Overly Inspired

by Jin, 11-17-08 // 10 comments

As much as I’ve tried to put balance in my life, I think I’ve failed in certain aspects. Ironically, one of those aspects is my creativity. One may be wondering how that can be, since I write a design related blog, and a self-claimed fervent design blog reader. You see, that’s the thing. I read and write about design, but I haven’t done nearly as much actual “designing” as I would like to. I’m talking about doing creative things in my own time outside of work. In a way, I think I’ve become a pundit, or a mere enthusiast. Looking back at my more productive years(late 90s to mid 00s), I didn’t read too much design blogs or write anything on design. My inspirations mostly came from tweaking my own work, or reading a few good print or photography magazines.

With design inspiration sites being so abundantly available these days, it’s hard not to look at what wonderful work other designers or artists have done. I’m grateful for those who maintain sites showcasing quality work. Sites like these were so few in between when I first started web design. However I have to ask myself why I even seek for inspirations to begin with? To aid my own design of course. But if I spend most of my time only being inspired and not doing anything myself, then what purpose does it serve besides a mere nerve stimulation?

My thoughts on this subject can pretty much be summed up by my friend Jeff’s article, just simply replace the word “programming” with “design.”

At the point when I spend all my time talking about programming, and very little of my time programming, my worst fear has been realized: I’ve become a pundit. The last thing the world needs is more pundits. Pundits only add ephemeral commentary to the world instead of anything concrete and real. They don’t materially participate in the construction of any lasting artifacts; instead, they passively observe other people’s work and offer a never-ending babbling brook of opinions, criticism, and witty turns of phrase.

Even if you’re not a designer, you probably can still relate reading this. There are a lot of “inspirational” books, articles in life that help you to achieve things you want. It’s very easy to get sucked into reading them, instead of practicing what they advocate.

It’s time for me to make my creative life more balanced. I’ll continue to read, but in moderation. As far as blogging, I’ll keep the same pace. Writing in a way, helps me to be creative as a writer. I’m not a very good writer (in fact English isn’t my first language), and more importantly, I always had trouble sticking to one thing without giving up. So writing this blog has helped me to convey my thoughts into words more effectively. Also keeping up with a consistent post rate has helped me to overcome my weakness.

I plan to dust off my Wacom for digital drawing; take more creative photography; and finish some long over due web projects. Hopefully one day I’ll post my finished work here.

Why are you still reading this? Go take a photo, draw a sketch, play a tune on guitar, write an article, fire up Photoshop, or simply go for a nice jog. :)



also feel free to contact me on twitter or via email
Steven Clark 11-17-08

Ah my Wacom Bamboo Fun is in the corner beckoning Jin. But I’ve only today been inspired to start working on a graphic novella (I was a writer way before computers came on the scene)… I’m going to use a photography based grunge / pseudo illustration style to create a dark and seedy world of villainous mischief. With a message…

My passion has always been writing but I enjoy being creative so although I’m not a graphic designer or anything I’ve wound up married to an artist, step father of a budding artist, and I spend much of my free time with either a camera in hand or working on things other than computers… which is odd because I’m supposed to be an interface designer with a software engineering uni qualification… :)

what a tangled web we weave.

I’ve been somewhat inspired recently by a series called the DO Lectures, in some ways similar to the TED conference. But you’re right, finding the balance is difficult. At some point we actually have to be doing something, hopefully being paid along the way enough to keep our head above water.

I have enjoyed your blog for some time so I hope you keep posting occasionally, Jin. Maybe just a photo here and a small article there irregularly.

Janko 11-17-08

Excellent points. I’m always struggling with my Google reader. An I always loose :)

Yeah, dust off your wacom, I’d really like to see some new stuff

Charlie 11-17-08

Learning and reading about art is my biggest procrastination issue. You can bundle conceptart.org and other resources of inspiration into a time vacuum of my life outside of work. I almost hide behind information to avoid actually doing the art work I always know I want to do.

Hi, my name is Charlie and I am a Pundit. I guess the first step to healing is admitting you have a problem.

My wife actually called me out on this point of NOT doing in the car on the way back from the beach a couple weeks ago. She said you need to put all the books and everything away and just sit you ass down and do it. She is right. I spend more time constantly thirsting for knowledge and absorbing other people’s work rather than just doing my own.

For example about what you mention on self help books. I purchased a book called “Art and Fear” and it read it cover to cover in one sitting. With the turn of each page I was a naive saying to myself “…wow this is me…”. Did I implement what I learned? Not entirely. I did stop caring as much about what people thought about me doing art or what I produced. But the parts about just doing, they didn’t sink in so well.

Steven, I too have a graphic story I want to do. Just for myself, even if nobody else ever sees it. I hear on podcasts artists saying, just do it, even if you suck you will find after 100 panels you will begin to see a change. However you will never see that improvement, if you don’t DO IT!

Steven Clark 11-17-08

Yes that’s the trick. In doing. As a writer I’m very likely to justify my craving for books, blogs etc but I try to assess what I’ve done every day / week / month to make sure that things are getting done. The last few years though that doing time involved getting a Bachelor of Computing, and I’m enrolling in a full time Master of Business Administration for the next two years. Which is doing, although not design doing.

I’m always working on little things. I’m probably a bit tired of simple web design work, the repetetive unchallenging CSS layout stuff drives me bonkers nowdays. Still, it brings in money. My passion is really writing, design and photography – thus the graphic novella. Which I have started storyboarding and even have a few frames… probably release it in small sections via my website through the next year (or so)…

My wife, being an artist, has instilled a doing culture in me over the last 8 years where we make our cards, for example. But most of all it should be fun not forced doing. If I’m not enjoying my doing I tend to ask myself why? That’s when I’m procrastinating on the internet – avoiding doing.

But I guess we’re all different in how we approach the doing thing. It’s particularly hard with young children.

Jin 11-17-08

@Steven, Janko and Charlie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I think I’m going to do some Bridgman studies with the Wacom tonight. I just updated the Intuos3 driver.

Steven, I didn’t mean I’d post less here. I find writing to be rewarding, only if I have something worth saying of course. I like your idea of posting a photo once a while or a shorter article. I had this self-imposed constraint of posting something lengthy. Sometimes it prevented me from writing all together.

BTW, is it just me or the background image makes this post really hard to read? If so, then that’s the idea :)


Steven Clark 11-18-08

ha ha… test pattern has a certain cultural significance for the western world, or that was my interpretation. Those were the good old days when television stopped on the crack of midnight and the test pattern squealed for a half an hour or so and then fuzz and crackle until 7am children shows. :)

Of course, being a troubled youth at the time I used to see it regularly. While others were probably in bed napping.

[...] a hat tip to Jin who’s also working hard at Doing at [...]

Anna 11-18-08

I have the same problem with cooking magazines and books. I have tons of them and love to read them, I even plan menus, but when it comes to actually cooking and improving my skill (which could use considerable improving, lol) I just don’t quite follow through.
This is a great post, not only for designers and artists, but everyone!

kyle steed 11-18-08

Jin – well put and thanks for your comments over on my blog.

Jin 11-18-08

Thanks Kyle. your article http://www.kylesteed.com/blindness/ was a good read!