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Learnings from creating a Visual Library

 

 

 

Everybody is making a buzz around habits, consistency and creative production, it seems. The secret source is yet hidden in the dust and still waits for its discovery.

After creating a new Visual Library throughout the last two months, I figured, that I learned some things about ingredients of the magic source that are worthwhile sharing with you.
I learned that it needs more than just drawing and that technology can be a real enabler. Preparation seemed to be a key ingredient, but there seems to be no recipe nor good rules.

 

More than drawing 

You might think that creating a Visual Library that contains drawings needs to be drawn. That‘s it. And that‘s true. And it‘s wrong.
The creative process needed more from me than just my drawing skills. 
After finishing the drawings, I needed my team to complete the drawings for delivery. They added white fillings to recent transparent pieces to make the PNGs work better in presentations. The team helped me as well cropping and resizing the images into the right formats.
And while they did that, my task was the preparation for the launch. I needed to write description blurbs for the sales pages, clarifying licenses to be added and preparing text snippets for marketing and email lists. I had to design pictures for the website and put upselling connections in place.

All this needed a lot of energy which was substantially different from the energy I needed to keep on drawing the images.

A creative project needs more than one type of work. If you are clear about that upfront, it will be easier to get to the finishing line.

 

Technology helps 

I worked with the current iPad Pro 12,“ and the App procreate.
There is a small detail to the new iPad Pro that made the difference. The new Apple Pencil. Due to the new magnetic connection, it is 100% charged all the time!
I turn the iPad on, take the Pencil and start working. I never had an empty Pencil. And due to the longevity of the new batteries of the iPad Pro, I never had an empty iPad too. The flawless feeling of being able to work whenever I want to change the game for me. No barrier of entry into the drawing mode.
And due to working on the iPad I was able to work at any time of the day as well! Driving to the airport with a Taxi at night? No problem! Working in the dark while the kids are asleep? No problem!
Working in sunlight? No problem at all! (I recommend a matt coating for the iPad).
I could churn out a drawing in 5 minutes at any time of the day.

Try to reduce the obstacles to start, and you will make better progress in your creative process.

 

Prepare

Before I started any digital line me and my team had sketched all the drawings with pencil on paper. We started this over a year ago!
When we had an idea for a drawing, we sketched it out on paper with a pencil. Those real materials. Analogue. You know.

Over time we harvested those drawings, and I made photos of them. I put them into an album called „People.“ And that album grew over time.

When I finally decided to take on this challenge and create the Visual Library these sketches were waiting for me. Right there in the album „People.“ Every time I wanted to draw something, I just took the next pencil sketch, imported it into my drawing app procreate and started creating the digital drawing with outlines, color, and shadows.

I didn‘t have to think twice what I want to draw this time. Or how I should draw it. It was dead simple. No decision to take. And that was crucial for me to be able to sustain it. It created a piece of mind for me at that moment. I could focus on the drawing.

Prepare yourself and prepare your materials before you start with a complex or huge project. Take away those obstacles and enable yourself to work instead of plan.

 

No rules 

Yeah...I know. There‘s a lot of writing around creative routines, rules for our creative process, productivity hacks and whatnot. I understand those things, and I am pretty sure they work well for a lot of people. They don‘t work for me.
I did not have rules. I did not create a drawing every day. I did not follow a specific ritual.
I just followed my flow.

This flow contains my complex schedule including traveling for workshops (a lot), managing and working with my team of five people, working on my book “Enabling Clarity,” working on client projects, being a father of three, a husband, a dog owner and taking care of my health. Not one single day is like the other. I need to go with the flow.
When I had the chance, I would churn out 3-5 drawing at once. Sometimes I only had 10 minutes for 1 drawing. And some days I didn’t create anything. But I set myself a goal! I wanted to finish end of March 2019.

As I write this, we have February 27th, 2019. Goal achieved.
March wasn’t too ambitious. It was pretty much doable without a lot of stress. And it was my orientation as well as my motivation. I knew if I miss a few days I should better take my time and create some more drawing in a row on the other day. Just to stay on time.
And as I progressed, from drawing 90 or so onwards, my ambition kicked in. I wanted to get more drawings done! It was fun seeing the library grow. I actively searched for time spots in my day to pull out the iPad and draw.
Everything fell into place.

If you set yourself a realistic and motivational goal, it should help you even if you can’t create a creative routine or specific time in your calendar to work on your project. Try to find something that motivates you to stick to it. Make it a game!

 

It is so satisfying to finish and publish this library finally! The Visual Library of People is evidence for my consistency and resilience. It is the outcome of a lot of tiny steps leading to something bigger. It’s not world changing though. But it is another asset I can use for my business.

 

What kind of project of yours could benefit from these thoughts? Could you tweak your way of working just a little bit to enhance your outcomes? 

 

 

 


 

Holger is writing about his thoughts on how to create strategic clarity with visual tools. Especially with a focus on how we can work better together to solve our business challenges. As a Strategy Facilitator, he helps teams and leaders solving their strategic problems.
In his workshops and training, he has taught his approach to thousands of people. If you're interested, check out the next dates for his workshops or reach out to him directly.

 

 

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