coffee + cre8tive {sept 6 '06}

From prehistoric cave drawings to cleverly designed Starbucks cards, graphic artists are some of the world's greatest story tellers. Whether it's through contemporary methods (enhancing their drawings via the computer, or using a graphics program from start to finish), or traditional methods (pen and ink, oil painting, pastels, wood-engraving, etc.), these artists touch our lives and stir in us our own creativity. So often we find ourselves relating to works without the ability to pinpoint why, we're just deeply inspired without explanation. Books, greeting cards, posters, original drawings, there are so many ways to bring illustration into the home. You can even explore drawing for yourself. Have you heard of Illustration Friday by Penelope Dullaghan? Penelope runs the site for artists of all skill levels, the goal is to stretch your mind, challenge yourself, and grow as a visual storyteller (Penelope has a blog and her own website, too). Wouldn't you enjoy creating your own stories to display in your space? You can start small, and build from there. The goal is to start and from there, to be consistent and press forward. The more you give, the more you're going to grow and develop your skills. Your self esteem will begin to soar. Being able to point to something that you fully devoted yourself to is an amazing experience. If you haven't progressed beyond stick figures, that's okay, everyone has a starting point. Maybe Illustration Friday can be yours.

Have you visited Lilla Rogers lately for creative fuel? Browsing the works of so many talents on their website is bound to spark some ideas - maybe you will find yourself drawn towards a particular artist. Consider why, what is it that you like, what feelings do you have when you look at it, etc. Start taking inventory, either online via a site like StyleFeeder or StyleHive, or via a handwritten journal. Everytime you see an illustration that you like, save it online in your feeder or hive, or print it out in color and paste it into a journal. Give the illustration words, your thoughts about it, why you love it. Over time, you'll start to see a trend, you'll discover your own style. Once you have defined your own style, you can start drawing and exploring things for yourself.

Are you a graphic artist? Any tips on how to get started that you'd like to share?

(images top: penelope dullaghan middle/bottom: lilla rogers)