Give yourself some rules before making art

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

Not sure where to start making art? Get a piece of paper, a pen, decide on some constraints and make some marks. Gather evidence about what you liked and didn’t like and repeat the process. By giving yourself constraints or rules, it frees you from paralysis of choice and the never ending question of what should I do next? When you can make anything, the magnitude of choice is too overwhelming.

Austin Kleon in a Hurry Slowly podcast interview, says “I think every practising artist figures out pretty quickly that when you can do anything, you do nothing because you’re paralysed. And so one of the first things to do if you want to make work is to give yourself some rules, give yourself some constraints… I think that when you have too many possibilities it can be impossible to know what to do next.”

Constraint could look like putting ideas in a jar and pulling them out to determine what you draw. Set a timer and write down whatever words pops in your head for 2 minutes without stopping. Don’t overthink it — simple words like blue, cat, tree, laugh, boat etc. are great. Then cut up the words and put them in the idea jar. Start simple, take action, collect data and repeat. Anything that gets you away from overthinking all the possibilities, to actually making art is a huge step.