Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Idea Generating Game

In this TED Talk Shimpei Takahashi teaches us how to have fun coming up with new ideas.  Normally I would now share my takeaway but instead here's a look at my creative process for notetaking.

PS - my takeaway - Come up with a few random words and force connections between them.  The juxtaposition of unrelated words will cause you to have new ideas.

Monday, August 29, 2016

How to Find Your Style and Niche as an Artist

In this video the artist Fieldey discusses how she found her own personal style as an artist.  And here's the take away...

1.  Be Open to Inspiration
It's important to explore different art forms and try out new things to find what it is you are good at and enjoy.  But it's also important to be open to inspiration when you aren't trying to attract it. Sometimes it's the unplanned moments that bring us the greatest insights.

2.  Creative Limitations
It all clicked with Fieldey when she bought a new surf board and decided to paint it.   It was the natural limitations of the project - size limit and style, that created the guidelines that became her own personal Art Style.  

If you are interested in learning more about how limitations can make you more creative, take my class A 100 Days Project for Artistic and Creative Growth.  Use the link for free enrollment while supplies last!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When you Feel Jealous of Other Artists

This Lego movie is awesome and get ready to hate yourself, the maker is only 16 years old.  Sometimes it's hard to look at others good works and not feel lousy about yourself.     I did a post about it here.  When I feel this way, I try to look at the maker as a teacher and see what I can learn from them.   And if that doesn't work try watching funny cat videos until the pain goes away.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Janet Echelman - Lessons in Overcoming Rejection and Challenge

1. Rejection Doesn't Need to Be the End
Echelman was rejected by all 7 art schools that she applied to after college.  But that didn't stop her from becoming an artist.  There are many roads to the same destination.

2.  Creative Challenges
Lack of materials is a problem to solve not an excuse to stop creating.  Echelman might not be creating these wonderful sculptures that she is now known for if her paints had arrived in India.   Challenge yourself to give up your favorite materials and see if your creativity grows.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Follow the Muse or Follow the Trend?

This podcast features Font Designer Mark Simonson.

Here are my takeaways -
1.  Creative Process = Problem Solving
In designing a font, Simonson's creative process takes 2 distinct paths.  As a graphic designer, when he can't find the font he wants, he creates it.  In other words, he's a problem solver just like Book Designer Chip Kidd.

2. Serial Obsession
The second path comes from his varied interests.  Simonson calls these passions his serial obsessions.  He takes a deep dive into a subject only to drop it for the next thing that catches his fancy.  But he believes all of these influences "cross-fertilize" in his mind to create something new.

3.  Follow the Muse or Follow the Trend?
One problem with chasing the trend is, as Simonson puts it using a sports metaphor, "you want to go where the puck is going to be, not where it is now."  And if your art takes time to produce, like font design, then the trend may be gone by the time your done and you'll feel like you've wasted a lot of time on something you didn't really care about in the first place.

4.  Success = Lack of Motivation
One of the biggest hurdles that Simonson faces now is his own success.  He no longer needs to work to pay the bills, so he doesn't feel motivated.  It's not such a bad problem to have but I would suggest his lack of motivation has to do more with needing to meet an external source of expectation such as a deadline than just being financially comfortable.  I recommend the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin if you have the same problem.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Riddle Writing

Kids love punny jokes and riddles.  That's why I incorporate them into the word puzzles that I create for Children's Magazines.  When they solve the puzzle they get the answer to the riddle.

I explain my process for creating unique, visual word puzzles in my FREE class Create Puzzles, Get Published but I don't talk about how I create the riddles I use.  That will soon change, as I've already started work on  my next class that will look at my riddle writing process.

I like to use "recipes" as one method for writing riddles.  Such as
What did one ______ say to the other?  
Fill in the blank with any word and see if it sparks a funny idea.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Creative Resources

13 Online Resources to Break Through Your Creative Block from Wrike

I'm not sure if these websites are Creative Block Busters or Procrastination Destinations but you should definitely check them out.  I'm loving the Times Haiku!  Weirdly it makes me feel like painting... Block Busted.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Creating Customer Experince

In this podcast the hosts go to a pizza place that is known for its excellent pizza and its long wait times.  And they ask is it worth it?  You, on the other hand, might be asking what does this have to do with art and creativity?  A lot it turns out.  The pizza maker is described by his daughter as an artist, making each individual order by hand from scratch.  He puts in skill, quality, caring attention the same way a painter might work a canvas.  But is it worth it for the customer?  In the end, after waiting an hour in the summer heat for their order the hosts decide it's more than just an excellent slice of pizza, it's the whole experience that's worth having.

In your creative endeavors are you creating a piece of work or are you creating an experience?  When I create word puzzles for magazines such as Highlights for Children, I try to keep this in mind. Puzzle + theme + riddle = fun play experience.  Otherwise, they might as well be doing homework and that's not the experience I want to create for the readers.

Interested in learning more about my process for creating Children's Word Puzzles?  Take my FREE class Create Puzzles, Get Published.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Go Big

More inspiration for those of you contemplating a 100 Day Project.

I had a question from a student in my class A 100 Days Project for Artistic and Creative Growth  -
"Instead of working on a small project every day, can I do one large project over the entire 100 days?"

The answer is -
Of course you can.  It's your project, you make the rules.  Ask yourself these questions -
Will this project help me accomplish the goals I hope to achieve for my creative growth?
Is this a large enough project for the entire 100 days?  If not, What will I do next?  How will I continue my creative habit?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Inspiration = Art = Inspiration

While on vacation at the Grand Canyon the Director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab was inspired by the old WPA posters for the National Parks.  That led to this series of posters called Visions of the Future designed to inspire future generations to join NASA and become "architects of the future." 

This poster was designed by David Delgado and Joby Harris.   You can download all the posters for free here.  Read about what inspired each design here.

(WPA = Works Project Administrtaion)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How to Deal with Creative Influence

"Pretend you're in a group show with your influences.  So, you're not copying them, but you're able to show with them."
-Chad Hasegawa

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vote Your Art

Has the Presidential Political Race here in the US motivated you to make some art?  Well, here's a recipe for coming up with inspiration.

And if I can steal a line from one of the candidates...
"A lot of people are saying" you should take one of my SkillShare classes.  Not a member use this link to try a premium membership for just 99 cents.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Gotta Step Up My Pet Photo Game

Just started using instagram... So yeah here's a 100 pictures of my dog.

Take Away
1.  Step Away from the Internet
Just go take a bunch of photos of your pet and decide what you like and what you don't like.  That's the way you'll find your voice, your style.

2.  Good Pet Photography is Good Photography
Everything you know about taking good photos is true for pet photography as well.  The best advice I ever read about taking good photos is get closer.  Where ever you're standing take a giant step forward and your photos will improve.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Be Creative and Make Cool Stuff

Cool Things to notice in this video -

1.  Planning and References
Adam shares many sketches he did during the planning phase.  It's a nice glimpse at his process - very detailed and well thought out before he begins.

2. Attention to Detail
When making the head, he pieced together several pieces of faux fur in order to get the fur to fall in a realistic way.

3.  Lots of What and How
If you're interested in how to make a costume, there's lots of materials talk and hands on demos.  Even if you're not, it's interesting to see the process.  He uses low temp hot glue so that he has the flexibility to make changes later if he's not satisfied.  How can you build in some flexibility to your creative projects?

4.  What story do you want to tell?
He's really concerned with getting the right eyes because it will really show the personality of the bear that he wants portray.

5.  Cool T-Shirt
Wear your passion for all to see.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Terrible Reviews are Good for His Business

Johnny Cupcakes bakery gets terrible reviews on Yelp and that's just the way he likes it.  Because at Johnny Cupcakes he sells t-shirts, not baked goods. (hence the terrible food reviews and the clever advertising.)  The designs, the displays, the packaging all tells the story of a bakery.  More than just a creative brand, it's about creating an experience for the customer.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

Why We Think We Suck

My Take Away from Ira Glass

1.  You wanna be Like Mike
 Remember those old Nike ads?  I'm re-framing Ira's idea as a sports metaphor.  but the idea is the same.  We all want to play basketball like Michael Jordan.   He's one of the best all time players.  That's why we admire him because we recognize his greatness.  But when we start to play we suck. So there's a gap between Jordan's ability and our ability.  We recognize that gap and that makes us feel bad about ourselves so we quit.

2.  Be Like Mike
But Jordan didn't start off playing in the NBA.  He practiced diligently, he developed his work ethic, he shot free throws in his free time over and over again, day after day.  So, don't quit just keep working and you'll get there.   The gap will narrow.

Of course Ira is talking about Creative works and that means the gap in our mind is between where we are now as beginners and where we think we should be aka perfectionism.  But the answer is the same.  Be Like Mike or as Ira puts it, " Do a lot of work...set yourself deadlines...It's going to take a while you just have to fight your way through that."