A lot of inspiring people hang around at twitter, and so do I for chats and inspiration (Come on over, and say hi!). The other day I read these lines by Sean McCabe and kept thinking about them for a while now:
In order to think outside the box, there first must be a box. If your project has no constraints then you must impose your own limitations.
— Sean McCabe (@seanwes) 16. Januar 2014
Not only I think, but I know that’s true – I wrote about limiting myself before. I have a few more thoughts about that I’d like to share with you:
We live in a world of unlimited choices. The more choices we have, the more we’re becoming afraid of making the wrong decision. You don’t believe that? When did you buy your last electronic device? And how long did it take for you to choose that printer/smartphone/laptop…? See! Then, what happens if we’re afraid? We usually fight, freeze or run. In the context of creative work, however, we call this behavior procrastination. And nobody likes to procrastinate because this usually means not getting things done.
When you’re stuck in such a moment, limiting yourself will probably help.
Try it. I often do this and it really is liberating.
I made the following fairground drawings under such conditions: I had those drawings that I really didn’t like, and because of that I just covered them with another layer of rather bold, semi-opaque color. I thought that they’ll make nice backgrounds, but didn’t know what to do with them next. Since I’ve been wanting to draw fairground images for a while, I then decided to limit myself to only draw fairground objects, solely with a white pencil and my left hand (I usually use my right). I tried this on several sheets of paper, and by accident grabbed a really pale yellow pencil for the last one by mistaking it for the white one.
Outside the box, see? And that one is my favorite piece of that series (the one top left).
[Jessica Koppe, Fairground Drawings (2013). Mixed media on paper, 21 x21 cm each.]
Some suggestions on how to limit yourself when working on a piece of art
- use just one pencil
- only use markers of the color blue
- only draw with your wrong hand
- choose a narrow subject
- find blobs, and look for something you like to draw in them
- draw everything from one single line
- only use round shapes
Sometimes it’s just about saying “no” to all options except one to avoid a mental overload. And yes, that’s sometimes easier said than done, but saying “no” actually is often easier than saying “yes”, too.
Hope that helps?