The year 2017 has been a roller coaster for all of us at Inspire the Muse. Specifically, for me, it came with the epiphany that I spent so much time talking and writing about creativity, that I hadn’t produced anything of my own. I want to change that for 2018, so I’ve dedicated each month to start a project from scratch (or as close as possible) and spend the month learning about and practicing that creative endeavor.
I don’t expect to be a master at the end of 30 days, or even “good.” What I want to do is showcase what it is like starting from zero, and chronicle my journey as someone completely new to the process. I will be talking about items purchased and online references used. I will be discussing my progress, how much time I was able to dedicate, and if it will be something that I will keep doing. If you have been following me on Twitter, you will see I am already well on my way for January’s project.
Below this paragraph I have listed the projects for 2018. I encourage you to join me, follow along, and even do your own projects. Take three months per project if you want to! Remember to use the hashtag #create2018 on whatever social media platform you use. Spread the inspiration with us as we drive creativity forward. May we all be creative and productive in 2018 and beyond!
January: Watercolor Painting
I will be starting the year off with an old favorite of mine. I’ve dabbled in watercolor in the past but nothing more than a painting or two here and there. I have not held a paintbrush in the last 15 years, so I might as well be starting from scratch. This project is also the most likely to extend beyond its month. I’m sure I’ll be checking in on this one quite frequently.
February: Instrument Playing
I have attempted to play many instruments over the years, but I have not taken it very seriously. My goal will be to get into a rigorous habit of practice. I will be choosing the piano for this month because I want to train my brain to be able to better multitask. This will also help in one of the projects later this year: Music Production. I suspect a large chunk of the month will be spent learning how to read sheet music, and I’m okay with this.
March: Leather Crafting
This month’s idea spawned from a shelved project idea. The original project was to hand craft a journal (both the paper, and the binding). I wanted to focus on one creative project at a time, so I decided on leather crafting. There are a few things I would like to make out of leather. I’m not sure I will have enough time, or skill, during the month to create a wallet, but perhaps I can pick up enough knowledge to pursue that project in the future.
April: Video Game Programming
I haven’t decided what I’m going to do for this month. I’m leaning toward modding an existing game to learn the ins and outs, instead of programming a game from whole cloth. I want to focus more on game design (the more creative part) than the actual programming itself. I’m very interested in discovering how far I can push this topic in a month’s time.
May: Manual Photography
I have an old DSLR I purchased many years ago and have used it frequently – in auto-mode. Every time I switch to manual and change the ISO or shutter speed I just take all-white or all-black pictures. It’s about time I learn how to use this thing. I have several sources I can look to for helping build my skillset. Learning more about lighting management will help me take better composited pictures that require less correction in post.
June: Amigurumi Crocheting
This is the project that spawned the entire monthly #create2018 idea. Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures. I purchased a book and some yarn in a kit to be used to create cute crochet succulents, to be made during a 12-hour train ride. Once on the train I looked through the book and realized it was NOT a beginner’s book. The book even said that if I had never done crochet before I should go watch some tutorial videos. The entire book is written in shorthand, and I did not bring any tutorial videos with me on the train. I opted out and will be returning to it for June’s project.
July: Digital Painting
I have been infatuated with the concept-art style of digital painting. I’m not as much interested in the fine details. I like to see the sketches of large swatches of future cities and barren dystopian wastelands. I have an ancient Bamboo pen and tablet I might finally try to use. I’ve recently been in a Twitter hole of checking out other artists, so the inspiration flows freely. Waiting until July might be the hardest part of this project.
August: Metal Forging
While on a recent trip I went to a souvenir store. One of the items there was a kit to forge a ring or a medallion out of a hunk of metal. I then remembered that my friend’s wife did some metal forging over the summer, so I’m going to have to ask her where she went for training. I don’t have enough space for a forge, but I might be able to come up with a pseudoforge, or just stick with hammering on some metal for a while.
September: Music Production
I’m lucky enough to have a few friends in my network that do regular freelance music production work. I’m sure I will take advantage of their knowledge as I plow through my first, and likely insufferable, composition. I will also be utilizing a 30-day free trial of some pricey music production software. Hopefully February’s project pays off and I’ll be able to take some of that knowledge forward.
October: Gundam Modelling
Eight years ago, I purchased a lot of Gundam models, and never took the time to actually build any. I gave up at the stage of needing to glue everything together. I later found out that most of the sets I bought might have glue-less designs, so maybe hope is not all lost after all. I also have a strong network of other Gundam modelers, so I can get a lot of tips along the way.
I have worked with wood on several occasions, but it has all been at a scale so large that fine motor skills are not a requirement. Framing a house doesn’t take the same level of precision as dovetailing a music box frame. I’m terrified of putting a knife through my hand while carving, so I may stay away, or I may just learn how to do it properly. If there is one thing I know: the tools better be sharp.
December: Confectionery Baking
Just in time for the holidays! I’ve done plenty of cooking and have baked cookies on occasion, but I have never made a cake or a cupcake or any sort of pastry. It’s time to stretch my muscles even further and make some winter-themed treats. The best part is: I won’t have to eat everything by myself! I haven’t decided exactly what I want to make but I know I want to try my hand at making dough as well. Luckily, I have a whole year to think about it.