Facing the challenge.

Many artists and design professionals from graphic designers to comic book artists have been maintaining and exercising their creativity and skills by taking on a challenge to create or design something on a daily basis. This type of activity keeps an individual on their game. After all, the phrase “use it or lose it” holds quite a bit of truth no matter what skill sets you are referring to. In the creative professional arena, there are also residual benefits. I can’t imagine that having a wealth of mini-designs as a resource for inspiration on more serious projects could be a bad thing. Or, just the practice achieved from experimentation would allow you to have more resources up your sleeve when you needed to act quickly on a more serious creative challenge, like with a paying customer.

This daily design phenomenon is increasing in popularity in the creative community. I became concerned about my capabilities as a design professional this past autumn. At that time I began a personal, and on-going, re-exploration of design by reading articles and viewing portfolios of other designers. By the time the end of 2009 rolled around I had gained a better understanding of the stagnation I’ve allowed to occur within myself. My skills and my creativity have deteriorated over the last 3 or 4 years. No problem. It happens to everyone at some point and I am determined to get it all back and get better in the process.

One thing I noticed in my end of 2009 research was that the blog mentality is crazy popular. My research inspired me to start 2010 with a blog of my own as well as a New Year’s resolution to reclaim my profession. And I have been actively “keeping current” by reading other design blogs and paying attention to what others are doing. In all of this I have not attempted my own design activities or practice. I’ve just been takin’ it all in. Again – no problem. You can’t rush creativity. It is what it is and it arrives when it wants. On an adjacent note, my activity in other creative endeavors has begun to blossom. I have been thinking and writing more, I have brushed the dust off of my SLR camera and taken it out of Automatic mode. I am also a bonsai enthusiast and I have not felt so enthusiastic about my trees in over ten years! Growing season 2010 has new meaning, not only for my little trees, but also for Seán the photographer, writer and very soon the graphic designer.

As part of my New Years resolution to take back my profession I have decided that the daily design model will be a good practice for me. The daily design challenge is not a challenge to create something great. The challenge is to face your creative process daily and let it exist. The challenge is to nurture and learn more from the creative process. In my research I have realized that this is where I have gone wrong in the past few years. This is why I feel I have been in the creative doldrums. Challenging myself to materialize my ideas into something, anything, is what will get me out.

On April 1st I will launch my own daily design project in blog format, right here at circadiancreative.seancoleman.com. Stay tuned and wish me luck. I have been energized about this project for nearly 3 months. Now that it is a week away, I am a little frightened to say the least. Stage fright, my natural shyness, the pressure to create something every single day for a year. I never once thought that this project would be easy but it’s never been as intimidating as it feels right now! I thought it over for more than a month before even bringing it up to my girlfriend, I only published my intentions to the world a couple weeks ago on my main blog, and I waited until today to launch this blog. So there is no turning back now without being called a quitter. Now it’s official!

I may post another update before April 1st, but if not, I will certainly be posting my first image sometime next Thursday. See you then at the latest!


The following article from Smashing Magazine outlines the concept of the daily design challenge and highlights some other creatives who have pioneered this process for themselves:

2 thoughts on “Facing the challenge.

  1. Wow! That was some self-imposed feat!

    I went back from the end to the beginning and enjoyed it thoroughly.

    That was A LOT of work… but I could see the wheels grinding away.

    And here’s to your next project… ’cause where there’s one, there’ll be others.

    And the stories were great!

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

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