Back to the Drawing Board

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I have had this drawing board for 30 years. It has moved with me to five different homes. Before I moved to the UK I also had one LA. I have always worked on drawing tables as an illustrator, artist (while studying at Goldsmiths College for an MA in Fine Art), and to design makeup. I always start any creative endeavour by drawing an idea down on paper. There is something I get in the pit of my stomach – from feeling the swoops of curves or the sharp points of corners and knowing when they are right or wrong – that I don’t get in the same way working on computers. It just doesn’t happen on-screen to the same extent as when I have a real brush or pencil in my hand.

I have been reading Originals by Adam Grant, a fascinating book exploring how non-conformists operate. There is a chapter analysing how procrastination can be a productive tool to create innovative ideas. It turns out that the most innovative work is best done in stages. This certainly rings true for me. When I start a new design I find the prospect exciting but daunting. I spend at least a day looking at hundreds of images and references and when I feel overloaded I put pencil to paper – usually late at night. I find that doing it when I’m tired allows mistakes to happen and often those mistakes are the best part of the design.

In chapter 4 of Originals Adam Grant explains this known phenomenon, “procrastination may be particularly conducive to creativity when it leaves us solving problems at moments when we are unfocused ….. When we are sleepy we are more open to random thoughts and novel ideas.” When I was at Goldsmiths College many of the tutors spoke about this as well. One of my tutors, Avis Newman (fantastic painter in the Tate Britain Collection) called the weird ideas which jump out of the unconscious when we are tired and unguarded “slippages” and said they were the most valuable elements in her creative process.

After four years of creating unique Face Lace designs the Face Lace team and I have decided to recreate our website. We took our time to explore possibilities (about eight months, in fact). We hope you find it an exciting work in progress, thank you so much for the work you’ve done on our site.

By Phyllis Cohen

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