In this chapter I shall attempt to explain the biggest power in the world, a resource as endless as the universe and the coolest thing in your life: your imagination! Your imagination is your most precious resource. It gives life, meaning and purpose to everything. Your imagination drives your perception and how you perceive yourself, your life, and the entire world around you. Knowledge is simply a collection of data stored in your brain. Your imagination is the
dynamic force that transforms this data into usable, powerful skills and bright ideas.
This is how it works in your head Everything starts with your imagination. It shapes the information you take in every day and stores it as your unique knowledge. This knowledge, combined with imagination, makes your perception. But being a clever, perceptive
person is not enough: youâ€™ve got to drum up energy and act on your ideas. In other words, you need to get hands-on and run out into the world and create!
Here is a flowchart of how I see imagination flowing into creativity.
Your ability to form inner visions.
How you understand yourself and the rest of the world.
Your ideas and how you act on them.
Emotions belief and wisdom For sake of completion, I want to add a note about emotions, wisdom and belief. These three magical ingredients need to be in the mix, but it’s such a big area that I will save them for another book specifically about creativity and happiness. Your perception doesn’t only guide your creativity, but also everything you think, feel and believe. It also gives you the ability to make decisions and act with wisdom. Therefore the best investment in life is to develop perception skills…
Imagination first All human progress started with somebody using their imagination. We have gone from cave animals to an organized global civilization capable of flying in the air and making mobile phones. How fantastic is that? This progress needed millions of small steps in form of ideas. Ideas are new. Something not yet in existence. We have to imagine them. Nothing happens without imagination. I have run into many people that I feel have a very narrow understanding of imagination. They think it is about artists and filmmakers who create aliens, dragons and colorThis is a They sample of that they donâ€™t have any imagination Get thethemselves. whole book ful fairies. also claim
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Patterns in your head
Your brain forms habitual patterns which are a disadvantage when you want to be creative.
Your thinking patterns As we grow up, our thinking starts to take on certain patterns. How these patterns turn out is a result of your natural born talents and personality, the people that surround you (family, friends, teachers etc), education and training, your environment and culture, along with incidents and the random stuff which happens to you. Everything leaves a mark in your head.
Everybody has a different pattern but what most people have in common is that they are not terribly creative. Thatâ€™s because the patterns have turned into habits and habits keep you repeating the same things over and over again. In other words, they donâ€™t create new.
I like to think of thoughts like this:
My brain is like a jungle. Around in that jungle my thoughts move around like grazing sheep. Over the years the sheep have worked up a pattern of paths that they like to follow in their search of food.
They stop to eat by the edges of the path and are quite happy with what they find there. The more the sheep walk on them, the more the paths become comfortable, and there always seem to be enough grass by the side. This is what happens to our thoughts. They follow the same paths over and over again because itÂ´s comfortable and seems to be sufficient in our daily lives. But as long as we do that we wonÂ´t create anything new. As you know sheep are not terribly creative. If you want them to create you must force them to leave their paths and get into the jungle. And the best way to achieve this is to put a barrier in their path...
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How to create ideas
In this chapter I will show you how to come up with lots of ideas while drawing, doodling and having tons of fun! There are hundreds of books on the market that will tell you how to get ideas and the myriad of techniques behind it. In fact there is so much material out there, that it may be confusing rather than enlightening. I want to cut through all that and give it to you in one simple idea:
In, around, out! After working with ideas all my life, this is my best model.
It basically works like this: You need to take in information, roll it around in your imagination and get ideas out. So Pudding in this case is your brain. Let me explain in more detail:
IN. Your imagination needs to be fed, and food is everywhere. The whole
world is a smorgasbord of wonderful things that can stimulate, inspire and encourage ideas. The difference between a hotel breakfast buffet and a world inspiration buffet is that you can continue eating endless amounts in the inspiration buffet. Your brain has an capacity bigger than all the stomachs of all the elephants in the whole world.
AROUND. All this raw material now needs to move around in your brain for a while. It’s a bit like clothes in a washing machine or a bunch of people on a rollercoaster. This is a maturing process and can take anything from a few minutes to many years.
OUT. Then it all comes out in the form of ideas. The ideas may jump
out when you least expect it, like when you are relaxing or taking a walk, or they may come as a result of deliberate thinking when alone or with others. Either way, the groundwork that you laid down in the “IN” and “AROUND” part is vital for the quality of the ideas that comes out.
This is idea generation in a nutshell. On top I could add a large number of techniques for this and that, but it’s most important to recognize this simple essence. The process I just explained is a “big picture” description seen in a perspective of a lifespan. The process can also reduced to an hour’s deliberate work, otherwise known as a brainstorm.
You can brainstorm by yourself or in a group. Here is the same model applied to one hour.
IN. Collect all information around the challenge you have set for yourself.
Look at all the aspects of where you are today and where you want to go.
AROUND. Look at how the squiggle twists and turns in and out, flexibly, dynamically, unpredictably and totally open to be filled up with new ideas. Here you can use all kinds of random visuals and techniques to kick you in different directions. Keep doodling and be sensitive to what ideas the doodles is trying to give you.
OUT. Doodle down all the ideas on a separate idea sheet.
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Draw from life Drawing from life is essential for developing picture and creative skills. It is also a very rewarding, and sometimes therapeutic activity. When you draw from life you are free to choose which direction you want to go. In other words, you donâ€™t have to draw things exactly how you see them. What you see is merely a source of information with which you can do whatever you like. You probably remember this model from page 125.
Draw what you see (naturalistic)
Draw the idea of what you see ( symbolic) Simplify, Stylize,
Draw what you feel and associate with the subject (free imagination) Use your subject as a starting point to go on an adventure.
Draw a deliberate exploration of the subject
(abstraction) Approaches, patterns, thinking focuses
Each direction requires its own thinking skills and gives its own set of benefits. If you choose the naturalistic way, you will learn a lot of things about the subject such as how the object is constructed, how it functions and you will discover details you never knew existed. Seeing something in real life - being there - is a much stronger experience than looking at a photo or watching a video. Therefore your drawings are likely to be better if you take the effort to draw from life. The most advanced exercise is to make several drawings as you switch effortlessly between the four main directions, just like a linguist who can hold a fluid conversation in 4 languages at the same time. When you have reached this level, art really starts to be fun!
Itâ€™s good to decide your direction before you start so that you are clear on how you want to do it and what kind of outcome you want.
You can mix thinking directions as well, for special effects, but that is a whole different story. Mostly “life ” sessions are divided in two groups: slow relaxing ones and fast dynamic ones. Slow: Sit down somwhere and get comfortble. Pick a subject that doesn’t move or change like a house or a vase of flowers, and start to draw nice and slowly. Finish the drawing in your own time.
Fast: Here your subject is moving around or changing often so that you need to
work fast and grab opportunities as they come. It can be a group of people sitting at a table or a cat playing around in your garden.
Slow, life drawing exercise 1: Focus on one shape at the time. Put any object in front of you or look at any static object in your environment. Imagine breaking up the object into many individual shapes. Then focus on drawing one shape at the time. It could be the biggest shape or the lowest shape. Then continue to build the object untill its finished. Never mind if the shapes arenâ€™t to correct proportion, just build and enjoy the process.
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