Friday, August 28, 2020

Creativity Kit To Go

My Creativity Kit to Go . . . somewhere . . . anywhere . . .

Been anywhere exciting lately? No? Me either. So far this past week, the most thrilling outings I've had--other than scurrying back and forth between my apartment and the laundry room--have included: three one-hour walks through my neighborhood; two visits to the grocery store; and five round-trip car journeys to work. 

Over the weekend I decided that this wasn't a very inspiring, or productive, way to use my out-of-the-house time. Prior to isolation, I used to love carrying my sketchbook or writer's notebook with me absolutely everywhere: to the museum, the mall, the park, the community center, and yes, even to work (especially to work!). But lately when I've gone out, I simply walk or shop as quickly as I can before rushing back home to write or draw within the confines of my balcony. Without any nice air-conditioned cafes or comfortable seating areas (or the bathrooms to go with them) I've been reluctant to stand outside on the sidewalk to sketch under the scorching sun. It's also been pretty lonely wandering the deserted city streets by myself while the masked strangers I do pass cross the road the minute they see me. I miss my old life, I really do, but recently I've realized that I can't just wallow forever; hence my "creativity kit to go."

The purpose of the kit is to have some art and writing supplies always at the ready, whether it's to scribble in the park sitting on a blanket with a homemade ice coffee, or driving to an empty parking lot to write a quick short story in my car.

I'm still in the process of tweaking things, but for now my kit contains:
  • A 20-color set of my favorite Akashiya Sai watercolor brush pens. Twenty pens might sound like a lot, but they're slim and portable and having a full range of color to play with is just plain fun.
  • Two water brushes (for spreading and diluting the color from the pens): 1 large flat, 1 large round.
  • A mechanical pencil with a packet of extra leads. No sharpening required!
  • One kneaded eraser.
  • One black ink roller ball pen.
  • One black ink fountain pen with two extra ink cartridges. 
  • Two small sketchbooks: one for pencil and ink, one for watercolor.
  • One damp microfiber cloth in a plastic bag.
  • Two folded paper towels.
  • One 6-inch ruler (great for sketching buildings and practicing perspective).
  • A composition book for writing down ideas, freewriting, poetry, or simply journaling.
  • A literary magazine filled with stories, poems, and evocative photography. When taken out of context, the individual lines, titles, and pictures make for excellent writing and art prompts. And if you're feeling tired or out of sorts, hey, just read and renew your spirit for a little while.
  • Lastly, a pencil pouch to hold all the pens, pencils, brushes and erasers, with everything then placed in a small tote bag along with the larger items.
The best part of having my kit packed and at hand is that I can make the decision to go outside and draw and write without a ton of preparation. It also serves to remind me that I am still a writer, still an artist, still a creative being. I may be isolated, but I'm certainly not incapable of making the best of things. So who's with me? I'd like to invite you to make a kit of your own and to try and use it at least once a day, even if it's just to go into your own backyard. Let's go!

Tip of the Day: Writers and artists are used to working alone, but working in our current state of enforced isolation, complete with face masks, takes solitude to an entirely new level. It can be difficult to inspire yourself day after day, but a surefire way to keep the ideas coming is to try adding a prompt, written or visual, to each page of your sketch- or notebook.