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The Creative Process is Like Glitter – It’s Everywhere!

You know I love that glitter. I also love people being creative everyday. See how I put those together?

I had the chance to talk about the creative process with my friend and colleague Nicole Fende on her podcast – The Sci-Fi Biz Show – All the Boring Bits Made Better.

First, a little about her show. It really is Sci-Fi for small business and she’s done it brilliantly. Nicole is a numbers person with a profit-making mindset – and she’s immensely creative with a flair for fun. We’ve collaborated for years on various projects and I’m honored to be a guest on her podcast.

We talked about the Creative Process, how it works, and how it underlies every creative act – even the everyday creativity that we may not notice anymore. In listening to the episode I was struck with how much fun we’re having.

Our talk ranged over creative laziness in popular offerings, the brain on creativity, the importance of curiosity, tips to be more creative, the creative process steps and slime. It’s a very digestible 36 minutes  long.

BONUS FUN THING

Every episode starts with a short discussion of a Sci-Fi/fantasy/horror work of the guest’s choice. I chose “The Princess Bride” because it’s fun, positive and THE QUOTES!

You can catch the show on iTunes, your favorite podcast source (I use Stitcher) or download it here.

The Description:

  • The creative process is one of the most misunderstood, overlooked, and underappreciated processes on the planet. Monette Satterfield joins us to discuss this deceptively simple approach. She shares insights on overcoming potential roadblocks, puts the time frame in perspective, and demonstrates how we can use it in business to grow our profit. All with references to the Most Quotable Movie.

A process for creativity – smart or sacrilege? Listen in and decide for yourself.

Find it online:

Check it out and let me know what you think in a comment or a note – I’d love to hear from you!

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Use Stencils for New Complexity and Interest in Your Mixed Media Art Practice

Find new complexity and layers in your mixed media art practice. Stencils add depth and interest to your work. These perfectly sized tag shaped stencils are easy to use and clean.

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Creative Warmups – Flexing Your Creativity

Warmups are a way to deepen and develop your creative practice.

Do you warm up as part of your creative practice?

Yes, I mean a physical, doing something kind of warmup. Just like you’d do before your workout or sport. I’ve found that spending a few minutes with a warm up activity helps me ease into the more complicated project I’m working on. So, what does a creative warmup look like?

No, Cleaning Up Is Not a Warm Up

Some people clean the studio space or work area before starting but that’s a preparatory activity, not an actual warmup. That’s because creative warmups have specific characteristics.

Directly related– If you’re getting in the mindset to draw, perhaps you want to doodle some little figures and shapes, painting may call for swashing paint around practice papers (I use these in collage projects and the really pretty ones go into my Artist Ephemera Kits) and writing might need a page or two of hand-written free-form journaling. The important thing is that the warmup contain aspects of the creative activity you’re getting ready to start.

Easy and low expectation – A good warmup is easy enough for you to do that you don’t have to think much to execute it and you don’t worry about the outcome or finished result. Before I work on dimensional pieces like mixed media dolls, I like to make tissue paper flowers because they’re easy for me (once I learned how) and I don’t really care how they turn out. Some of them have been pretty but some have been sadly misshapen – either way, I don’t care, so it’s a good warmup.

Fast and simple – Warming up should only take a few minutes with minimal planning and supplies. Keep a warmup kit handy with your favorite materials so you can get started fast. The idea is to get started quickly and involve your hands and mind in a project related activity with a minimum of fuss.

Everyday Creativity

While warming up and project work are both creative acts, larger projects are deeper and more thoughtful. But, sometimes all you have time for in a day is a warmup activity. That’s OK – everyday creativity, no matter how small, is what keeps you moving forward in your creative practice. Just keep making stuff!

Do you have a favorite warmup or is this a new idea for you? I’d love to know!

 

Studio Exclusives:

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To Create is To Work – But It’s Joyful Work

 

The good news – creativity can be developed.
The bad news – it takes work.

To create is to work. That’s why art and other creative output is referred to as “artwork” and a “body of work.”

That doesn’t mean the work is drudgery; it can be joyous. But, the nature of creative exploration has to encompass trials, missteps and outright failures or it won’t lead anywhere worth going.

As you expand your creative practice and output, you learn about your chosen craft and how to work within its constraints while bending them to your own vision. This intersection of practical knowledge and experience is where inspiration lives.

The difficulty is persevering on the path to get to that intersection because you don’t get there overnight. It takes time – maybe a few days or a few years, depending on complexity – and the road on the way is sometimes frustrating.

Learning to find reward in the creative process itself is how to remake the work of creating into joy.

How do you find joy in creating even when it doesn’t go as well as you’d like?

 

From the Studio:

 

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The Creative Process in 4 Understandable (but not necessarily easy) Steps

Creative Process Schematic
Click to download

The creative process can be broken down and explained like any other process – from how to produce a slide presentation to fabricating steel thing-a-mummies*. Once you understand the process, you can use it to produce results.

Start

The process starts with a question, problem or challenge. Sometimes it’s a project with a business purpose like an e book or white paper. Other times, it’s in response to a need, either in the market or inside the company, like a non-boring informational video or an instructional course.

Investigation

The investigation phase is about research and gathering information. During this phase, you collect background material, begin to form project goals, make notes and sketches and other ways of recording ideas. Classic brainstorming is often used to illustrate this phase, but that’s only one small part of the process and is insufficient as preparation

Incubation

This is the black box of creativity. You’re not actively searching for a solution, just mulling everything over. The basic ideas and information are there but they need time to form and mature. Because this phase involves both the conscious and subconscious minds, you may not be fully aware of the process.  This is the part of the creative process that is most easily disrupted with distractions, hustle and hurry.

Illumination

The classic Aha! moment. An idea has matured to the point of being consciously grasped and often springs up as a surprise epiphany.  These ideas frequently come at times when your mind is diverted but not wholly absorbed – driving, in the shower, housekeeping, cutting the grass and similar activities. The biggest challenge is capturing the idea immediately before it dissolves, so write it down!

Implementation

The shiny new idea is examined and construction begins. Evaluation is also part of this stage in that you begin to consider the idea for feasibility and it’s often adapted and changed. Then, work begins with writing, drawing, filming, etc.

Caution: Don’t kill good ideas before their time by prematurely examining them. It takes several perfectly good ideas to arrive at one that will be taken to fruition.

Many times you’ll try multiple avenues and even different ideas before you find the one that will lead to the end point you have in mind. These starts and re-starts cycle back through the prior steps in tighter circles as you rework and hone your ideas. This is the most labor intensive phase of the process as well as the most visible to observers.

End

Finally, after first drafts and edits and perhaps even a total do-over, you have your finished project. It almost never looks like the idea you envisioned but it is a fully formed creative product that has never existed before. Time to celebrate!

We all use the creative process in different areas of our lives – from hobbies to home décor. This is a simplified version, but it gives some clarity. Take it a step further into business and get results you’ve only dreamed of that will bring you the business you really want.

If you’ve got a project you’d like to make happen but don’t know how to start, drop me a note and let’s talk about it.

*The Tin Man’s undead cousins.