Remember Your Roots

No, I’m not talking about your hair roots. Unless you do need to remember them, then I guess it’s applicable.

But really, I’m talking more about where you’ve come from and where you’re going to. As a designer now, I can definitely say that 10 years ago I’d never picture myself where I am now. In fact, if I followed my life plan from high school (you know those ridiculous long-term goal sheets they give you and expect you to know what you’re talking about) I’d be sitting on the west coast of the US, in a studio at Dreamworks or Pixar, Wacom in front of me and the buzz of an animation studio all around. At only 14, I had no idea of the things life would throw at me. Not a clue. It makes me wonder if the kids in my grade 8 class are exactly where they wanted to be 10 years ago. Most likely not if they were an arty loon like me.

Lately, I’m learning that it’s okay to go back to bust out the old skills I learnt then, and to include them in my life now. For instance, my cases of pencils, pens, ink and charcoal haven’t been touched in years. When I got a project that allowed me to use them, I realised I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Also, I realised it created a completely different creative process. I’ve been working on a PC with a tablet for so long, I’d never even contemplated what bringing traditional media in would do!

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Instead of sitting inside, staring at a screen and getting colder by the minute, I could sit outside in the sun (because I absolutely detest the cold!), and enjoy what I was doing. One little thing that changed my creative thinking, something that used to be so natural to me but long forgotten.

So, think back to something you used to do, and apply it to something you do today. Whether it’s painting, designing, cooking, baking, try an old route that used to feel so familiar to you, and you might be surprised. It might be a little out of your comfort zone, but feel brave enough to go back and try those things. Heck, even try some things you sucked at back then – you might actually find you’re good at it now!

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As creatives, we need to keep fresh and find new ways of being creative. But, that doesn’t always mean looking towards someone else for inspiration. Sometimes your inspiration is from yourself of 10 years ago. Try it. You never know what might happen.

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