It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of tennis and Roger Federer in particular. I enjoyed the Australian Open final over the weekend and read a great post-match quote from Federer: “Be free in your head, be free in your shots, go for it. The brave will be rewarded here.”

I started thinking about how that mindset applies to art and was reminded of another quote from an artist I really admire, Nicholas Wilton: “For me there is this particular kind of poetry in this juxtaposition… that amongst everything we try to control, everything we hold so close in our art and our life that sometimes a kind of beauty can be found by doing just the opposite. And that is to simply just let things go.”

As a technical illustrator my work often requires me to visually explain very “controlled” or well-defined processes and products. There usually isn’t much left to interpretation from a content standpoint. It can be easy to fall into formulaic, rigid solutions to these design problems. So it’s important to remember to stay loose, especially in the beginning of a project. “Letting things go” isn’t only for fine artists splashing bold strokes of color onto a canvas. It can also refer to a unique approach to a design challenge that is only discovered via loose and rapid ideation in the beginning of the creative process. Let it go. As Roger puts it “Be free in your head”.

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