La Coqueta caught up with designer-turned-teacher-entrepreneur David Cole, the founder of Mythical Canvas, a company that creates customisable plimsoll packs for children, encouraging confidence in artistic self-expression.
What inspired you to begin Mythical Canvas?
As a child growing up, some of my earliest memories are when I was being creative. My mum gave me loads of opportunities to do art and this helped my development massively. In school, I was a keen artist but was a perfectionist and my inspirational art teacher would always say that there are 'no mistakes in art', pushing me to take more risks and be more free with my artwork.
This quote stuck with me and has helped me manoeuvre through life, encouraging me to take more risks and follow my dreams. Fear of making mistakes can hold us back from pursuing and achieving our goals, so It is important to encourage children to ‘just go for it' and let them know from a young age that there are no mistakes, just learning opportunities.
I launched Mythical Canvas because I wish to give kids the chance to create something they can be proud of, with the aim to boost their self-confidence, inspiring them to follow their dreams. Art helped me when growing up so with Mythical Canvas I want to give kids that same opportunity, promoting the freedom to be creative in a fun way.
As a teacher, what educational benefits do you find from engaging children with creativity?
I currently teach in a primary school and when teaching, I see the impact that art has on children daily. Throughout the school day, I incorporate art in various subjects so that children are able to express themselves whilst learning. For example, in English, the children use art to help with their creativity when writing, by drawing their characters or doing a collage of their setting. Also, the children find art relaxing and when they are being creative, it is nice to see how engaged and content they are. When we are focussing on an artist and learning a new art technique, I will say “Remember that there are no mistakes in art”. It is nice to see when the children start to adopt this phrase as their confidence begins to grow. This ‘no mistakes in art’ culture in class has boosted the creativity and self-confidence of the children I teach, which makes me proud.
What do you find the most important about nurturing creativity and imagination?
Nurturing creativity and imagination is vital in a child’s development because it can give them the confidence to experiment and take risks. Also, it can make them more resilient when encountering challenges as they are able to imagine possible solutions and find different ways to approach the problem. They can use creativity and imagination throughout life.
Talk us through the ‘No Mistakes in Art’ movement…
The ‘No Mistakes In Art’ movement promotes the belief that there are no mistakes, only learning opportunities. My inspirational art teacher said this to me when I was in school, and this has been the foundation of Mythical Canvas. The movement aims to build a culture where children feel confident enough to express themselves, without limitations. This should be brought to people’s attention because it will have a big impact on children’s’ confidence and their future development.
What does the Mythical Canvas Combo Pack contain?
The Mythical Canvas combo includes: A pair of canvas shoes (that I designed to replicate an artist’s canvas) with a large surface area for children to be creative on, a choice of a set of vibrant fabric pens, a super set of stencils with various shapes, and two pairs of straps so each child can keep being creative. Our Mythical Canvas Special Pack includes all of the above, plus the remaining set of colourful fabric pens and two more pairs of straps.
Tell us about your work with the Prince’s Trust…
When I decided to quit my Graphic Design role at the time and ‘take the leap’ to launch Mythical Canvas I decided to apply for support from the Prince’s Trust, as I wanted assistance in the fundamentals of running a business. Applying for the Prince’s Trust was one of the best decisions I have ever made! During the process of launching Mythical Canvas, their support has been truly amazing. This support has ranged from insightful workshops, to incredible mentors that give priceless advice and love to see Mythical Canvas grow. They continue to offer support to this day.
Do you have any advice for parents that lack confidence with creativity, what are some straightforward exercises they can introduce to their children?
The advice I would give to parents who lack confidence with creativity is to ‘give it a go’ and do some creative activities with their children. Step by step, their confidence will build. Also, children are great motivators and love creative activities with their parents. Parents should try to demonstrate to their children that is okay to not get things perfect and that there is no right or wrong with art. This enables children to gain confidence and in turn, be freer with regards to art and developing their own style.
One straightforward exercise a parent can introduce to their children is for the child to choose their favourite book and read it together. Then, together they can create a setting and introduce a new character, allowing the child to use their imagination. Discuss what could be in the new setting and who the new character would be, then work together to create it. This can be a collage, painting or drawing. Children will love this activity and parents will get to see their confidence and creativity grow.