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Illustration Know-How / Keeping Creative During Recovery

April 16, 2020

CLARE TOVEY


Having recently emerged from injury rehab, here are my tips on how to stay creative during recovery from illness. 

Breaking a finger is distressing. When you are also an illustrator it is highly challenging. Keeping a positive mental attitude during the six weeks or so recovery is incredibly important to the healing process; as is finding a way to keep on using your illustrator brain!

 

My tips:

  • Accept fully that during the recovery time you cannot carry on as usual: reschedule stuff, and take your time. Rest LOTS. Ignoring your injury and carrying on regardless is a recipe for associating your craft with pain, as I learnt the first time I broke a finger.
  • Think about and enjoy what you CAN do.
  • Find ways to continue using your favourite techniques and materials: think outside of the box – what could be do-able, with some help? For example, using a sketchbook of pre-printed storyboard templates, and weighting it open with drawing board clips (make sure they are the good ones which close tight!) Or asking someone else to draw you some templates.
  • Search online to find ideas from others who have experienced similar set backs.
  • Set yourself a challenge – something you will love to do, and will be fun.
  • Have a plan to do something every day – and post it online – Inktober-style. Say you are going through recovery from injury – use a hashtag. This is encouragement for anyone going through a similar challenge who does a search. It is also a great way to track your recovery.
  • There are lots of daily drawing/painting challenges out there to provide prompts: find one you like.
  • Look at what other illustrators are doing on Instagram for inspiration: John Shelley’s 365 days of 1’’ drawings inspired me to do my tiny ink drawing a day.
  • Find a way to continue doing the other creative stuff you do, too! For example, one row of knitting, or planting one bulb, and increase the amount you do as you recover.
  • Read up on athletes etc who have gone through injury and recovered.
  • If meditation appeals to you, Head Space app has a pack on Rehab within the Sport section: this is great for the daily reminders to take your time and allow your body to heal.

This article was first published in Words and Pictures, the SCWBI British Isles online magazine.

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Clare Clarabelle Tovey has focused on her life-long passion for drawing picture books and stories, from being an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Islington Writers for Children Group. She lives in London with a playful young cat, surrounded by piles of sketchbooks, books and crafting materials. Best place to see work is currently @clarabelledraws on Instagram.

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