5. Give yourself deadlines
Deadlines may sound scary, but they can actually be a valuable incentive to get to work and activate your creative impulses. Plan to have something to show for your long day of thinking and daydreaming. This will force you to find inspiration in your immediate surroundings and allow you to feel accomplished. Burrill uses this technique to motivate himself: “when a deadline is approaching it concentrates my mind and I become very focused on getting everything finished in time.”
6. Forget what you’ve done in the past
You may have already created some great work in the past, and you should be proud of that, but it is important to face forward and keep innovating. Getting stuck in older ideas can trap you in a repetitive loop. Burrill believes that “you really need to have a process of creative renewal so that you’re not endlessly remaking the same picture… that’s a trap that illustrators can drop in to.” Try not to limit yourself to your most common theme, or even your chosen medium – venture out and be more versatile.
7. Say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’
After leaving art school, this became Burrill’s mantra – and still is. “Sometimes opportunities come along disguised as something else, you need to learn to look beyond the obvious”, he says. A positive attitude and openness to new projects could lead you to your next creative project.
8. Build your creative network
Working in isolation can be both difficult and dull. Burrill values his creative network immensely as a source of inspiration. His fellow artists teach him new styles and push him to take risks. “Building your creative network starts with your contemporaries, your fellow practitioners of the future. These people will form the core of your creative community, from which a rich ecosystem of creativity will develop.”
9. Remember that conformity is the enemy of creativity
As important as it is to be familiar with what’s going on around you, it is also essential to maintain your individuality as a creator. Burrill works hard at this delicate balance, always keeping in mind that “as soon as you start doing as you are told and following the rules you stop being truly creative.” He knows that “unconventional people are ingenious and inventive”, and always strives to be the “oddball” amongst the crowd.
10. Optimism, energy and enthusiasm make everything happen
One of Burrill’s best-selling posters reads: “Optimism is not always dumb”. The impact of a positive approach to a project is severely underrated. If there is passion and optimism at the core of a project, it is bound to succeed. If you have the energy to make it now, and make it new, you are already on the road to being more creative.