30 reviews between Dec 13, 2020 and Jul 22, 2023.
A helpful guide for artists to find their artistic voice, with interviews with renowned professional artists. The book offers practical advice for beginners and emerging artists, emphasizing the importance of hard work, experimentation, and self-discovery. The author's personal experiences and insights, along with the interviews, provide inspiration and motivation. However, some readers found the book to be basic and lacking depth.Find Your Artistic Voice: The Essential Guide to Working Your Creative Magic (Art Book for Artists,
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30 reviews between Dec 13, 2020 and Jul 22, 2023.
This is a very enjoyable, simple to read, sound book with advice for artists, from beginners to emerging, on how to develop our artistic voice. It delves into what an artistic voice is, why is important having one, how to find it, and the struggles on how to get there. The book inserts ten interviews with renowned professional artists (mostly illustrators and mostly women) in with the author poses these and other questions to them, and discusses the creative process in general. The artists interviewed are: 1/ Sean Qualls & Selina Alko. 2/ Andrea Pippins. 3/ Fin Lee. 4/ Kindah Khalidy. 5/Andy J Miller. 6/ Daniele Krysa. 7/ Kate Bingaman-Burt. 8/ Libby Black. 9/ Ayumi Horie. 10/ Martha Rich. My fav interview was, Kate Bingaman-Burt's. Congdon's delightful humorous illustrations spread throughout the book. I really love her style.
Our artistic voice is the art that we make when we listen to our inner truth and convey it to the world in specific ways. Our artistic voice is made of "all of the characteristics that make your artwork distinct from the artwork of other artists, like how you use colors or symbols, how you apply lines and patterns, your subject matter choices, and what your work communicates." (p. 7).
Congdon says that to find our voice we need to show up, make art every day, be disciplined, practice-practice-practice, 'positivize' boredom and embrace our fears and self-doubt. We also need tons of patience because, as mastering a musical instrument takes years of hard work, so does Art. Embracing our fears and doubts is especially important for beginners, and, that being the case, we have to have compassion and patience with ourselves and our mistakes, with the disasters and ugly pieces, because they're the stepping stones on which our artistic voice is gonna be built. For the rest, all the interviewees agree on the fact that hard work and expressing our personal truth and who we are, are the recipe to find our artistic voice; except for some 'geniuses', most professional artists have to work at it. Congdon says, "The unfolding of your voice requires showing up and working hard. It requires being willing to create failures, to ask for feedback, and to go back and try all over again. It requires staying open. It requires moving outside what’s comfortable and being vulnerable." (p. 119).
Congdon also advises twelve strategies for developing our own artistic voice, and they are:
1/ Marke art every day, even for a few minutes. 2/ Don't stop, keep going, when thigs get hard or tought. 3/ Embrace the monotony and boredom to break through and experiment. 4/ Create challenges for ourselves and stick to them, no matter who's paying attention to them, even if it's just ourselves. 5/ Learn to practice mindfulness when we go outside into the world to notice new things, new colours, curious weird stuff. 6/ Find a space to be alone to create. 7/ Find a feedback partner or critique group. 8/ Take classes. 9/ Brainstorm. 10/ Develop your vocabulary of interests, knowledge, and ideas. 10/ Support other artists and learn from other artists. 11/ Stay open to all experiences.
The book is intended mostly for artists who want to have an artistic career or are professional artists. Yet, the advice is great also for everyone, even beginners like me, who want to have a distinctive voice and express their own views of the world.
THINGS I MISSED
The interviews with other artists are very interesting, but I see them fitter for a blog or art magazine, and some of the most important points they make could have been summarized or the reader without the need to go through the whole interview. Besides, I would have loved having the invited artists' artwork featured int he book (like 2-4 i medium size mages per head) as well as their website and social media accounts listed.
"One of the things I learned when I began making art was that there was so much more to my story than I ever realized....The boring interior life I previously related to was transformed into an inner world so intriguing to me that I couldn't contain it." p36
Half of Lisa Congdon's FIND YOUR ARTISTIC VOICE is a collection of mundane advice you can find in any creative craft manual. You know the stuff, you've seen it all before: write/practice/do art every day; keep a schedule; network and show up where interesting things are happening (gallery events, readings, and conventions); challenge yourself and look for opportunities to grow your skills. This material is boring 😴 It's in every craft book ever written; I wish these writers would stop repeating it all already.
But this book has value because of the places where Congdon writes about her journey, about the process of whittling her voice out of the combined shining marble if her skill, her influences, and the pressures she felt. Like the quotation I opened with, Congdon reveals much about the process of finding one's voice through what seems a somewhat accidental process.
Additionally, I found the inclusion of the interviews to be brilliant. So many different perspectives on voice, many of which contradicted one another, which again support the personal nature of the process of developing one's voice.
As I am both an artist and a writer, I bought this book thinking it would apply to writing as well as art, and I was somewhat correct about that. The section that spoke loudest to me was the section on skill. I particularly love this quote from p17, which I will close with: "[H]aving skill doesn't mean you won't ever make bad work or create a disaster. Experimentation and failure are part of the creative process for everyone."
Rating 4 stars
Finished July 2022
Recommended for beginning artists, writers, other creatives
This book offers helpful steps that call attention to the artistic process. It is thoughtful, interesting and practical. Recommended.
This book is a very helpful guide in terms of unlocking your creativity and really shows some of the most useful techniques in terms of how you can embrace and on finding your own creative voice.
Very inspiring and uplifting but the tiny grey type is disappointing. Because it makes it difficult to read the words. I really like the illustrations. Not typesetting isn’t her strongest suit.
Some good stuff, but mostly interviews which I could have dug up online. I think the most valid idea is finding your own truths, otherwise it’s pretty standard sh!?...practice, show up for your art, blah blah blah
Honestly, this is a really good book. I just think she overused the work of Kaufman & Gregoire to prove her point.
However, I very much enjoyed this book. It really expands your creativity and pushes you to think outside the box. It gives you strategies to find your voice, and encourages you to show up everyday. That last one is perhaps the most important. I liked how each chapter had an interview with an artist, as you can see that the voyage to finding your voice will look different due to your circumstances, influences, culture, etc. I also liked that the author added her own artwork.
I recommend this book to any artist having trouble finding their voice. It really helped me see that the process is not linear.
This book has made me think about concepts and ideas about where I need to go and what I need to research to find my style. So helpful.
I feel incredibly inspired and empowered to begin! Thank you for putting your work into the world! I definitely recommend for anyone curious or longing to create and share their own work.
Relativistic, humanist, and condescending. Pressing forth with ideologies that either have failed tremendously already or are currently failing in the long run
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