some weeks ago I decided to read the things you write, because you are clearly someone that has found ways into that flow. You create so much.. I hoped to find out how your way of thinking works, and in this way (maybe) find the key to solve my problem. I long to be creative, I long to paint and draw, but I am blocked so badly. It makes me depressed.
I will absolutely do what you write about here, draw something every single day. I need to find a way to create enough will power and also self-worth to keep on doing that. 
Thank you for the idea and inspiration.

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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome.  I'm so glad to hear that my words resonated with you, and I hope you are able to find your way back to joy in creativity.
Reply
:iconaerial:
aerial Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Student General Artist
I love it, this is really inspiring me to start over doing art and not feel down if the results aren't shown as expected, but it's a building work that never ends, we always have something to inspire us keep moving. Thank you!
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome. :)
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:iconj-remyx:
j-remyx Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
Thank you so much for this. I've been needing to read something like this for a long, long time.
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome!  I'm glad it was helpful
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:iconleeannekortus:
LeeAnneKortus Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
:clap: 
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:iconlucieon:
LucieOn Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You very succinctly put into to words the feeling I've been battling for the last couple of months - that since I have little time, everything I paint or draw has to be momentous... and of course this feeling of responsibility robbed me of my inspiration entirely :) So thank you for writing this - I really needed to read it. I guess the key is taking the painting process less seriously - which for me is a difficult thing to do...
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! And I am so happy to hear my words might help you.
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:iconlaceedges:
LaceEdges Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Student Photographer
Thank you – I definitely needed to see/hear this. I've been in this frame of mind for the last 2 years.
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
You're welcome. :)
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:icontwistedalyx:
TwistedAlyx Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well said. I'd like to print this and hang it over my head, because college vs. creating things gives me baby panic attacks some days and this anti-preciousness argument is a great way to shut up the voice of panic. The one point on which I disagree is that you should never call a 3-year-old piece your best. I think that, true, if you're pushing yourself to create every single day and learn with each new creation, it's unlikely that you'll like an old piece as well as a new piece. However, I do think that sometimes it's hard to top some achievements, even if they're flukes. I like some of my old poems equally as much as my newer ones, for example, in part because they were written by a version of me that doesn't exist anymore because of the ways I've grown and changed over time. I don't know if I'll ever be able to touch that kind of innocence again. So I like those poems in a different way than some of my new ones. :hmm: Though, of course, unless you create something every day you don't give yourself the chance to top your previous "best." You never know when you'll hit a new "best ever."

:) Thanks for sharing the pep talk.
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
You're very welcome! And I'm glad to hear it resonated with you.
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:iconephemeralways:
ephemeralways Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
The question I was just going to ask. =) 
Pikachus nuzzles cheeks 
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:iconanaealrhan:
Anaealrhan Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I am glad you got carried away. I needed to read this, and very much so. I have actually had my whole world turned upside down, and inside out over the last year. I lost my youngest daughter, and unborn granddaughter to domestic violence last july, and my wife left me a little over 5 months later. Sinking into the pits of hell robbed me of my creative drive, and for that matter my will to live, for a while as well. since I got my creative urges back, all I have wanted to do was finished pieces in hopes of supplementing my income, being under employed and going through a divorce. I needed the reminder that the little doodles that have been coming out, and me berating myself for "wasting valuable time" just got a wake up call. Thanks. I have been sabotaging myself for years too, with drawing til I burn myself out, and then switching to other creative endeavors, and doing the same thing. It seems every time I come back around, I have to relearn how to draw, carve, make jewelry etc. Granted it doesn't take long to be back on par, and usually make steps in progressing ahead, but that learning curve is always frustrating... Thanks again. BTW, i've been a fan of your artwork since the first time I saw it. I always like the look of water colors, but never liked the artwork done in them. Your doing Fantasy art in watercolors actually has me wanting to try my hand at traditional mediums other than just pencil lines. Thanks for the inspiration...

Peace and bright blessings
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for sharing that, and I'm touched and honored that my words are able to help you.
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:iconlanternelicht:
Lanternelicht Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2013
This sums up the problem I have been wrestling with these many months, and I came to much the same conclusion a long time ago. Until now, I thought I had to set aside a block of time out of my "busy" day specifically for drawing or writing, inspiration and motivation be damned. It never occurred to me to simply draw or write whenever the fancy strikes me. I viewed it as chore, not as a pleasure like it should be. I think I'll take your advice. It will be a long time before I can fully overcome my constant self-sabotage, but I make a little bit of progress every day.

By the way, this is the first time I've ever commented on another's work. That's progress by itself.
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you, and I'm honored to be your first comment! I hope you find your path back to your art.
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:iconlanternelicht:
Lanternelicht Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013
Thank you, I hope so too.
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:iconparhelionsundog:
ParhelionSundog Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013  Hobbyist
I very greatly appreciate your sentiments. Coming from someone as amazing as you, it means a lot that even you go through these feelings. I've been in a rut for almost 2 years now, and I've just been avoiding my own problem and convincing myself that I don't have time or I'm not good enough. People have told me this same advice several times, but something about your phrasing and the fact that I look up to your work has really made me wake up.
Reply
:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm so glad to hear that! I hope it helps.
Reply
:iconladyvashii:
LadyVashii Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Student Artisan Crafter
This is precisely what I needed to hear today. On the cusp of graduating, and starting a small business doing metal work, I feel that I shouldn't "waste time" on the simple easy projects that "anyone could do" but only work on those big pieces. I end up not doing any of the projects and my skills rust and molder. I would like to print this out and hang it by my bench, to re-read when my life overwhelms my sensibilities. Thank you.
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:D You're welcome!
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:iconorchid-black:
Orchid-Black Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for posting this. I had gotten in a pattern where I really dreaded working on my art, because I didn't like the boundaries put on me for commissioned work and I just got incredibly bored with what I was doing. I started going to the library and checking out lots of books on sketching, artistic journaling, and breaking out of those ruts we get into.

I also started noticing my four year old getting frustrated with her drawings and paintings, shoving them aside because she couldn't get the results she wanted, and I decided to teach her (and myself) some better habits in the art of learning and growing.

What a concise and clear way of expressing the issues involved! I truly appreciate you taking the time to share this with us.

:blackrose: :skullbones: :blackrose:
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:iconpuimun:
puimun Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
You're very welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read it. :) And it's great to hear you can relate to this.
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