Things to Consider When Starting a New Series of Art

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By Nikka Lindo

Working on a new series of art is not just about merely producing a collection of pieces to add to your portfolio; it entails envisioning the collective impact of the series on both your creative journey and personal growth.

The act of creation is an inherently reflective process, one that requires a willingness to embrace vulnerability and self-expression. Each stroke reflects a facet of your thoughts and emotions, serving as a mirror to the complexities of your psyche and the world around you.

Regardless of size, scale, medium, and number, a well-thought-out and properly executed series is a platform for broader and deeper creative exploration and self-expression.

Finding Inspiration for a New Series of Art and Defining Your Vision

The start of a new series often stems from inspiration drawn from various sources. Wherever you draw inspiration from, it’s important to choose one that resonates with you so you can better translate your thoughts and ideas into your art.

While narrative and context add depth to your work and contribute to how it integrates into your art practice, effectively communicating your art’s conceptual framework enhances engagement and understanding for yourself and the world at large.

Woman Drawing an Artwork in a Sketchpad
Photo by Greta Hoffman from Pexels

Think of it like preparing for a presentation in class or at work; in order to talk about something at length, you need to understand what it is about.

Of course, art is multifaceted; not all art needs to be backed by some profound concept. Art is communication; therefore, all art carries significance—whether it is an exploration of the universe’s unknowns or purely aesthetics. It doesn’t have to be deep, but your intention shapes your work, which requires a clear understanding of its essence. To articulate your vision, you must grasp the underlying themes and messages, if there are any, imbued within your work.

More often than not, some artists produce work solely because it can lead to virality on social media. And that’s totally fine and entirely up to you how you align yourself—but remember, there’s a line between genuine expression and contrived content. Be careful not to tread on the path of disingenuity.

Experimenting With Mediums and Techniques

Jackson Pollock, 1950. Photograph by Hans Namuth. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate.
Jackson Pollock, 1950; photo by Hans Namuth, courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate.

Experimentation is the key to artistic growth and innovation—so find your confidence and go beyond the box. Maybe try out a new surface or switch out your usual medium for something you’ve been meaning to use.

Stepping out of your comfort zone with regard to medium and technique encourages you to explore other avenues of creativity and contributes to your skill as an artist. Often, when working on a new series, artists deliberately select mediums and techniques that align with their work and how they want to portray it.

An excellent example of experimentation in art is Jackson Pollock during his drip painting phase. He discovered he could best approach a painting by positioning the canvas flat on the floor, moving around it, and applying the paint from all sides. In doing so, the spontaneity and dynamism of his performance during the act of painting are reflected on the canvas itself.

Planning and Organization

While your vision informs your whole series, setting specific goals and intentions provides clarity and direction throughout your creative process.

Task blocking helps you manage your time, resources, and workflow effectively—especially if you have other commitments like a 9-to-5 job or other priorities. You mitigate the risk of overwhelming yourself by breaking down your workflow into manageable tasks.

It’s important to note that while having a schedule is beneficial, flexibility is key. Of course, creativity can’t be confined to a rigid timetable. Motivation can arise anytime; sometimes, life gets in the way. It’s more than okay to deviate from your schedule. The purpose of your schedule is to help you stay organized and avoid procrastination, not to restrict your creative flow.

The creative process can also be physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. Incorporating breaks into your schedule, practicing mindfulness, and engaging in other activities that bring you joy helps prevent burnout and maintain artistic vitality.

Iteration, Iteration, Iteration

The creative process is inherently iterative, involving continuous self-evaluation and revision. As an artist, you play the role of your own biggest critic. Critiquing yourself constructively helps you gain valuable insights into your artistic process; this allows you to identify your work’s strengths and weaknesses, pinpointing areas for improvement and refinement.

Person Mixing Oil Paint
Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

One question to consider is, “How does this series differ from the ones I’ve made before?” This comparison between your current and previous series offers a deeper understanding of your trajectory as an artist, helping you identify shifts in style, theme, or technique over time.

However, it’s crucial not to become fixated on this self-evaluation phase. Many artists find themselves trapped in a cycle of perfection paralysis, which can lead to procrastination and hinder the ability to produce new work.

Remembering that nothing is ever perfect is essential, and striving for it is both unattainable and counterproductive. Instead, prioritize progress rather than perfection. Recognize that your only competition is yourself, and celebrate your improvement since your last series.

Seeking Feedback and Learning From It

Feedback, whether it’s from other artists, mentors, non-artist peers, or anons, is invaluable for growth and improvement. While positive feedback can be uplifting and affirming, negative feedback can be discouraging and debilitating.

First, it’s essential to approach negative feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn. While criticism can be difficult to hear, it often contains valuable insights that can help you identify areas for improvement in your work.

Man with Blue Hand Gloves Standing Near Painting on Steel Easel
Photo by Centre for Ageing Better from Pexels

One effective strategy for dealing with negative feedback is to take a step back and evaluate it objectively. Rather than reacting defensively, take the time to consider the feedback carefully and assess its validity. Is there merit to the criticism? Are there aspects of your work that could be improved? By approaching negative input with curiosity and openness, you glean valuable insights that can inform your artistic practice.

But while some criticism may be well-intentioned and constructive, other feedback may be subjective or based on personal preference. Learning to differentiate between helpful criticism and unhelpful negativity is essential for maintaining your confidence and perspective as an artist.

In addition, it’s important to remember that negative feedback does not reflect your worth as an artist. Art is subjective, and not everyone will respond positively to your work. Instead of letting negative feedback undermine your confidence, use it as a motivator.

Putting Your Words Into Action

Each work in a series is a manifestation of your evolution or departure from the familiar and your old self. So, to all the artists, I say: go and do!


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