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9 Things To Do During A Creative Block

9 Things To Do During A Creative Block
Artist and designer Erika Firm's art studio at her home on Johns Island, South Carolina. Photo by Elizabeth Ervin One of the greatest joys of being an artist is also one of the greatest fears: the BLANK PAGE. Sometimes ideas just fall onto the page. Sometimes it's a struggle. Lately, I've been feeling burned out, tired of designing All Christmas All The Time. I've been struggling. My usual go to during a period of creative block (watch a movie) wasn't sparking any new ideas, and was starting to feel a little sad, lonely, and self-indulgent. So I made a list of 9 things I could do to help bust through creative slump. These may not always get me out of a creative block, but they at least get me doing something productive.
  1. Do Something Else "Creative" — style some photos of my work to use in my portfolio or social media, take some "behind the scenes" photos of my studio, or switch to a totally different media (i.e. watercolor some basic backgrounds if I've been on the computer all day, or mock up a client's project on the computer if I've been drawing all day).
  2. Make a Master List — You know, the reeeeeeallly long to do list. Get it all out of my head. I don't think, I just write it all out. A brain dump, if you will. Then I go back and sort/organize it and add important stuff to my calendar.
  3. Do Something Boring but Necessary — I go to that list, or my calendar, and find something that really needs to be done ... usually something mundane like drive to the Post Office and pick up a package, or pick up cat food.
  4. Do Something Completely Mindless — Clean out a desk drawer or dust or organize something by color ("rainbowthetically" as my wiser-than-her-seven-years friend Parker calls it). The goal is to do something that I don't have to think about much. Usually in silence -- all devices, radio, tvs, etc OFF!
  5. Take a Skillshare Class — I have dozens bookmarked. When I'm feeling particularly blocked, I focus on technical classes about programs or marketing/business classes, not on artistic technique.
  6. Vote at Minted — There's almost always a challenge open for voting. It's fun, and sometimes I get a fun color combo idea.
  7. Take a Walk — Getting outside almost always works for me.
  8. Visit a Museum — I love the Gibbes Museum here in Charleston. Even for a quick 30 minute visit. I don't bring a sketch book, I just wander.
  9. Read a Magazine — There's nothing quite like print. I have loads of tear sheets that I keep in a folder by my art desk. I'll read just about any magazine. Even ones written in languages I can't understand.
Lately I've tried allllll these things to help get me out of my creative slump. I can't say I'm completely unblocked yet. But I'm moving in the right direction. Forward is a pace. Lovely photo by Elizabeth Ervin. Continue reading

Best Personal Stationery 2019

Best Personal Stationery 2019
New York Magazine Logo Best Personal Stationery of 2019 according to NY Magazine Thank you to Sarah Schwartz (The Paper Chronicles and Stationery Trends) and New York Magazine for including my personal stationery designs in New York Magazine's roundup of the best personal stationery of 2019. That's my "Abstract Savannah" design for Minted top left above. "Abstract Savannah" was inspired by evening walks in the lovely gardens of Savannah, Georgia, with their awesome oak trees and moody Spanish moss. Long live snail mail! Continue reading

WALLPAPER | December 2018

WALLPAPER  |  December 2018
Download free December 2018 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper by Erika Firm Download Calendar Button December is here and I drew a little something for you: cute winter florals inspired by sugar plums and candy canes. To download free desktop calendar wallpaper, click on the black "download" button above and the image will open in a new window. Drag the image to your desktop. Open Desktop Screensaver (in system preferences) and add the image. Enjoy! If you prefer the desktop wallpaper without the calendar, download this one: Download Wallpaper Button Original artwork and desktop wallpaper pattern designed by Erika Firm. Just a reminder: commercial distribution or sale is not permitted. Continue reading

A Netflix Christmas

A Netflix Christmas
One of the highlights of the year was getting a super sneak peek a few of Netflix's new holiday films. I was honored when Netflix asked me to design patterns and gift wrap for them to celebrate the launch of three original Netflix Christmas movies: "The Christmas Chronicles," "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding," and "Princess Switch." It was a thrill to get to preview the films and work with the Netflix team to create custom patterns for them. The patterns will be used in their marketing promos. My sketch for Netflix's "The Christmas Chronicles," starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. Bjorn the Elf from The Christmas Chronicles Movie Illustration by Erika Firm for Netflix Bjorn, my favorite elf from "The Christmas Chronicles." The Christmas Chronicles wrapping paper pattern by Erika Firm for Netflix Final gift wrap pattern for "The Christmas Chronicles." Pattern by Erika FIrm for Netflix for A Christmas Prince The Royal WeddingDid you watch "A Christmas Prince" last year? It was so fun they made a sequel this year: "The Royal Wedding." It's a great movie to watch on date night! Pattern by Erika Firm for Netflix for The Princess Switch movie Gift wrap pattern I designed for Netflix to celebrate the launch of "Princess Switch." I loved the color palette in this movie -- lots of sweet pinks and pastels inspired by yummy pastries. Pattern by Erika Firm for Netflix holiday 2018 patterns And a little mashup celebrating all the films. I had such a great time drawing all these illustrations for Netflix. It took a ton of time (hello, hand cramps), but it never felt like work! Continue reading

WALLPAPER | November 2018

WALLPAPER  |  November 2018
Download free November 2018 Desktop Calendar wallpaper by erika firm Download Calendar Button November is here and I drew a little something for you: darling winter greenery. To download free desktop calendar wallpaper, click on the black "download" button above and the image will open in a new window. Drag the image to your desktop. Open Desktop Screensaver (in system preferences) and add the image. Enjoy! If you prefer the desktop wallpaper without the calendar, download this one: DOWNLOAD-BUTTON Original artwork and desktop wallpaper pattern designed by Erika Firm. Just a reminder: commercial distribution or sale is not permitted. Continue reading

Studio Scenes

Studio Scenes
Erika Firm's Art Studio on Johns Island, SC

It's a blustery day here in the Lowcountry. The outer fringes of Hurricane Michael are blowing through, and I'm working from my home studio today. I thought you'd like a quick peek at what I have on my inspiration wall in my studio this month. If you guessed "A Study in Green," well, you'd be correct.

 

Its A Beautiful Day Art Print by Erika Firm for Revel Paper

The "It's a Beautiful Day" art print that I designed for Revel Paper is one of my favorites. (It's 50% off right now!) I love the ad of the woman in the pond. I think it's a Marc Jacobs ad, and it reminds me of Ophelia. The watercolor painting to the right is something I made one day when I was thinking about jumping into that pond.

 

David Bowie Quote If you feel safe

David Bowie was a genius. If you're a creative and you haven't watched "David Bowie: The Last Five Years" yet, please drop everything and watch it on HBO now.

 

Can you tell I'm inspired by green? Succulents or forest greens, I love them all. Continue reading

WALLPAPER | October 2018

WALLPAPER  |  October 2018
Download free October 2018 Desktop Calendar by Erika Firm Download Calendar Button October is here and I drew a little something for you: sweet abstracts in warm "I wish it were still Summer" sunset hues. To download free desktop calendar wallpaper, click on the black "download" button above and the image will open in a new window. Drag the image to your desktop. Open Desktop Screensaver (in system preferences) and add the image. Enjoy! If you prefer the desktop wallpaper without the calendar, download this one: DOWNLOAD-BUTTON Original artwork and desktop wallpaper pattern designed by Erika Firm. Just a reminder: commercial distribution or sale is not permitted. Continue reading

WALLPAPER | September 2018

WALLPAPER  |  September 2018
Download free September 2018 desktop calendar wallpaper by Erika Firm Download Calendar Button September is here and I drew a little something for you: pretty golden plum watercolor florals. To download free desktop calendar wallpaper, click on the black "download" button above and the image will open in a new window. Drag the image to your desktop. Open Desktop Screensaver (in system preferences) and add the image. Enjoy! If you prefer the desktop wallpaper without the calendar, download this one: DOWNLOAD-BUTTON Original artwork and desktop wallpaper pattern designed by Erika Firm. Just a reminder: commercial distribution or sale is not permitted. Continue reading