Sharing the creative love

Sometimes a stranger will get in touch and make you smile with their generosity. Travis Spire-Sweet produces YinYang Podcast, a podcast for acupuncturists, he got in touch when he saw my Acupuncture  blog post and illustration a few months back and featured my work! I was amazed that a professional acupuncturist would like my little acupuncture pin up, plus Travis is hundreds of miles away from me in Missouri, so it just goes to show how the internet can build infinite bridges between people! 

In my eyes she was just a funny little doodle, in fact I wasn’t even sure where I had filed her away in my studio but Travis kept in touch and was keen to get hold of a printed version of her for his studio. A few weeks later I stumbled upon the original artwork and I knew that she belonged in Missouri!  Shortly after, I received this photo from Travis and a lovely mention on the YinYang Podcast Facebook page. This little pencil lady has been on a long journey over the Atlantic and I’m so pleased that she now has a brand new home. I love the USA and I know she does too! 

x Charlotte

( Photograph from YinYang Podcast)

My Weekend at the Robin Hood Tattoo Festival Nottingham

 

I love tattoos and now finally Nottingham has it’s own tattoo festival! Hosted by the incredibly talented and well respected folks at Rampant Ink in Netherfield, the Robin Hood Tattoo Festival was by far the friendliest and best organised event I have ever had the pleasure to attend. There were incredible tattoo artists from all over the country in attendance, many of whom were fully booked for appointments long before the doors opened! 

I had a stall next to my best pal Scarlett Daggers  and we were joined by the fabulous Mimi Libertine all weekend as a helping hand! 

 

We were entertained all day and all evening  by all kinds of musicians, from rock & country to rockabilly. We watched medieval re-enactors sword fight on the lawn and ate ice cream from a vintage icecream van called Betsy! There were cakes, beer, clothing, jewellery, taxidermy and art in absolute abundance. 

Plus we got the pleasure of seeing countless tattoos take shape over the weekend! What fun!

Will I be going back next year? He’ll yes! I might even get me some ink of my own!

 

 

10 Tips for staying sane as a creative person

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We creative souls are a fragile bunch, you only have look through history to see that it doesn’t take a lot to make us snap. On a serious note though it’s not difficult too see that creative souls are often tortured souls, with anxiety, depression and other mental illness quite commonplace amongst us, with our art and self worth tightly bound together. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone though right?

Here’s 10 tips I’ve learnt to live by in my years as a professional creative!

1. Accept compliments.

Your ego needs a good feed, if it gets skinny you’ll whither away! As a creative person you will get compliments about your work. Embrace them! Absorb them and pat yourself on the back! Don’t be humble, don’t think that ‘people are just being kind’, don’t push the compliments to one side and focus on all the negative bits that you (and probably, only you) can see in your work. You’re a creative person, you rock!

 2. Make creative friends

No one understands the woes of being creative as much as other creative people. Some of my best friends are dressmakers, crafters, graphic designers, dancers, computer game coders and graphic designers. Chew the fat together, bitch and moan, you’ll feel a whole lot better. And what about when you’re feeling really low? Well they’ll understand and they’ll lift you up because that’s what you do when they feel low, because you know that their dresses and games and greeting cards are the greatest on earth!

 3. Keep playing

Feeling stale is the kiss of death to creativity. Experimenting with your art, playing and remembering why you love it is what keeps us going. Buy a new set of colouring pencils or dig out some old ones you haven’t touched in years, get a new pad of paper, a new art book, pick up some vintage postcards, draw on your own arm, make some paint from mud and brushes from sticks, break the rules and have fun!

 4. Accept you’ll never be the best

‘Better’ is all in the eye of the beholder and accepting that their will always be somebody out there that you perceive to be ‘better’ than you is essential to stop you killing your creativity with self doubt.

You’ve just found an amazing artist online, their work is incredible! It’s a lot like yours in theme or style, only it’s way more sophisticated, their technique is flawless, their anatomy is spot on. You’re in awe and admiration but completely and utterly destroyed. ‘How can my work ever be that good? I might as well give up!’

There is nothing more demoralising than this inner conversation, it’s easy to let feelings of worthlessness destroy your creativity. Whoever this artist is, they are NOT you, YOU ARE UNIQUE and so is your work! There is no doubt in my mind that this ‘amazing’ artist has had the exact same feelings about their own work. Be the best version of yourself that you can be and stop comparing yourself to others!

 5. Skill isn’t everything.

So your anatomy is a bit squiffy and your painting technique is a bit splodgy. Well you and me both mate! We get better the more we practice but sometimes that squiffyness & splodgyness is what makes our work unique, it gives it charm and a unique style. Some of my best selling work is work that I now cringe at when I see it’s flaws, yet that’s the work I’ve sold hundred of prints of, that adorns multiple people’s bodies as tattoos…

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6. Remember it’s a journey.

There is no destination, just a creative path we stroll and dance and stumble and keep falling over and grazing our knees on!

Many of my students are worried that they don’t have a ‘style’ yet, I always say ‘give it time, it will come’. Over time our work evolves as he we evolve as people and often we’re the last people to notice that our work has a unique look and recurring themes. I tell my students to list the subject matter and artistic techniques that they keep getting drawn to, often they don’t realise that there’s already a pattern forming.

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My experience as Live Scribe at the Blogcademy London

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A ‘live scribe’ is a visual note taker. Where a topic is discussed at an event I create my own unique, hand drawn interpretation of that idea or sound bite. When live scribing you don’t draw what you see, you draw what you hear!

Last weekend I was super lucky to be invited to sponsor the the Blogcademy when it’s worldwide tour hit London. In addition to photographers and videographers, live scribing is a really fun and quirky way of documenting an event , especially a vibrant two day blogging school filled with fabulous ladies and run by three of the most exuberant personalities in blogging! Kinda suits my art style don’t you think?!

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And what an inspiring weekend it was! I drew my little hands off putting pen and paint to (recycled) paper, creating visual representations of the sparkly gems of wisdom so kindly shared with us by Kat, Gala and Shauna.

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Can colour and creativity help you heal?

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For many years I’ve been interested in alternative therapies and ‘hippy dippy – smells and bells’ stuff as we call it affectionately in my household. In the past couple of months I’ve been revisiting a lot of these things, I’ve started to attend a group every Tuesday night that gives a taster of everything from crystal healing and meditation to aura reading. The leader of the group is a crystal healer and is very passionate about using the power of colour for self healing.

I started doing a little bit of reading about colour therapy, for obvious reasons it appeals to my artistic nature! Some of the articles I read were very quick to dismiss it as mumbo jumbo (sorry I just love that term!) but how can we be so dismissive? Art therapy is a practical and effective practice that is used in schools, prisons etc. Its not something I have practiced or know a great deal about so excuse the naivaté of my musings, I’m coming at this from a more spiritualist angle.

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We know colour affects our moods, we choose the colour of our home decor accordingly.  It’s a matter of personal taste to some extent but research has shown that a room painted yellow disturbs sleep patterns as it’s such a vibrant, energising colour. In the ‘hippy dippy’ school of thought yellow is the colour of the solar plexus chakra which can be the root of a lot of emotions, if we’re feeling depressed and sluggish a big dose of yellow (sunshine, crystals, food, flowers, clothes, paint?!) can be the pick me up we need.

Even as a child we have simple colour associations – red is angry, yellow is happy, blue is sad, green is jealous etc. We’re brought up to give colour a meaning and attach emotional weight to it.

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Inspired by my travels to … Sorrento

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I’ve always been very inspired by travel and exploring different cultures and the imagery and mood of a country. In early May we visited Italy for the first time, the occasion was my Dads 60th birthday so we visited Sorrento, with the intention of fulfilling his (and one of my) lifelong dreams of visiting the archeological sites at Pompeii and Herculaneum. The art and crafts of the Roman era is fascinating, so much beauty, sophistication and advanced skill in fresco painting, sculpture, glassmaking and mosaic. My favourite site was Herculaneum where so much of the history is so well preserved and you can truly immerse yourself in your environment.

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Thoughts on ethical Art & Crafting

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For some time now I’ve been researching into ways of making my art and craft practice more ethical. There are obvious things such as using sustainably sourced paper/card etc and paints which have been produced with a minimum of chemicals and where the companies take their responsibility to the environment seriously.

The big dilemma for me so far as an artist is when you’re forced to choose between the results you want for the look of your work and your ethical stance.

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As seen in Complete Cardmaking Magazine!

 

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Check me out in this month’s Complete Cardmaking magazine! They’ve written a lovely little  ‘A Day in the life of’ feature about my work in the Serif/Daisytrail studio. Dylan the cat has somewhat stolen the show but I did get a tiny picture on the cover of the magazine and a mention on the website!

You can pick up a copy of Complete Cardmaking direct from their website or from your local WH Smiths and other news agents!

x Charlotte