Friday, November 2, 2012

Stretching Creativity

In an effort to try and include people with what's going on in my life (thus, something to put on the blog besides really long updates and emotional traumas), I thought I'd write about some of the projects I've been working on, so to speak.

Maybe this will be like a series on creativity. Maybe not. Who knows.

But as you may or may not know, I do a lot of different things creatively. I like to jump from thing to thing as it suits me, and while that's fun, I'm actually working on being more disciplined when it comes to certain projects. While it's fun to take an afternoon and pound out an idea you had in your head, what's infinitely more rewarding is the eventual pay off from daily work on something. So, I'm taking that approach to my writing. After all, I have a degree in a writing field (sort-of) and I've let that skill slide for awhile. There was a long stretch of time where I had a lot of ideas for writing, but I was really afraid of my own skill, or perceived lack of skill, and so I felt like I couldn't try or whatever attempt that I made at it was beneath the idea itself. Defeatist much? I know.

One of the things that came over today or yesterday, as a pep talk for Nanowrimo (more on that later) and this paragraph resonated with me:

"Regardless of the words that fill those pages, whatever story you choose to tell, the great discovery of this month will be the stack of pages that bears the words that did not exist a mere month before. You will possess the evidence of time spent at your computer, unspooling the narrative in your head. You will have hard evidence, and this will always grant you conviction."- Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

Basically, unless you try, you'll never know. Unless you put in the hours, you won't have a start point to assess growth.

I totally agree with that. You can't say, oh, I'm a terrible X, if you don't put in the work. Why? Because then you aren't writer, a painter, a whatever. You've never even tried.

But what if, like me, you develop a case of the "I can'ts, no, it's not possible, that's a pipe dream, someday when I'm richer/smarter/funnier/thinner" and you doubt your main skill?

Try a different one.

Seriously. Put your main skill down for a hot minute, and pick up something different. And don't just go and pick one out and say this is my new skill. I mean, you can do that, but I tend to like to do things that I'm actually interested in. Over the past couple of years, I've sloooowly made a little headway into paper design and it's turned out pretty nice. People ask me to do wedding invitations and bridal shower invitations and such. It's fun. I love it. I'm not 100% amazing at it. My first christmas card was, I'll admit now, a little too cutesy and cluttered. But what if I had never tackled the christmas card? I would have never learned indesign, or better yet, stretched my creativity in a way that was primarily visual. My loss.

So, I've learned to never say no to a creative process that comes to me on my terms. There have been a few that I've had to turn down because there was no way, no way that I could overcome my learning gap and produce a product that I was comfortable with....but they weren't on my terms, so no loss.

Which leads me into what I've done recently! My brother and sister-in-law have just announced that they are expecting! They told our immediate family a few weeks ago, so we had time to prepare, but one of the things they wanted to do was announce it in a unique way that could get the message across quickly via the internet.   (and I realize that these little shoots are all the rage... in fact, I read an article recently about how its this new thing to glam up what used to be an exciting sentence. oh well. that's millennials for you!) So they asked me to do it. I've never done a photoshoot. I remember very little from my basic camera class in film school (I was more theory and screenwriting...I never got comfortable with the technical stuff).... and I haven't photoshopped anything in ages.

So I said yes! I figured it would be a fun way to stretch my creativity. And while what I have isn't the most amazing thing ever to grace the internet... it's a start. It was fun. I learned a lot. And you know what? I felt like I succeeded, which is the most important part.

Here's the originals:

Yikes huh! We were working with an older digital camera that didn't have great glass as arthur would say (lenses) and while we tried to drench the space in a lot of light... instead of clean and crisp, we got warm. Like drenched in a mexican sunset warm. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew.

So there was a lot of color correction to be done. Thankfully, they were going for a instagram/photo strip look.  And this is what I came up with:

I did loads of color correcting and contouring on this one.

This one's my favorite

I think they look good. It was really fun to do. And I got a big lesson in photoshop actions, color correction and contouring. Which was awesome.

Yay creativity!

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