I had an art teacher in high school who, to this day, is still one of my favorite teachers. She was exactly what an art teacher should be—creative, quirky, a little disorganized, floaty (yes, floaty, as in she seemed to float from place to place), passionate, sweet, positive, and encouraging. She didn’t believe in grading art because, as she put it, “How can you grade art?” My art projects from her classes sit in my shelves, and while I’m proud of most of them (there’s an unfortunate “pig wolf” among my creations), they do not embody the most influential lesson that I took from those courses. Rather, what has impacted my life the most from her classes are these words: “Always do something creative to keep balance in your life.”
Despite her free spirit, she knew that most of her students would gravitate towards the sciences, math, or writing for their full-time careers rather than toward art. Still, she believed that art keeps us sane and that it provides breaks that are necessary for the brain to function at full capacity. So, in honor of her and of her advice (which, thus far, has proven true for me), here are ten fun ways to stay creative while either working towards a college degree or working in general.
1. Draw with friends. There several websites that allow you to draw with your friends or anonymous strangers. A quick Google search generates the three following websites: DoodleToo, Draw Something Online, and AnonDraw. There are multiple ones out there though. Just be wary that everything drawn might not be PG . . . .
2. Visit a paint your own pottery shop. This venue could be great as a place for some alone time, a group hangout, or a date. Also, you could paint a pretty mug for your mom for Mother’s Day and bam! You accomplish two tasks in one outing. Moms are usually suckers for handmade things no matter how old you get. Well, except for my mom. She wants jewelry . . . with expensive gemstones . . . . Sorry Mom. I’m a writer and a teacher, so it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be able to afford you the bling bling.
3. Write fan fiction. Writing is kind of a weird one because, on the one hand it’s a creative endeavor, but on the other hand it really works your brain. Still, writing something that you care about and that you enjoy can definitely be fun and work your art muscle. Besides, you don’t have to show it to anyone, although there are plenty of forums out there for fan fiction. Your story may turn out better than you could have ever expected it to, and you may want to change the names and try to publish the piece in your college’s literary journal. Bam! More multi-tasking! You can have fun, be creative, and have a shot at getting published. It’s a win-win-win situation.
4. Purchase an adult coloring book. No, not that kind of “adult” you weirdo. I’m talking about the coloring books that have intricate designs that you color in. It’s oddly relaxing, although that may be because I’m using Sharpies.
5. Cook, bake, and share your creations. You can improve your cooking skills, have yummy food around, and make new friends. Bam! Another endeavor that accomplishes more than one goal.
6. Make origami. Some people find origami soothing to the soul. My friend is an origami nut and making fold after fold helps him to zen out after a stressful day. Personally, I end up getting irritated and making a paper ball instead of a paper crane, but that’s just me.
7. Try decorative knot tying. No, I’m not kidding you. Knot tying can create gorgeous works of art. Just take a look here: pretty knots . I think that knot tying may be like origami though—you either love it, or you hate it. You’ll only know which category you fit into if you try.
8. Paint your nails. There are so many different patterns and possibilities for nail painting. Also, there’s a bonus to painting your nails—you can’t do anything while they’re drying. Why is this a bonus you ask? Because the drying time will push you to read for your classes. Paint a coat, read ten pages, paint another coat, read ten more pages. You’ll have your reading done and your nails will look gorgeous as well. Bam! More multitasking.
9. Knit. Disclaimer: I’ve actually never knitted. However, some of the happiest, most productive, and most successful friends I have do knit. Go figure. Here’s one of my friend’s Etsy shop for knitting and knitting patterns: BeaCapesDesign. She usually has knitting patterns that frequently go on sale, and they get good reviews.
10. Karaoke. That’s right. I put it on the list. Whether you sing like an angel or croak like a frog, singing can be creative and fun (maybe not so much for the listeners, but who cares about them, right?). This is one of my main outlets, and I use the phone app Smule. No, I’m not getting sponsored by them (*sigh* no money for me), but I do really like the app. You can duet with people, create your own duets, and alter your voice to sound like over processed pop stars. Also, a feature that I love is that you can set the song to private if you want so that only you will be able to hear it. The private option allows you to be super goofy and imitate singers while not doing so in “public,” like if you wanted to impersonate Cher on “Believe.” Although, I wouldn’t know anything about that . . . .
What do you do to stay creative?
Note: I didn’t notice how many times I wrote “Bam!” until now while I was editing this and thinking up a title for this post. Perhaps I’ve had too much coffee today . . . .