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What you need to film online classes or demonstrations

Hello!
(You should go make a tasty beverage; this is a LONG article.)

I am regularly asked for advice on what equipment and software I use to film my Skillshare classes and other demonstrations. Today, I thought I’d write up an article about it, that way I can point to it easily and you can bookmark it for reference.

First things first: I have been a Top Teacher on Skillshare for years, and I use almost the exact same equipment as when I started. I have made few upgrades, but I have always managed a pretty good look and sound for my videos. My way is certainly not the only way, but should help you form your own workflow.

The TL;DR takeaway is this: good audio and good light are your most important investments; you will need to buy things, but they need not be expensive and you can build over time.

First, let’s talk about lighting.
Natural daylight is fickle. It’s sunny, it’s not, it’s winter, it’s night, it’s not something you can count on, so don’t. I know teachers who film only at night so that they can control their lighting totally. You must, invest in light. Fortunately, we’re in a time when LED photography lights are very affordable, meaning that for about £100 you can get a good light or two. You’re going to want a couple of lamps for balance, and if you’ve got the budget, a ring light is great for illuminating yourself, if you talk to the camera in your work. As of writing this, I use two Neewer LED panels with barn doors, and they are adjustable for brightness. Model number: NL-660, single colour, 5600k. They were a smidge over £100 each. This did not include stands.
Two very important things: get stuff in the 5000k range for the most neutral light (not cool, not warm, closest to daylight), and test your LEDs for flickering on camera. Cheap LEDs will often flicker when you watch the playback footage and dimmable lights are usually the worst for it. For this reason, stick to photography grade lamps as the risk is much lower for flicker. (I have had to reshoot clips in the past due to flickering that is only spotted on playback.)

If your budget is not allowing for ALL THE LAMPS (I have lots now, and could do with more… Light is so valuable.), then get one good one and get a photography reflector or at the very least, use a big sheet of white foam board to bounce and direct fill light around. (There are loads of videos and tutorials on using a single light and a reflector, and so I’ll let you google that.)

I film at all times of day, but sun in my studio is North, so that means no sunbeams shooting into my room. This is important as I don’t have weird shadows to work around. If you’re not so lucky, you will need heavy curtains or some way to block out the natural light for consistency. Optimise your environment for that, then you have a process you can rely on for consistent video results.

Related to lights, I film most of my top-down demonstration footage with an app that lets me change the white balance. Oh, yes, I film on an older iPhone 6s for most of my HD footage, and use an old iPad mini 2 as “b-roll” side angle footage. The app I use on the iPhone is called ProMovie (Panda Apps Limited) and it has so many useful settings. I don’t remember what it cost, but I use it, it works, and I would only change one tiny thing about it, and that is that the movie files have to be retrieved as files via iTunes, so that’s a little clunky but not a deal-breaker.

Summary so far: Get you some LED lamps. Two is great, more is better. I have the Neewer LED panels, a Neewer 18″ LED ring light, two Daylight Company LED task lamps (which illuminate the desk as I work anyway), and a small LED angle poise lamp that fills a gap. This is all supplemented by an ENORMOUS LED ceiling light, which is the old equivalent of around 500w or something. It’s crazy bright but very limited since it radiates out from the middle of the room. I use a lot of electricity when I film, but it’s far less since I got away from traditional photography soft boxes and CFL bulbs. My investment in video and task lighting is approximately £100 per lamp, but it can be done a wee bit cheaper than that now.

Moving on to sound.
Briefly, so I don’t forget to mention it, I record and edit my audio so that the volume is at a comfortable conversation level when I have my iMac set to 50% volume. That gives people the option to turn me up or turn me down. I listen to a lot of ASMR videos and there are so many that are recorded so loudly that even the lowest volume in headphones is conversation loudness. That’s too much – remember, everyone has different preferences and may be listening on headphones or out loud, so how you capture the audio initially is crucial.

I use a few things for audio, but mostly the workflow for the past year or two involves a Zoom H6 with a shotgun mic, positioned out of frame but near me, attached to a Gorillapod flexible tripod on my desk. That is my “proper” sound file, which gets matched up in iMovie to the audio captured with the iPhone 6s video. I typically get rid of the iPhone audio in editing. I have also used a Røde lavalier mic made for the iPhone, but the wire gets in the way when I’m demonstrating so I stick with the H6 for indoor, studio filming. If I need to record voiceovers, I set up just as though I need to film, to keep the new audio as similar to the existing as possible.

When filming the intro[duction] and outro, Pete assists and films me using a Canon dSLR with a Røde shotgun mic attached. This is to help me match footage with the master audio captured by the Zoom H6. dSLR audio is too far away, so gets thrown away in editing after I use it to match video to H6.

Sound is so important. Light is so important. If you get those two things right, you will have a video that is better than most of the stuff out there. Remember, lots of the really slick productions you are probably already comparing yourself to will have had a team of people and a much bigger budget. You can work miracles with a lot less, I assure you, and you can add gear as your budget allows. Create a class or demonstration that YOU would watch, and you’ll be fine.

Editing thoughts: I edit everything in iMovie on an iMac. I have learned that when you hold down the option key when working with audio or video clips that you get finer control (like the ability to duck a single point instead of two… that will make sense when you’re doing it). iMovie is totally capable of creating quality results and it’s free on the Mac. I have no idea what you might use if you’re on a PC, but there is lots to google, no doubt. iMovie will seem to have its limits, but after spending years and countless hours editing with it, I have little reason to change my workflow or learn new software at this time.

Export video chapters or a whole demo to a big ol’ file, then use Handbrake (free, open source, multi-platform), to crunch your edited chapters down to something manageable for upload. There are a bunch of presets in Handbrake, so chances are you won’t even have to figure any of the technical stuff out. I have a custom preset I made for my work, but I had a few reasons for it. Chances are, you’ll be fine with what’s built in.

Music thoughts: For the love of all that is holy, duck your audio and keep the volume of your theme tunes etc. low enough that if you are speaking at the same time the music is on, you are not competing with it. Nothing makes me want to turn off a demonstration video faster than obnoxious music making the presenter hard to hear. When I add a track to my intro and outro videos (I almost never add music to the internal chapters), I keep the volume low and duck it for when I speak. When I have music playing under my speaking voice track, it’s ducked to about 2-4% of full volume so you can barely hear it, but it adds ambience and continuity. When it’s allowed to be at its loudest, I keep it throttled to 20% or under. Yup, that low because it should support the presenter, not compete. If you cannot manage the audio, leave it out. Bad music track audio is worse than no music every time.

Where do I find music? Royalty free music is readily available online from more sources than I can possibly list, but I tend to use what is built into iMovie, or found through Incomptech.com. I have meant to try the YouTube audio library but haven’t yet. It’s massive. One day…

I tend to put a lot of BTS (behind the scenes) photos of when I’m filming on my Instagram, so following me there might be useful to you. You’ll see the cameras, lights, audio equipment, some editing shots and more. I’ll pop a few photos here (at the bottom), but scroll my Instagram for more.

Angles- how to film top-down and more:
So I mentioned I use an iPhone and an iPad for most of my filming. My iPad is typically attached to an angle poise arm attached to the left of my desk and pointed low and down at my hand/paper for close-up/detail footage. My top-down set-up has changed over the years, but mostly because I like having things that are easy to tear down when production ends. For more than two years I used an old boom mic stand at a right angle over my work, with a simple and cheap bike handlebar smartphone clamp attached to it, pointing my phone down. This is super simple and keeps your phone from wobbling whilst filming. I have recently switched to an angle poise phone arm, and while I love its simplicity, it will wobble if I bump my desk during the demonstration (or erase vigorously). I like it, but may go back to the other solution.
These angle poise arms are plentiful from places like eBay or Amazon, and you’ll likely spend between £10-£20 for one.

Title graphics and other stills:
I have some ability in a variety of what used to be known as “desktop publishing” applications. Maybe they’re still called that (I’ve been out of the biz for years), but what I do for my classes is make the 16:9 format blank document in (used to use Photoshop, but no longer) Serif Affinity Photo, then add layers for each text still or transition slide that I require. I create an eye-catching cover graphic for the whole video, and I make sure it is still legible at thumbnail size for when people scroll lists of videos. This is crucial to getting views.
Also, if you are showing subtitles, lists, quotes, or anything that the viewer must read, keep it on screen long enough. You’ll need to adjust the time it is visible, probably uniquely for each slide. Practice reading them out loud to get the timing right. Then add more time because there will be people new to the info (or have English as a second language) and at various reading levels. Also consider fading in and out of the overlay text slides to keep stuff looking smooth and professional.

A word about editing styles:
There are so many videos out there that employ “jump cuts” when they could’ve probably just shot another take to get it right. Jump cuts used en masse are clunky and very current YouTube-y, but I encourage you to create many takes and go as long as you can without breaking up the information on screen. I use very few jump cuts. I like blending my edits in most cases, mostly because I try to avoid making jerky, jumpy videos.

Teleprompters and scripts:
I use both, but not always. I write all of my classes like a book with chapters in an application called Scrivener. I like the way it works and I already had the application. You might be fine handwriting notes, or using Word or similar, but Scrivener is where it’s at for me. As far as teleprompters go, I use one only when we’re shooting my intro and outro videos and it is my iPad mini 2 with a voice controlled Teleprompter app by MSDC Technologies. It’s hard to position the iPad so that it doesn’t block the camera lens or look like I’m reading something off-centre, but it’s not impossible. Sometimes I go “old school” and print off bits of script and tape them somewhere out of shot but in front of me. Whatever works.

If this article has helped you, I am thrilled and would love you to link to it or – if the generous spirit moves you – throw a tip into my Paypal.me. I know that the info above will help you figure out your best way of doing things, and I truly wish you filming success.

If you want to watch my Skillshare classes (all filmed with the stuff I talk about above) then you can grab 2 FREE months of premium membership from this little link here.

I’ll dump some photos here at the bottom of stuff discussed above. Remember to follow my Instagram for art and BTS when I film.

Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Tip me: paypal.me/JenDixonArts
Follow me: Instagram @jendixonarts
Watch me: Skillshare Top Teacher

filming equipment photos
Click to open larger.
filming equipment photos
Click to open larger.

How to break an “I can’t create” rut

I can’t imagine anyone out there who has not experienced the soul-destroying feeling of being unable to create. I am coming out of a period of this myself, and for a couple of weeks of nearly nothing in my creative tank, I finally broke the cycle.

You know what it’s like: your paper is blank. Your supplies untouched. Your mood flat. For me, I get this way with depressive episodes (and because of this I am unable to create every day, despite my best and loftiest intentions) and I have been in and out of depression with relentless regularity for a year or more. Sometimes I’m fine(ish) and I get a lot done. Sometimes I go for days at a time without making a mark. I envy those who don’t go through this, but even for people who don’t experience clinical depression, the dry spell is a very real thing.

What causes this temporary inability to create? I can only speak for myself, but here are a few things I’ve learned about my ruts:

Fear of something.
I haven’t been afraid of a blank page or canvas for years (another topic for another time), but I have other fears. A recent chat with other top teachers on Skillshare highlighted that even highly successful people have doubt devils in their heads. Imposter syndrome is very real, even in the people we admire most. There is also fear of being a has-been or no longer interesting. The doubt devils will turn the volume up on these fears and it can be difficult to hear anything else.
One fear I had recently was of everyone moving on without me. I’ll explain: iPad art is huge right now and lots of the artists I follow and admire have begun to create totally digitally or collage their physical art (through scans etc.) with digital art, typically with Procreate or very recently with Adobe Fresco. I felt irrelevant and like I had nothing new and interesting to share. Everywhere I looked was a time-lapse of some digital art coming together or that distinctive “look” of digital illustration. I don’t have any interest in creating like this and yet my doubt devils convinced me that this trend was a problem. It’s not, of course, and traditional materials will never ever go out of fashion, but it is easy to let the fear creep in.

Overwhelm.
What about when you have too much going on? Life is complicated at the best of times, and over the past few years, we’ve all watched world events with unease, no matter which side of whatever you’re on. For me, I have deep issues with politics and society, and it contributes to a feeling of helplessness. Sure, I vote in elections, but the day-to-day news grinds down my coping mechanisms and I feel the weight of it all. Sometimes, I can channel this into emotional art, but most of the time I feel a pointlessness that stops me before I make a mark.
Overwhelm can take other forms too: I have so many things I want to do (or need to do) that I feel too heavy to do anything at all. To combat this, I have created a laminated sheet with task prompts for myself so that when I have no idea where to start, I can look at the sheet of options and tick a box to remind myself what I’m doing. Sometimes it’s computer maintenance tasks, sometimes it’s creating a new Skillshare class, sometimes it’s business tasks… you get the idea, but it has been a pretty useful thing to create my “Hey Jen, what are you doing?” charts. I use a dry erase marker on them and as long as I have the courage to look at and use them, the prompts help to keep me on track when overwhelm is everywhere.

Distractions.
Hoooo boy, that’s a big one. I have always said I am never bored, and it is true. There is always something for me to focus on, good or bad, helpful or not. I don’t get a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out) but I do use distractions to seem busy when I really am feeling fear or overwhelm. It’s hard to not fall prey to distractions- we live in a time where everything is competing for our attention, whether it is a new filter on Snapchat or too many email subscriptions. Buy this. Watch that. Like and subscribe. I know that when I am feeling fear or overwhelm, my social media and smartphone time spikes and I get into a cycle of checking things way too often. It’s like I become a broken record and I check Instagram, Facebook, and email over and over all the while convincing myself that because my business currently relies on connecting with my clients and students through these platforms that I’m doing work. I know better… I’m lying to myself and yes, I do work through those outlets, but mostly I’m distracting myself to avoid confronting the fear or overwhelm. The only cure for me is to get focussed on a task that takes my full attention, like writing, colour correcting images of my art, creating art, or something unrelated like housework or beach cleaning. I distract myself with the news too, so I took Apple News off my phone. That made a huge difference in my anxiety levels because I now have to go out and collect information rather than having a buffet of info effortlessly served up whenever I feel fear and overwhelm. Make it harder to slip into bad habits.

So how do I break out of the “I can’t create” rut?
It’s not easy to face the fact that you can’t create. It feels like failure. No one likes to fail and of course as soon as you acknowledge the feeling it feels a bit worse still. You might cry. You might have a little too much wine or decide to distract yourself with websites or movies. Been there.

abstract art
What I did in my most recent effort to start creating again was to get out a blank sheet of watercolour paper, wet down a set of paints I don’t use often but have great colours (my Kuretake Gansai palette), and pushed colour around. I had no expectations for great work. I had nothing in mind. I don’t believe in the idea that you can waste paper (paper is only wasted when it remains clean), so I smeared colours around to watch them blend, found colour combinations I like, and by the time I had gone through three sheets of paper, I realised I had broken the rut spell.
It’s important to reward and nurture yourself for doing something so brave and difficult, so my final creative effort (I don’t consider these paintings, because that puts pressure on myself to create something for approval by myself or others) was exploring very simple, illustrative cats. They’re cute and were created with no pressure at all. What was pretty great about my “reward” cats is that I now have a fun idea to explore with refining the cats illustration process into a pattern and a print. Win!

illustration of cats

I could not have painted the cats first. No way. Too much pressure even though they are loose and whimsical. I started with the simplicity of abstract paint on paper. I wasn’t concerned with composition or technique – just dirty some paper. I could’ve done this with charcoal or pastels instead, of course. It doesn’t matter what you use; you just have to get to that point where you pull out some paper and do something – anything. I put good music on, but it was only after I started painting that I began to feel less numb about creating.
Do I magically feel like the artist I know I can be? Heck no. I have a lot of healing to do, but I have proven to myself that I can create, even when the doubt devil is shouting, my studio feels like a reminder of failure, my mind is a mess, and I feel sorry for myself.

Make the mark.
Perhaps it has been a week since you last created. Maybe it’s been a year. Allow yourself to feel free of expectations and put a blank canvas or paper in front of yourself. One mark at a time, you’ll get there. If it feels awful, try again tomorrow. You haven’t failed, you started, and that’s something good. Pretty soon, I’ll be able to put the doubt devil back in its box for awhile. Today it whispers rather than shouts. That’s progress.

My process of mounting art

This painting is now in its new home, but I thought I’d show you the basic steps I take when I mount art.

  • Cut down a large mount board to 300 x 400 mm pieces
  • Figure out what dimensions I want visible, then the border math is:
    mount mm number minus visible mm number divided by 2 = border mm (do for h & w)
  • Cut on my Logan Artist Elite 450-1 (The BEST secondhand purchase I’ve ever made)
  • Add piece info and care instructions sticker to the back of the back board
  • Position using t-square (because there is a landscape horizon) and glass paperweight
  • Tape down with specialist tape. (Tape tabs affixed to the back of this piece.)
  • Hinge the aperture mount board to the backing board
  • Cello sleeve the whole thing with my business card inside the back
First steps in mount cutting
First steps in mount cutting
Mounting a watercolour painting
Mounting a watercolour painting

I buy mount board in bulk from Jackson’s Art in the UK, and the colour is a slightly off-white called Porcelain. I’ve been using it for years. I occasionally buy another colour if needed, like a pale grey or black, but typically stick with Porcelain. Black mounts are also a huge pain in the ass since black gets dirty easily and also shows dust like crazy.

My methods can change depending on what kind of art I am mounting, but this post should give you a basic overview. There are so many tricks I’ve learned over the years of cutting hundreds of my own mounts. I’ve even tackled multiple aperture mounts (with different sized holes), floating mounts and more. I learned all this by doing, and a few books and websites along the way.

If you want to cut your own mounts (also called “mats”), I highly recommend buying a Logan or similar – they stay put (stable) and they pay for themselves. I used to waste a lot of board when I had a more simplistic system of only a ruler and cutter. I have no doubt that being able to provide my work in custom mounts (often cut to fit standard frames, or IKEA frames) has led me to selling more work. Mounts are also great for protecting art when stored or in print racks.

Hope this helps and maybe encourages you to give it a go. There’s lots of detailed info out there, and I promise it’s not that difficult once you get up and going.

The penis joke that became more

I did a very silly #Inktober challenge yesterday that was totally a snap decision based on something in another artist’s stories… The artist is @noramaha and she linked to an account that seems to be all about the penis: @lordofschlong. After seeing the #schlongtober parody prompt of 31 days of drawing schlongs, I posted a story that I could draw 31 dicks in one day. Encouraged by the Lord of Schlong in a DM to “DOOO EEET!” I responded with CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. And so, as if I don’t already have enough to do, I devoted my entire evening of “me time” to studying and drawing thirty-one penises in pen and ink. Yup. I did that with my time.
I only wish my mom could see me now…

schlongtober prompt list and message

But here’s the thing: The drawings are pretty good. I’m pleased with them. And I learned more about male genitalia than I could’ve ever guessed. I’m no stranger to penis, mind you, not only because I’ve encountered a fair handful in my varied sex life, but I was a life drawing teacher for several years and so the drawing of genitals is not new to me. Nor is it shocking, taboo, or gross. Frankly, it’s interesting, varied, and psychologically really fascinating.

I hear you asking: Jen, where did you get so much dick reference? Well, Google may be good at lots of things, but dick pics isn’t one of them. I drew some classical, statue phalluses and a couple of anatomical specimens from there, but the gold mine for immodest models?
Reddit. If you want penises, there is a whole subreddit devoted to dudes showing their junk. I said “psychologically fascinating” a few sentences back- it totally is. Seeing how men present themselves for peer approval/arrousal is quite something. I should also clarify that not a single one that I studied for drawing was a turn-on, but I wasn’t there for a wank, I was there to life draw. I even found an “awards” post in a subreddit that ranked guys by their various attributes, such as thickness, curve, hair, bare, and so on. Incredible learning experience, I gotta say.

I chose to draw them all on one single sheet of light brown A4 mixed media paper. I used a mapping dip pen and Higgins ink. I did not draw anything in pencil first, instead I used the same “slow looking” and drawing techniques that I would in a life drawing class. Somehow, I managed to fit thirty-one penises of various sizes, shapes, arousal, and so forth onto the page. It took me about four hours to draw them, which included the time it took to choose my reference photos. Nearly all of my phalluses include testicles for context, and many (but not all) have hair. They are all perfect in their own ways. There is a censored photo of this feat at the end of this post.

Spending four hours of focussed learning of a subject is good for any pursuit, and to dedicate four hours to learning the nuances of one thing – whether it is a hand or a penis – is priceless practice of your skills. Sure, I started off giggling like a twelve year old at the #schlongtober prompt(s), but after diving in and doing it, I found true value as an artist. I guess I knew I would, but seems the experience was profound enough for me to write this blog post about it.

tl;dr [too long; didn’t read]
I saw a parody of Inktober called #schlongtober that wants people to draw thirty-one schlongs (a dick a day) and so I drew all thirty-one in four hours with a dip pen. It was an amazing, educational, and fascinating experience.

I might do vulvas next… #snatchtober, anyone?

Oh, a final note: if anyone wants a print, hit me up. I can make it happen.

censored art
See? It is totally art and totally fascinating.

Meditation and making marks

sketchbook page progress

I’ve spent the last several years making classes as a priority and art secondary. This was an important shift of focus for a couple of reasons, but mainly to create a sustainable income as a full-time artist.

With the focus on writing what I know as video chapters for my Skillshare classes, I fell out of the habit of being an artist for myself. I need to make it clear: I love making classes. The “but” after saying that is that I began an increasingly unhealthy relationship with my own art and my own discipline for making it. I – wrongly – built up an impossible standard that if I wasn’t learning, writing, and making examples for classes I was failing my path in some way. This unhealthy shift was a slow process, but came to a head over last winter, which, to be frank, was a really crap time for my mental health. I stopped creating everything, with few exceptional bursts of creative output. I didn’t even produce a class for six months. I was at a rock bottom.

In a way, it had to happen. I had to hit the wall to see the problem. I’ve recently been on a path toward energising what I do – both teaching and creating art – and it’s working, if slowly.

I have revisited what it is to keep a sketchbook, and am now making it a morning meditation of sorts. I know in my mind that no one will miss me if I take ten minutes or an hour first thing in the morning to fill a page or two in a little sketchbook. I know that keeping a sketchbook is a valuable tool for experimentation and learning. The “doing” is a little more challenging because of my guilt-centric thought processes, but I’m getting into it now.

I used to draw all the time. Drawing is my first love. It’s always been my conduit to the weirdness in my head, the outlet for expression and the wonderful (and, at times, frustrating) challenge of documenting what I observe. I love freaky drawing. I love realistic drawing. I love it all. So what the hell happened that I stopped filling sketchbooks?

Somewhere along the way – let’s just say, since art school – I programmed myself that art wasn’t going to be a viable living. I didn’t go to a traditional art school; I have an industrial design degree. I regret nothing, but something about that planted a toxic seed deep inside me that sprouted slowly into a full-blown “you’ll always be a hobbyist” mentality. I overcame this for a few years of genuine fine artist success a handful of years ago. I was represented by a couple of galleries. I sold expensive paintings around the world. I had large solo exhibitions. I grabbed the dream and made it work for a little while.

But art sales are difficult to count on and so I looked to establish a secondary income stream. Teaching on Skillshare has been the best thing for my confidence and income but also created a difficult situation: I found I had to really focus on one or the other – either class creation/teaching or fine artist, and so I chose to build my teaching career into a reliable income. I pay my bills with what I teach online and that’s fricking fantastic. What is not fantastic is that now I’m ready to balance the two areas of my art life and it is so hard.

I haven’t seriously, regularly painted canvases in several years. I haven’t drawn for the joy of drawing in sketchbooks for years. I don’t feel like a beginner, but rather like someone coming out of a coma and being very, very rusty at everything. Sure I can draw. Sure I can paint. I have been competently and successfully teaching others how to do that stuff for years. But, can I paint for me? For what’s in my head? Can I risk the weird stuff rising up and splatting onto pages and paintings? Of course, but it’s tricky, I won’t lie. I have been mostly creating examples for classes for years but rarely challenging myself. I’m in the process of changing that now.

I’m taking those 10-60 minutes in the morning to break down some barriers and tap back into the truly creative me. I’m beginning a journey of belief in my own work again and it’s already making a difference in how I feel about my art and being in my studio.

I’m in the middle of producing a new Skillshare class now, and it is taking longer than I’d like, but at least this time it’s because of allergy season issues preventing me from working rather than mental health reasons. I’m forging new, healthy work habits and the sketchbook work is one aspect of that. I’m pretty rubbish at traditional meditation, so the sketchbook time is my morning meditation. I meet myself at my desk, perhaps listen to an art world podcast, and draw. Today I added gouache to the drawings and love it. I actually enjoyed the process instead of feeling like I was wasting time or making crap. (Maybe it is crap, but I enjoyed it.)

I feel like I’ve turned a corner and perhaps I’m entering a new phase of my art life. It still involves teaching (I love teaching), but I am returning to the joy of making things for the sake of making them. Instead of rare or infrequent bursts of creativity that leave me exhausted, insecure and unhappy, I am making a daily effort to reconnect with my creative self. Feels good.