Today marks the milestone of 100 videos watched on Skillshare and about six months in since I first started taking drawing and Illustrator classes online. In the process, I found the hardest thing to overcome is feeling not creative enough. It happens quite often, especially when I'm unable to dream up characters and scenes from imagination. Being a late bloomer in discovering this passion to draw, I found that lack of exposures to animation and storybooks as a child is a real disadvantage. However, the upside is creativity and imagination take practice. It means surrounding myself with art I love, strengthening the brain muscles to connect more dots, pay attention to the details and sceneries in life, and learn the technical skills to execute on the ideas.
To help you see what time and practice can do, here's an example of the progress I'm able to make over 6 months of deliberate practice:
Now: After watching almost 100 videos on Skillshare, I'm able to do more than just coloring and starting to get better at creating imaginary worlds. Although I'm not born with the talent and still have a long way to go, I'm discovering that cultivating creativity is like a brain workout. You have to deliberately practice creativity and be mindful of the world around you because every detail can feed into your imagination. Don't let the thought of "not creative enough" stop you from doing more. Keep Making!
I recently watched this TEDx video where Debbie Sterling, founder of GoldieBlox, talked about her experience as a female Engineer at Stanford and the inspiration for her product. In the video, she points out that the lack of construction play among girls can contribute to underdeveloped spatial skills. This type of skill relates to the capacity to interpret, understand and reason spatial relationships in objects or space, such as designing multi-dimensional figures. It was an inspiring talk and I think her insights further support the importance of the maker movement, particularly for girls, to remove stereotypes in children's play and have more access to building and creating things.
As much as I appreciate her efforts, as a maker parent, I think we should continue to find ways to encourage our kids to play and dream up ideas using simple supplies and materials that doesn't limit their imaginations.
It's been a few days since I enrolled in the free brush calligraphy class by Liss Smith and I'm loving it! I'd stumbled across the class online and all it required was my email for registration. Upon registering, you'll receive an email with link to the first class. They are fairly short (under 5 min) and I've been getting them daily in my inbox. The bite size videos work wonderfully since I can sit through each quickly and spend as much time as I want practicing each technique. I find it easiest to accumulate a few videos before you start so you have the option of doing more if you become too addicted (which I am!). It's also a great exercise for when I need to unwind for the day.
Below you'll see that my daughter's handwriting notebook came handy for practicing the strokes and lines. After getting a hang of the alphabets today, we took it one step further using watercolor and paint brush.
Once the watercolor paper was filled with strokes and lines, I doodled a bit for fun. This extension step is highly recommended!
So if you're looking to brush up on your handwriting skills, I definitely recommend it as an entry class to try. The brush pens are very affordable (I got mine for $6 on Amazon) and you can use plain white paper or print out the guided elementary handwriting paper templates, available online.
Sirima Sataman's Studio space
This workspace belongs to Sirima Sataman of ink.paper.plate Press. It was transformed from a raw industrial space located in the Dogpatch District in San Francisco. (via Apartment Therapy)
The Mini Makerie Studio
The Makerie is a creative retreat offering courses taught by renown artisans around the world. The setting below is from a Mini Makerie event with embroidery instructor, Adriana Torres, at the At Hand Studio in Boulder, Colorado. (via pinterest)
lisa congdon's Studio
Lisa Congdon is a San Francisco based artist and an instructor I enjoyed learning from on CreativeBug. (via sfgirlbybay.com)
Urban Outfitters has a collection of consumer brands including the well knowns like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People. One look at their office space, built from the shell of a dilapidated navy shipyard explains why I'm such a fan of their Free People store design! How can you not be inspired being surrounded by amazing designs and color everywhere. (via Office Snapshots)
Consider the Wldflwrs
Consider The WldFlwrs, a jewelry company's Germantown studio.
POI Sewing Studio
I had the opportunity to visit this amazing sewing studio owned by a young Taiwanese couplewhere you can make custom shirts using industrial sewing machines! POI is located in the Zhongshan district known for its eclectic shops and restaurants, an area worth visiting for crafters!
and more ...
Here are a few more places for inspiration!
I got my husband a projector for his birthday this year and for a while it was just laying around collecting dust. Inspired by summer movie nights, we decided to kick off a kids movie night in our living room on Saturdays. This has been going on for a few weeks now and both kids love it. Our favorites are Zootopia and The Little Prince, both were enjoyable even for adults!
As much fun as it was to watch movies together, I didn't enjoy having them sit like zombies for 1.5 hours every Saturday. I felt the urge to make it "more educational" to get more out of it. So the other day, I decided to ask my 6 year old to write a movie review about The Peanuts Movie she watched the day before.
To start off, we discussed what a movie review is and asked her to come up with a list of things she'd want to share. That became the outline for her to draw out a template. From there, she'd complete each section. Since I wanted to incorporate art, writing and communications in the process, I've asked her to include a section where she'd draw a scene from the movie and record a video of her presenting in the end.
It turned out to be a great exercise to go through since it covered art, writing, communications and video making! Moving forward, it'll be part of every movie night experience and can see this extending to when she asks for more media time.
Kiddos have been home without camps this summer and going to the library is now a part of their routine. Both girls now have their own library cards (yep 3 year old qualifies) and fills up their library corner with books they pick out every couple of weeks.
It's such an easy way to teach littles about responsibility while encouraging them to enjoy reading. It also creates opportunity for my six year old to lead and read to her sister. The process and routine really beats any book that we can buy for them. I have now stopped buying books for that reason. And as a side benefit, it created opportunities for me to check out books too. Keep Learning!
It's been a couple of weeks since I started exploring the topic of computer science for kids and I'm excited to see the momentum building up towards pushing programs into K-12 education. This is largely influenced by support from tech giants, such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, as well as organizations, such as Girls Who Code, MIT Media Lab and code.org, over the years. Collectively, great efforts and resources have been invested to increase interest and participation among girls.
Since I've been wanting to contribute to the movement, I decided to launch my first campaign focused on breaking down stereotypes. I believe it is an area that requires a lot more investment as perception change is fundamental to removing the barrier. The concept behind the campaign is to generate awareness and familiarity by showcasing programming language as part of a T-shirt design for girls. This helps create a positive affinity for girls who are already learning the language while providing visibility among those who are unfamiliar.
Starting with a small step forward, I hope my efforts will inspire others to get onboard and help empower more girls to innovate and lead in this high tech driven world.
Another important element that made the experience different was having a young adult (could also be a student) teaching the material using simple terms that can easily be understood. For a non-technical and visual learner like me, this teaching method was very effective. It also made me wonder if we're underutilizing what our kids can do.
As I become more conscious about how we learn as kids and adults and observe when we are most creative and passionate about learning, the more I'm convinced that our education needs to evolve into an interdisciplinary approach. Science teachers need to talk about colors and art teachers need to blend in math conversations. Until we can help the child see how geometry plays a part in practical life and why arts, math, engineering and science need to work together, we are depriving our children's curiosity and passion to learn. The value of computer programming as part of literacy will only become increasingly important as it's helping to bridge the gap by training our mind to put the knowledge to use and think vertically and horizontally, across various subjects, when approaching any problem.
For more information about our efforts behind computer science for kids, check out our right brain computing project.
Today we experimented teaching a six year old about digital art. From scribbles to coloring on screen to learning the importance of communicating through art, a child's (and adult's) ability to create is only bounded by tools and the know-hows. So keep learning and keep imagining!
It's been a bit crazy around the house with kids home during the summer. I'm finally getting around to share the remaining projects from the challenge.
Following the town project, kiddo decided to create our family in paper dolls. If you look a little closer, each doll is dressed up with different accessories and outfits.
On day 4 of the project, kiddo created two paper masks, one for herself and one for her sister.
Tired of blue and white, my daughter asked if she can add more color to the project. For this last challenge, she created a card for me and the neat thing about this one is the interchangeable hair accessory that she created for the doll.
As you can see, with a 6 year old, the creativity is in the details and functions of the design and I hope this project inspired more parents to get the kiddos making and let their imagination run!
Self-taught illustrator, entrepreneur and maker, making ways to turn interest into passion and career.