Friday, August 9, 2019

Corinna Luyken: Yes, And ... Mistakes, Imperfections, and Improvisation in the Book-Making Process

Author/illustrator Corinna Luyken
Corinna Luyken is the astonishingly talented author and illustrator of The Book of Mistakes and My Heart, and the illustrator of Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse.

She started her talk on improvisation and imperfection in the creative process with a couple of wonderful quotes, including this one from Art & Fear:
"When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what i did at work. I told her I worked at the college—that my job was to teach people how to draw. 
"She said, 'You mean they forget'?"
Corinna talked about love and fear and how they can motivate and affect our work, observing that, "you know you're on to a story that's yours to tell when you feel scared and excited to write it."

She shared one of Elizabeth Gilbert's quotes from Big Magic: "What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success become irrelevant?"

She also showed hard-copy rejection letters going back almost two decades—which makes the wild success of her debut the opposite of an overnight success story. She kept at it because of her love for the work.

"Art is a PRACTICE. It's a PROCESS. And it's messy," she said.

So how do you cultivate a practice?
  • pay attention
  • play
  • embrace mistakes
  • live with uncertainty
When Corinna was in college, she took dance classes and was predictably the worst dancer in the room.

In a dance-improv class, she learned, "There is a freedom that comes from not having your ego attached to something, and to realize that the only reason you're doing something is that you love it."

Through improvisation, she practiced paying attention. Improvising before an audience required she be attentive to all the other dancers on the stage. The idea of "yes, and" in this environment means you don't get to say "no." Otherwise you're killing the creative energy.

From The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

She urged us to pay attention to things that we love and make us feel good, and also things we don't like. And trusting the process means that we don't need to know everything—that we have to be willing to improvise and embrace mistakes.

"It's a very uncomfortable place to be a lot of the time....When I'm experimenting and I don't like what I'm making, which is a significant part of my process, I'm grumpy," she said. And she's starting to trust that part of the process, too.

From My Heart by Corinna Luyken

1 comment:

  1. Hi Martha, Is ART AND FEAr the entire tile of the book? I tried to find in my library catalog, no luck. TY.