Pursuit of Natural

life, levity, & the pursuit of natural

seeking perfection as a self taught artist


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Art Better: Perfection and the Self-Taught Artist

seeking perfection as a self taught artist

As a self-taught artist trying to perfect a piece of art, a certain technique, or a different medium sometimes comes from a place of insecurity. When that is the case, it can often lead to getting stuck in a rut and burning out. To develop as an artist, you need to produce more complete works than incomplete ones. That means doing your best, letting the piece stand, and improving on any flaws in the next piece. Here are some tips to help you produce without worrying about being perfect.

Create a Project

Personal projects can motivate you towards a finish line. When you have a set number of pieces to create in a defined timeframe, you’ll have to be more decisive about how much time you spend on each piece and when they are “ready”. You’ll find yourself moving between various tasks which keeps you from obsessing over any one in particular.

Share Your Work

There’s something to be said about the mass-consumption of platforms like Instagram, and how they de-emphasize the “preciousness” of your work. Sharing your work regularly allows you to release some of the emotional attachment and fear you might be fostering if you are seeking perfection. You post it, it gets a few likes, the world spins on. And no one even notices all the flaws that seem glaring to you.

If you’re trying to get over the fear that your work is embarrassingly bad, share it and dispel the myth that it must be perfect to be any good.

Incorporate Your Art into Your Other Work

You may have noticed I create artwork for all my blog posts. This was an intentional thing. It counts as an on-going project and it counts as sharing my work publicly. Incorporating my art into my blogging allowed me to create with purpose and not with perfection in mind. Having art that is relevant, that illustrates my words, and is done on time is more important than making each piece absolutely perfect.

Art can be incorporated anywhere—gifts, invitations, newsletters, memes, even creating mobile apps and games, if that’s your thing. When art is part of a larger work, it’s hard for its perceived flaws to be blown out of proportion to its purpose. It’s easier to keep your perspective and just do your very best.

If you learned something, take a second to like this post! ❤ If you want to see more of my art, follow me on Instagram (IG: pursuitofnatural). 🌈 And if you’re new here, click that follow button for more articles on natural hair, art, and self-care.

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Dear Newly Natural Me: Can’t Nobody Tell You Nothing

 

dnnmTHUMB

Dear Newly Natural Me,

Don’t shave your head bald. I know it hurts for family to be so constantly disparaging of your choice to go natural, but your hair is not the problem. Getting rid of it will solve nothing. Deep down, you know that. You know it because you’ve read the testimonies of other naturals, the history, the basic psychology behind this kneejerk repulsion to your kinks and coils. And I know it is an entirely different thing to read about it than to face it.

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personal projects for the self taught artist


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Art Better: The Importance of Personal Projects for the Self-Taught Artist

personal projects for the self taught artist

Personal projects are a great, organized way to develop and deploy my skills. They helped to build up a portfolio I could later present for work opportunities, as well as demonstrate style and subject matter that define me as an artist. Here are a few tips on how to create a personal project and follow through.

Focus on a Skill or Technique

Subject is important, but for the developing artist, you’ll want to stretch yourself beyond the familiar. So, while it is helpful that your personal project has a subject you care about to keep you motivated and inspired, it can also benefit you to exercise skills or techniques you hope to get better at.

If you have a fondness for rendering succulents and flowers, try creating a set which uses only watercolor, or detailed crosshatching, or geometric vector art, or that uses highly saturated colors. Creating multiple pieces featuring a specific technique or skill will help to strengthen that creative muscle and expand your skillset.

Set the Scope of Your Project

Personal projects can be private projects, but putting your work out there can help build your confidence as an artist. If you decide to make the project public, choose a dedicated platform to share the works. You can also decide whether to publish as you finish each piece, on a schedule, or when the whole project is complete.

Set a deadline but make sure it’s a reasonable timeframe or it will backfire. It can be discouraging for a project to take much longer than you anticipated, so give yourself the time and space to succeed—remember, it’s a personal project! Don’t forget to factor in any extra studying and research you’ll need to do before you even start creating.

Decide how many pieces you want to create for this project. Again, be reasonable. Stretch yourself but don’t stretch yourself thin. You may want to create 100 pieces in 30 days, but if your track record is closer to 5 pieces a week, choose a goal closer to your proven abilities. 30 pieces in 30 days will see you creating only 2 more pieces a week than you usually would, which is far more doable.

All these and more provide a scope for your project that will help you be disciplined and stay accountable. Just because a project is personal doesn’t mean it can’t also be professional.

Keep a To-Do List

Projects tend to have a lot of moving parts so it’s important to keep a running to-do list. Be as detailed as possible and make a list item for big and small steps.

Brainstorming, drafting, sketching, inking, scanning or taking a photo of the piece, editing the digital version, adding your signature or watermark, saving it at the proper size and in the proper format, saving multiple versions, uploading, adding descriptions and tags—and doing all that for each and every piece.

I’ve had to-do lists run upwards of 50 items. I grouped items by similar task and decided how many items I would tackle each day depending on how easy or difficult they would be. And as the project progressed I would add any tasks that came up.

The scope of a project may seem overwhelming at first but when you break it down, you will stay organized, on track, and motivated.

If you learned something, take a second to like this post! ❤ If you want to see more of my art, follow me on Instagram (IG: pursuitofnatural). 🌈 And if you’re new here, click that follow button for more articles on natural hair, art, and self-care.


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Dear Newly Natural Me: Don’t Listen to Evil Kermit

 

dnnmTHUMB

Dear Newly Natural Me,

What’s it been, nine months of amazing growth and length retention since the big chop? Nine months of consistent protective styling, of loving on your fro and nurturing those coils. You know that Evil Kermit meme about straightening your natural hair? He’s coming, wielding a flat iron and demanding you show off your length. Don’t listen!

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I can’t really speak to the pros and cons of protective styles with added hair. The last time I had extension braids in, I was the new girl in 3rd grade. So, here I’m addressing protective styles with just my own natural hair. And I’ve done twists (chunky, regular, mini), cornrows, and flat twists. But which […]

via Protective Style Match-Up — Pursuit of Natural

Where to get feedback as a self taught artist


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Art Better: Where to Get Feedback as a Self-Taught Artist

Where to get feedback as a self taught artist

As long as feedback is constructive, both the positive and negative kind can be helpful. As a self-taught artist, it is, in my experience, more helpful to know what I suck at than how great I am. The former generally lets you know where to focus your efforts and the latter is mostly useful as encouragement. We’ll talk about both.

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Art Better: How To Practice with Purpose as a Self-Taught Artist

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Practicing with purpose helps you get better at the things you care about, while keeping you from being overwhelmed with comparison. It’s about having a firm grasp of what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how well you are equipped to do it, so that you can get the most out of your practices.

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