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A permission Slip to go your own way

The first week in May saw the start of month long mini course illustrating butterflies. During the first class we explored 3 ways of drawing (and painting) from quite tight and neat to very loose and informal and I chatted about the idea that your personality/character should, probably, be connected to your creative approach in order for you to grow and thrive.

In a nutshell, if you are someone who loves an organised environment, who likes order you might enjoy more disciplined, planned outcomes and formal approaches to art and design. Maybe you are someone who is less organised are not so keen on having a plan and thrive in more spontaneous situations... then a less formal approach could be the way forward.

I know these are sweeping generalisations and that many us sit somewhere in between but the important bit is that sometimes your character and your creative approach do not marry up.

An example, of this would be the less organised spontaneous character trying to master a very formal disciplined approach to art. This was me once and it didn’t work.

It is like bending a ruler into a shape that it doesn’t want to go...eventually it breaks.

I believe that misunderstanding the connection between character and creative approach is where lots of us come unstuck and prevents us from truly connecting with our own personal ‘brand’ of creativity.

I can make us think that we are not very good at art.

After the first butterfly class a lovely student got in touch to say:

'I'm definitely drawn to a looser style of image than a perfect scientific specimen, but never really thought that it was a personality or creativity thing, I just thought it was because I had no talent!'

Could this be you?

You are not alone, my friend… many of us feel this way.

We don’t know where we fit.

I think it really comes down to the relationship between creative approach and personality, working against the creative grain rather than with it.

Why is this? How did it happen?

My belief is that back in ‘the old days’, when you were small, your creative approach was affected and influenced by something or someone. (During my chats with students this often falls under the categories of your schooling, your parents or family, society and, more recently, social media).

This something/someone has had a huge influence, throughout your life, on what you believe your creative approach ‘should be’ and not the creative approach which directly connects with your character.

What is the shape of your puzzle piece and where do you fit?

Imagine that your character and your creative approach are two jigsaw pieces.

Ask yourself whether your 'character' shape piece fits the shape of your 'creative approach' shape piece. If it does hooray! I’m delighted for you! If you think that it doesn’t fit then also ‘hooray’ to you, too, because that’s a brilliant and useful thing to learn about yourself! You clever thing!

Creating a connection is exciting because:

  • It's like the reuniting of two lost souls separated for far too long

  • You feel liberated! To throw off the shackles and accept your true creative self means you can grow and make new exciting discoveries

  • Without realising it you learn about your ‘actual’ self (undefined by anyone or anything) because we are our art (I know.. this is a big statement and also needs unpacking but, stick with me..)

  • It’s the beginning of a journey. The search for your creative shape is an ongoing adventure. It will bring you joy and encourages you to be kind to yourself.

  • It’s real life magic!

Good news! Whatever form your character shape is there is a corresponding creative approach which will fit around it. How do you find it? Good question!

Over the next few months I will be exploring ways of finding your own unique creative approach and adding links below. Lets start with a creative enquiry


Suresh Kumari
Suresh Kumari
Sep 25, 2023

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Annelies Smeets
Annelies Smeets
May 25, 2023

This got me thinking! It might explain why, when making something myself, I like it to have a little bit of plan and structure. And why I'm always drawn to expressionistic art in musea, books or (social) media. In my own work I've tried so many times to be really expressive, but it doesn give me so much joy to make. I like to potter and tweak my sketches. Does that make sense? Cause I'm a pretty structured and controll-freakin person. 😉 (Wishing hard not to be that. 😎)

Thanks, Lucia!


So right! It took me till I was 50 to recover from the negative criticisms and self doubt. Thank you to the brilliant Stroud College Art Department Access course for liberating me and letting me fly with confidence. And that’s what your courses do too Lucia. ❤️

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