Staying Creatively Challenged in Challenging Times

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Some artists and other creative folks have been using social media as a way to share materials like coloring pages and art challenge templates to help make social distancing life a little less stressful. Image: Lisa Tate

After a few weeks of being pretty much confined to our homes, where most of our work and contact are now focused on the computer, it is easy to fall into the rut of living in a virtual social world. This includes both kids and adults, whose entire school or work experience has been online.

As someone who already maintains a home office and does the majority of work on the computer anyway, I know the importance of getting up and doing something creative that is decidedly not computer-focused.

I know if I don’t challenge myself creatively on a regular basis, I can get a little testy, and I would imagine most other people who have now been thrust into similar situations are feeling the same way.

Ironically, a couple of the best creative challenges I have seen to help get us off the computer for a bit have come from social media sources.

Printable coloring pages and art challenge templates can keep all levels and ages of artists busy. Image: Lisa Tate

The #SixFanArts and the #ABCFanArt Challenges

Artists from hobbyists to professionals have taken advantage of a free template created by comic artist Melissa Capriglione. The idea was to create six different fan art images based on suggestions from others. Some people have chosen their own characters, others have opened up suggestions to their followers. My daughter and I wrote down suggestions for each other, and it was as fun to see the suggestion as we were drawing them.

You can find the template on Capriglione’s Twitter site at @mcapriglioneart or just from a #SixFanArts image search.

More recently, artist Noah Eisenman has created an #ABCFanArt Challenge, inviting artists to pick favorite fan art coinciding with different letters of the alphabet. There is also a “hashtag” and “heart” to make it extra challenging. An easy place to find his template is on his DeviantArt page.

Print them out, get to drawing or doodling, and share a picture of your results with them as a way to say thanks.

Artist Coloring Pages

Some artists have been offering coloring pages of their popular images for a limited time as a way to help people pass the time during quarantine. These include Otis Frampton, who has been putting out free “Utinni-tastic Coloring Page Super Packs” featuring his Jawas. Brian Kesinger’s “Penned Dragons” coloring book is being offered as a “free gift to earthlings who are doing their part to flatten the curve.” These are to be used for personal use only, but both artists say they would also love everyone to share finished work with them on social media.

Through the end of April, there is also a cool free coloring page from retro artist Tiki Tony, for something a little different.

The creators of Parkeology turned their Disney ride challenge into a virtual challenge, and followers stepped up with fun results. Images: Parkeology’s Twitter and Instagram pages.

The Virtual #ParkeologyChallenge

In March, one family’s homebound Pirates of the Caribbean adventure went viral, and everyone from Disney parks cast members to fans have been recreating rides in their own homes.

The guys behind the original Parkeology Ride Challenge (where people try to ride every ride at Disney World in one day) went in a new direction on April 4 as they challenged people with a Virtual Ride Challenge to recreate favorite ride moments from all their favorite Disney park rides from their own home. People stepped up with some very awesome responses with photos and videos, along with the ones created by Parkeology themselves.

The challenge may have been met, but families can still try out their own ideas from Disney parks or other theme parks.

Once these are done, you can always make up your own challenge. My ten-year-old wanted to see if she could figure out how to make a stop-motion animation using a point-and-shoot digital camera (she actually did it), and my teenager knitted a scarf to see how long it would be if she used one full skein of yarn (it was eight feet). I finally dug out an elaborate paper model I printed out at least six years ago. The pages had been sitting in my craft closet all that time.

Our family has taken advantage of the extra time to hit the YouTube how-tos and dig out old projects that had been gathering dust. Images: Lisa Tate

It seems right now we all have a feeling of “impending Zoom,” with endless online meetings and classes, but it is always nice to know artists and creative people are sharing some chances to lift our spirits with some creative workouts.

Whatever you do to keep busy during this time, stay safe and stay creative.

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