Sunday, 12 June 2011

Creative Process

A couple of my notebooks - with home made covers - and Andrew Cowan's book

Firstly, the inciting incidents:

I got Andrew Cowan’s new book, The Art of Writing Fiction, from the library last week, and it really is brilliant.  Cowan came to give us a guest class when I was on the Diploma of Creative Writing course at the University of East Anglia (where he is now Director of the MA programme), and he was excellent.  Most of what I remember from his class is in the chapter on observational journals, and reading has made me very reflective. 

Short story illustration 1986 - don't ask me what its about, I can't remember!

I’ve also just started Alisa Burke’s new online class, Watercolour Bliss, which is just as its title suggests.  Looking back over my old portfolio has made me realise just how much I am learning with her, but also allowed me to see the big holes in my art practice.  My painting technique is so much better now, but I used to draw all the time – I used to illustrate my own stories, as the picture above shows.  Doing full time Art ‘A’ levels, of course, gives you a lot of time to make art, but I can see how much better my drawing technique was then, compared with how it is now.  Practicing every day really does make a difference.

When I was working on my writing diploma, I took my notebooking really seriously too.  I worked hard on recording all those observational details and playing with language.  And while I know my writing has improved so much in the intervening years, Cowan has helped me see how much I have let that practice go, and how much I could gain from reinstating it.

Pages from my current notebook

So I am considering reinvigorating my creative process by going ‘Back to Basics’.  I think a good deal of this will be about what I choose to draw, as well as the details I choose to write about, because this is what motivates me.  And that means allowing myself to fail a bit as I get back into the swing.  Which takes courage.  But I think the Habit of Art, as Auden called it, is worth taking a risk for, don’t you?

No comments:

Post a Comment