Welcome to Week 4 of HOMwork (how has it already been almost a month?!).
I hope you’ve been enjoying working on these creative challenges, browsing the hashtag for inspiration, and discovering new artists to follow; nothing makes me happier than seeing friendly interactions between participants and watching our community grow!
On that note: last week I thought to myself, “I’ve made some awesome friends through the creative community on Instagram over the years. Why not bring some of that magic into this challenge?”
This week, I want to introduce you to my friend and lettering artist Stefan Kunz. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, he’s a multi-talented letterer based in Sydney, Australia who's best known for his skillful combination of lettering & photography (psst…those skills have earned him an impressive 235K Instagram followers).
Have you ever been excited when you start working on a new piece…only to feel stuck on what style to use or what elements to add halfway through? You’re not alone! Stefan created an excellent exercise to help us push through those pesky creative blocks. Here’s what he has in store for us this week:
“Hi everyone! Stefan here.
If you’re not a letterer, you can draw or interpret something else (an animal, a food, a shape, etc) in sixteen different ways. The important part is that you create 16 versions of 1 thing.
Why sixteen? Well, to be honest, I wanted to do 20, but when I started to divide the page into 20 equal parts, I realized that 16 was so much easier. Simply divide your page in half vertically and horizontally and repeat until you have 16 even spaces.
If you’re wondering, “Why can’t I just draw one, two or three?”, let me tell you the next part of the story. Since a lot of my work consists of filling out an entire page with words in different lettering styles, I thought this challenge would be a walk in the park for me.
Turns out, it wasn’t.
What I learned was this: after drawing 6 styles with relative ease, you start running out of ideas (especially with simple letters like an “i”). This is the exact moment your creative muscle *really* starts to get a workout - the moment where it gets a little uncomfortable and you start to feel the burn.
Creativity is a muscle, not a talent. It needs to be exercised in order to grow. Just like a physical workout, you need to push through the discomfort to receive the benefits. You also need to do it consistently to see real results.
Before I leave you to it, I want to share 5 strategies that I use to overcome that awkward, inevitable moment in the creative process when all of my ideas suddenly disappear from my brain.
They may seem simple, but they work. I keep them stashed away to use when that moment happens (because somehow it always happens).
When your ideas for styles start to run dry, I encourage you to:
Push yourself, exhaust yourself a little (like I said, creativity is a muscle not a talent).
Play with the ingredients. Add some decorative elements, dimension, shadows, gradients and more.
Think of tangible elements that could be used for lettering (a string, measuring tape, etc).
Think of words that start with the letter and try to illustrate something with it. For example, B: Balloon (blown up B), Bullets (two on top of each other), BBQ (sausages forming the letter).
Hunt for inspiration. Don't just copy a letter; adapt it and make it your own. This should be your last resort, but it's great for learning and practicing new styles.
Remember, you can watch me complete the assignment in real time and see my process! Click here to watch the video.
With this assignment, we’re actually working on two things: 1) expanding our range of lettering styles and 2) strengthening our creative muscle by intentionally stepping outside of our comfort zone. Plus, when you’re done you’ll have a cheat sheet of styles to reference for future projects.
After you finish drawing all 16 styles, snap a photo of your drawing and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #HOMwork so we can see what everyone created. In the caption of the post, share a story about a time when you had creative block and tell us your personal strategy for overcoming it.
Ready? You really don't need anything fancy. Simply grab a pen and paper and create something today.”
Stefan and Lauren
PS Make sure to use the hashtag #HOMwork and tag both @homsweethom and @stefankunz in your post on Instagram. We’ll both be featuring our favorite pieces in our Story this week, so make sure to post yours before the next challenge goes out.