Being creatively brave!


When the little yellow envelope arrived in the letterbox yesterday, I felt super excited. Finally, it had arrived from Brooklyn, my little sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project! Yay! Have you heard of this art project? It started ten years ago and is run out of the Brooklyn Art Library. People from all around the world have filled sketchbooks with their creative work, be it sketches, printing, painting, collage or words, which are then housed at the library (or mobile library for touring purposes). The books can also be viewed through the online catalogue and are searchable by artist name, theme and tags.

I tore open the envelope, read through the instructions, jumped on the iPad and registered my little book. There’s a list of themes to choose from but you are free to come up with your own too. I decided upon ‘Long stories, short’. I turned the front cover and stroked the paper of the first page. I love the feel of fresh clean paper. Is that weird? I turned the next page and the next. Thirty two blank sheets of paper to fill! That’s right. Thirty…two…blank…sheets…of …paper…to …fill. The fear, the trepidation started to set in. Those pristine sheets of paper looked so pretty in their unadorned state. Oh yes, they would look beautiful filled with colour and lines and images, but mine? Who am I kidding? I’m not an artist! Shani is an artist, not you! Her book was GORGEOUS because she knows what she’s doing. You have NO IDEA! Gah! Imposter syndrome, here you are! So…I had to give myself a little bit of a telling off, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’, ‘there are no mistakes’, all that sort of stuff, you know.

Anyhoo, my excitement is starting to bubble back up a little now. Tomorrow, I’m going to head to the library and scour the children’s section for some picture books for illustration reference and inspiration. I’m trawling through my instagram and loving looking at the work of some of my favourite illustrators, such as Rebecca GreenMarianna Marx and Lauren Merrick. I have a few ideas for a couple of pages and have done some practice sketches. There is loads of time to complete the book (February 2017 is the final date for submission) so I don’t have to try and squeeze it into my daily routine. I will have time to think and explore, and, hopefully, the images that are in my head will be reflected on the page. But in the end, they will be what they will be, and they will be something, which is better than being nothing! I’ll share some of what I come up with with you. And if you haven’t seen me post anything, give me a kick up the bum to make sure I do!

Have you ever had to fight the ‘imposter syndrome’? Been creatively brave? Or do you think creativity and bravery go hand-in-hand?


18 thoughts on “Being creatively brave!

  1. Oh I love this post! How exciting – I can completely understand your trepidation. I feel that’ Imposter Syndrome’ every time – so funny so many of us feel the same way. Good luck with it all. So excited for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a cool, cute challenge!
    Thanks for sharing your favourite illustrators. I love illustrations. I think I harbour a secret desire to be an illustrator that not even I know about. I’m a big fan of Marianna Marx (I met her once and she was super lovely!). You might also like Anna Walker and Lizzy Stewart, who are similar in style to the others you share? (Lizzy Stewart is my absolute fave, I have a collection of her zines).

    As for imposter syndrome, I know that feeling! I’m finding that jumping straight into the creative waters and learning as much as I can along the way is helping me to tackle it, but it certainly does like to rear its ugly head on a regular basis, haha.
    Best of luck with the challenge Carolyn, I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
    (P.S sorry if this comment comes through twice, my computer glitched when I went to post it).


    1. I have not heard of Lizzy Stewart so I will look her up. Thanks for the tip! Anna Walker is ace too. She was a mum at our local primary school so I would sometimes see her wandering around our streets. She always looked so serene! Have you seen the interview with her in her studio? Such an ace space. How lovely to spend your days illustrating and knitting critters. That would make me very happy! I read an interview with Marianna and she said one of her fave places to hang out was the Maling Rd Antiques Market so I’m going to have to keep my eyes peeled for her too! (And it didn’t come through twice!) x


    1. I had to mull over it for a few weeks too, Aimée, until I finally just hit the keyboard without thinking about it too much! Excited to see how I get on too! Thanks for your comment!


  3. What a great project to be involved with. I think that all creativity requires an element of bravery, because to harness creativity you need to look deep within yourself and then share that bit of yourself with the world – so the deepest parts of you are on show. But making yourself vulnerable makes for the best work and the most authentic art, I think. Looking forward to seeing your progress. xx


    1. I agree, Collette. Creativity does tap into a deeply personal space which you are then exposing to the world and you know that judgment will be passed upon your efforts. You are making yourself vulnerable but then have to grow a bit of a thick skin to withstand the comments others may make on your work x


  4. Gosh we can be so mean to ourselves can’t we. I know that feeling, those phrases too well. I think it’s just so great that you are doing this, pushing the voices aside and getting the excitement back. You ARE brave, you ARE creative and you CAN sketch and all those things are going to combine and fill the pages of the sketchbook. I hope you share some of them with us. Yay for you !!!


    1. Thanks,Emily. I THINK I’m going to enjoy having some time to spend creating the content rather than feeling pressured by a daily requirement (daily is good but sometimes a bit stressful too!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh the things we have to talk ourselves out of hey! Those doubt monsters that invade our head when we wish to do something a little different. Glad you are doing the project with fear in tow. It sounds wonderful.


  6. Oh good on you Carolyn, this project sounds like such fun! Any reason to explore the kids book section sounds good.
    And I find the inner critic is all part of the process, it doesn’t seem to lessen the more creative work I do. I just know its going to be there, I try to listen for the quieter, kinder voice xxxxx enjoy ! Xxx


    1. Thanks Jasmine! I do love children’s book illustrations but now my kids are big they don’t cross my path quite so easily! I like that you listen to the kinder voice.


  7. This sounds like a great project, in fact I need to catch up with your latest post once I have written here! Oh boy, imposter syndrome is a real thing. I am always stopping myself from doing things because of it.


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