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Welcome to my online hangout space! I'm Chi - mother, childrenswear designer, founder of 106, blogger ..... Phew! I think I need to lie down. Read more.



Just Do It

The seemingly eternal quest for perfection is such a double-edged sword for a designer. The devil is in the details and I do have a habit of tying myself in knots over them. Could the width of that stitch be any narrower? The colour any brighter? Would that be too gaudy, perhaps? Maybe something a little more subtle would give it the perfect dose of je ne sais quoi. Surely subtle is just another word for boring? This is childrenswear, after all. Shouldn't it be positively bursting with effervescence? Not too much effervescence, though - lest it become too gaudy.


Needless to say, I get thoroughly fed up with listening to these thoughts go round and round in my head. Annie and Tina have written about how cathartic and freeing it can be to let go so I, of course, felt grateful that I was inspired to find a way to do just that.



In my first year as a fashion student, I did quite a bit of life drawing. My illustration tutor felt it would be a great way to understand the human body, how it moved and therefore how to dress it. I had done some life drawing before but this was different. I was encouraged to draw with my left hand, scribble like a child unaccustomed to holding a pencil in their hand and to produce work in such a short space of time that there was little room for over-analyzing - or erasing.




It was probably the most fun I have ever had in an academic setting. We all took turns modelling and churned out reams of wonderfully zany work. I got a few pieces of mine out and taped them to my studio wall as a reminder of the great things that can happen when you Just Do It.

How do you cope with moments of self-doubt? What works for you?

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Reader Comments (12)

I love your sketches, Chi. I can also thoroughly appreciate the left-handed exercise. What an excellent way to get yourself to let go.
Gosh, Chi, I think my biggest flaw is being too self-conscious and full of self doubt. It sometimes stops me right in my tracks and keeps me from moving forward, constantly questioning myself. It's debilitating sometimes, and very frustrating. In fact, I've been looking for a good book to read to aid in this process.
If you learn of anything/something that helps with self-doubt, please send my way. I'm always interested. Thanks for a really great post, Chi! (Sorry to babble on, but I was actually just thinking about all of this today.)

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa

Self-doubt? Wouldn't even know what that is. ;)

Kidding! Of course I'm kidding, who hasn't been sent into a panic of self-doubt at some time or another? You're absolutely right in that the only way to get over it is to just do it. I think I've mentioned before that in Journalism school, in all of my photography courses, I would feel inadequate or like all the other students' work was better than mine. But I couldn't not hand something in each week, so I really just had to tell that little voice in my head to shut up, and continue on with my shooting as usual. Eventually that little voice goes away for a spell.

Your drawings are fabulous. I love the idea of using your other hand to sketch, it must be so freeing! And clearly it worked, if those sketches are any indication! You should open an Etsy shop for just your drawings, people would be clamoring to buy them (I know I would!).

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

First off, Chi, those sketches are absolutely STUNNING. The first one is simply breathtaking. Beautiful. And self-doubt? Ha! A girlfriend and I used to say, "If I'm not going to be hard on myself, who will?"

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Chi, your sketches are really strong. They show they've been done without much analysis. That's exactly what makes them good. The same happens to singers, writers etc. If we clamp up, it shows.. When we connect to our core, the bit that doesn't judge, doesn't worry or 'doesn't care' creates magic!!

How do we get there? With lots and lots and lots of practice and with age and wisdom. Age looks after itself:) but wisdom, of course, comes from a dedication to developing oneself. That's it!

Theresa, there are many self-help books but I believe that you have the answers inside of you and they just need unleashing. I think 'The Artist's Way' is an excellent vehicle to get people to dump their stuff in a journal. Once out, you'll be surprised how liberating it is and how you'll feel unstuck with immediate effect. We all know how great you are but most importantly, you need to know and tap into your own 'confident' self! You can do it, I know that everyone can.

On the subject of finding the work you were meant to do here's another book you might enjoy:Lucia Capacchione's 'Putting your talent to work' I've read most of her books. x

Chi, nice post x

August 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertina

chi your drawings are lovely. I like the yellow one the best but that you've drawn that parka so well, the fur on the hood jumps right off the page.

Sam and I have both been using drawing on the right side of the brain which is just the best book on drawing. It's similar to the left hand thing, you have to draw with your eyes closed, copy upside down pictures, that sort of thing. the results that appear when you're not looking at something literally are extraordinary. i believe I exclaimed 'f*ck me I've just drawn Egon Schiel' after only my third drawing. Try it!

with regards to self doubt, I have a mantra which I've learned over the years of coursework. it is 'productivity trumps self doubt'. simply put, the more I produce, the more confident I become in my output. I often find that I finish a piece of work and don't think it's so good, but then look back at it weeks later and think 'wow, that's actually pretty good. so my advice is finish it, stop fussing and preening, put it away and don't look at it again for a while. And just keep going, keep producing, it's the only way to shut that naughty voice up xxx

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterannie

Just beautiful sketches Chi-You are so talented. I think a good old dose of self doubt is what makes us push beyond the boundary to create something even better. I push myself out of my comfort zone when I'm not sure about my work-my thinking being that because it's a totally new area for me, it's ok to be a beginner and experimente without having to achieve perfection! Cx

August 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercaroline @trend-daily

I love your illustrations Chi, you are really talented. Self-doubt occurs far too often I believe. Why do we have this inability to just be freely in flow ? I completely understand your pain. It's very debilitating. Do you know that I still rarely post any of my posts on my Facebook account for fear and embarrassment?

We really do have to get out of our own way and just do it. As Annie says you have to just keep doing, even in small doses. John Williams Screw Work Lets Play is a good book to read. I don't have it personally but I know he talks about this a lot and calls this voice in your head, your 'top dog' and helps you identify when you get these voices and how to deal with them. When he does the 30 Day Challenge again, you must sign up. I refer back to the info often.

Isn't it just fabulous having this online (and offline) support network between us ? So invaluable xx

August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSam Lennie

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