The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?
Courtney Macca: Courtney Macca, 24, graphic designer and aspiring illustrator, working as a graphic designer for CBRE in Atlanta, GA.
TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?
CM: At work I produce a lot of proposals and presentations. They're mainly layout driven utilizing type and photography. So to keep things fresh at home, I dabble in illustration and hand lettering. Comparatively, these are much more organic and loose. I've been drawing since I was little, but it wasn't until recently that I realized there was legitimate value to it. It's definitely more than just a hobby to me, so I've been coming up with random, fun projects to explore these skill sets. I've also taken advantage of Skillshare, which I highly recommend. Getting to see into another creative's process is always so inspiring, and it's an excellent way to add tools to your creative toolbox.
TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?
CM: Sometimes when you get home from work, you just don't have the energy to work on your personal projects. Time suddenly feels very precious. It used to bother me, but I try to look at it differently. Sometimes you need to take a break from producing things all-the-time. Instead, I think it's valuable in these instances to allow ideas to stew in the back your mind while you're doing other things. I totally believe that it takes awhile for new concepts and ideas to completely settle in your head. I'm still having epiphanies about concepts I learned in college that are just now clicking with me. So either I'll allow myself a break when I just can't conjure the energy, OR it'll be the perfect motivation to get pretty crafty with my time management and make room for it as soon as I can.
TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?
CM: When the sun is up, I am ready to work! I love being productive in the mornings, especially at work. One all-nighter in college proved to me that I am not a night owl. Working in the morning is also a great motivator to free up the rest of my day and allow room for spontaneity, and sometimes that spontaneity includes creativity striking! I carry a journal or spare pieces of paper to record those ideas. You never know when you're going to get a new project idea.
TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?
CM: I want to collaborate with other designers or illustrators on projects that bring a little more sunshine into the world. What form will that be in? No idea yet! I love connecting with other designers, and that's been a focus of mine since moving to Atlanta from the Pacific Northwest. The creative community out here has been great, and I'm already grateful for the people I've met so far.
TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?
CM: I'm always working on personal projects. One project is called Alliteration Illustrations. I've been coming up with outrageous characters with alliterative names—such as Elroy the Elephant Enthusiast, Vivian the Venerable Vixen and Sally the Sneezing Soothsayer—then illustrating them. This project cracks me up every time I come up with a new name combination, and I hope it entertains others as well. I started drawing these characters two years ago, so the style of the characters have changed, but I'm learning to embrace this organic progression! Ideally I will create a book of the 26 characters.
Last spring I participated in the #The100DayProject for which I did #100Daysof15MinuteFaces where I devoted 15 minutes a day to drawing someone's face. I did friends' faces, characters from books, celebrities and characters from tv shows. The time limit I self-imposed helped to shush my inner critic and pushed me to just MAKE! It was also a great project that I got to do concurrently with hundreds of people around the world! So seeing others' daily projects and getting feedback from them was very motivating.
Just recently, I wrapped up an annual project of mine. I send out a hand lettered valentine every February. It started as a way to stay in touch with my design classmates after graduation but has since extended to a bigger audience. It really highlights my desire to connect and stay connected with others. This was year number 3!
Through every project, I've noticed that my creative process often starts with a word list of some sort which leads into sketches... and from then on it varies project to project! Lists and sketches are always my jam.
TCU: What scares you?
CM: Stagnating! I never want to settle into a routine or stop improving. This is what motivates my personal projects and pushes me to continue to connect with the local creative community.
TCU: What does success mean to you?
CM: Every completed sketch, finished project or energizing brainstorm session fills me with the feeling of success. I celebrate all of the little victories along the way. Every new outlet of creativity fills me with an excited energy, and I'm constantly thriving to reproduce that with more collaborations and new projects.
TCU: Anything else you want to add?
CM: Why waste now? Do the project you're dreaming about, even if the perfectionist in you has some reservations! Make it happen, and keep on creating~ There's a lot of value in trying and falling short rather than putting off pursuits indefinitely. At least that's what I keep telling myself!