Innovation, It’s Like Wearing New Shoes

Being a creative means continuously evolving in a broad way. The mind tends to map out in a circular way. I would say in a spherical way really but how do you keep innovation going? How do you kick it up a notch or two?

The answer to the question could be something I should bottle and bring to a store near you. Here’s my take on it:

The way I see it, innovation is like wearing new shoes.

I like taking on new challenges. Why? It keeps me limber. As an artist, I have my style, my preferred work tools, subjects and themes but if you look at my body of work you’ll see I venture out. It’s good exercise.

Most recently, my venture took me to create illustrations for some book covers. My first response was to work in oil, my most preferred medium at the moment but one of the clients said he would prefer watercolor so I switch to my watercolor palette and the mind set of watercolor use to maximize the medium within my current artistic development.

What did this change in medium do? From the way the sketch was developed, it affected the work before, during and after.

The same thing happened with another project. I challenged myself to use acrylic for a figure, a semi-nude. The challenge there was that I had never created a human figure in acrylic and it reminded me of the very first lesson I had in portrait art. My immediate question when everyone went about their business of diving into the execution was, “Wait, how do you make skin?”

And just to keep the challenges going when all things were settling and I had a little more time than usual, I told myself that the moment was right to try something new with my oils and I brought out the palette knives because this was something I had been wanting to do for a long time. And I did.

Each one of these experiences made me think and respond differently because the focus was to take what I know and at the same time see things differently, openly enough to delve inside myself and reach out yearningly as I tried to command a different tool by getting to know it better and playing along with it.

So if we know how to walk, preparing for innovation is like wearing new shoes. Try on a “new pair of shoes”.

How was your walk?

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