DesignerMim by Miriam Home » Blog of a Freelance Creative » Surface Pattern Design » How to rediscover an old hobby

Oh hello, and thank you for popping in!

This week I’ll be discussing what I’m doing to keep things fresh. I’ve been wondering how to rediscover an old hobby that I loved so much: creating by hand. Let’s see how that went.

children's poem about sunshine and love, with illustrated suns with faces on a golden yellow background
Digital illustration by DesignerMim, 2021

As I’ve said before, the majority of my design work is created digitally. But this was not always the case. I used to be a very hands-on creative and loved to get my hands dirty. As the years went by and life got faster and everything became urgent, I lost touch with the creative who loved to doodle. For several years, I was in a team where we did not have the ‘luxury’ of time to create by hand. I put luxury in quotes because it’s a pretty essential step for many designers when creating original artwork. For a long time I always felt like I couldn’t catch my breath as I was always so rushed off my feet. That’s definitely something I’ve struggled with over the years.

Setting healthier boundaries — in my working and personal life — is definitely helping me calm down and actually enjoy creating again! I’ve been moving away from the hamster wheel, and trying to establish better habits. I’m practicing slowing down and I am keen to rediscover an old hobby that brought me such joy, and helped strengthen my creativity. Just because I’m learning to get off the high speed train, doesn’t mean I’m cutting myself slack. I’m a hard taskmaster, but being my own boss is giving me the opportunity to settle into my own rhythms. More on that in another post.

A quote from Morgan Harper Nichols I saw on Instagram this morning.

Where my hobby came from

First off, I used to be an avid doodler (is that even a word?). Many moons ago I used to walk around everywhere with my journal. My varsity friends can attest to this! It was while studying Surface Pattern Design, that I fell head over heels for journalling. We were taught that it was an essential part of the creative process and our lecturers encouraged us no end. I took to it like a duck to water (or a dog to a mountain pool), and continued to be an avid doodler for several years afterward.

Life happens

After a few years of working as a corporate creative, I found that I just did not have the drive or enthusiasm to create in my off time too. Resulting in the frequency of one of my favourite creative hobbies became less and less, and eventually came to an end. Over the years I would try my hand at rekindling my old hobby, but I just wasn’t in the right headspace.

To be honest, I think one’s mental health plays a massive role in being creative. This has been researched and written about extensively — just do a quick Google search and see the plethora of articles that pop up. When I’m not feeling good I find it incredibly hard to create. Are you like that too?

So, how did I start to rediscover an old hobby?

I had the best muse: an exquisite Johannesburg Sun rose. And I had the best reason: my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. I think that’s an awesome achievement and well worth pausing our busy lives to celebrate the occasion.

I popped in to Ludwig’s at The Chart Farm where I wanted to get my parents a yellow rosebush for their golden anniversary, however the one I chose is not in bloom. So I picked a beautiful Johannesburg Sun rose as a token for the beautiful golden yellow.

the rose I used as a muse to rediscover my hobby
The muse: The Johannesburg Sun

Time to get my hands dirty

I wanted to get my hands dirty and create something analog. I decided to go with childhood tradition and make them a card by hand. So I got out my old inks, brushes, and palette from varsity days. Dusted them off (literally). And started experimenting. I had such fun.

Yellow Rose Illustration video. Edited using InShot.

It was wonderful to create something unique and by hand. There’s something so personal about that. Don’t you think? Yes, it’s not the best illustration I’ve ever done. But you can only get better with practice, and I’m very out of practice!

ink on paper of a golden yellow rose by DesignerMim
DesignerMim rediscovers an old hobby… and loves it!

And that’s another thing: it’s an original. I created this little piece for my parents. And my parents being the kind of supportive and encouraging people that they are, loved it! All three of us got teary when I gave it to them — but perhaps that was about my not-at-all-soppy message! Who knows? What matters though is that I rediscover an old hobby that I that brought me such joy many moons ago… and to top it off, I shared a little love and authenticity with those I care about most. How’s that for a win?

Bye for now,

Miriam.

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