For our prompt of “Blue Sky” today, my mind first went to the idea of blue sky thinking. That wonderful, often crazy way of creating ideas without the silly constraints of practical thoughts. How we ended up with a giraffe to illustrate this is anyone’s guess, but that’s where we landed today, as I simply love sketching giraffes. As a kid, I would employ blue sky thinking without even thinking about it. For kids, it’s perfectly natural to chase thoughts and ideas that seem a little nutty as they’ve not had enough experience with failure to have any real fears. Though we should learn from our mistakes, we shouldn’t be afraid to try anything again, and again, and again, if necessary, until we get it right. That’s my entire approach to daily sketching and life in general. I don’t worry over the mistakes I make, and instead, simply love the chance to show up and make some new ones. It’s why in the Doodlewash Manifesto I encourage by telling them to “DO try the hard stuff before you think you’re ready.” There’s no specific time in an art journey, or indeed a life’s journey, when we’re truly ready to try some new. We just have to muster up all of the optimism we can and take that exciting leap into the clear blue sky.
In truth, I take blue sky thinking a bit far at times. I nearly always leap before I look and launch into new ideas for projects without considering any of the practicalities that are lurking there. Sometimes, I find myself at a dead end and having to backtrack a bit and chase down another path. The thing is, I find this approach really joyful and fun. It should probably stress me out, not having that ironclad plan, but instead it always makes it more enjoyable. You can’t really fail at something that doesn’t have a strict plan. That said, in truth, there’s no measure for success either. I just have a little internal “happy meter” that I follow. If I find myself extremely happy about doing something and pleased with the result, I’ve won! No idea what I’ve actually won, of course, other than that glowing feeling of accomplishment. I made something happen, something new, and that’s all I ever intended to do in the first place. What I’ve discovered is that I end up accomplishing more things this way. If I tried to plan everything out in advance, I doubt I would have been able to make all of the things happen that I have so far.
When I was starting my career as a Creative Director there were many books on creativity and business that I read because I had no clue what I was doing. While there were lots of great ideas, many of them tried to create a checklist or step-by-step approach. My mind shut off as I just don’t function in this way. What I learned about myself during that time is that I had to play to my own strengths. And one would think I’d simply invent my own method, to overcome this, but that’s when the reality struck me. I don’t use a method, only a mindset. I will often find myself doing things in a completely different way each time I try something. It just depends on my mood. But, following my feelings, I have always manage to end up with something new, at least, and it always seems like something only I might do in the end. That’s the beauty of our own unique styles. Mine isn’t born out of my process, but simply out of my heart. I like it better that way. It’s the most genuine version of me that I could ever hope to share with all of you. And it makes my world of chasing ideas so much fun. I can’t think of a better day than one spent with a little bit of blue sky thinking.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!