As two artists only a year out of school, we're still trying to figure out how to keep our creative juices flowing without the structure of a class curriculum. To help, we had to get our hands on the newest book by Danielle Krysa, Your Inner Critic is A Big Jerk. She is the mastermind behind The Jealous Curator and has also written the books Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas and Collage: Contemporary Artists Hunt and Gather, Cut and Paste, Mashup and Transform.
The entire book is written in an encouraging, conversational tone that makes the advice feel as if its coming from a concerned and supportive friend who has watched you make an excuse instead of pick up your paintbrush one too many times, and is finally giving you the pep talk you've been waiting for.
While all of the chapters were witty and inspirational, we found the following three hit the closest to home for us:
Chapter One: Everyone Is Creative. Krysa uses this chapter to stress the impact supportive people have on your choice to pursue a creative life, and gives us the compelling example of artist Ian Wallace, whose creative pursuits were encouraged by a school teacher rewarding him with a painting set. This is a strikingly familiar story, as artist John Kissick shared a similar story with us for "I can remember his name clear as day," which also is an exploration of how impactful creative influences can be!
Chapter Three: Labels Are for Canned Peaches Not People. In this chapter, labels we place on ourselves such as "I work in a cubicle" or "I'm a fraud" that keep us from thinking of ourselves as artists are proved untrue once and for all, leaving us all free to be the creative people we really are!
Chapter Seven: No One Can Wrestle the Pencil Out of Your Hand. We agree with this sentiment completely! You are in control of your own creative decisions, and no criticism can stop you from making work, only you can. Krysa creates this strong message by sharing a number of artists' personal experiences of overcoming negative criticism, some even turned it into a positive experience!
A quote from this book we love: "People who I'd assumed had this whole creative thing figured out actually felt just like me - and like you, and every other creative person in the world." Chapter one, p. 10
Also, this book is jam packed with activities and tips meant to get your creative juices flowing and your inner critic packing. Krysa shares a list of "Creative Jumpstarter Ideas" in chapter eight, and chapter four's "Top Ten Rules to Play Within."
The cherry on top of Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk is the witty and quirky illustrations by Martha Rich. If you are looking for some advice to get out of a creative rut or some sympathy to help you recover from some tough criticism, this book will help you believe a creative life you love is within reach!