Being an artist of canvas, words or camera isn’t considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs out there, but it can become a danger to ourselves. Whether this be physically or mentally, our passion and involvement for our work can sometimes have crippling rewards. We’re sharing some tips just to remind all of the dreamers out there that you need to look after yourself in order to make your visions a reality.
Water. Water. Water!
Water is underestimated, I am guilty of only drinking the odd glass and refusing to refill it as I’m too deep in the ‘zone’ in my work. By swapping a small glass for a large container (bottle, jug, whatever tickles your fancy) not only encourages you to drink more, but in those moments where your pondering on what to write next you’ll likely take a sip. Refreshing your body equals refreshing the brain and hence, this magical clear liquid has just helped you clear your creative block. We need to be hydrated, we don’t want our creations to be dry so why should the creator be?
Whether you’re scrawling on a typewriter at a desk or contorting yourself around an easel, it’s good to stand up once in a while. I don’t mean this as standing for a few minutes then going back to your seat, I mean create your masterpiece standing up! It is a strange feeling at first as you shift your weight from one foot to the other wondering what the ‘correct’ way of standing is whilst working, but pass that uncomfortable novelty and the rewards are grand. There are many desks out there that now accompany an artist for both sitting and standing (check out gadgetreviews top picks). However, these desks can be costly and if you don’t have a saw and hammer at hand you can make your own temporary stand up desk by using a pile of books. Simply stack them on your desk to a comfortable height and place your instrument on top. Of course please be aware to use sturdy books with a non-slip surface.
Many of the tools that we artists use are actually more harmful to our health than we think. It’s not just oil paints that are toxic, oil paint has always been the most famous as we can smell the chemicals. However, any medium, whether it be paint or pencil or ink can contain harmful substances too, a good tip to remember is that if it’s pigmented – it’s got toxins in it - the heavier the metal in the pigment, the higher the toxicity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there, even for unpigmented mediums (like toner ink) they contain other traces of nasties that can be carcinogenic if handled incorrectly. There are mediums out there that are trying to be more ‘substance-free’ like water-based oil paints and graphite pencils, but they can still be hazardous to our health. To have a (almost) toxic free environment try to keep the tools away from direct skin and food (this includes having your water contained). Have good ventilation whether it’s through an air conditioning unit or an open window (preferably somewhere the toxins can escape); good breathing space is not only good for your physical health but your mental health too, better than that, create your work outdoors there’s plenty of fresh air out there.