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The first time I remember being proud of something I made myself was when I was 6 years old, trying to sew a doll purse with fringe. By accident, I figured out that if you sewed it together inside out, you’d get a nice clean seam on the outside. When I turned that purse right-side-out, it was like lightning struck! You can probably remember this feeling from when you were a kid, too - the deep pride and satisfaction of imagining something and making it happen, no distractions, reservations or worries, all within the space of a summer afternoon. 

 

Some say this creative drive, this “flow”, is instinctual until we extinguish it, and I believe that because it certainly becomes harder to access for most people as we age. Maybe we start to care so much about the final product being “good” that we never get started, and lose that natural language. Maybe we become so consumed with being productive and with our responsibilities that we can’t access that undistracted flow anymore.  Pablo Picasso said, “every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

 

Colouring is a great example. Most children enjoy long sessions of colouring or drawing, spending time exploring their minds. Most kids are proud of their drawings, ‘good’ or not, and plenty of adults now use colouring books as a way of meditation or therapy. You can find adult colouring books in any category to suit your interests. It’s a great way to do something we all struggle with these days: focusing on one task and being present. Now more than ever, it’s important we look for ways to destress, and making things with your hands is a fantastic way to do so.

 

Drawing exercise prompts like Lynda Barry’s Syllabus is another great way to get started. Lynda Barry teaches a grid method to break down a sketchbook page – include 3 drawings, 5 thoughts, 8 observations and 1 dream daily. When that becomes rote, it gets more complex. The idea is not to produce good drawings, but to be mindful and to see that practice begets inspiration. 

 

Comics: Easy as ABC by Ivan Brunetti is a guide for kids to make comics, but would work wonderfully for the adult who doesn’t know where to get started with drawing or journaling. Brunetti deconstructs more than comics – he breaks down even simple stick figures to become accessible for the reluctant drawer, and focuses on mindfulness, similar to Lynda Barry.

 

Colouring and drawing prompts may be enough to tap into that satisfied "I Made Something" feeling, or perhaps they open the door for more complex projects. If colouring books and sketchbooks don’t do it for you, take notes from Arts and Crafts founder William Morris who felt that handmade items were of utmost value, and that every practical item can also be beautiful. It is no wonder practical, meditative skills like tapestry, macramé, weaving , embroidery and calligraphy have become popular again – they all take time and focus. As Morris mused, “have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

 

We could all stand to slow down a little bit, to focus on one task at a time, and find a way to create like a kid again.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Until next time!

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