I love the quote by M. Thomas Inge in his introduction to My Life With Charlie Brown, (2010), where he says:
“Any piece of art that endures, no matter the form or medium, draws on the cumulative traditions that have preceded it, and in turn reshapes and invigorates those traditions with new life and relevance for the future. Schulz did exactly that in Peanuts.”
Trying to develop one’s unique voice, whether as a writer or an artist of any kind, can sometimes feel like a daunting task, particularly when observing the brilliance of those creators who have gone before us.
In Steal Like an Artist, 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, (2012), Austin Kleon provides some relief when he considers the notion that no idea is truly original, and all creating is influenced by that which has preceded. He encourages us to collect many good ideas to be influenced by, and to see ourselves as “part of a creative lineage” in order to feel less alone as we begin our own creating.
Thus we are given permission to draw upon and embrace all the beautiful influences we are passionate about, and to combine them from our own personal perspective, in order to create something ‘new’ which is uniquely our own.
I find this particularly inspiring and freeing, as I pursue my own quest for authentic voice and style.