When you hit the wall creatively
Over the past 12 months, I have been working towards creating a children’s book called Grandmother Mountain. While I have been steadily drafting illustrations, working out the personalities and characteristics of my main characters, late last year, I hit the wall. Nothing I created seemed to capture the richness of the images in my mind. By October, I was so frustrated, I began to doubt my abilities as an artist. This is a very dangerous place to find yourself. You need to tread carefully, and with compassion and sincerity.
At this point, I knew I had several choices. These included abandoning the project or taking a step back and reigniting my creative spark. In the past, I abandoned projects and wallowed in self-pity and self-doubt. But fortunately, this time, I decided to be brave. What I really needed was to dive into different types of mediums and just play. So, I enrolled in some wonderful courses on Domestika taught by leading international artists and illustrators, including the talented Estrellita Caracol and Adolfo Serra from Spain.
My teachers reminded me of two keys things. First, the creative process requires us to use our intuition. When we follow these inner prompts, we create guided by what feels right and good for us. Second, as Adolfo Serra emphasises, it is vital for artists to experiment, and with no expectation or judgement. In his opinion, this is one of the key phases of the illustration process.
The birth of Horus
When I began my final projects for Estrellita Caracol’s course, I had started to dive into the fascinating world of the Ancient Egyptians. At the start of the course, I decided that I would attempt to create a series of collages inspired by the Giza desert, where the three great pyramids are located.
As I learned new ways to sketch with scissors, I began to cut elements of the landscape, including lotus flowers, the doum palms, and camels. Then, without thinking, I cut a thumbnail-sized falcon. This contour sketch intrigued me and I began to study photographs of falcons, and also read about Horus, the great god, who embodied characteristics of the bird of prey.
From this experimentation, came the main character, Horus, the falcon.
My recent experience has shown me the power of persistence. If you truly set your heart and mind to something, you can always find a way to overcome challenges. In my case, when frustration arises, it is important to step back, experiment and allow creativity and imagination to take the helm again.
I also want to sincerely thank my patrons for their support of my creative projects. You are helping me bring these stories to life.