Whenever I have to introduce myself, someone inevitably asks how I got into writing or illustrating. Even though it’s a very innocent question, I always sigh with disappointment.
Unlike many of my associates, I didn’t go to school to write or paint. Heck, I didn’t even like reading as a kid. However, I did enjoy drawing and painting, but that was not the path I chose. I majored in Zoology, and everyone thought I would have a career working with animals. Who would’ve thought I would end up writing stories for children?
Nonetheless, my answer always begins the same way—to get the ideas out of my head. After that, I do it because I can.
If I could truly capture what went on in my mind and put it on canvas or paper, I believe people would think I was insane. I know I’m not the only person with a wild imagination. Many of my writing and artist friends have shared moments of delusional inspiration that led to their stories or illustrations. We are creative people who see things from multiple perspectives and find beauty and amazement in the simplest things.
Not everything I create is worth revealing to the world. I don’t say that because I occasionally experience a mild form of impostor syndrome—although I do. I say it because some of my works are just musings wanting to take a physical form. It’s Ars Gratia Artis (Art for art’s sake).
Based on the idea that beauty was the most important element in life, the Aesthetic movement was an important stepping-stone toward Modern Art. The art doesn’t have any moral or narrative content. It was only meant to look pretty to the eye of the beholder.
Illustrations without narrative content don’t really work in children’s books. The pictures in a child’s book work in tandem with the words. Sometimes, the books are only illustrations telling a story.
I’m currently working—struggling—with creating an illustration-only children’s book. I keep opening my files and attempting to draw the right images, only to set them aside again, disappointed. Did I mention my impostor syndrome?
In his book Do The Work (2015), author Steven Pressfield wrote, “A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.”
When it comes to art, writing, and even entrepreneurship, we must let our musings take the wheel—at least for a moment. The resistance of logic and negativity can kill the creative spirit if we let it. It’s a battle I fight whenever I sit at my desk or drawing table.
When we open our hearts and minds and follow creativity down that rabbit hole, we can create amazing and beautiful things.