I was in first grade when I found myself floundering in an artistic exercise that should have taken me no more than an hour to create. Actually, I don’t think I ever even finished it.
We all had to make something out of the first letter of our alphabet. I had the letter “C” and I had the brilliant idea that I want to make my “C” with a cotton candy theme. So I grabbed some cotton balls that we must have had in the classroom and started gluing them to my paper. It didn’t turn out the way I expected. In fact, it turned out to be quite a mess.
After that, I was reluctant to make anything creative for fear it would turn out to be a disaster, too. And it showed. I grew up telling myself that I wasn’t very creative, stunting any creative growth that might have sprouted inside of me. I did OK in art class, but only the minimum, reaffirming the message I sent to myself that I had no artistic talent.
But I was good at other things. I learned to write well and mastered the art of cooking, but when it came to drawing, painting or designing, I came to accept the fact that I just couldn’t do it. As my kids grew, it became embarrassing to try to help them with their art projects, always coming up with ideas and having my 6 and 8 year olds shoot them down. Pretty sad.
I was OK with the fact that I wasn’t that great, and no one really ever asked me to decorate or design anything for them. When it came time for me to design my newspaper flag, I had no idea where to start. I began to think about why I’m putting so much effort into starting my own paper and what it really means, and then it came to me. I went out and took pictures of the town’s landmarks and arranged them into a banner below the lettering. I liked it immediately. Even though I didn’t have to rack my brain to come up with the idea, I really thought it captured the message I wanted to send, that the Hiawatha Advocate is a community newspaper.
Since then, I have modified it, changed the fonts, and colors, and finally came up with a keeper, I think…for now anyway.
I am taking a graphic arts class in my last term at Mount Mercy. I have yet to show my instructor my flag, but I’m working up to it. I am currently working on a logo for a company I made up in which I have to make a bee in Illustrator. I also recently learned about resolutions and how jpegs are not always the best to use in your graphic designs. I was actually using InDesign to design my bee because I found it easier to make. They are very similar but because I know InDesign better, I tend to go in that direction. (sigh)
Week 21 has me seeing things in me that I have done my whole life; sending myself negative messages and taking shortcuts, which may save time, but is not always right.
I was recently forced (by myself) to tackle a job for the Mount Mercy Times website in which I had to design a new flag for the web. It wasn’t that difficult once I sat down and starting trying different things. It doesn’t mean that my designs will be accepted, but at least I took the first step and tried it. I guess that’s all any of us can do.