Art for non-artist approaching creativity

Art for Non-Artists: Approaching Creativity with a Beginner’s Mind

Approaching creativity is hard! It can feel scary, and pressured, and bring out some of our most tender insecurities – especially for those who don’t consider themselves artists. This article will offer some beginner-friendly, practical, and encouraging strategies to help make approaching creativity for non-artists more in reach. This post will explore how you, as a believed-to-be non-artist, can embrace your creativity with open arms, break down mental barriers, and discover the joy and release of artistic expression.

In this article:

  • Soften the pressure using a “beginner’s mind”
  • Gift yourself options
  • Practical exercises to get started with art for non-artists

Approach with a “beginner’s mind”

A helpful way to open yourself to creativity is to approach with a “beginner’s mind.” The beginner’s mind is a concept from Zen Buddhism that encourages us to see things with fresh eyes, free from preconceptions and limited judgments of what constitutes “value” in art. Approaching creativity with a beginner’s mind is about letting go of expectations and enjoying the process of self-discovery. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to create art – it’s a personal journey. So, grab your tools, embrace the unknown, and revel in the joy of expressing yourself through the beauty of creation. The canvas is yours; let your imagination paint the way.

In order to ‘drop down’ from our critical (and typically limiting) mindset, a few steps are helpful to approach art and creativity with a beginner’s mind. The first is, relaxing ourselves into the full, expressive body and out of the logical, comparing, egoic mind. Or in other words – by getting out of your own way!


Getting out of your own way

Like all conscious behavior in life, it starts with intention. To become more intentional, we need to take time to pause our busy, practical, or ‘auto-pilot’ lives and connect to the present moment. By becoming more present, we then can make a decision of how we want to prioritize and use our time and energy. If you feel out of touch with your creative side, this can feel quite effortful and even, uncomfortable. When beginning any new habit or hobby, it is natural and expected to witness resistance surface within your mind and body. I encourage you to notice how resistance shows up for you.

Let’s talk about something that’s probably crossed every artist’s mind at some point: comparing yourself to others. When approaching creativity, it’s natural to look at someone else’s work and feel a twinge of envy or self-doubt, but getting stuck in that mindset can really hold you back. Heck, furthermore it’s very well just in our human nature to compare ourselves in every way to others. And perhaps, it isn’t all unhelpful or “bad” to do so. Many of us find inspiration and our own motivation to step out of our comfort zones, out of our own way to grow, explore, play, and learn new hobbies, skills, or habits. Approaching creativity with a beginner’s mind can help actually you confront and hopefully soften natural resistance.

Embrace Imperfection

And here’s the thing: every artist has their own unique style, perspective, and voice. Instead of getting caught up in comparisons, focus on honing your craft and expressing yourself authentically. Remember, art isn’t a competition—it’s a journey of self-discovery and expression. Approaching creativity can – and often does – provide an incredible sense of freedom, empowerment, and reward. Not even just when it is hard – but more, the challenges are the key to the rewards (in art and life, as it is!). So, embrace your uniqueness, celebrate your progress, and keep creating!

Approaching creativity often begins with a simple question: “What if?” Allow yourself to be curious without judgment. Pick up a pencil, a brush, or any tool that intrigues you, and let curiosity guide your exploration. Try to worry less about the outcome, and focus on the process.

In therapy, we make it okay to face and embrace our insecurities. A major mental and emotional block of authentic expression, whether through voice, movement, or art, is the confines of perfectionism. Naturally then, one of the biggest roadblocks for non-artists is the fear of imperfection. However, it’s crucial to understand that every artist, regardless of skill level, started with imperfect creations. Embrace the beauty of flaws, see mistakes as opportunities to learn, and watch your confidence grow.

Start Simply

Art doesn’t have to be a grand masterpiece, nor rushed to completion in one sitting. In fact, even experienced artists will admit putting down a work-in-progress is difficult: when to stop. It naturally has us circling back to the embracing imperfection point, too. Allow yourself imperfections. You have time. I repeat you have time to pause, put down this hobby and project, carry on with your life, and come back. Break down the creative process into smaller, manageable steps. Approach creativity first with simplicity, starting with simple shapes, lines, and colors. Gradually, you’ll build the foundation for more complex creations.

Starting simply also can look like beginning to open creativity using pre-designed projects. How popular are adult coloring books these days? I’m all about ’em! In past articles, I’ve written about using art for stress relief, and coloring books, stencils, colour by numbers – the list goes on! Frame these as resources. A blank page or canvas can feel daunting, especially to new and aspiring artists. What’s great to remember, too, is that while the design may be laid out for you, you have a choice over colors, pressure, texture, and patterns. That is creativity – and it’s uniquely yours.

Making creativity a habit

I have great news to help beginners get out of their own way and more easily make creativity a habit. Some science-backed and promising facts for us beginners out there: the brain wants to and can keep learning, all throughout our lifetime. So no – you’re not ‘stuck’ as a non-creative, forever! There is promise and potential within you – and I profess it to be true!

The proof’s in the scientific pudding of amazing neuroplasticity. The processes of learning new information, any new skill, personal growth, and changing your life – whether it be your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, habits, and hobbies – come down to neuroplasticity. This article explains more about neuroplasticity and creativity than I will here in hopes of maintaining our audience :)! However, I can attest that seeing the science and experiential learning align really helps to reduce those automatic, limiting beliefs around “nature vs. nurture” in terms of being or becoming a creative person. See, the thing about learning anything new is that it will feel hard, and yet, repetition makes the process easier, more accessible, and soon enough, “like second nature.”

To make creativity a habit, pair your intention with humble actions. Take on a beginner’s mind, set aside playtential (play potential) time, gather supplies or create a space for creative, playful movement in your environment, and exhale into a flow – rather than control state. Remember, there are near-infinite ways to explore and approach creativity! Making creativity a habit simply requires intention, an open heart, a relaxed and focused mind, and actionable repetition and practice. Make it easier on yourself, and try it out!

Approach creativity with Different Mediums

Even more good news! You don’t have to feel limited when it comes to art supplies and mediums. I wrote an article about painting mediums and materials, though art goes way beyond painting and drawing. In the spirit of getting out of your own way and feeling limited as a ‘non-artist’, the world is actually you’re palette. You don’t need to limit yourself to a single medium! Try your hand at painting, drawing, sculpting, sewing, dancing, acting, or any other form that intrigues you. Experimenting with various mediums allows you to discover what resonates with you and keeps the creative process fresh and exciting.


Connect with Other Beginners

Several Bohemian’s Minds articles encourage us to step out of our comfort zone, embrace vulnerability, and connect with other artists around us. Joining a community of fellow non-artists on a similar journey can be incredibly motivating and normalize those beginner woes. Groups invite us to share our creations, celebrate each other’s successes, and learn from one another’s unique and shared human experiences grappling with vulnerability and connection. And thankful to our digital times, the internet too can foster community connections with other beginners to approach creativity with greater safety and inspiration. As it shows, building a supportive network can turn the creative process into a shared and enjoyable adventure!

Conclusion

And lastly, for all you “non-artists” out there, remember that creativity is not just about painting a masterpiece or writing a bestseller. It’s about embracing your unique way of thinking and problem-solving in everyday life. Whether you’re cooking a meal, rearranging your living room, or planning a weekend adventure, there’s always room to inject a bit of creativity into the mix. Dancing, drawing, painting, sculpting, acting, writing… all can be approached with a beginner’s mind to ease your entry and process. So, don’t be afraid to think outside the box, try new things, and most importantly, have fun with it! After all, life is one big canvas, so why not paint it with your own colorful ideas and imagination? Heck, colour outside the lines, and be yourself – naturally, creatively you.


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I am passionate about making the best of life through cherishing relationships, exploring worldly experiences, and cultivating a creative lifestyle of art, music, dance, and fitness. I am a self-taught painter, inspired by the sublimity of nature, consciousness, love and universal transcendence that binds all of humanity and nature, together.

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