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Be an Artist, Be a DORK

4 Tips for Tapping into your Inner Artist

Colin Darke
May 2, 2018 · 5 min read

“Every child is an artist; the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Pablo Picasso.

We all have to remember to be full of wonder, to want to break the “rules,” and to color outside of the lines. I say remember because we all have that wonder and drive when we are little — we love reaching into our box of crayons with 64 colors and just seeing how the colors look as we scribble them around on the page. But as we progress through school, as we focus on only having that 2b pencil, we forget the value of our artistic instincts.

We are all artists. Yet some of us even feel that artists are born with the special gift of being an artist and others shouldn’t step into that realm, but it’s not an exclusive activity — it’s inclusive and we all owe it to ourselves to experience it regularly. Some of us fall into traps of believing we should be one thing or another — we are either an artist or we are something else. We set distinct specific goals to focus on, like “I should do X so that I we can eventually make Y amount of money.”

Humans are creative regardless of professional direction.

Think about it — at some point, even though we are not professional athletes, we remember that gym class actually had a lot of value. We learned that if we only focus on X and Y, we won’t appreciate all the time in-between because we will be out of shape and gasping for breath while climbing stairs.

You loved art class for a reason. It brought you serenity when you were stressed from your taxing “left brain” activity in school. You are just you, and you can create and express yourself with as little or as much guidance as you need in that moment. An art practice allows you to quiet your mind and just be.

Goals are good, but not all the time. Sometimes you need to just “be” present. I encourage you to step back into that creativity sanctuary that we all need.

Here are 4 tips to help you create a daily art practice and proudly be an art DORK.

1. Doodle

Artists doodle. Do you ever find yourself doodling at work during a meeting? Embrace that. You should doodle during those meetings …not to the point of distracting yourself, but you can go back to that doodle at the end of the day and color in spots. It will be a nice way to calm your mind before you leave for the day. Plus, studies have shown the benefits of doodling so you can doodle with confidence. (The “thinking” benefits of doodling)

2. Observe

Artists observe. They are often lost in the everyday — not lost running from one thing to another, but lost from seeing all of the new things that are going on around them (new colors, new sounds, new images). One of the greatest things about observing like this — trying to consciously see what is new around you — is that you slow down time!

Seriously, our mind is adaptive and efficient, so if you do something again and again it becomes routine, and your mind does not process it. You just move by instinct. That is why you can drive to work, driving the same route day after day, and when you finally get to work you don’t remember anything from the commute.

But the first time you drive somewhere everything is new, so your mind slows down and the trip seems to take longer than it should.

In addition to bending time, you also get lost in thought which allows your mind to wonder and develop new ideas. Observe nature by going for a walk calming your mind. There are numerous research studies that discuss the benefits, both mental and physical, of being in nature.

3. Risk Failing

Artists fail forward. Just create without the worry that someone will judge your work. Take the risk to express your thoughts and ideas — even though it seems that it’s all been done before, it hasn’t been done by you. We all bring our individual perspective to things including creative endeavors.

Every time you create art you learn something. You will get more comfortable with the process you choose each time you try it. And when you go all-in and just get lost in the process you’ll find yourself rejuvenated. Researches have observed that by just creating art for 45 minutes, your level of the stress hormone cortisol goes down.

4. Know Yourself

Artists ask for feedback. You’re not asking for approval or permission, you’re asking for a different set of eyes for their perspective. By embracing the benefits of a critique, we learn to see our own work from a new angle, we grow as an artist (yes you are an artist), and we gain confidence that we are capable of a whole lot more than we think.

You should ask for feedback in everything. For example, “how did I show up in that meeting?” “What do you think my strongest skills are?” “What do you think is my greatest opportunity for improvement?” When you get used to asking for feedback, you bring more people on your personal journey.

You also often find that you are your toughest critique. Your inner critic may be painting a negative picture of yourself, which will cause you stress. When you create a feedback loop with those around you, you have a better chance at fixing those habits that may be holding you back and double down on the amazing things you are doing. Once you get in a habit of trying to know yourself better, you can and should actively choose optimism — there are two public figures that provide great insight into the power of optimism and crushing negative thoughts: Gary Vaynerchuk (a serial entrepreneur who purposefully focuses on optimism and positive self-talk) and Jim Kwik (a memory and brain health expert).

#WednesdayWisdom #mentalhealthawareness #success #motivation #health #art

This articles was written by brother and sister Kelly and Colin Darke. Kelly is an artist, art-therapist, and art teacher. Colin is an artist, fintech executive, and attorney. For more information about how you can benefit from being an artist, visit , or just reach out directly to Kelly Darke at or Colin Darke at

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