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issue #9

Are there rituals or routines that help you get into work mode? What keeps you motivated?


issue #9 advice + inspiration from artists/illustrators/ designers on creativity, business and life. www.pikaland.com/goodtoknow pikaland.etsy.com


Are there rituals or routines that help you get into work mode? What keeps you motivated? This

question was submitted by Kathryn Clark www.kathrynclark.com

Next issue: Fear What are you biggest fears as an artist? Have you gotten over them, or do they still plague you? How does fear affect your art-making? Question sent in by Aijung Kim (http://www.etsy.com/shop/sprouthead) Send in your submission to amy@pikaland.com with the subject line GTK 10 to participate!


I’m a big fan of rituals. I thrive on it. I need it, and without it I’m lost. Blame it on a father who is meticulous with his time and who organizes things so that they flow seamlessly into another. My upbringing had a lot to do with timing and getting my workflow done right so that I can maximise my time while reducing costly errors. All this when I was 12 years old! Although back then it was about organizing homework alongside house chores; and it was a great lesson in sorting out a routine. Now though, it’s more of a balancing act between business and family. I’ve applied what my father taught me, which I can basically sum up into these few steps: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Think priorities. Anticipate the time needed to execute. Troubleshoot and pad up extra time (just in case) Act Repeat.

Thinking of problems and how I can overcome them is one of the best part of running my own business & keeping a happy home. And usually finding creative ways of solving a problem is enough to keep me motivated throughout the day! Another routine that I have is that I keep a journal on my desk that I fill in with things I need to accomplish the next day before heading to bed. Once I put things down on paper, my mind is blank and ready for a good night’s rest! Happy reading!

Amy www.pikaland.com

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Cover pattern by Amy of http://amyngstudio.com (that’s me!)


I find the best time for me to work is in the evenings, after I’ve expended some of the antsy physical energy I have. Part of what helps get me in the mood to sit down and work is turning on the lamp next to my desk. I like a lot of light when I work, and the lamp makes me feel cozy when the sky outside is getting dark. I try to start during the day, but I can only work for a few hours at a time, and after lunch-time it’s almost impossible for me to concentrate. I don’t have a clear-cut ritual, but I like to turn on the radio to the classical station and I also like to listen to books on tape while working. Audio books are a good way for me to digest stories (I love being read to!) and give my mind something to rest on while my hands while away the hours. I tend to procrastinate and get distracted easily, something I’m working on combating. I want to get into the habit of not waiting to “feel like” working, because sometimes that doesn’t come until very late in the evening. So one trick I use is to tell myself I’m never going to feel like working, I just have to do it. Once my hands get busy, my anxiety goes away a bit and things flow better from there. I have a problem with becoming overwhelmed and anxious about what I need to work on, so I have to constantly tell myself “just start something” even if it’s just addressing envelopes to send out Etsy orders. I have two main kinds of “making” – planning/creating a new image (from my head or drawing from life), and doing the crafty aspects of my art that don’t require as much thought. If I don’t feel like thinking, I’ll try to switch to a project that involves repetitive tasks, such as collating and stapling my zines, or embroidering a repeating design. When I feel like working on a new piece, I whip out my drawing paper, start carving a linocut print, or start something else new. These kinds of work require a lot more concentration. I find switching between the modes helps keep my brain fresh. Also, I like to write, so there are some periods when I focus on writing poetry and stories. When I come back to visual art I feel much more balanced. Aijung Kim www.aijungkim.com www.sprouthead.etsy.com

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Go for a walk, drink tea, tidy up, surround yourself with art materials so you can’t escape, and listen to the music that you love :) Heidi Burton heidiburton.wordpress.com/

Interestingly enough the only thing that keeps me working is having a million projects going at once. I’m naturally really scatterbrained and can’t seem to work on anything for more than an hour or two, so my whole house is covered in midstream projects. Having everything out all the time, visible, ready to be picked up and worked on at any second - that’s what makes me get things done. I know myself well enough to realize that if I have to open a drawer/box and arrange a work space nothing is going to happen, I need controlled chaos to work! Of course this gets out of hand easily, but that’s part of the joy of being an “artist” - people forgive you being messy because they assume it’s part of your special artsy mind! The perfect crime! Brigitte www.hautecute.net/

Coffee. Other than that, I just get up every day and start working. I love my work and I find that I have to put more effort into making myself stop to recharge than to get going. Kate England Marmalade Moon www.marmalademoon.com


One of the most important routines I have is my daily illustrated journal. In my journal I document my days and experiences. I try to do this every day, and have been mostly successful in doing so the past four years. This means I have drawn over a thousand pages since I first started drawing again, and it has been the driving force behind my illustration practices. When I started four years ago, I had forgotten all about this creative side of myself and the journal really opened up a whole new side to my character and my life. Now, I cannot even imagine my life without it. The book I use as my journal is very important – it has a date on every page, so it motivates me not leave any pages blank. It forces me to draw, even when I feel uninspired or tired. Often this will help me get across a creative dry spell, even if the pages turn out be less than brilliant. Besides this, I try to work on ‘free’ work as well. I work in an office five to six days a week, so often there’s no time for anything besides the journal (although you’d be surprised how many hours one can gain by sleeping less ;-)), but on weekends and during holidays I always try to work on a creative project or two. I’ll look for fun projects online to work on. Preferably projects with a set deadline, like the Sketchbook Project. I think because I work so much, and have little time to draw, I manage to keep myself motivated pretty much all the time. Any spare hour I can get, I will take. I’m not sure how I would do it sitting in my studio all day, although I often fantasize about this. I imagine I’d be a lot less tired, though. Anna Denise van der Reijden www.annadenise.nl


Rituals, unless procrastination is one of them, isn’t really something that comes into my working day. I don’t usually work much in the morning, even though I am an early riser. I don’t concentrate well at that time it seems. I do think about what I am going to do though. I reply to emails, deal with stockists, pack up stuff if I need to post something. Also going for a walk in the morning will clear my mind for anything later. Motivation is a hard one, especially when, like most of us, we work alone, and perhaps don’t have interaction with others who create except virtually on a day to day basis. The nice thing is the virtual world and friends can help you as well. You have a world of images right at your finger tips. To keep myself motivated I try to do something creative every day, even if I am feeling stuck. I take photos, or doodle. I try to keep doing submissions so I keep my mind working outside of my box. Sometimes just let myself make marks with gouache until I see where I could go next. Sometimes they are disasters, sometimes it is surprising (like painting with tea as a base). I hear sketching helps, I need to try harder with that idea, I always feel impatient to not let people see what I am drawing, which I need to get over. I love seeing people’s sketches. Emma Kidd : benconservato Currently in Sydney, Australia www.benconservato.com


I think creativity has a lot to do with rituals and habits... I am reading ‘The Creative Habit’: by Twyla Tharp at the moment, nicely recommended on one the posts this spring (thanks!). She talks about working creativity as a series of habits, and that repeating these things, daily, creativity naturally flows naturally. It’s so true, I started identifying odd things I just had to have or do before sitting in front of a manuscript and blank cartridge paper. Essential: wake up while it’s still dark, shower, prayer/meditade for the time my nervous disposition will allow me, coffee, breakies and off to the studio. Although being a mum of almost two as well as a million other zillion things does make you adjust any obsessive rituals, I still need to: clear my table top, clean it (babywipes are generally at hand and are great wipers), organize whatever I need to use that day so I don’t have to get up once I start, the flow needs to be as smooth as possible (there goes the doorbell/breadmachine/kettle/...!) and long hair tied up nice and taut. And of course, THE most important thing for me is sharp pencils! Ahh mad as it may seem but I need a pot-full of sharp 2B pencils to get going. These things all seemed like procrastination to me before I read Tharp’s interpretation. She calls these simple acts ‘rituals of preparation’. “.... creative people have preparation rituals linked to the setting in which they choose to start their day. By putting themselves into that environment, they begin their creative day.” Works like clockwork everytime. Hanna Whiteman www.hannawhiteman.blogspot.com www.hannawhiteman.bigcartel.com


issue #9 PARTICIPANTS Aijung Kim www.aijungkim.com Heidi Burton www.heidiburton.wordpress.com Brigitte www.hautecute.net Kate England : Marmalade Moon www.marmalademoon.com Anna Denise van der Reijden www.annadenise.nl Emma Kidd : benconservato www.benconservato.com Hanna Whiteman www.hannawhiteman.blogspot.com www.hannawhiteman.bigcartel.com Lauren Denitzio : BLACK & RED EYE www.blackandredeye.com

Kathryn Clark www.kathrynclark.com www.kathrynclark.blogspot.com Lisa Northcraft- LeafandInk www.leafandink.wordpress.com Linda Tieu www.tortagialla.com Maria MacLennan www.mariamaclennan.com/ Nicole K. Docimo : Blue Bicicletta www.bluebicicletta.etsy.com bluebicicletta.wordpress.com Christine www.flappergirl.org Ana Maria Seaton, Renmeleon www.renmeleon.com

Next issue: Fear What are you biggest fears as an artist? Have you gotten over them, or do they still plague you? How does fear affect your art-making? Question sent in by Aijung Kim (http://www.etsy.com/shop/sprouthead) Send in your submission to amy@pikaland.com with the subject line GTK 10 to participate!


24 pages A5 size staple bound 14 participants black & white text + illustrations


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To download a PDF copy of the zine or have an issue delivered to your door, head over to: http://pikaland.com/goodtoknow

Good to Know #9: Rituals & Routines  

The Good to Know Project is full of advice + inspiration from artists/illustrators/designers on creativity, business and life. This issue ha...

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