(This post is dedicated to the many mother students who have been posting and sharing pictures of their children drawing and painting alongside them while they take my online classes……thank you….)
After my second child was born in 2001, I spent two years teaching Music Together (“mommy and me” music and movement) and learning about a new kind of “model”- not the fashion model.
Modeling was the word for exhibiting behaviors and dispositions toward movement and musical experience, as well as any experiences that involve learning (ummm….all?). Modeling is powerful when we care about someone, or someone cares about us, because we often adopt their attitudes and behaviors as we are “wired” that way for survival. You may notice how that has played out so far- for better or for worse- in your own life story. (Once you have that awareness, though, you can adjust the story/attitude as needed!!).
YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD CREATION or expression can be the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE that comes through in your work!
For example, in Music Together (click to see their mission statement), I never forgot their mantra point that your child doesn’t care ‘how you sing”, your child just wants you to sing to them. They want to hear your voice vibrate, and feel your presence, feel your joy. They want to know you and be with you. Your infant/child does not judge your singing. Consider this in application to art. Real, sincere expression has impact, and is needed.
I have had quite a few fashion students whose messages were so powerful that it became irrelevant HOW they drew in comparison to WHAT THEY SAID (concept, content) with the skills they had.
Does this strike a chord with you?
Taking out the paints, dancing to the radio, or tackling a project with joy is better for you, and definitely fosters your child’s attitude toward creation. The attitude sets the tone for the abilities to come forth. Now you can’t force a relaxed, joyful attitude toward creation, but you CAN allow one to come forth….
I’ve noticed that every time I video blog, my 4 year old starts filming herself at the laptop. (She is way cuter than me). When I paint, she starts painting. No prodding needed…she just does it. (and when I share, she shares….. like that one!)
Likewise, I have plenty of students who are “first generation” artists, without models in their childhood, who are drawn to art and design and are breaking the ground for the first time, overcoming fears about their abilities that are overruled by how much they love design. In this case, it is awesome to examine where or when their own self judgment in art creation, question where it came from, and then invite it to leave the room so we can get in touch with our amazing abilities as they unfold!
Over the past few years, I had a wake up call where I simply OPENED MY EYES and recognized that the whole “fashion drawing” bubble had burst for me. The way I had been trained was completely at odds with my own body and lifestyle, and I couldn’t believe in it anymore. I looked up to my teachers and my school so much as a young woman, that I had responded to the methods that they modeled by conforming blindly.
My change of heart crept up over the years very naturally. (Especially after giving birth, and realizing how AMAZING my REAL body was). For example, all of my students were buying up this fashion illustration book called “Nine Heads”, and while the drawings were well detailed and executed, I found it impossible to recommend this wildly popular book because only included unreal, distorted body types. And this just…hurt.
I ALSO FOUND THAT PORTFOLIO STUDENTS WERE DRAWING BETTER WHEN THEY PULLED THEIR PROPORTION IN, AND RELATING TO WHAT THEY WERE DRAWING IN A MORE PALPABLE WAY. I saw the new wave of fashion illustration emerge.
How amazing is it that I can teach beautiful illustration techniques for women to design for their own body or any body they want to, now. I see this aspect of my business and mission growing. Men too, —come aboard! This is positive movement for everyone.
If you have to distort the body to make your design look good, then maybe you should develop your design eye further.
(You can quote me on that).
Don’t forget to develop your eye in my free video online adventure, or go super-deep into fashion model drawing, design, and illustration in my LEVEL ONE FASHION IMMERSION 12 week semester. In keeping with this post, my course respects your home, comfort, space, and family in the development of your skills…. while supporting a real woman’s body, whichever woman you choose. (Even if she’s tall and thin, as long as she’s real, as well as plus-size and everything in between).
Another miracle this year on this topic: I was invited to speak on a panel for Francisca Pineda’s Ethical Fashion Academy about women’s bodies and changing the way fashion design illustration is taught and presented, along with opening a conversation on age, size, and color in fashion imagery. After years of singing pretty songs into a microphone, I got to use one to speak up and out about body image and fashion imagery. I am definitely up for more of this. It was exhilarating.
Ethical Fashion Academy, by the way, is hosting a bootcamp for ethical fashion entrepreneurs in NYC this summer. Check out the details here! Run by Francisca Pineda and Carmen Artigas, I can’t possibly recommend it more highly.
Well, my loves, I only know one thing. If I can see these things happening in my life, SO CAN YOU.
It’s only fun when we share the journey.
I hope you’ll share a few miracles of your own in the comments below! What has your year been like?