The creative bicycle

Learning to again ride with poise

It is suggested that certain talents or learnt and nurtured skills always remain with you, regardless of inactivity, disuse or neglect. After a lengthy period of time of near total artistic and illustrative abandonment (in the region of 20 years) personally finding my way once again has proved to be a sometimes difficult and very frustrating experience.

Rediscovering my own original ability, technique, creative vision and conceptual understanding – something that I believe was only significantly constrained by age, inexperience and a lack of opportunity – is proving to be a painful journey in many tangible ways.

Looking back at some of my few retained early illustrations, I now find it hard to recognise myself as the person responsible, such is the feeling of separation over time and the skills apparently forgotten. Most disconcerting is my current inability to artistically ‘see’ as I firmly believe I should – recognising form, shape and volume, together with basic natural competence in conceptualizing, sketching and drawing – a struggle that has knocked me sideways at different points and created a very hollow internal reaction.

As part of the required process to achieve positive results, clear methodologies and specific technical approaches are paramount, particularly when attempting detailed or intricate illustration techniques or complex and involved new software applications. I’ve unpleasantly discovered that it can be rather daunting and regularly discouraging to not automatically grasp and perform the necessary steps, exacerbated as my expectations don’t match initial outcomes, and the navigation through repeated difficulties appears to be full of sizable obstacles.

Believing that all my seemingly lost skills will immediately and magically return may be a direct form of personal deception, however the feeling that they should be more readily apparent at this point of time is genuinely inescapable. In time, with required application, lessons are learned and understanding becomes second nature, but the spectre of unrealised proficiency will likely remain for an extended and unwelcome period. Have you ever found your own creative bicycle no longer riding true?

Note: my sketch used above is taken from the enRICH KIDS book ‘The Big Win’ – head to to check out their range of financial education resources for children.

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