I don't remember who it was that told me that I should check out "the Creative License" by Danny Gregory, but when I remember who that person was, I'll be sure to thank them!
While it's not very often that I struggle to find a creative spark (which this book is supposed to help with-if you struggle with inspiration, read it!) I do sometimes have a difficult time validating my time spent drawing, painting, even cooking!
Even if it's work that I sell, or dinner that needs made anyway, and even if it's time I'm spending with my children as we do these activities (something that I strive to do- involve them in meal preparation, or create along side of me while I'm working in my own illustrations), I'll find myself saying "you should be doing laundry", or "you don't really need to be zesting lemons for this dish. Save time, skip it".
I feel a twinge of guilt when I take time to do mundane things in a creative way. Why does making an extra effort to make things look nicer trigger guilt? Is it the slight amount of extra time that it takes? Or the the fact that I get enjoyment out of my job, and things that are usually ordinary, and often boring tasks?
I was raised in a creative household-these feelings certainly don't stem from my upbringing. My mother nurtured creativity like a very gentle gardener, with encouragement and little expectation or pressure- something for which I'll always be thankful.
I also remind myself that God himself enjoys creation-and that we're created in his image. It makes so much sense that we would achieve such glorious satisfaction in time spent doodling, shaping wet clay, or even making dinner look a little more colourful than it absolutely needs to be. We were carefully designed by our Father to find joy and admiration of Creation.
In reading this book, the introduction alone had more to say about the artist within than any other (non-biblical) book I've read before, and I thought I'd share a couple paragraphs that I found to hit home.
"Our bodies are always turning one thing into another, transforming food, air and water into movement, sweat, offspring, gas. (Even when your body is dead, you will still be creative as you start to nourish the soil, beetles, carrion birds and fill the earth with methane.)
If you try to suppress that urge, you will starve, your bowels will become impacted, your joints will freeze, you will die.
And similarly, when you suppress the creative urge in your mind, you become cramped, constipated, hopeless and slowly you die.
All that creative energy an inextricable part of you, will be diverted into self torture, and you will create doubt and anxiety and hostility and stress and paranoia and anger and resentment.
In the end, you will see you can't really suppress your creative urge. As Jeff Goldblum says in Jurassic park, Nature will find a way"
"When we continue to deny who we truly are and suppress our ability to create, we become crippled and shut down. Our minds grow narrower as we shut out anything unexpected that doesn't fit with how we've told ourselves the world truly is.
We speed through life, wanting to get on to the next thing, unable to take pleasure in the moment."
"Ironically, our society tends to portray artists as dreamers. But those who suppress their creativity are actually the ones living in a dream. An artist is someone who sees and feels reality very intensely. Creativity doesn't mean must making things up out of thin air. It means seeing and feeling the world so vividly that you can put together connections and patterns that help to explain reality. It means you see the beauty in the world rather than trying to hide from it."-Danny Gregory, A Creative License.
If you struggle as I sometimes do, or are just looking for something to spark some inspiration, definitely take a look at this book. It doesn't matter if you're young or old, as artistically talented as Da Vinci himself or completely without artistic skill of any sort, this book is worth reading. It will cause you to explore yourself within, and challenge you to live your life more fully.
This book is available HERE:)