Maximizeing Creativity

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  09 September 2005
How to enhance creativity,.... hmmmm seems very personal. There are waves of dis, un exinspiration and my personal favorite is to work through them. If you think about what kind of art you are doing there is always work that has to be done that doesn't require inspiration but,... well needs to be done anyhow.

Don't be afraid to make crap, it's necessary, you have to wade through the rubbish to get to the good stuff. I love the line: 'Inspiration is a lady that visits every so often, if she finds idle hands she moves on'. Keep looking at the very best work, the stuff that excites you. Keep busy.

Don't fear not being the best. This entire world is so absorbed with arrivals they forget the journey. The absolutely most important thing is to surprise yourself. A good day is a day when you did something you never thought you could do.

May the force be with you
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys
  09 September 2005
As a fairly prolific artist (musical, visual and written), I have a few of things that I do/have done from time to time that help break me out of creative "ruts". (I very, very rarely have creative blocks).

1. Write down/remember your dreams.

I forget where, but I read this once, and began keeping a dream journal. Since your brain never truly stops functioning, once you've set your mind to writing your dreams down, you begin to remember them more vividly. And, oftentimes, those dreams will show you things your consciousness would cause your to overlook in the waking world.

I built an entire animated television series concept out of a dream I had once. It works.

2. Release all expectations ("freeverse")

Don't try to make anything specific, just start working. See what happens. Don't concentrate on technique, don't worry about what your lines or riffs or sentences look like, just do the first thing that pops into your head, regardless of how much sense it makes. You may discover something new and/or interesting that inspires you to create.

3. Do what you shouldn't do

A lot of artistic training involves learning tricks and tips on how to do things. Instead of worrying about how to do something, try doing exactly what you're not inclined to do. Instead of mixing colors on a pallette, try mixing them as you paint on the canvas. Instead of tweaking your digital brushes, create a painting using a single, large default one. Paint with the mouse instead of the Wacom. It will get your mind moving in a different direction, and free you up to try new things.

4. Take a break

It seems obvious. But when there are tough deadlines to overcome, and a pressing demand for completed works, it's often very difficult to break away and just relax. Force yourself to take an hour or two, a day if possible, to just not worry about things. When you come back, chances are you'll have a whole new outlook on things.

5. Think "what if..."

Try looking at things with a "what if" attitude. You're buying coffee. What if... the coffee is actually an elixir of the immortals? You're eating a sandwich. What if... the sandwich doesn't really exist? This will get your mind moving in different, random directions, and get you thinking in a new way.

These are just a few suggestions. I've considered doing a tutorial thread/series of threads on the creative process, including exercises, but I'm not sure how much of a demand there would be for such a thing, or if I'm really qualified to do so...

  09 September 2005
Keep em coming guys.

I branched out today, decided to go out and prac photography, never done that before, and yet i want to be a good painter. Ha. Anyway, I also did something else that I dont normally do. I jsut walked around and looked at stuff for the sake of it. Looked at fashion designs.

Man, my friend showed me some stuff from that Magna Carta Game, holy shit. THat is some creative inspiration.

I'm gonan go read a book or sumthin.

  09 September 2005
hi Lunatique,

today only i read this thread, Lunatique i liked u r views.

  09 September 2005
another interesting book and a couple of ideas

This book "Art and Fear" is a pretty interesting and quick read. You might find something that speaks to you personally.

The suggestions are very good ones and I think I have used them all. I really do not have many significant creative blocks. I do admit that I am often uncertain about how creative I am but I think that is a different issue.

I find it interesting that while sometimes a quiet walk along a river, stream, or in my case, a mountain path or somewhere out in the desert gives the perfect setting for introspection and is exactly what I need, at other times I need to be almost overwhelmed and bombarded with visual and audio noise. It is really extreme. Sometimes out in the desert, it is so quiet you think you can hear your own heart beating and other times, the noisiest place I can find is what I want. State Fairs, zoos, airports, all these types of places work very well for me. I think it is much the same as "freeverse" mentioned earlier. You go with the flow and let new sounds and sights trigger new ideas.

I always carry a sketchbook. Yeah, I know it sounds trite but it really does work if you approach what you are sketching in the right way. Here are a couple ideas that I find useful.

1. approach you sketchbook in the same way you might a diary by assuming that no one will ever see what you are doing. This is a very liberating idea when you get down to the basics. As soon as you are able to let go of the idea that what you are drawing is for public view, you will quit trying to draw "pretty" pictures. When you do not care what an image looks like, you will really start to draw. Some things will be random scribbles and others will be more refined. It doesn't matter. Of course if you want to show your sketches it is is more the mindset that I think is important.
2. Use bound sketchbooks. Resist the impulse to throw anything away. In the future, you might find the perfect idea in some random pencil/pen doodle.
3. Use a medium that will not hinder quick sketching. I guess everyone has a favorite drawing tool and I have seen beautiful sketches made with about everything imaginable. For me, the perfect sketch tool is a Prismacolor or Stabillo 8046 pencil. Line, tone, dark and light values are all easily accomplished.
4. Never erase.

I guess one last thing is to work through any block. Doesn't mean you shoud not take a quick break but for me, I have found that when things get tough artistically, I am generally learning something even if I am not aware of what it is at the time.

I guess it is different for everyone but there have been some excellent suggestions that I think I will give a try.

  09 September 2005
redaing about history,science,physics,etc. believe it or not.i find myself asking questions like What if my head popped and an eggplant sprang forth,in which the vines of truth grew plentiful ,creativing a matrix of biology,good to the last egad.?....I beleive creativity is bred in all,[even those with mental health,thats a diferenrt conversation though.]but lost int hose who sacrifice it to the horrors of the world..greed,anger,lust,pride,you see where im taking this...........
inner jupiter is the bestest place on earth
  09 September 2005
Originally Posted by PSR: It seems to me, many creative blocks are due to self censorship...

...Another blockage, is the tendency to subordinate or dismiss our own ideas. As no good, or simplistic in comparison to others.

Originally Posted by Kanga: Don't be afraid to make crap, it's necessary, you have to wade through the rubbish to get to the good stuff...

Don't fear not being the best. This entire world is so absorbed with arrivals they forget the journey. The absolutely most important thing is to surprise yourself. A good day is a day when you did something you never thought you could do.

As Kanga said, it is indeed very personal. I like what's been said by both PSR and Kanga. Very nice thoughts.

To me, being creative isn't about being a good artist or not or having some measurable talent. It's something else all together. I believe it's both a process and a trait.

I too think that these creative blocks or self censorship can be helped through freeing ones own thoughts. It certainly can be nurtured through one's own will, but it's also true that certain societies, family members, or even friends can either help the process through encouragement, or hurt it through indifference or even disregarding creativity altogether. I feel fortunate to have been around people who were always encouraging and engaging when it comes to sharing or exploring new ideas or interesting thoughts.

Fear is another one of those demons that must die along with insecurity. Be inspired rather than crawl back into a hole from self pity, or your creativity will rot with you.

Things I found helpful for me:

One may have very interesting thoughts, but these thoughts are lost when time passes. Jot them down or scribble on napkins when it comes to you, however mundane it may seem to you. My brain seems to be most active late at night or very early in the morning. I don't know if there is a biological explanation for this, but I find it to be true for me. You will often find other ideas in the process of doodling and scribbling. Don't doodle or sketch with posting the results in one of these forums in mind. You will inevitably be self sensoring without even realizing it. I wouldn't force it either. If you feel like vegging out, then veggie out. If you want not to think and would rather meditate, then meditate.

Long walks are always good. Moments of quiet or silence will be deafening for those used to living in big cities. For me, it's a necessity. Because I grew up in a big city, I also crave for visual stimulation from time to time. If you live in a big city, simply watching people can be very interesting. If you are able to sketch them, even better. I actually find watching TV depressing. I prefer to watch a good film instead.

I am not into those 'how to be creative' type books and am a skeptic when it comes to those things, but if it helps some people, hey, why not. However, I think it's not a bad idea to do things once in a while that doesn't require following a tutorial. After all, we are not vegetables without any ability to think for ourselves.

In the end, I think it's about each person finding his or her own voice through a process that is unique to each individual.

  09 September 2005
Journey of an Absolute Rookie: Paintings and Sketches

Journey of an Absolute Rookie: Paintings and Sketches at

I'm sure that many of you have seen this, but I found it inspirational and interesting to see the progression of someone's drawing ability. I think the progress he made is impressive and admirable. A good example to follow for aspiring, frustrated illustrators and painters.

Jonathan Hardesty's drawings 3 years ago:
His work now:

He did "bare" his soul for everyone to see his progress. He is currently attending an atelier in South Dakota.

Jonathan Hardesty's web site:
  09 September 2005
I think it also important to be in a kind 'playtime' mentality , it is really easy sometimes just to get wound up and remove the joy from an endeavour, life is short.
Another thing to remember is that the current piece is does not have to represent the sum total of your creative essense.
Which means do as many pieces as possible and bring each to some sort of conclusion, to clarify, stop when you cannot economicaly learn anymore from a piece.
Overworking something can destroy the mind!

  09 September 2005
Originally Posted by depleteD: --Illuminate the mind, insight generation, brainstorm, look for new and different relationships

As a university student, I also lack the time and money to travel. I have found something that allows people to do my traveling for me. I really like that site, I can see stuff from around the world and its easy to click on someone else to see their pictures from a tottaly different part of the world. What do you guys do for insight generation?

As an answer to this very specific issue, I have strong belief that living in a highly culturally active city like New-York, Los-Angeles, London and the like will probably be the best option to burgeon your creativity. It is then your task to take great care of it to make the flowers burst.

Creativity is not a passive thing, you gotta work on it.
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  09 September 2005
BBC Radio Four have just finished broadcasting a three-part series on creativity - it's not a "how-to-be-creative" type programme, but an exploration of what creativity is. You can listen to each 30-minute programme online.

Here's the programme description from the BBC's website

Quote: We make, we create, we paint, we write, we think we discover and we invent. Humans are endlessly creative. From our ability to utter completely new sentences every time we speak to the artistic and scientific genius of Picasso, Shakespeare or Einstein. Do scientists or psychologists know very much about what creativity actually is, or which bit of our brain is in control when we do? In a new series Ian Peacock unravels the myth, science and psychology behind creativity.
  09 September 2005
Talking We are all creative.

Originally Posted by Lunatique: The reason most people place emphasis on skill is because it's something that could be learned and improved on, while creativity is a lot more elusive--in most cases you either have it or you don't. I think there are ways to hone your creativity though, but it's really more of a change of mentality and habits. I'll list some stuff that I think will help:

This sounds like a random roll of the dice. One person happens to grow up to be creative and another is unlucky. I would like to disagree (but just from a friendly manner). I would agree that being creative requires a healthy mind that can effectively think creatively. Doing drugs, not reading, dropping out of school, and watching TV all your life would reck this important thinking muscle. A mind is a horrible thing to waste.

Choice Theory in psychology states that a person can control their thoughts and behaviors by the choices they make. So a person could choose to sit down, and try to be more creative. They could read about the topic, go to school to study the issue, and they could model after others. This theory would mean that everyone has the same chance to develop to the same abilities in being creative. We don't see this happen very often, because it's hard to go from flat creative thinking to something richer and deeper.

Personality Theory in psychology states that a person's thoughts and behaviors are based upon character, experience, and personality. Such as the personality of the child that is carried onto adult hood, and the basic animal instincts that we are born with. We all become scared if there is a loud strange noise. This is basic instinct and we all have it.

I think creativity is a mix of both. We can loose our ability to be creative if we choose to no longer exercise that ability. Still, we can't say that some people have it and some people don't. Because it must be a basic instinct that everyone is born with. If we put a child on an island all his life by himself. He would still show creative abilities in being able to solve life survival problems.

One of the major defining characteristics of being human is being creative. Few animals in the world can solve complex problems, and you need creativity to solve problems.

With all that said. Few people become effective at being creative. They just don't put the effort into developing the ability, and most treat their minds the same way they treat their bodies. They get fat, lazy, and waste away.

EDIT: Sorry guys if I went off topic
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Last edited by mustan9 : 09 September 2005 at 03:47 PM.
  09 September 2005
Originally Posted by mustan9: ..... I would agree that being creative requires a healthy mind that can effectively think creatively. Doing drugs, not reading, dropping out of school, and watching TV all your life would reck this important thinking muscle. A mind is a horrible thing to waste......

Down through the ages many creative geniuses have been absolute beasts and have done much worse than you describe. Defining creativity like art is a circular argument which is many faceted.

Personal creativity is a great thing, the only time you get into trouble is if you try to benchmark it. We are competitive creatures by nature and increasing personal ability is fine. When we start comparing we forget the enjoying part. Clever is the man or woman who loves what they do. This frees up your creativity.

I know some pretty fat creative people.
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys
  09 September 2005
This should be a sticky thread! I found alot of this advice really helpful.
  09 September 2005
I going to the zoo or watching nature shows to be very helpful sometimes.
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