With the awful Covid-19 Pandemic causing lockdown globally it is easy to get swept along with the gloom and doom that surrounds it and not be creative. But…and this is a big but! You will never get a better chance to be creative if you look at this as an opportunity.
Normal life is full of things we do such as going to work, vacations, sports events, cinema, restaurants, driving all over the place, visiting friends and family, concerts…the list is endless and all this takes time.
Most of the above has been taken out of your day to day life by this pandemic and now we have a huge amount of time we can devote to our creative skills.
You may be on the frontline working in a hospital, home schooling your kids or somewhere in the food supply chain and still have to work. However, even if you are working there are still many things that we cannot do at the moment and there is spare time available for most. Life has changed and unfortunately, for the forseeable future this is the new normal.
I have absolutely made the most of this time and have done things in the last three weeks that I would have struggled to do. For the first few days of Lockdown I was struggling to comprehend the situation and glued to the TV, getting not a lot done.
Then I reaised that this could go on for quite some time and as my usual day job was on hold I knew there would be scope to start new projects that I never had the. time to do and finish projects that had been hanging around like a bad smell.
Be creative – make some goals!
I made a pact with myself that I would not regret wasting the time I had available while this Global melt down was in progress. So far I have stuck to it every single day. My three main creative objectives were:
- To complete the first draft of a compendium of my cartoons – which would be used to create a book for sale in time for Christmas. I am well on my way to completing this goal and I will have it ready for print (print on demand) within the next three weeks. All the spade work has been done.
- Write a sci-fi thriller to first draft. I have exceeded that goal by finishing the first draft (80,000 words) and half written a second book. I had started the first book before lock down but had only written around 35,000 words.
- Complete and publish an illustrated childrens book. I have written the text and have completed sketches of the layout and the first full colour illustration.
In addition I have got the garden to look the best it ever has. My wife started to take photo’s of plants and birds and other visitors to the garden and created her own Instagram page. Within a couple of weeks she had over 1000 followers and as a result I have created a new web site to compliment her Instagram page – inspiringgarden.com which I am currently working on.
I have also cleared out my garage workshop which I had set up with woodworking tools and lathe to make custom pens (with my cartoons embedded in the barrels) and driftwood cartoon figures. The garage had got used as the family dumping ground and just needed some much needed TLC to get it up and running again. Ticked that box today!
Last but not least is my office studio in the house extension which is next on the list to declutter and to get me back in an environment condusive to creative work.
It is a lot of work and on top of that I am doing 10,000 steps a day in the garden to keep fit.
There is no way on earth could I have got all this done if there was no pandemic!
My point? If you possibly can – use this opportunity to be creative because at the end of it when everything kicks back into full swing that time can never be got back!
Move forward and be creative!
Write down a list of things that can take you forward while you are marooned in limbo. here are a few suggestions:
Take an online course – if there is a skill that you want to develope you can be sure that there is either a free video on the subject (Youtube) or a paid course. I have just bought a short 6 hour course on Photoshop Elements from Udemy.com for less than $15 which was a great way to update that particular skill set for cartooning preparation.
- Upgrade your knowledge with free podcasts – go on Google and type in your subject and ‘Podcast’ or simply search the podcast app’ on your phone. I am currently listening to the Self Publishing Formula by british author Mark Dawson. While the Corvid 19 situation lasts there is free entry onto the Self Publishing Formula University, which provides superb Webinars. I watched one this week about how to design book covers – it was excellent!
- List out all the cartoons or cartoon projects you would like to complete and then get to it!
- Is there an art skill you haven’t quite mastered yet? I was struggling with caricatures, until recently and decided to invest some serious time into perfecting this skill. I came up with a better system for producing caricatures as I was really struggling with getting the key facial features right! Take a look at my guide to drawing caricatures if you would like to give that a go.
- Look at products that you could sell using your cartoon artwork. Christmas may seem a long way forward but now is the time to prepare and set the ground work for the christmas market. Never in the history of retail has on-line selling been so big. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Amazon, the largest web retailer on the planet has made a fortune and their share price has risen over $700 in the last few weeks. If you want to know more about selling on line and ideas to create products with your artwork See my article on selling your cartoon artwork on the interenet
- Have you ever considered book illustration. maybe creating your own childrens picture books? Take a look at British Artist Lynne Chapmans journey from textile designer to childrens book illustrator on Youtube.
- If you haven’t got a presence on line perhaps a social media page on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or your own web site might be something to sart investing in. Getting yourself known takes time so the sooner you start…
- If you have a particlar skill set in your field of art you could create your own book or course
These are just some ideas which you may like to investigate further.
Going back to the whole point of this article, there has never been a better opportunity to create something new for yourself and your future. Covid-19 won’t be keeping us all couped up for ever.
So don’t look back at this time with the regret that you should have been more productive!