A lot of feelings about a blank page
Do you encounter fear, resistance, even something like boredom when you sit down in front of a blank page, ready to be filled with creative ideas and calligraphy? Does it feel like an unsurmountable hurdle?
This is the fear of the blank page. And be aware: this is a very well known feeling in the art world. In fact, this is what causes so many people to procrastinate as soon as they want to sit down and create something.
You might think: how can I possibly create something out of nothing?
The answer is: you don’t.
A Process for Finding Ideas
That’s a lot of pressure coming from that blank page…what you need now is to have an idea finding process in place that allows you to experiment and make mistakes. This is the stage where anything is possible, even detours are welcome.
Remember: Even the most perfect looking pieces have started at this stage. It’s not possible any other way.
As for what to do exactly, that’s up to you. Find out what works best for you. Scribble down your ideas (even the silly sounding ones), experiment with different styles and layout, jot down everything that comes to mind. Try to clear your head of the pressure of perfectionism (I’ve written more about that HERE).
Maybe you want to start with a list, writing out your ideas for the piece, or associations that come to mind.
It can be very helpful to make a lot of small thumbnail drawings of the piece – explore different possibilities until you arrive at the one you like best.
Also, allow yourself to make mistakes. I keep hammering this in (if this sounds entirely new to you, read here) because I think it’s really important. Mistakes are a vital part of the learning process.
Collecting Ideas Anywhere
In order to avoid sitting down not knowing what to do next, it can be helpful carrying a notebook or sketchbook around.
This is all about keeping the flow of ideas up at all times. We all know the best ideas often come when we do something entirely different – be prepared for that.
Collect your ideas anywhere, anytime – not when you sit down, then you should already have a rough direction to explore. Carry a sketchbook or notebook anywhere you go.
Collect a lot of Ideas, not just one
Another thing about ideas is that your first one will probably not be your best one. Think of it being there just to get the creative juices flowing. Stop trying to get everything perfect with the first approach. Apart from very few occasions, this will rarely work. Don’t be afraid to explore a bunch of different things.
Take Inspiration With a Grain of Salt
So you have spent hours browsing Pinterest and have seen all those pieces you really like and want your own piece to resemble, but you don’t want to copy it directly, you want to make it your individual piece instead of just copying..
One very important tip I can give you here: Don’t look at too many references. There is a difference between inspiration and referencing, which is closer to copying. If you want to look at other people’s work, do this: browse through all the books, websites, and feeds you want, then close them all and let all this inspiration simmer over night (or even just a few hours). Then start to create from memory. This way, you’ll avoid copying directly, which can look really awkward. Plus, you’ll have a better chance of getting your own ideas onto paper.
Be Confident in Your Own Ideas
The last thought I want to give you is: don’t compare yourself too much with others, and don’t feel like you’re not creative enough in any way. Be confident in what you can do. Be confident in exploring your creativity. Don’t wait for another time, or some day in the future when you are „better“ – the right time is now.
You’re a unique person with a fantastic mind, full of ideas and experiences you can rely on. I believe every person has it in them to explore their inbuilt creativity. Every human knows how to think out of the box, how to visualize their ideas, it’s just a matter of practice and not stopping when doubt makes is hard to continue. Start believing in yourself. Or just start doing it – you’ll be astonished what you can do when you just start.
P.S. If you want to learn modern calligraphy from the beginning and get personal feedback along the way, I want to tell you that I’m currently developing an online course for you. The best way to get notified is to sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be the first to know about everything course-related.