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When I created the Kawaii Grad Cap Sticker Pack, I originally wanted to animate them. For various reasons this didn’t work out, but the thought of creating an animated sticker pack never left my mind. I thought about what the next pack could be about, how it could be animated and most importantly, what message it could send. How could I make shareworthy work, that people would care about?
I revisited the advice by Dina Rodriguez, I had heard on Andy J. Pizza‘s Podcast Creative Pep Talk (19:00min), that really resonated with me.
What do you like to do? What are your interests? If you talk about the things you enjoy in your work, other people who like the same things will gravitate naturally towards you.
― DINA RODRIGUEZ
Thinking back, I have always created passion projects that I enjoyed making and that I was proud to share with the world. What was missing from this equation was solving a problem. I always thought of solving a problem, as a business goal separate from creative work. What I didn’t realise was by solving a human problem with my work that it would be elevated from just looking pretty to holding meaning. It’s nice to look at animated characters but the work often didn’t say much beyond pretty.
Think of it this way, if you look at a technically challenging piece of art, perhaps a life-like drawing of a celebrity, you might think, Oh cool, this must have taken the artist days to create. If you look at art that may at first glance not be as labour intensive but carries social commentary that makes you reflect on your life as a whole, you might have a deeper emotional connection to that second piece of work. You might care about it more.
Caring about why I make art, beyond the visual appeal, has led me to create a sticker pack based on one of my passions. Throughout the past month, I have been working on a meditation and mindfulness themed sticker set. I asked myself what helps me to calm down and find balance or how I would want to express a state of mind to someone else, when words fail me. Sometimes it’s hard to share what’s on my mind or express my struggles.
Memes, GIFs and illustrations capture what words cannot communicate. The phrase, An Image Is Worth a Thousand Words, couldn’t be more spot on when it comes to these particular graphical formats.
Mindfulness practice has helped me deal with difficult times in the past. I have shared my mental health journey in my blog post How Do You Stay Balanced, if you would like to learn more about that. The practice has always been a personal passion of mine, but not something I linked with my creative work. By delving deep into what my interests are and what I enjoy in my work, I landed on creating meaningful animated stickers centered around mindfulness.
The joy of creating GIFs and the passion I share for mindfulness and meditation has led me to a niche, that I hope will draw other people who like the same things naturally towards me.
I wanted to include humour in my illustrations, like the anxiety rainbow or the Too Many Tabs Open meme. I wanted to reflect that in the illustration style as well as the visual language. The colours used are based on my brand colours, using coloured outlines to soften the look & feel. It’s more than just a product. It’s a piece of work I care about, that solves a problem for me and ultimately (hopefully) for others too.
The next step in this project, will be animating the stickers and making them available for public use. I will be documenting my journey of this process on the blog, so be sure to check back for updates. This project has challenged me and given me more fulfillment than most of my other passion projects combined. I have found meaning in creating these stickers.
Find your niche and you’ll find yourself.