Process as Practice

I have a partner who is extremely prolific in his creative endeavors.  Just this morning he told me he was setting one project aside in favor of continuing on with another.  This is an extremely routine experience for him – he is always in the process of creating and we spend a lot of time brainstorming, dreaming, and problem-solving for each endeavor.  I have a harder time with process.  My doubts interfere with the work; my motivation waivers; I get distracted with television and books.  However, sometimes I seem to just stumble into a creative process that I find enjoyable and most of the time I give myself the leeway to indulge in these experiences.

Visual design has been a source of inspiration and fun for me for most of my life.  However, my goals and tools have changed since the days when Microsoft Paint on my dad’s Macintosh II afforded me the ability to spray paint rainbows.  I began learning Adobe Illustrator at my first academic library position and have since been learning about and utilizing the Adobe suite for my design work.

Learning a new software package can be a challenge and sometimes the stress of creating flyers, banners, or logos at work can hinder my ability to learn new tools and experiment.  Lucky for me, my summer schedule gives me the time and space to slow down and seek joy in the process. This past spring I have been most inspired by modifying and transforming artifacts in the public domain.  I have found that the process of snipping images, altering color levels, and overlapping sprites has been really fun.  By appreciating the process of creating, I’ve put less pressure on myself to create a product, and have thought of the work as practice for those projects that are more oriented towards library goals.  Through practice, I’ve learned some new tools and skills and am able to respond to my coworkers requests more quickly.

All that to say, take time to enjoy the process of learning and creating.  Though your products might vary in success, the process is a practice and your skills are likely transferable.  Also, it’s alright to set a project aside, your interest and joy will likely return.  And, since you made it this far, I won’t leave you without sharing the product of my Adobe design practice:  my first zine.  Flip through below to see a short, silly, slightly crass collaboration with my very-creative partner (he wrote some of the copy).