Photography: The Practice of Making the Familiar New

Earlier I shared a quote by William Thackery about the two most engaging powers of a photograph.

“The two most engaging powers of a photograph are to make new things familiar and familiar things new”

As a photography enthusiast I think that capturing something new is part of the passion.  We all want to get that shot of something people rarely see or, if we’re lucky enough, something no one has ever seen before.  We go to new corners of our cities or travel to distant shores to capture the new.

But what about breathing new life into the familiar of our lives?  Thackery’s quote got me thinking about how I can use the familiar to become a better photographer.

It isn’t easy to make the familiar new.  You’ve got to position yourself both physically and mentally in a new place to see the familiar differently, to envision how we can portray it differently, and thus make it new.

As we begin 2017 some are thinking about new photography projects and others may be thinking about resolutions.  Endeavouring to make the familiar new could be a great project to improve your photography but it can be so much more.

Looking at our every day lives with fresh eyes and capturing it from a different perspective may well give us a renewed perspective on our lives.  It could be a creative practice of mindfulness.  You may find you are surrounded by more beauty than you were aware of and you may see all the things you can change to make things better for yourself.

Wishing you all a prosperous 2017!

Review: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

I’ve read a few different books about creativity within the last 2 years written by different types of creatives.  I’ve read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert who is a writer, the artist Austin Kleon’s two books Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work, and most recently The Crossroads of Should and Must by artist Elle Luna.

I’ve enjoyed all of these books and while you might be wondering how many books about creativity you can read before it gets monotonous I’ve noted that every creative has their own way of conjuring creativity and has had different experiences within their various creative fields.the-creative-habit-by-twyla-tharp

“Creativity is not a gift from the gods, says Twyla Tharp, bestowed by some divine and mystical spark. It is the product of preparation and effort, and it’s within reach of everyone who wants to achieve it. All it takes is the willingness to make creativity a habit, an integral part of your life: In order to be creative, you have to know how to prepare to be creative. In The Creative Habit, Tharp takes the lessons she has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career and shares them with you, whatever creative impulses you follow — whether you are a painter, composer, writer, director, choreographer, or, for that matter, a businessperson working on a deal, a chef developing a new dish, a mother wanting her child to see the world anew. When Tharp is at a creative dead end, she relies on a lifetime of exercises to help her get out of the rut, and The Creative Habit contains more than thirty of them to ease the fears of anyone facing a blank beginning and to open the mind to new possibilities.” (GoodReads)

Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit is about her approach to creativity as a choreographer.  You don’t have to be interested in dance to enjoy this book because it is firmly centred on her creativity method.  I enjoyed reading the book.  She is smart and interesting and naturally this makes for good reading.  Her approach is completely different from what I’ve previously read.

Her advice is very practical and comes with exercises.  While I didn’t feel the exercise sections were really necessary after reading her chapters, she goes into detail and some of you may well find these sections helpful.  If you’re interested in creativity you will probably enjoy this.

lilolia review rating 3 stars good

 

Instagram Discovery #6 Sham Jolimie

Sham Jolimie is a photographer featured in this Fstoppers article.  Her haunting animal portraits are a thing of beauty.  Jolimie is an advocate for animal welfare and social justice and her portraits of animals, particularly wild animals, shine a light on their humanity (for lack of a better word) and ask us to see them differently.

Her shot of an owl in the rain has captured many hearts for its raw emotion.
“I shot this precious moment on a rainy monsoon day. I stood in ankle deep rainwater and shared a silent conversation with this shivering wet owl. We stared at each other for a long while. Its deep intelligent eyes and sad demeanour changed my perception of birds forever. They are more sentient and self-aware than I ever imagined. Owls have tiny facial muscles that allow them to show their feelings on their faces, just like humans.”

Jolimie’s Instagram is filled with shots like this and more.  Without doubt you’ll find creative inspiration and beautiful photography.

Instagram Discovery #5 Emma Howells

I found Emma Howells’ photography after reading a PetaPixel article entitled Dear Men: Stop Disrespecting Women Photographers in the Field.  In the article Howells shares her experience of women having to prove themselves on a daily basis to their male counterparts.

“Ever since my initial post, I’ve received an abundance of comments and messages from other women photographers with their own similar experiences. I assumed this was happening to all of the female photographers I knew, even the ones so madly talented that I felt too starstruck to approach.  But in this case, talent isn’t even relevant, is it? Whether or not you know of our work when you first meet us, why not treat us with respect?  Part of what kept me quiet at first was self-doubt in my own work — maybe I wasn’t deserving of their respect. But in this case, the work itself isn’t the problem.”

Howells is a visual journalist and after reading her article I went over to her Instagram.  Just as you would expect from a talented photo journalist, her images are bursting with story.  I loved looking through her beautiful images and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too.

Instagram Discovery #4 Matt Stuart

I found Matt Stuart‘s street photography in a LensCulture interview.  I was immediately drawn in to his images for his eye for the quirky and humorous in everyday life.

#wetfloor

A post shared by Matt Stuart (@mattu1) on

I also loved this upbeat and supportive quote which is good for street photographers and life in general.  The sentiments of it are echoed in his photography.

“Be patient, optimistic; remember to smile, both for others, and for yourself. Don’t get depressed when you miss the shot; there’s just another around the corner if you keep your eyes open.”
Matt Stuart

This is why I really enjoyed his instagram feed – it is filled with great street photography that will make you smile and appreciate the quirky, humorous world we live in.  He has such a great eye for street photography and I’m sure you’ll enjoy scrolling through his work.

 

 

Instagram Discovery #3 Ng Weijiang

I found Ng Weijiang  (@orhganic) through an article on Exposure Guide where you can see some of his incredibly cool collages made by taking advantage of the Instagram layout to create larger art pieces composed of individual posts.

💮

A post shared by Weijiang (@orhganic) on

His feed is a beautiful blockwork of monochromatic photography.  Most of his work is street photography and architecture in subject – always well composed with interesting perspectives.  Every now and then you see the beginnings of one of his collages starting to take shape one square at a time.  It’s magnificent!

I’m positive you’ll enjoy following him as he journeys through the urban world and occasionally turns it on its head one square at a time.

 

Instagram Discovery #2 Beat The Grind

Beat The Grind is a travel blogger with an amazing eye for capturing a place and its people.

You can read about his travels on the Beat The Grind blog in a bit more detail but if you’re not into reading, no problem! His Instagram feed is stunning and you’ll see the world as if you were travelling by his side.

What I really enjoy is Beat The Grind is not just about the sights; it’s about the people who live there, their way of life, their street art, food, and what happens to be going on there at the time.  It’s the full story.

A great feed to follow for some awesome visual storytelling.

Instagram Discovery #1 Brice Portolano

I discovered Brice Portolano through a Lens Culture article; Arctic Love: Way, Way Out in the Wilderness in which Portolano talks about the beginnings of his No Signal series of photo essays.  The photos in the Lens Culture article are from his Arctic Love photo essay which is one of four in his No Signal series.

Arctic love

A post shared by Brice Portolano (@briceportolano_) on

“With over half of the world’s population living in urban areas, man has never been so disconnected from nature and the open spaces.  Through the photography project ‘No Signal’ started in 2013, Brice Portolano documents the return of man to nature in the western world and the reflections surrounding this issue.” 

The hauntingly beautiful images from Arctic Love led me to his website where you can see the rest of this project and his other work.  Ultimately I ended up on his Instagram feed to follow him and his work and you will not be disappointed.  The beauty continues there and I believe you will enjoy following him as he continues to share images of his projects and travels creating a captivating Instagram feed.

Review: The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna

I sat down and read this book cover to cover in an hour.  It is a fabulous, thought-provoking, and inspiring book filled with drawings, word art, and great advice.  In the way it is written and designed it gets you thinking practically and creatively.  I found it part inspiration and part workbook which was very helpful.The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna Review

The GoodReads blurb: “Who hasn’t asked the question “How can I find and follow my true calling?” Elle Luna frames this moment as “standing at the crossroads of Should and Must.” “Should” is what we feel we ought to be doing, or what is expected of us. “Must” is the thing we dream of doing, our heart’s desire. And it was her own personal journey that inspired Elle Luna to write a brief online manifesto that, in a few short months, has touched hundreds of thousands of people who’ve read it or heard Elle speak on the topic. Now Ms. Luna expands her ideas into an inspirational, highly visual gift book for every recent graduate, every artist, every seeker, every career changer.  The Crossroads of Should and Must has a universal message—we get to choose the path between Should and Must. And it gives every reader permission to embrace this message. It’s about the difference between jobs, careers, and callings. The difference between going to work and becoming one with your work. Why knowing what you want is often the hardest part. It gives eye-opening techniques for reconnecting with one’s inner voice, like writing your own obituary (talk about putting life in perspective). It talks about the most common fears of choosing Must over Should—money, time, space, and the ultimate fear: total vulnerability—and shores up our hesitation with inspiring stories of and quotes from the artists and writers and thinkers who’ve faced their own crossroads of Should and Must and taken the leap. It explains the importance of mistakes, of “unlearning,” of solitude, of keeping moving, of following a soul path.  Presented in four chapters—The Crossroads, The Origin of Should, Must, and The Return—inspired by the hero’s journey outlined by Joseph Campbell, The Crossroads of Should and Must guides us from the small moment, discovering our Must, to the big moment—actually doing something about it, and returning to share our new gifts with the world.”

As the title suggests this book is great for people seeking their life calling and for people who are at a crossroad in their life and not sure what to do next.  This short book will guide you through sorting through the basic questions you need to answer to get to the root of you and begin to formulate small actions you can take to move forward.  Luna’s idea isn’t about making a decision and making an overnight transformation.  It is about the process or journey to your ‘Must’ which is far more achievable and sustainable for us all.

I loved the quotes throughout and I especially liked the questions Luna asks you to ask yourself and the suggestions she gives for what you can do.  I made a few notes along the way and brainstormed my answers to the questions she poses in the book.  Reading this book was a great exercise in working out my direction.  This isn’t a book about abandoning your job to pursue your passion without a plan.  This is about helping you work out how you can live your passion and pay your bills.  But at the same time it proposes that you not be afraid of a path which has no easy answers or no set guidelines.

For no other reason than to know yourself better I recommend this book; from its questions which get you to examine your Shoulds so you can know your prison, its prompt for you to define your must-have money vs. your nice-to-have money, to creating your ‘what-are-you-so-afraid-of’ list, you are bound to learn something about where you’re at and where to next.

A lovely book to boost your life and creativity for anybody and everybody.

 

lilolia review rating 5 stars excellent

Save

5 Step Photoshop Elements Basic Editing Workflow

Photoshop Elements is one of my favourites for photo editing software.  I particularly like to use Ps Elements for my JPEG images where I need to do some basic editing.  In this post I want to show you my basic editing workflow for JPEGs.  Some people use RAW all the time and that’s a good option depending on your needs.  This isn’t a discussion about RAW vs JPEG because there are already a lot of great articles covering this topic. This article from SLR Lounge has great photos illustrating the differences between the formats while this article from DPS gives a nice detailed explanation.  This post, then, is for everyone who wants to edit JPEGs quickly and easily.  I’ve chosen a photo that I think best illustrates how to make use of my 5 workflow steps which I’ll go through with you from beginning to end.

Ps Elements Basic Workflow Lilolia

Step 1 – Crop & Rotate

Step 1 Crop and Rotate Lilolia

The first thing I do is decide whether my photo needs to be cropped for better composition and if it needs to be rotated to straighten either the horizon or my subject.
To do this in Photoshop Elements you select Quick, and then select the crop tool in the left hand toolbar.  Then you make your crop selection, resize it if need be, and then rotate the selection from the corner squares if you need to straighten.  When you are satisfied, click the green tick to accept your selection.  If you’re not happy with it you can always undo and try again.  You will notice when you select the crop tool that there are a number of options to help you in the tool options at the bottom.  I like to use the rule of thirds grid to help me with my selection and I generally choose use photo ratio for sizing guidance but you can choose any kind of grid you like and any size you prefer.

Step 2 – Levels

2 - Step 2 Shadows Lilolia

In the right hand panel you will see a tab labelled Levels.  Expanding it, you will notice three more tabs for you to use in adjusting the levels of your photo.  If your image has darker areas that you would like to lighten, you select shadows and you can either hover your mouse over the boxes to choose the best option for your image or use the slider if the first box lightens up your shadows too much.  You’ll notice your image looking brighter overall.  Now move onto the midtones tab.  This brings back some of the darker shades of your image and stops it looking washed out after you lightened your shadows.  Finally, move to the highlights tab.  If your image has blown out white areas bringing down the highlights can help reduce that brightness but be cautious because lowering your highlights too much can leave a strange effect on your image.  Sometimes you just can’t fix those blown out highlights in JPEG and this is one area where RAW is better for adjustments.  You don’t have to use any or all of these tabs when you edit.  Decide what areas your photos need help with and then experiment to see what you like.  I don’t always use the shadows or highlights tabs unless I need to.  I do, however, tend to like boosting my midtones.

Step 3 – Colour

5 - Step 3 Saturation Lilolia

Adjusting colour is a very personal thing.  You must do whatever pleases you.  Expand the Colour tab and again there are another three adjustment tabs.  Saturation can either be brought up or down depending on your tastes but be careful not to bring your saturation up too much.  I recommend bringing your vibrance up first to see if that boosts the colour enough for your liking before touching saturation.  I hardly ever change my saturation but I always up my vibrance.  If you do up your saturation I highly recommend checking your temperature balance because I often see photos with high saturation in desperate need of some temperature balance.
So move to the Balance tab where you’ll see two adjustment tabs; temperature and tint.  Click temperature and move the slider in very small increments to either a cooler (blue) or warmer (red) balance and see if this betters or worsens your image.  Note that in my screenshot of this step I have adjusted the saturation to show you what it looks like but the choice I made for the editing of my image was no saturation adjustment.  I chose only to up the vibrance.  So my final image shows no saturation adjustment.

Step 4 – Lighting

9 - Step 4 Selective Lighting Lilolia

There are two ways to adjust the lighting (brightness/contrast) of your photo.  The first method is to adjust the brightness or contrast of the overall photo.  To do this you select EnhanceAdjust LightingBrightness/Contrast on the top toolbar.  A box will appear which will provide you with brightness and contrast sliders.
The other method is to adjust the brightness/contrast of just a selected area of your photo as in the screenshot for this step and which is the method I will use for my photo here.  I’m choosing to use this method because the sky in my image is already as bright as I want it but I want the building to be brighter than it is.  To do this you must click Expert (top centre) and a new set of tools will appear.  Under Enhance in the left hand toolbar click the paint brush or Smart Brush Tool.  You can use this tool for a number of different things but to brighten a selection you’ve got to go to the tool options at the bottom, expand the tab second from the left and select brighter.  Adjust the size of the brush circle and click on the areas of your photo that you want to include in your selection.  Use the brush+ and brush- to select or deselect areas in your selection but be as precise as possible.  Once you’ve made a selection you’ll notice firstly, a coloured box in your selection which if you right click gives you options to adjust the brightness/contrast settings of your selection, and secondly, that a new layer called brighter has appeared in the right hand panel.  When you are satisfied with your selection and its brightness/contrast settings click on the background layer in the right hand panel and then click on Quick top centre to return to basic adjustments where we complete the final step of the basic workflow.  Note that when you save an image that has multiple layers you must change the format from .psd (photoshop file) to a .jpg or .png.

Step 5 – Sharpen

10 - Step 5 Sharpen Lilolia

The final step in the basic editing workflow is to sharpen your image.  I like to sharpen to 125 (2 squares) but you do what pleases you.  You can now save your image.  I prefer to keep my original JPEGs so I always save as a copy.

I hope you find this helpful and a base from which to explore and experiment with Photoshop Elements which I find to be a great program for its combination of photo editing and Photoshop features.  If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out.

 

Save

The Inspiration Journal: The Journal For Achieving Your Goals

It is a long held tradition for people to keep a journal or diary of their thoughts, the events of their lives, and their feelings.  Many powerful and successful people have done so.  There are also a number of different reasons for keeping a journal; some do so to record their lives and its events, some to vent their emotions, and others to capture their ideas and fuel their creativity.

“Swiftly, swiftly, record your thoughts before they are forever lost in time.”
Trevor Wright
A Treasury of Thoughts

The benefits of journaling are well covered so if you don’t already keep a journal the only question that remains to be asked is what kind you should write.  For as many reasons to keep a journal there are equally as many styles of journals you can keep.  If your desire is to focus on achieving your goals or expanding your knowledge I recommend creating something positive, useful, and inspirational for your life goals.  Keep the journal that focuses on what you read, what you think, pieces of information or quotes that inspire you.  Include plans and people to follow.  Keep a journal that becomes a collection of everything you want to achieve, the tools to get you there, and the inspiration you need for the journey.  Create something that motivates and re-inspires you as you read back over it.  Create an inspiration journal.

“We always attract into our lives whatever we think about most, believe most strongly, expect on the deepest level, and imagine most vividly.”
Shakti Gawain
Creative Visualization

Keep a journal filled with writing and notes focused on the life goals you are working toward which will inspire and fast track your success.

  • Fill the pages of your journal with the books you read and what you thought about them.
  • Include reading lists of the books you hope to read.
  • Note pieces of information you find helpful.
  • Jot down your ideas and your inspirations.
  • Share the quotes you love and the films that struck you.
  • List your favourite writers, bloggers, photographers, or other people you admire.
  • Write down your goals and dreams.
  • Create plans and draw.
  • Keep a list of websites, magazines, and articles you liked.
  • Brainstorm and create mind maps, jot down keywords, create tag clouds.

Everything you are curious about, everything that inspires and helps you, every idea you have, write it all in one notebook.  Whatever project you are working on or goal you are trying to reach, whatever you are trying to learn more about or skill set you are seeking to acquire will greatly benefit from a journal that brings together everything you encounter along the way.  You may be surprised how something seemingly unrelated can bring new meaning or perspective to something else you were thinking about.

Read back over it and you will see that you have created a valuable source of focused inspiration and information.  It will help you get where you want to go in life and when you look back over it you’ll see how far you’ve come.

I like to think of it as the kind of journal left behind by brilliant people like Leonardo da Vinci or John Steinbeck.  I like the idea of putting time into something that is constructive and focused on creating the journey rather than simply recounting the journey.  For me, keeping this kind of journal has shifted my focus away from what was toward what I will do which I believe is a better recipe for success.

 

 

Photography Experiment: Shallow Depth of Field

Shallow Depth of Field Photography Matches
Mode: A priority | Aperture: f/5.3 | Shutter Speed: 1/125sec | ISO: 400

Creating a shallow depth of field (DoF) in your photographs is really quite easy and it looks amazing.

When I first began experimenting with depth of field I switched my camera to Aperture Priority Mode (A on the dial) and changed my aperture to the widest (smallest f number) it would allow at my desired focal length.

I chose Aperture Priority so I could focus on changing just the aperture setting to get that shallow DoF while the camera took care of the other exposure settings for me.

Then, I focused on an element in either the foreground or the background to leave room in the frame for the shallow DoF blur or bokeh.  This is an especially pleasing technique to use when photographing people but you can get creative and use it whenever it serves your creative purpose like in food photography for example.

  • Select Aperture Priority mode
  • Set aperture to max (smallest f number)
  • Focus on something in fore or background
  • Voila!
Shallow Depth of Field Photography Matches
Mode: A priority | Aperture: f/5.6 | Shutter Speed: 1/160sec | ISO: 400

I’ve included the images I made when I first experimented with DoF and the settings in case you’re interested.  Before I got out the matches I had already used all kinds of household objects placed at varying distances from one another to see the effects.  In the end, I really liked how well the matches showed the shallow DoF a wide aperture can create.

This was done with a Nikon D40x, an entry level dslr, so don’t think you need a top of the range camera to try this.

There are other elements that affect depth of field so if you’re interested I recommend reading further.  There are loads of photography blogs out there; one of my favourites is Digital Photography School.  Check out this post on the DPS site: How to Take Control of Aperture and Create Stronger Photos

 

 

Instagram: Your Creative Outlet

Instagram is one of my favourite creative outlets.  The opportunities for creative expression with Instagram are endless and one of the main reasons is because you are free to experiment.

#shells #photography #snapseed #stilllife

A post shared by Verity M (@verity_m_) on

A couple of shells, take some photos, a bit of playing around in Snapseed and you’ve made a lovely image for Instagram.

Your photos don’t need to be perfect shots or your portfolio best.  You can be creative with perspective, colour, composition, and editing and get feedback from your followers.  You can just practise and play. 

Instagram is a wonderful community; everything goes, anything is possible, and everyone can just let go and create.  You don’t need to agonise over what to upload; you can be free, try new things, and keep your creative juices flowing.  There are also thousands of other highly creative people out there to follow and inspire you!

If you’re interested in still life photography, 10 Tips to Get Started with Still Life Photography will help you on your way to creating beautiful still lifes easily at home that’ll have you busting out your creative moves.  And what will you do with these images?  Instagram them of course!

Lilolia is Expanding: New Topics & Content

Lilolia will soon be expanding to include new topics and content.  For the readers who have come to know Lilolia, rest assured that all the current content related to reading will continue as normal.  Lilolia will remain dedicated to reading and books.  I have always had a vision for this blog that included more topics and different kinds of content though and I now have a much better idea of what I would like to expand into.

Learning, creativity, inspiration, expression.

Some of the areas I would like to blog about are self education and continued learning, creativity, photography, other forms of creative expression, and topics related to how we can live creatively, express that creativity, and continue to learn and expand throughout life.

Just as I have tried to give you all some reading inspiration, I hope to provide you with inspiration for other creative endeavours.

I’m on a journey.

Lilolia began as a personal journey through the world of literature to learn more and be more engaged.  The new topics and content are part of my personal journey too and the perspective will be the same.  I will share what I learn, what I think is interesting and helpful, and hopefully help others on similar journeys.

I hope you enjoy what’s to come!

 

 

 

New Year, New Goals: Setting Goals for a Mindset Refresh

We are two weeks into the new year.  By now many people have already defined their new year’s resolutions and a few may already have given up on them.  I like the idea of resolutions but I tend to prefer goal setting at the beginning of the year.  Rather than focus on things I want to stop doing I like to focus on what I want to achieve during the year, where I want to be by the end of the year, and what I need to do to get there.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

I think what’s important is not so much the goal (although achieving it would definitely be wonderful) but rather the mindset we get into by thinking carefully about what we want and how we will get there.  Getting your head into the right gear at the beginning of the year is a powerful way to let go of the year just ended and prepare to be open for the new.

I’m not sure that looking back over a year and judging it as either good or bad is the right strategy for life.  There is no doubt that some years leave us drained or depressed while others have filled us with joy and hope.

“And just as he who, with exhausted breath, having escaped from the sea to shore, turns to the perilous waters and gazes.” – Canto 1, lines 22-24, The Inferno of The Divine Comedy by Dante

The quote above is how I see looking back at a tough year.  You got out alive and there’s much to be grateful for in the lessons we learn in tough times.  These make us stronger and prepare us for greater challenges.  This, too, is important as is happiness and prosperity.  Another quote I like that often helps me see what I initially perceive as a tough year as part of the greater picture of my life is from Zora Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God:

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

If last year wasn’t the year you hoped it would be, don’t worry.  Everything is preparation.  Get out a fresh, blank piece of paper and think about what you want to achieve and what kind of life you want to have.  Then write down the things you need to do to get there.  Be specific.  Each day you can work a little more on completing task after task until you get closer and closer to where you want to be.

Last year I asked questions about where I am and where I wanted to be.  It was about coming to a realisation that I wanted a drastic change and that I needed to take risks to get it.  This year I have a better and clearer idea of what I want and the steps I will take to get there.  Among the many changes I will try to bring about this year the main one is focus on developing skills that will better help me to express the creative side of myself.  I will be taking courses in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, focusing on developing my photography, and working towards creating better content for digital publication.  Doing these things will bring me joy and satisfaction because essentially my goal is to do more of what makes me happy and not put any more time into doing stuff that doesn’t fascinate and inspire me.

What are your goals for this year?

 

Review: Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

I finished Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon a few days ago and I enjoyed it so much that I just went right to the next one, Show Your Work.  Both have been very helpful to me personally and I’m sure if you are creating anything at all you’ll find this book, Show Your Work, very beneficial.  There may be some things that you already know but Kleon has a great way of putting things so that you’ll feel reaffirmed in your strategy.share your work austin kleon

“In his New York Times bestseller Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon showed readers how to unlock their creativity by stealing from the community of other movers and shakers. Now, in an even more forward-thinking and necessary book, he shows how to take that critical next step on a creative journey getting known. Show Your Work! is about why generosity trumps genius. It s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time networking. It s not self-promotion, it s self-discovery let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, productive. In chapters such as You Don t Have to Be a Genius; Share Something Small Every Day; and Stick Around, Kleon creates a user s manual for embracing the communal nature of creativity what he calls the ecology of talent. From broader life lessons about work (you can t find your voice if you don t use it) to the etiquette of sharing and the dangers of oversharing to the practicalities of Internet life (build a good domain name; give credit when credit is due), it s an inspiring manifesto for succeeding as any kind of artist or entrepreneur in the digital age.” (GoodReads)

I really enjoy Kleon’s voice and he has a great sense of humour which makes for great reading.  This book really expands on a point (the main takeaway for me) that he touched on in Steal Like An Artist“Share the dots but don’t connect.”  In other words, share your process, share snippets of how you do what you do.  Don’t give everything away but don’t just share the end product.  Share your process, inspire others, teach others, create a conversation, and thereby connect more deeply with people.  The internet has changed the game and connecting with people by letting them into your world is the best way to get people to care about what you do/create.

I highly recommend this concise book.  There’s great advice and I’m sure you’ll be left feeling inspired or recharged.  I think Steal Like An Artist and Share Your Work are best read together in that order and at 200 pages combined you’ll be through them in no time.  I know I’ll be going back to these books because there were such great quotes throughout and the advice really is great.

 

lilolia review rating 5 stars excellent

 

Review: Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

This is another book about creativity and how to get on living a life in the creative industry.  I thoroughly enjoyed it as it is concise, very cool, and full of good advice structured under 10 main points.  It’s really a quick and easy read.  It has lovely drawings and really great quotes.  I jotted down a few notes while reading this.  Kleon has a great writing voice too so all in all a must read for anyway working in any creative field or anyone who pursues creative endeavours of all kinds.  It’s actually a book for us all because we’re all creative in some way and this little book will help you get back into it or dive deeper into it.

https://lilolia.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/review-steal-like-an-artist-by-austin-kleon/

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side. (GoodReads)

I especially liked that there’s a recommended reading list at the end.  I love further reading lists!  I particularly liked this line in the book: “…you are a mashup of what you choose to let into your life…”  This book left me feeling full of energy to pursue my projects with zest and joy and I’m sure it’ll do the same for you if you have a creative project or hobby.

 

lilolia review rating 5 stars excellent

 

Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I know of Elizabeth Gilbert from her Eat, Pray, Love success.  The cover of her latest book Big Magic completely drew me in and then the “Creative Living Beyond Fear” subtitle really spoke to me too.  big magic elizabeth gilbert

I consider myself a creative person (but really we all are) and I always have my hand in some kind of creative pursuit but since I am a self taught creative (my tertiary education is in the social sciences) there tends to be a bit of fear or anxiety surrounding my freedom to create without feeling like a complete fraud.  Just like when I began this blog years ago I felt I had no right to do so because I knew nothing about the world of blogging.  But it has turned out to be a wonderful creative outlet.

If you recognise yourself then this book is for you.  It is just as much for anyone working professionally in the creative arts as anyone enjoying working on creative arts in a non professional way.  I really enjoyed this book and it is chock full of great lines that you will no doubt see as affirmation style images on Pinterest.  It is inspiring and realistic.  More importantly it is a guide to just how we should be treating our creativity to enjoy it more fully as well as foster it.

This is not about being successful in the creative arts; this book is about creative living for the sheer love of it.  No doubt there will be those that dislike this book but I am not one of them.  I have a number of creative passions that I love working on and this book has given me the boost to keep on keeping on.  My biggest take away from this book is a personal one.  Your creativity (and ability) is no less legitimate than the next person’s regardless of education or any other external factor.  Your experience is unique so get stuck in.

I really enjoyed this book, it’s a quick read and if you’re intrigued by it go ahead and read it.  If you’ve read it what did you think?

 

lilolia review rating 4 stars great

Creating Captivating Characters

Creating characters that readers want to follow on novel length adventures can be tricky.  You might not find it difficult to invent the basic details of your characters like their appearances and names but where it can get tricky is creating your character’s backstory and life details because these are the details that inform your character’s decisions, habits, and nature.  These are the wonderful elements that turn your characters into people.

I came across a set of 45 questions designed to help you create fuller characters by Anita Riggio.  These questions will bring you to the core of your character very quickly and will guide you when you ask yourself how your character would respond to situations and other characters in your novel.  Answering each question fully and referring back to them will bring consistency throughout your writing but will also help you define how your character might need to change.  Take a look and enjoy.

 

  1. What do you know about this character now that s/he doesn’t yet know?
  2. What is this character’s greatest flaw?
  3. What do you know about this character that s/he would never admit?
  4. What is this character’s greatest asset?
  5. If this character could choose a different identity, who would s/he be?
  6. What music does this character sing to when no one else is around?
  7. In what or whom does this character have the greatest faith?
  8. What is this character’s favorite movie?
  9. Does this character have a favorite article of clothing? Favorite shoes?
  10. Does this character have a vice? Name it.
  11. Name this character’s favorite person (living or dead).
  12. What is this character’s secret wish?
  13. What is this character’s proudest achievement?
  14. Describe this character’s most embarrassing moment.
  15. What is this character’s deepest regret?
  16. What is this character’s greatest fear?
  17. Describe this character’s most devastating moment.
  18. What is this character’s greatest achievement?
  19. What is this character’s greatest hope?
  20. Does this character have an obsession? Name it.
  21. What is this character’s greatest disappointment?
  22. What is this character’s worst nightmare?
  23. Whom does this character most wish to please? Why?
  24. Describe this character’s mother.
  25. Describe this character’s father.
  26. If s/he had to choose, with whom would this character prefer to live?
  27. Where does this character fall in birth order? What effect does this have?
  28. Describe this character’s siblings or other close relatives.
  29. Describe this character’s bedroom. Include three cherished items.
  30. What is this character’s birth date? How does this character manifest traits of his/her astrological sign?
  31. If this character had to live in seclusion for six months, what six items would s/he bring?
  32. Why is this character angry?
  33. What calms this character?
  34. Describe a recurring dream or nightmare this character might have.
  35. List the choices (not circumstances) that led this character to his/her current predicament.
  36. List the circumstances over which this character has no control.
  37. What wakes this character in the middle of the night?
  38. How would a stranger describe this character?
  39. What does this character resolve to do differently every morning?
  40. Who depends on this character? Why?
  41. If this character knew s/he had exactly one month to live, what would s/he do?
  42. How would a dear friend or relative describe this character?
  43. What is this character’s most noticeable physical attribute?
  44. What is this character hiding from him/herself?
  45. Write one additional thing about your character.

© 2008 Anita Riggio

 

Thanks must go to Anita Riggio for compiling such a helpful list of questions.

Please follow the link to view the original article:

http://character-development.suite101.com/article.cfm/developing_memorable_characters