Warmups are a way to deepen and develop your creative practice.
Do you warm up as part of your creative practice?
Yes, I mean a physical, doing something kind of warmup. Just like you’d do before your workout or sport. I’ve found that spending a few minutes with a warm up activity helps me ease into the more complicated project I’m working on. So, what does a creative warmup look like?
No, Cleaning Up Is Not a Warm Up
Some people clean the studio space or work area before starting but that’s a preparatory activity, not an actual warmup. That’s because creative warmups have specific characteristics.
Directly related– If you’re getting in the mindset to draw, perhaps you want to doodle some little figures and shapes, painting may call for swashing paint around practice papers (I use these in collage projects and the really pretty ones go into my Artist Ephemera Kits) and writing might need a page or two of hand-written free-form journaling. The important thing is that the warmup contain aspects of the creative activity you’re getting ready to start.
Easy and low expectation – A good warmup is easy enough for you to do that you don’t have to think much to execute it and you don’t worry about the outcome or finished result. Before I work on dimensional pieces like mixed media dolls, I like to make tissue paper flowers because they’re easy for me (once I learned how) and I don’t really care how they turn out. Some of them have been pretty but some have been sadly misshapen – either way, I don’t care, so it’s a good warmup.
Fast and simple – Warming up should only take a few minutes with minimal planning and supplies. Keep a warmup kit handy with your favorite materials so you can get started fast. The idea is to get started quickly and involve your hands and mind in a project related activity with a minimum of fuss.
While warming up and project work are both creative acts, larger projects are deeper and more thoughtful. But, sometimes all you have time for in a day is a warmup activity. That’s OK – everyday creativity, no matter how small, is what keeps you moving forward in your creative practice. Just keep making stuff!
Do you have a favorite warmup or is this a new idea for you? I’d love to know!