What is the one thing that prevent you from taking your creative practice to the next level?
As an experienced Certified Zentangle® Teacher and over the last 8 years teaching, I have seen this over and over : people struggle with the next step (and sometimes with the first step – but that is a subject for another article by itself – you can read a little bit about that here).
Here are the most common questions I get:
- How do I mix patterns to create an harmonious result?
- How do I choose the next Tangle?
- How do I find the inspiration to go further?
As you start practicing with the Zentangle Method™, you learn the steps and this helps you know what to do next.
The Zentangle Method makes it indeed easy for people to know what to do. You don’t need to know how to draw you just need to know the steps. How magical is that for someone who always thought they couldn’t draw!
The more you practice, the easier it gets.
Which could be said for many things in life !
At the same time and I see this happening often, especially in the beginning.
People struggle with choice.
The beauty of the Zentangle Method™ is that it takes away a lot of decision making since you follow steps.
For example, you don’t need to know which color to choose next, since you draw with only a black pen (at least at first).
There is one element of this practice that sometimes throw people off : choosing TANGLES.
Once again, facing too much choice makes it difficult to choose.
Does it happen to you too?
Here are a couple simple and essential tips to help you, if you are facing this difficulty :
Tip #1 is repetition
Practice drawing ONE TANGLE over and over again. For 7 days or even for a month, every day, every week or as regularly as possible, draw that ONE TANGLE and discover what happens and how differently (or not) do you draw it. Do you really draw it every time the same way? Can you ? Or does something happen and you feel like you want to change it, even a little bit, every time?
This practice of repetition – without a specific outcome, is really important. You become free of expectation and explore the joy of discovery. You start to loosen the idea that your drawing has to be a certain way. AND this becomes a practice and not a goal in itself.
Freedom to explore will help you expand your own creativity. This is a way to take your practice to the next level.
You can also look at it that way : who cares about what you draw, as long as YOU are enjoying it. In essence, how freeing it is to create for the sake of creating and not for whatever judgement we have about our creations!
See this as a practice exercise, not as creating art – even though you may be creating something beautiful anyway.
Tip #2 is playfulness
When we take things too seriously, we loose the joy of playing.
Why should your creative practice have to be serious and formal? Don’t you think that your art can be a source of joy and playfulness?
In a nutshell, I want you to pay attention to your thoughts when you draw.
In other words:
- What judgments do you put on yourself?
- What takes away the joy of creating?
- Does it have to only be this way or that way, to be creative?
You are often your own major obstacle to taking your practice to the next level.
Keep playing !
Tip #3 is exploration
The concept of exploration is very similar to the #1 tip Repetition. This is something I do in some of my class series. We explore different ways you can draw ONE TANGLE. Similarly to the repetition tip, there are many ways to play with exploration.
In addition, it is worth noting that both these tips are also about a mindset.
As you practice, you learn to ask yourself an essential question to any creative practice :
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO WITH THIS?
In short, the more you put this into practice, the faster you internalize this process, the more you expand your pratice.
As you explore your supposed “mistakes”, you discover more opportunities . As a result, this helps you take your practice to the next level!
You can also read more about the “no mistakes” philosophy from Molly @ Zentangle, Inc here.
What can you do ?
In this blog post, I have shared a couple pictures from the last class series I taught about exploring ONE TANGLE : CADENT. This might be something you are interested in trying.
The next series is about to start. If you are indeed interested in pursuing more exploration, you can sign up for the weekly Zentangle workshops here. (in French or in English).
Whether you participate in a workshop or not, please take the next couple weeks and try a couple of these tips and let me know in the comments what they do for you.
However, if you have taken a class with me or have read some of my articles on that subject and already tried some of these tips, I would also love to hear from you in the comments too !
For those of you who don’t practice with the Zentangle Method (and it is totally fine), I am sure you have your own creative outlet (or at least I sincerely hope you do), please try and adapt these tips to your medium or practice, see what happens and let me know. Since, I am pretty sure this translate to any practice.
I covered some of this subject in this article but I am sure there are more ways to explore and take your practice to the next level.
I am curious though :
What is the one thing that still prevent you from taking your creative practice to the next level?
Until next time,