The phrase “self-taught” is an awesome phrase. Isn’t it wonderful when people get so determined that they go after the skills that get them to their goals and successes? I am The New Bruce (aka That Creative Dude), and these are a few of mine that I hope may light a spark in you.
I learned to sing by dissecting my favorite songs by my favorite artists. I would watch or read their interviews. They would make me feel like I could do it too. I lacked the confidence to jump out there and therefore it took years to become secure in my own style and voice. I recorded a song in 1998 that people actually liked but still not enough confidence. Your art won’t be denied however and in 2015, 17 yrs later, I’d record my first CD. Stay Loose or Panic! Sometimes it takes a minute to believe in yourself.
As a kid, painting walls was my thing. I did my first painting as a teenager with house paint. It sucked! I developed an appreciation for art museums and became obsessed with what the artists used to make their work. The ME Learning bug had begun. I’ve since painted over 40 paintings, and sold over half of them. I’m no Picasso, but at least I like my paintings now compared to the first house paint portrait.
3. Digital Art
I went back to school online at 44. I don’t recommend it. Expected to get formal learning in art to better my painting skills. Instead, I got fascinated with digital art. Over 2000 digital designs later, I guess I’m a digital artist. LOL! Through school, I learned techniques but I searched out ways to do things to pictures that were unexpected, such as putting people on the moon or setting them on fire! YouTube videos from all kinds of people wanting to share what they know are an amazing avenue of knowledge. That I do recommend!
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if expected to be a poet. There were thoughts stuck in my head. A chance encounter with Maya Angelou would change that. ” Write it down, release it. ” I will always remember that. My poetry had no format. Giant chunky paragraph thoughts. I liked to read poetry and decided I’d study the formats of my favorite poets, James Baldwin and Charles Bukowski. I learned poetic structure through reading not the words but the techniques.
5. How to format and publish a book
This training involved more researching helpful avenues than anything else. Vanity presses were big deals back in the day. They would print your book, hype you up, take your money, and leave you with a basement of bad books you couldn’t give away. Sites like Lulu.com are my best online book friends, most of these sites helped me learn what pages belonged in the book, where they go, cover design, ISBN, all kinds of value. I’ve self published 14 books. I also have a lulu page. Not difficult once you do it one time. Mostly poetry in my case and some books of quotes. I went on a hunt to find help that didn’t bankrupt me. Thanks to the internet, this is easy breezy.
6. How to write a song
When I was a kid, song magazines had lyrics. I’ve written songs since I was at least 5. Studying the lyrics of the songs in the books, I realized that my favorite songs had special qualities. They had verses, hooks, repetition, chorus, bridge, breaks, big finishes, and multiple layers of verses. Before I knew it, I was writing songs with these elements. I didn’t even know what they were called at first but my songs had them. I didn’t want to be my favorite singers and songwriters. Just tell me how you did what you did.
Not everything is beautiful in life. Sometimes you fail. Sometimes it’s because you don’t believe in what you are doing or you let others change your thinking. I was great at drawing as a kid. My father was as well. I think it was just genetics, (grin). I don’t draw as much as I used to. Supposing it would be my calling in case the fireman career didn’t happen. In another life maybe. The importance of being around a support system helps. If you don’t have it, don’t let that stop you. Do what you want to do by yourself. Let your dream become your BFF. I was surrounded by negativity in my drawing life and I was too young to know how to channel that energy. Stay away from people who drag your dreams down.
8. How to promote my work
Expose yourself! Wow, that sounds “flashy”. I’m cracking myself up. Promote your work at every given opportunity. Speak proudly of it, Have your business card or samples, what have you. New moms don’t hide their beautiful new baby pictures. Dads don’t hide their kid’s baseball trophies. Get online and learn what the current trends for exposure are. Read your own book on the bus. Taking a class online for promoting and marketing is highly recommended. Did I mention YouTube videos?
9. How to say “I’m an artist”
I am an artist! There, I said it! That was easy wasn’t it. No, it wasn’t. It took years to get there. The more art you make and the more you start to love what you do, the quicker you will get there. One day you will wake up and say “I’m an artist” This one is self teaching mental training.
10. How to create character identities
Everyone loves a character that they can relate to even if it’s a simple personality trait. When you write, create characters that can be real. I used to ride the bus and watch how people acted. I would save some of those instances and use them in my character’s personalities. Even to this day, my favorite poetry or books to read are the ones where I can close my eyes and the character is imaginable.
There is a point to all this humble bragging.
The point is to always find a way to learn what you want to do. Growing up, the internet was not available to me, but the library and after school programs were. Magazines, books, later videos. You can find your resources to help you achieve. A great idea is to find someone who does what you want to do and study and copy their techniques. Don’t steal their identities, but learn the techniques. Everything has a technique. You can learn anything if you want it bad enough.
What are your thoughts on this blog? Take a moment and leave a message. I’d love to know.
That Creative dude named Bruce.