Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tools, Articles, and Resources for a Creative Life

inspire creativity

I don't know about you, but I feel happiest when I am creating things. While I enjoy my day job, I feel the need to balance it out with crafty hobbies during evenings and weekends. I am at my happiest, most fullfilled, and focused when I am being creative. I know that many other people out there have various levels of creative needs, and so I wanted to share some simple resources I've come across that help inspire or nurture creativity.

Please keep reading if you A) want to learn a new hobby for fun or to take your mind off work, B) want to improve your existing arts and/or craft skills, C) are a self-trained artist and want affordable options for formal training, or D) are an artist looking for inspiration or to take your craft to the next level.

If you're looking for a creative outlet on a low budget... remember that there is always your local library! It's easy to forget about this neighborhood resource when everything is just a google search away, but it could be a great starting point to browse through different arts and crafts books without having to spend money on a class that you may or may not enjoy. I'm thinking about learning some graphic design basics, and a friend recommending starting here before signing up for a pricey e-class or a pricier community college course. You can then supplement this with free online tutorials - Youtube is great for this! I often turn to youtube to help explain knitting techniques when I'm stuck on a pattern.

If you're looking for art/DIY/crafts basics...there are a couple of low-priced options online:
-Brit + Co. This is where I found the calligraphy e-class I mentioned last week. They offer a variety of classes for things like hand-lettering, sewing, knitting, sketching, and more! All the classes are $19 each and vary between 30-55 minutes.
-Creative Bug For $9.95 a month, you receive unlimited viewing of hundreds of online classes in things like sewing, paper arts (including art & drawing), yarn, quilting, jewelry, and more. If you're unsure, you can try it free for two weeks! One of my favorite artists (and personal heroes), Lisa Congdon, teaches a few classes on there. More on her later...
-Craftsy Like Creative Bug, Craftsy offers classes on similar arts and crafts topics. However, Craftsy classes are priced per class - anywhere between $15-40. The nice thing about Craftsy is that the price for the class usually includes multiple lessons! It's great if you want a more in-depth, detailed experience as there are usually about 10 lessons per class ranging between 15-60 minutes each. It's a good bang for your buck.

If you want art, DIY, crafts, PLUS digital design, photography, and more...check out these versatile sites:
-Creative Live has classes in the following categories: Photo & Video, Art & Design, Music & Audio, Craft & Maker, and Money & Life. The model is like Craftsy - pay per class with each class containing multiple lessons. The difference is that Creative Live is a bit more expensive (closer to the $100 range), BUT the classes also come with more lessons (around 30). They also have very specific offerings - like Bookkeeping for Etsy Sellers, or How to Sell Your Products to Retailers. They also have really great intro to design classes like Photoshop for Beginners, or Adobe Illustrator: Essential Tools. I have a feeling I'll be investing in a few classes here.
-Skillshare is another membership-based website, $10 billed monthly or $8/month billed annually, to view unlimited classes. Their subjects include Design, Photography, Entrepreneurship, DIY, Culinary, Gaming, and more. Each class is about an hour or two long, but the nice thing is that the website is very community-focused and encourages you to share your work and engage with others. Nothing wrong with that!

If you're looking to learn design, software, and business skills...check out Lynda.com! The basic membership fee is $25 month to month, but there are other options available. Offering unlimited classes with membership, Lynda is great for web/computer-based tutorials. So if you're looking to learn design, animation, photoshop, music mixing, or other related topics - this is your best option. That's just scratching the surface, they also have plenty of business-related classes as well.

If you're looking for inspiration...check out these links:
-This blog post by artist Lisa Congdon, where she talks about "owning" her status as an artist. She's particularly easy to identify with, as she was a self proclaimed late-bloomer in her art career, has no formal training, yet makes a living as a professional artist. She's great and I love her.
-Live in the Grey is an "online community and movement that challenges the way people think about work and encourages them to take risks in order to finally (finally!) love what they do for a living." You can learn more about it by visiting the website or by reading this article.
-CreativeMornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community started by Tina Roth Eisenberg of the design blog SwissMiss. Check it out and see if there's one coming to your town!

change direction

If you're looking to quit your day job...read these!
-Quit Your Day Job: Etsy has an ongoing series on their seller blog about successful shops that were able to quit their day jobs and make a living doing what they love. It's super interesting to read what other people have gone through to achieve that level of success. While inspiring, it also serves as a reminder that success takes work and doesn't happen overnight - so don't be discouraged if it takes a while.
-Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love by Jonathan Fields: Looking to make a career change? Check this book out - the title is pretty self explanatory :)
-Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon: Can you tell I have a mild obession with Lisa?? She's just so great. I can't wait to check this one out and learn more about her life/career story.
-Craft, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Creative Hobby into a Successful Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco: I have this book! I've only checked out bits and pieces (it's organized very well, so you can easily skip to whatever section is relevant to you), but so far it's very detailed and informative. I saw the title online and knew I had to have it.
-Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business by Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco: Like Craft, Inc., this book "will teach all types of creatives illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, animators, and more how to build a successful business doing what they love". I read Joy Cho's blog religiously, so I'll probably check this one out eventually as well.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, of course. All of these resources are available on my Pinterest page, so feel free to follow me there as I add more. And if you have any to add, please share. Click and Enjoy!

(Illustration by Lisa Congdon. Photos by Scott Stanley with hand lettering by yours truly.)

No comments:

Post a Comment