Freelance illustrator writes about finding love again for creatives and their art.

Back to basics for creatives

Planet illustration studio company blog 013 / A light hearted look at how creatives are losing the thing they love. And a tip to help find it again.

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Read about how planet has found a useful exercise to feel the love again for all creatives.

8th June 2015

Interesting accidental exercise proved to be just the tonic for illustrator.
I think that every now and then, it’s healthy to step back and take stock. Something that can be difficult to do, especially with busy diaries and deadlines to meet. And in my life, family commitments too have their Lion share of my time.

Right now I’m sitting in my Cellar which used to be my home illustration studio. I’m typing on my knees to a TV on the wall on a Saturday morning… Mum’s took the boys shopping. Possibly the quietest hour available this weekend to catch up on my blogging for next week.
So I’ve set the scene, and if you don’t know I’m a illustrator currently in my 25th year freelancing. I’ve covered a wide range of work in the past and worked with companies all around the globe. Now back to my blog.

As with many commercial creatives, we work with computers and equipment that helps us to do our jobs more effectively. but here’s the issue I have… Recently I did some work for a client in London, and it involved a lot of sketching, working out compositions and content for the illustrations.
Now my creative process normally involves scamping out ideas first before I go near any computer. Why, well I believe that my imagination has no limits when it’s in my mind, but as soon as I start to use software or look at reference, I’m already compromising my thought process by limited software or what google search deems what it thinks I’m looking for.
Now don’t get me wrong, the internet is possibly the best thing that’s happened to creatives since the invention of the pencil with the rubber on the end… but I think right at the very start I don’t want to be distracted by influences… that can come later.

Which brings me back to the sketching… there was a lot to do, and I haven’t’ had as much fun and enjoyment at work for a long time… why? I know it’s a bit cheesy to say, but I was doing something I love, something that’s got me where I am today, as an illustrator…
This got me thinking the other day, and looking back I’ve got a great job, I really appreciate it, allowing me to do what I love… but hey! I don’t do it enough…
Sure I sketch out ideas on most commissions, but not to the amount I did for my London client. Perhaps it’s just a variety of work that I do that keeps it fresh, but spending a whole day simply sketching with paper and a pencil was a breeze and fun going back to the basics of illustration.

This applies to most creatives, especially Photographers, Singers and even Writers… I challenge you to do something you love, the sort of thing you did when you first wanted to be the professional you are today,,, I mean the basic stuff, for your eyes only… it doesn’t need to be professionally finished… quite the opposite. For instance if you’re a writer for technical papers, write a poem, or a silly story for children. A Photographer might go outside and experiment taking blurred shots or collect photos of Traffic Wardens (Parking Officers for our non-UK readers) Whatever it is, something that’s in your line of work, but keep it basic almost note taking in finish.

So when am I going to get the time? How long?, That’s up to you. it could be a day, like I experience or just an hour or two, but here’s the point. Do it and compare it to your normal working day. Feel how refreshing it felt… it’s not made me change my working life, well not in a big way, but it’s made me want more work that allows that sort of thing… Earlier in this blog, I mentioned about the computers and tools we use daily for creatives, and how I sketch ideas out before I use any tools of the trade.
Perhaps we get carried away with these tools, wow’d by them in the past for their efficiency and accuracy, but they also draw us in to learning more features and filters that we become gizmo operators and reduce the things we love to do… “Create”.

Author: Adrian Cartwright illustrator

PS, Let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear and learn from you. Contact


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