Unleash Your Inner Artist

Have you ever had a secret desire to make art? Many people flinch from the word "artist," most of them harboring a creative spark. Here are a few books to fan that inner flame.

What It Is by Lynda Barry - Why is it that kids who are asked to draw freehand react with enthusiasm, whereas adults shrink back in anxiety? Barry concludes that adults are consumed by judgmental questions like "Is this good?" In an encouraging tone, cartoonist Barry challenges us to write and draw the images in our subconscious as a process of catharsis and joy, without worrying what others will think.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards - OK, so the whole left-brain/right-brain divide is a little new-agey and hokey. The most valuable lesson this book teaches is that drawing is a learned skill of perception anyone with appropriate hand-eye coordination can learn, and not an inborn talent. As if by magic, everyone I know who has tried some of its exercises can vouch for improvement in drawing realistically from life.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron - The rigidity to Cameron's 12-week methodology is not for everyone, but like Barry, she nails some of the self-esteem issues anxious adults struggle with. Adapt this text, and you'll find lots of ways to nurture creativity by putting in daily effort and treating your inner artist well. Who wouldn't flourish from a boost of creativity in their everyday life?

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