March 22, 2013

a new ritual

we have this children's book by Kevin Henkes called "A Good Day", where the day starts off badly for everyone involved (the yellow bird looses his favorite feather, the orange fox can't find her mom...), but then everything takes a better turn (the fox finds her mom, the bird forgets about his feather and flies higher than he's ever done before...)

a good day, by kevin henkes

today was that kind of a day, i think. it started with chasing my 2 year old around the house for an hour to get some food into her and get her dressed and ready for daycare. then a couple of hours were spent doing my taxes and looking for a nanny, and when i finally had time to focus on work, i felt drained. i was ready to call it a day, go for a swim, or just take a nap, but procrastinating usually makes everything worse for me. so i decided to follow Lilla Roger's advice in her book "I just Like to Make Things", and start my own ritual.

i just like to make things, by lilla rogers

she writes:
"we all have days when it's hard to get down to business and make some art. you may have a deadline and you're feeling pressure. you may be procrastinating. [...] you know how musicians start with scales to warm up? well, now you're going to make your very own getting-started, get-down-to-work, get-busy ritual."
and that's exactly what i did.

i really enjoy making these scribble drawings with neocolor crayons, where i just lay down color scribbles first, and make a line drawings on top with black. the process is very fast, there is no time to think, it gives me an adrenaline rush. in short, the perfect warm-up exercise for me. so from now on, instead of just making tea and cleaning up my desk before i sit down to work (things i have done for so many years they don't seem to affect my brain in anyway anymore), this will be my ritual. it has all the characteristics that Lilla Rogers says make a good ritual. it is:
"repeatable. short and sweet. concrete and specific. pleasurable. gets you out of a left-brained analytical state of mind to a more sensual right-brained state of mind. involves multiple senses: auditory, tactile, visual."
(yes, i do hear my crayons when i am scribbling.)

although i ended up mostly researching and mind-mapping, with no concrete direction yet (i am working on a dvd cover for a short documentary film for teens), i feel satisfied with my day, since i know i am one step closer to meeting this deadline. plus, when we came home from daycare with my daughter, the first thing she did was run towards my new drawings and say "whoa!" which is the best compliment ever!

so it was a good day, after all.


  1. I love your process Alik.

    I've been in the creative field for many, many years and it's still the process that gives me the most JoY. You are very eloquent :)

  2. Please, add writing those lovely posts of yours to your daily ritual too. This way I can add reading them to my daily ritual and get more inspired!

    1. thank you Bethania, I am so glad you find my posts inspiring. i blog on mondays, wednesdays, fridays, and writing them does feel like a ritual.