Top 10 Ways to Spark Creativity
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Today we are going to light a fire to your art with some excellent creativity ideas. Wether you have a road block with your painting, or have reached a plateau in your photography, these things will definitely help jolt you back to life. Let’s get into it!
The Struggle is Real Creative Slumps
Some artists do perfectly fine with their creativity and might even have plenty of it flowing through their veins. Others might have too much and become paralyzed, not knowing where to begin. I actually have a friend like that…she wants to try everything. The rest of us might be in a different kind of spot, where creativity comes as a drip here and there; never flowing. That’s why we’ll look at some of the best ways creativity can be sparked. A lot of them I’ve used for myself and they definitely work!
Watch Documentaries Number One
As you all may or may not know, I consider myself a movie buff. Movies by Stanley Kubrick are what inspired me to create artistic visuals. Although these days, there are so many good movies and TV Shows they will most likely distract from creativity, rather than promote it. That’s why I try to limit it to art related documentaries or videos that will help me improve rather than help me briefly escape reality. My consumption of video can be broken down to about 80% educational, and 20% entertainment.
Netflix, as we all know, is loaded with entertainment, but they also have some educational documentaries related to art. One that I enjoyed is “The Creative Brain,” which is different from the BBC documentary with the same title (see Day 168). In the documentary, they talk about how desperation can spark creativity, just like building architectural models creates a space for the imagination to grow. My favorite though generating idea they showed was to surround yourself with imagery. Pictures, models, sticks and stones; anything you find slightly interesting. These will potentially spawn new ideas that you can combine with things that already exist.
YouTube is an excellent source for art documentaries. Just type in your favorite artist and the workd “documentary” and you’ll probably find one. There are also tons of linked documentaries listed in the Virtual Library.
Study the Masters Number Two
It goes without saying that the masters of the present and past can definitely spark our creativity. Whether it’s their mythological paintings (see Day 230 and Day 231), or the lighting in their photos, all of it has the chance to be absorbed into our art.
In this photo by Marco Grob (see #537), we can see how his creative lighting might get our gears turning and inspire us to try it for ourselves. Applying yourself to the spark of inspiration is the key. Application is the fuel that will be ignited by a spark of creativity. Without application, the spark will eventually fizzle out.
Create an Inspiration Board Number Three
Create an inspiration board of your favorite photographers and painters, then make it your desktop image. Currently I’m interested in painting and brush work, so I have a Picasso painting on my desktop that shows really nice brushwork. It inspires me every time I turn on my computer.
You can also have a cork board full of printed paintings or photos that you really like. I’ve printed out photos of Picasso in his studio (he’s currently my virtual mentor – see #425), and a painting by Degas just to continually be inspired by them. Maybe it won’t spark creativity today, but perhaps incrementally it will burst into something a week or month from now when I start to apply it to a new painting.
Folder of Inspiration Number Four
Every year, I create a new inspiration folder. If I see something interesting on the internet or in a movie, I will screenshot it, save it from Google, or take a quick picture, then compile them in a desktop folder. This can be viewed at anytime to spark your creativity, and by the end of the year you’ll have a folder full of inspiring visuals.
You can even use this folder to play as a slideshow in your home, or play while you listen to audio books. You’ll see new drawings, photos, or paintings that pop up and remind you of a technique you wanted to try. Here’s a screenshot of some of the images in my inspiration folder. Lots of variety!
Read Art Books Number Five
Reading art books is a great way to spark creativity. Much like watching documentaries and movies about art, the books can create visuals in your head. I have a catalogue for Picasso paintings and drawings and they get into describing the techniques used in his art, where he was when it was created, what it relates to during the time of his life, etc. Lots of nourishing content that can inspire you to create many things.
Art books might even inspire you to travel to the places where the artists were productive. For instance, if you like Henri Matisse, it might inspire you to travel to Nice, France and visit the Musee Matisse. This trip could then spark even more creativity!
Go For a Walk Number Six
Go on a walk through the mall or in the forest. In a previous article (see Day 168), we cover how going on a walk is a simple activity that allows your brain to flow freely as opposed to thinking deeply about a specific subject. In this case though, going on a walk through your local mall or forest can create visuals that might spark creativity. Do whichever activity better fits your artistic style (see Day 122) and new ideas might develop further.
When I walk through the mall on the way to the gym, I notice things that spark creativity like people, unique fashion styles, and window designs. These small details can then be developed into a new drawing or painting. They don’t even have to be well composed or anything, most of them are just reference photos for potential projects later.
If I’m walking in the forest and I see a tree that has fallen and it’s creating a diagonal, it might inspire me to take a photo of the scene, or even plan a self portrait as seen below.
Recreate Childhood Memories Number Seven
My own creativity tends to overflow into random areas that I’ll never get to, but one important area that I’d like to explore more is childhood memories. These can definitely spark your creativity for a new photo concept or painting.
If there are too many memories to jot down and convert into a piece of work, try to filter it down to the memories that changed a path in your life. A certain job or girlfriend, a person that guided you, or a trip that you went on; any event that had significance. An example for me is when I was probably about 13 years old and the heat went out in our house in the middle of Winter. It was freezing cold, but thankfully my mom had a kerosene furnace for my sisters and I to snuggle up next to.
Sketches like this can be developed further with design techniques and dynamic symmetry to create a painting or drawing that has meaning to you. Yes, I had to make sure I included the Nintendo!
Here’s a more polished version that can be transferred to the canvas. I used the Phi MAD 72 dynamic symmetry grid.
Yearning Desire Number Eight
In the Netflix documentary, they mention that desperation can be a great motivator for creative thinking. This is similar to having a yearning desire. Whether it’s the pursuit of making more money, or goals you’re wanting to achieve in the near future, you will almost be forced to be creative.
Money can be made in all kinds of ways, but when you are desperate and need to think of something fast, you definitely get some new ideas. Wanting to achieve major goals also gets you thinking creatively. How can you accomplish your goal in time? What can you give up or sacrifice to make it happen? What new habit can you implement to achieve your goal in time. You start discecting and looking at every possible option in order to get what you desire.
Say you wanted to create 5,000 paintings in your lifetime, how would you do it with the time you have left? Not so easy to answer, but with some creative thinking it can be done if you really want. Here’s Picasso standing next to dozens of his paintings. Even if you don’t like his art, you have to be amazed by his productivity.
Invite Randomness Number Nine
This could be anything from riding the bus instead of driving, or eating dinner for breakfast. Dunk your donuts into orange juice instead of coffee. Break your routine and try something different for a day. This can also be applied to drawing. Most of us sketch out something first with a concept clear in our mind. In the video below, you’ll see how Feng Zhu creates interesting figures by starting with random scribbles. He uses a simple silhouette to describe each character. When there is minimal details like this, it’s important to try and incorporate an aspective view (see Day 78) in each character.
Make Music Visual Number Ten
To spark creativity, you can also try listening to music then converting it into visual form. We talked about this in another article, where the music inspired the mood of the image (see Day 157). Pick a specific part of an instrumental or something with lyrics, run it through your creative brain and see what comes out. Make it a sketch, photo, sculpture, painting, or cinematography masterpiece. The image below was created in this same exact way with a song by The Glitch Mob.
Well that’s it for today, I hope you’re flowing with inspiration and ready to spark some life back into your art. Do you use any of these already? Are there any methods that you use to spark creativity that aren’t mentioned above? Feel free to comment below and share them with others.
Thanks so much for joining in! See you next time!