The highs and lows of a creative lockdown

So here it is, a long overdue blog post. I haven’t written any blogs since I got back from travelling and even still I haven’t finished writing about all the countries I visited! (You can find them here on my blog if you need any tips for when we are allowed to travel again!) Today I decided it was time to sit down and write about how I’ve spent lockdown and being furloughed from my waitressing job.

First of all since getting back to the UK in January I set out lots of goals, like anyone else for the year ahead. I was feeling refreshed and motivated after having such an amazing last year and knew it was maybe time to look at finding a job related to my degree and moving somewhere new. However that didn’t last too long, January came and went, with me searching and applying for endless amounts of jobs in the creative industry and unfortunately not hearing back! Now I know they say apply for 6 million and one will get back to you but it all became seriously draining. It got to the point that I knew I needed some dollar and something to fill my time so I picked up a waitressing job at my local and fave pub in town to tide me over. The cons; I was back where I was before I left to travel the world and seemingly nothing had changed. The pros; I got to work with one of my besties. 

So in February I started working and then March came along, and with it, Coronavirus. I had just got back into the swing of working and we got locked down. If I hadn’t of been so bored in January while hunting for jobs I would have found the situation quite humorous. But now I was right back at home again with nothing to do. This is when I decided to pick up my old hobby of lettering and see what would come of it. 

I started lettering in 2016 just for fun, teaching myself the art of calligraphy, the brush strokes, buying pens galore to try them out. I look back now at some of my old work and I’m so critical of it even though back then I probably thought I was doing amazing. (Side note I’m still critical, even of things I did last week.) After teaching myself all the tips and tricks, my lettering and design started taking a back seat when I started getting jobs just to pay my way. I ended up in pubs and cafes and it’s very easy to get stuck in a place for a long period of time. I became the manager of my local coffee shop before travelling and in a way knowing I was earning money to travel the world I didn’t mind being there full time. 

One of my first ever card designs

Then in June 2019 my boyfriend and I set off and visited 12 countries in six months and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I have a degree in photography and some of the places allowed me to find my love for taking photographs again and set me up for the creativity that has blossomed this year! 

Mixing my photography & my lettering

So here we are, it is almost July (can you believe) and I’ve spent the last few months building my little business – lisaroseanneprints. I first started posting on my instagram in January and got my first designs sent off to a printers in February. What I didn’t quite grasp for a while, and I’m still learning, is that instagram is a brilliant platform but it takes a LOT of work. Finding hashtags that work and bringing traffic to your page is exhausting sometimes. This is where I find the lows of creativity sneak in. 

Counting likes, watching your followers go up and down, feeling uninspired and disappointed in your feed. Sometimes Instagram is so inspiring, but it can also be intimidating. This is where I need to learn the difference between the two words. Comparison is THE worst thing to do, you’ll never feel good about your work if you compare it to others. I do it all the time, even though I know I shouldn’t. I am still only small time compared to a lot of creatives on instagram, but I have to remind myself that I only started in January, I didn’t have a real style or theme, which I’m still developing today. If in 2016 I saw what I was doing now, moving on from pen and paper to my beloved iPad and apple pencil I wouldn’t have believed it. I found deciding whether to print at home or send to a printers really hard. Finding paper companies was an endless trawl through the internet. I finally decided on home printing as I do a lot of custom prints but that may change in the future, who knows! 

Some days are and will be better than others. When you’re in a negative head space, which is really easy during lockdown, it affects your work, your motivation. When you’re not leaving your house or seeing friends, your inspiration dwindles and it’s hard to think of what to create. But then something positive will happen and it’ll make the bad days worthwhile. 

For me it was when I sold a print on Etsy. It was to a wonderful friend but it meant maybe I could do this, then another one sold and it spurred me on. Everyone has to start somewhere and it’s hard to remember that when you’re at the start. I just finished my first ‘collection’ and I’m proud of it. Something I find very hard to be. I also started doing custom portraits for people, which was super daunting at first, not knowing whether people liked them, worrying that they weren’t good enough. But when you get positive feedback, and you look at your work objectively you realise sometimes your inner critic needs to be quiet for a while. 

A recent custom order

Lockdown has been hard on all of us. It’s a new way of living even if you have or haven’t been affected by the coronavirus. Through my highs and daily lows of creating art, i’m glad I’ve had something to keep me busy and to stop me from watching Netflix 24/7. 

My first collection

I’ve got a long way to go, and plenty more ideas swirling around my head that need to go on paper, but if I’ve learnt anything these few months it is that you should do what you love. Life is strange and unpredictable. I hope, even if I go back to work soon that I continue my print business. I hope, and this is a message to future me, that I continue to put the same energy into it for the foreseeable future and that there will be more high waves than low ones. We just have to keep riding them! 

Lisa x

You can find me on instagram @lisaroseanneprints

or at my website for more designs and photographs www.lisaroseannephoto.com 

& find me on etsy at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/lisaroseanneprints


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