Mélanie Mercuri lives in Montreal,Canada and just recently discovered the power of a creative habit!

Q: Mélanie, Tell us about yourself. When do you create? What else fills your days?

A: I am a morning person and a lover of all things water-related. I’m also a believer in human beings, a tea drinker, an avid cyclist and a vivid cheese-hater. I am a 32 year old full-time student putting a lot of time into creating and writing my thesis project on the existential experience of the end of life among people who stop or refuse treatments when they learn that they have a guarded prognosis. I am also a part-time mental health worker for a non-profit organization that offers support for people dealing with anxiety, depression and bipolar disorders.

Q: How did your creative journey start?

A: In order to self-manage my own mental health, I decided last July (yes, 2019!) that I needed to find something new that would take my mind off the effervescence of research and the constant solicitude that my work demands. I’ve always been so impressed (and kind of intimidated) by people who are able to reproduce their reality with a pen on paper. I thought it was some kind of magic talent that you had or not, and that I definitely wasn’t born with. I was so convinced of this that the required art classes in high school were torture for me. I thought it was such a waste of my time and just reinforcement that I wasn’t good at art and that I never wanted to draw again.

Then, in between high school and university, I spent some time studying Cinema which allowed me to start exploring the creative and artistic side of my personality. Shortly after, in 2013, I came across Danny Gregory’s A Kiss Before You Go and The Creative License. I devoured those books with the profound desire to be able to do the same and then discovered Urban Sketchers, but never felt fully ready to jump into the adventure.

I am an avid traveler and had this very vivid desire to be able to create travel sketchbooks, but I never did. This summer, I was in between trips to VietNam and Indonesia and regretted that I didn’t create a travel sketchbook while I traveled. So I went back on Google to see if Danny Gregory had released any new books, which I discovered, and then stumbled upon Sketchbook Skool. I jumped into the How to Draw Without Talent kourse and I’ve been addicted since day one. Now, I see objects, lines, angles, curves, and perspectives totally differently, and it feels very satisfying.

Q: How do you fit art into your life right now?

A: When I introduced myself to the Skool Yard, I met another sketcher from the U.S. as a mentor and we’ve been chatting, supporting and challenging each other since. Every night, we have our little task or subject to sketch and we comment on what the other creates. The learning curve is rapidly going up because I’m committed every single day to try and see something new.

Q: What has your creative practice taught you?

A: This creative practice has taught me discipline, for sure, but also that it is totally okay to try something new even if you fear not being good at it. Just try it! No matter what it is, you might be surprised by the result. These creative challenges bring me outside my comfort zone and reinforce a sense of humility towards life and every new learning process I may undertake in the future. I not only feel like I can try anything, but have also learned to be more patient towards myself.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a brand new artist or someone who’s just recently joined SBS, what would it be?

A: If I had only one thing to suggest, it would be to find a friend that is as enthusiastic and committed as you are and has the same goals and discipline (the mentorship program here is a great way to do this). Together, set yourselves daily challenges or mini goals that are small and realistic that can help you learn and get better with whatever practice, theme, or medium you’re working with. You don’t have to be good at it, you just have to try it. And I promise, you will get better and better! And not only will your skills improve, but you’ll also have a very resourceful and empathetic new art friend. And for that, the practice is totally worth it.

Melanie has made a splash in our community with her enthusiasm and creative curiosity. You can see more of her art here. She reminds us that the Skool Yard is filled with thousands of artist pals and connecting with a new friend might be the key to your next creative challenge!

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