In my opinion, one of the best things creative people can do is partake in creative work outside their chosen field. Because art sings to art.
Friend, fellow writer, and all-around-awesome-dude Dustin Hansen decided to start this thing called #MayAlphaZoo — a daily “sketch” exercise, guided by the alphabet. For a couple days it was just me and him, but quickly enough, other artists of all kinds were joining the ranks.
Designer Loel Phelps works with rich colors and textures. Children’s illustrator Amanda Erb draws critters that kill me with their cute. Musician/sound editor Jason Robison is composing short original scores to accompany Dustin’s animals, while Alternative9 Comics is “robotizing” them. Ben Brooks is making a codex of all the creatures in his Middle Grade fantasy work-in-progress. And like I said, I’m doing bugs. The ants and bees were a coincidence at first, but everyone encouraged me to keep with the theme. What can I say? I bowed to the (positive) peer pressure.
What I love about the #MayAlphaZoo project is how I’ve fallen in with this group of amazingly talented artists that I normally wouldn’t have reason to work with. I’m pushing myself to draw better and stay committed every day. And I’m purposely limiting myself to the Paper by 53 app on my iPad mini, because it’s efficient, because I’ve had the app forever and never use it, and because my design classes taught me that constraints boost creativity.
Maybe none of this will directly impact my writing, but I think it’s improving me — as a problem-solver, as an artist, as a person — and I have to believe that trickles through.
Anyway, here are a few examples of what each of us is doing. Hope you enjoy! And if you want to join in, just tweet your work and hashtag it #MayAlphaZoo. The more, the merrier!
— Ben L. J. Brooks (@BenLJBrooks) May 3, 2014
— loel phelps (@Design7307) May 3, 2014
— Jason Robison (@FFSounds) May 5, 2014
— Alternative9 (@A9comics) May 6, 2014
— Dustin Hansen (@DustHansen) May 7, 2014
— Amanda Erb (@mandaErb) May 7, 2014
— Kristan Hoffman (@kristanhoffman) May 7, 2014