The creative process is a crooked road

2011-07-01 index card
Index Card, July 1 2011.

In this post, a few of my index cards, from July 1st to July 10th.

2011-07-02 index card

I thought you’d like to see them. I hoped that was the case. In any case, I like to share them so here they are. Collaged, painted, scanned, sorted and uploaded to flickr. And a bit about the process of making them today. Last post on index cards was what I like about them.

2011-07-03 index card

I was asked about my process for these collages, in the comment section on a previous post ICAD-post. How do a collage come to be? Where to start? How to plan them? Good questions, but difficult to answer…

2011-07-04 index card

I think when you ask you’re at the beginning stages of making creative work. You just don’t know where to start and want an quick answer. A starting point, a straight road. But the creative process is a crooked road, and sometimes a ditch is the best place to find inspiration and have a pick-nick at.

For me, I never follow a specific road and I don’t have many must-happen habits either. Its fairly simple, I sit down and experiment. Sometimes I love what comes out, sometimes I think it looks more like #fail. Either way, then I move on.

2011-07-05 index card

Some artists tell you their process and you can learn how they start. Always start with a basic light background colour, they might say. And if you listen to that you might think to yourself that that is the “right” way to do it. That you should always do this or that before you start sketching or adding your ephemera. But it is about preferences, habits, taste and needs. So even if I told you I always start with gesso you would have to try it yourself to know if it was “your way” too. If you are going to play with crayons you don’t need gesso at all. So I don’t always start with gesso. Sometimes I start with coffee, or tea, or stretching.

2011-07-06 index card

Also, my process is very intuitive. I create without much thinking. Sometimes I start with a few papers, found in my stash or laying on the table from previous day. I glue them down as I see fit. Sometimes with one or three colours painted at random on a card.

2011-07-07 index card

If you want beginnings I could give you a whole list, but the most important things is always to begin. To sit down with your materials and sort through them, then grab what feels right today.

2011-07-08 index card

Lately I’m grabbing the jar of yellow acrylic paint. My summer colour seam to be yellow. I mix it with green, I add it here and there. Sometimes I smear paint with my index finger. I’m using very small bits of this and that, sent to me from Hope or Tammy, printed labels from the internet, and butterflies.

2011-07-09 index card

The above card, made on July 9th, started in the garage where I sprayed red paint through a plastic letter stencil. Then I smeared on some more paint and when it was dry I added the collaged bits on top of that. My biggest secret are my personal handmade background papers, I think it’s so much fun to work with my own material these days. Thought magazine images are awesome too, of course.

2011-07-10 index card

My answer to the question: where to start? will always be: right here, right now. However you feel like in that moment, just do it! If you still don’t know, sit down and move things around on your desk until you just can’t stand it anymore, until you just have to add something, anything. Then you’re on a roll. And daily creating, like filling one of these index cards, helps too.

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19 Responses to The creative process is a crooked road

  1. “If you want beginnings I could give you a whole list, but the most important things is always to begin.” yes, yes, yes! this, i think, is one of the Very Most Important rules of creating. :)

    • iHanna says:

      Thanks Ingrid, it is, but I do understand how it can be difficult sometimes to “just begin” – it is hard some days, for me too. But it is the way to go, with art as with most things right? :-)

  2. Emie says:

    I am enjoying your index cards very much… Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Terri Kahrs says:

    Fabulous cards, and a wonderful insight into your creative thinking and process. I too am a big fan of “intuition”. I start with a background and a central image and go from there. Many roads to follow! Hugs, Terri

  4. lynn says:

    Always so many cute ideas and clever and creative works of art on every post here!
    I love coming and catching up! thanks for your visit today too at my birthday party!

  5. Connie B says:

    I just love the index card a day. I have been doing then since June 17. It has been fun but days a challaging too. It pushes me, which is good :)

  6. April Cole says:

    These index cards are so full of yumminess… love them all.
    I think you should stay on the “crooked road”, your artwork is fantastic. <3

  7. Judy H says:

    I have managed to restrain myself from the index cards. I keep telling myself I will need them next semester in school.

    And thanks for the wonderful comments on my site. I feel like I have been visited by one of the Goddesses of Creativity.

  8. Such lovely cards! I’m thinking of starting up this challenge again as I got sidetracked with the journaling that came bubbling out after an online class. Your post should be required reading as it contains wise words indeed!

  9. Linda says:

    My first time seeing your website. And what a perfect post to read. I’ve seen so many awesome art journals in various forms and have been so wanting to give it a go. But my OCD keeps hindering me. What if I don’t like it? Then I’ll want to rip it out and then will I like my book with ripped out pages? I know dumb, huh? Perfectionism sucks, but after reading this post and following it to read how you make your own background paper, I think I can give it a go.

    I can’t agree more with Ingrid in pulling your quote that the most important thing is to begin.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I’m making a goal to give this a go over the weekend.


  10. Amarie says:

    What an enchanting blog! Thanks for visiting :-).

  11. pam says:

    These words are brilliant! And I have just finished copying them into my book of quotes.
    “I think when you ask youre at the beginning stages of making creative work. You just dont know where to start and want an quick answer. A starting point, a straight road. But the creative process is a crooked road, and sometimes a ditch is the best place to find inspiration and have a pick-nick at.”

    The ditch is where the good stuff resides!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Thank you so much!

  12. Sandra L. says:

    Dear Hanna, Thank you so much for answering my question! I tend to work rather intuitively, as well. If I over-think what I am doing, the piece often does not work out for me. At least with paper works. When I work on fabric, or with beaded jewelry, the story is a bit different. There tends to be more planning there. I guess because fabric is more expensive than paper! :)))

    Take care, blessings,

  13. Marit says:

    I’m right there with you Hanna, I start whereever and whenever I feel like.. ‘just begin’ is the best advice!

  14. Rhiannon says:

    “Where to start – right here, right now” – completely agree with that !
    First time visiting your site but loved seeing your index cards and how you create them. And also that the creative process is a crooked road. I think it is a crooked spiral road because things circle in and out. And yes, everyone has to find their own methods , but some starting points , like your suggestions, are always helpful .

  15. j_hatfield says:

    Great advice, We just did an exercise at work that helps with the creative flow. We were given only ten minutes to think of, sketch out, and name a superhero. The limited time helped to just go with your instincts and trust your own creative aspects.

  16. Pingback: Favorite posts from 2011 | iHanna's Blog

  17. Khai says:

    Fantastico :). Amazing how you turned a simple index card into arts. TFS.

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