Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Tribal Council.

"Make sure your crayons are sharp, keep your stickytape untangled and always put the tops back on your markers." - Mr. Dressup

Okay my peeps, my tribe, my friends, I need your help. This isn't a plea for support or for kind words, this is a plea for your advice, your tips, or your experience.

Let me explain. I have three - count 'em THREE - books dancing, singing, and whispering in my head. I have written one of them, but it is the kind of book that can't just be text. I also want it to be beautiful. I have a lot of difficulty thinking of what I want them to look like. I can sense them waiting behind me. Sometimes I feel like if I just turned my head I could see what they look like, but I am not quick enough. I want to give them the start and the form that they deserve.

So here's the question: do any of you have any advice - books that have helped you, websites that are inspiring, lessons you can send, ANYTHING - on how to begin to free the artistic side of me to know what my artistic 'voice' is? People who know me well are going to laugh at me a little because I have always been 'crafty' in the sense that I can make things look pretty with decoration, etc., but I want something more for these books. I want them to come from the center of me - because I want them to speak to the center of you. Does that make sense?

So, if you don't mind, I ask you humbly for your wisdom. I'm itching to get started!!

Added later: I'm answering La Vie en Rose's comment and saying that I'm looking for books that help me figure out how to be more confident in my artistic abilities. I need to figure out who I am in relation to creativity and colour and making the words that I write look beautiful. I also need to look at fonts. I already have a Lynne Perrella book so I don't think I want anything else on collage. There are a lot of books out there with collage in them - I'm not very good at collage - I'd like to see what I am good at.

P.S. I am having trouble with my email account (NO emails in or out - ack!) I haven't changed it or anything - it's just causing trouble - sorry! xo


Caroline said...

The Zen of Creative Painting: An elegant Design for revealing your muse by Jeanne Carbonetti .

Its a beautiful book and its intention is to help you find who you are as an artist - I keep it in the bathroom for a regular dose of inspiration!

Good luck.

Cate said...

Okay, here are my contributions:

-anything by Julia Cameron (The Right to Write is my favorite, but also The Artist's Way, Letters to a Young Writer)

-PoemCrazy (I felt free after reading this book--less critical of what I was putting on the page)

-Writing Down The Bones or Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg (again, liberating)

-The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin (talks about many types of artists and their approach to their art/creativity; GREAT book)

-Nine Modern Day Muses (hated this book but most people seem to love it; comical and full of advice--I suppose a good motivator)

-I also like books by Danny Gregory and SARK

Good luck, Meg! Have a wild time creating! xo

Letha Sandison said...

Hi Megg,

There is a great little book called Art and Fear. It is amazing!! It changed my life as an artist and one of my closest friends from art school. Amazing and small so you can read it in a coupla baths :)

I will dig up some more advice, help, inspiration and email you!

Good luck...TRUST YOURSELF!!!! You have a vision that only you can bring to the world. I am so excited to see it!! We can talk more over pints in a few short weeks! I can't wait!!


M said...

My mom has given me "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" and swears by it, as do most of my aunties, in opening your creative side. Getting that other side of your brain working in high gear. I have yet to open it, for whatever reason, but maybe I will now and let you know how it goes - or vice versa!
Love your Grateful post and you wishes, especially the one about the leaders of the world waking up to reality. And I would wish for health for everyone too.

la vie en rose said...

how exciting! i'm not sure exactly what kind of books you're wanting...

i love many of the ones already mentioned

julia cameron is great...also add vein of gold to the list of hers

poemcrazy is great but it does center around writing and i'm not sure that is what you're wanting

maybe if you told me a little bit more about what you're wanting i would have some more ideas...

are you wanting books about writing or more general books about creativity or something more along the lines of painting/drawing/ect?

HoBess said...

If you're talking about drawing there's a post we both commented on a while back that actually got me to put something simple onto paper. I typically don't believe that I can draw, but I've been doing more of it, thanks to Jessie. I went back and saw you were the first person to comment on the post I was thinking of. I thought that was fun! Try a blank, spiral bound journal ... just sit in some quiet (when it can be found) usually with colored pencils and see what comes out. I always draw on a page with nothing on the back so if it doesn't speak to me I can just tear it out and throw it away! Here's that old post: http://bluedogbarking.blogspot.com/2006/02/what-do-you-write-in.html
Can't wait to see what you find inside!

Alexandra S said...

You might try looking at the Somerset Studio site-they produce wonderful books to leaf through and be inspired by- a few are collections of many different artist/writers-can't remember the name of it though. True "somthing" I think but check out all their books. I also love A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life by Nina Wise.
And I,too, LOVE Poemcrazy!

aithbhreac said...

I recently found a book which I more believe found me, literally, by popping out at me from a bookshelf while I hurried down an aisle in the bookstore en route to the fiction section. It's called "The Power of Your Other Hand" and I've worked about halfway though it. It's written by Lucia Capachhione and is founded on the theory that by praciticing writing and drawing exercises with your NON-dominant hand, you can coax your right brain into opening up for you, revealing inner thoughts related to intuition, creativity, and feelings. It's a quick read with a good mix of theory and practical exercises and I'm enjoying very much at least entertaining the possibility that non-dominant hand practices can open up blocked channels of creativity. I also highly recommend as others mentioned - Julia Cameron and Sark. Best wishes!

Dana said...

I don't have any ideas, but I think I might check out some of the books people mentioned above ~ to help me release my own artistic side.

Jamie said...

How exciting that your creativity is asking to adventure down a new road! Your soul is calling :)

Here's something that works for me. When I am working on a play and considering how I'm going to create a visual world out of text-based one, I start collecting. I look through magazines or cards or the newspaper, looking for images, colours, fonts, textures that resonate with me and the work. At first I don't analyze at all. I just grab what calls me and put it in a folder. I might write something on the back like "opening scene" or "the Queen." After I've collected what feels right, I take a look and see what I notice - is there a colour story, a theme image? One time one of my characters was inspired by an oil-slicked duck - it worked!

Good luck on your new adventure. Your tribe is with you!

Anonymous said...

Hmm...I'm not sure if you are looking for writing books specifically or for art books...so I'll include both. I have not read the book, but Danny Gregory's website is wonderful. I think the book is called "The Creative License." He's an artist/illustrator.

For writing...a book that has helped me are "Writing Past Dark" by Bonnie Friedman (about the things that can get in the way of writing, like distraction, and envy, and fear).

I'm watching this post for tips. :) Love our tribe!

chest of drawers said...

Megg, you may want to check this out:
I found it very interesting.

Laini Taylor said...

Meg, it's thrilling to witness the budding of whole new branches of creativity in people and I can't wait to see what you will create and to hear about your experimentations and hopefully, your fun! For me, the innocent dabbling in art took me on a majorly new path in my life (I like to picture it as a board game board, with the little steps and the little pieces rolling dice and making their way), and it really took over for a long time. It can be very powerful (and I see it happening with great gusto in Kelly - do you read her blog? You can find her through my blogroll if you don't: kellyrae) and for me it has opened new creative doors in all areas of my work and life. I agree with Alexandra about checking out Somerset Studio -- and as for collage, don't give up on it. It is so much more than just ripping out magazine pages and piecing them together, and you can see HOW much more in Somerset Studio. I wish you lived close so we could have an art day!

Laini Taylor said...

(hi again! just wanted to let you know I've had two emails to you bounce back last night and again this morning. Are you getting other emails? Hrrm.)

melba said...

Hi Meg.
I just tried sending you an email and it got sent back to me. Do you have a new address?

I find the best way to find new books is to go to a book store, pick out at least 20 (I am not kidding, and just look through them all until I find one that helps. With a mocha latte of course!

Karen said...

Meg-- I think the Artist's Way might be helpful to you. (I'm pretty sure that's the name--I'll check though) It's a workbook style format to help foster creativity. So excited you're coming home!

Karen said...

yup, that's the name...The Artist's Way: A spiritual path to higher creativity. My mom did the course (aka..workboobk) and really found it inspiring.

Shari said...

Hi Meg,
I recommend the Artist's Way also. It's not about the technical side of art, but about the spiritual, releasing your inner creative. Also, go to the art store and see what you are drawn to. (pardon the pun!) See what colors you're attracted to, get a variety of inexpensive paints, crayons, colored pencils, and good old black ink pens and get some canvas panels and a some paper, and just PLAY. Give yourself time to experiment and you will find what feels comfortable and natural to you. It could be multiple things. There are no rules, just play and see what comes out! If you start to feel frustrated, take a deep breath and keep going... you never know when that next blob of paint or next line or sweep of color is going to unlock your brain and open your eyes to what you "can almost see" now. Happy Creating!

melba said...

Hi Meg,
I see many people suggested The Artist Way.

Another blogger is starting a group;


It is easier than it seems. The chapters read pretty fast. You can look back at the archives at

for more stuff about when Kat lead a group.

Jessie said...

Wow! There's a great list of books here! I often go to other books for inspiration...but sometimes I think I end up getting hung up on other peoples thoughts and ideas. When I'm creating the good stuff, the really real, honest, raw, good stuff always ends up coming from a place that other books can't give me...it comes from inside. Unfortunately that place isn't always so easy to get to. Have you ever thought about taking a solo vacation? A mini artist's pilgrimage? Life is so busy that it makes it hard to focus and get beneath the surface of things (for me anyway).

I could relate with what you said about turning your head to see what your book looks like, but never being fast enough (well put!)...but maybe it's not about being faster, but slowing down.

I wish you luck Megg! I am inspired by your drive to complete this. And I have faith in you! :)

In the meantime, I might have to make a copy of these comments that everyone has left for my own reading enjoyment. :)

Letha Sandison said...


Is your email working yet?? I wanted to see if you could send me your address. I want to send you a book and some other goodies for inspiration.

Also wanted to be sure you got my email regarding London. I hope we are still meeting!!

Hope all is well!


la vie en rose said...

i thought of another book today--

the creative habit by twila tharp

deirdre said...

Megg, I have to agree with Laini, Somerset Studio and Somerset Workshop are good resources for visual creativity. I've done one of the projects and had so much fun with it that now I want to try more. I do collage because I can't draw or paint and because I looove pretty paper. You would not believe the junk I save (and buy) to glue on over the paper. I'm not sure if I'm on fire with creativity or if it's just really weird.

Bohemian Girl said...

anything written by Sabrina Ward Harrison sets me free creatively.

she's done this in her books and in person in my life.

Colleen said...

Sorry Meg, I was once your co-crafty lady but I don't have much advice. You have always been the creative one. I just wanted to say hi, glad you're coming home.... maybe a girls night/ afternoon out will fit in somewhere???