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We've established that the first requirement of creative training is purpose. You need a problem to solve. But that purpose becomes useless if there aren't any restrictions to accompany the problem. There must be obstacles to overcome, for creativity to be needed. It's common for creatives to bamone the restrictions they're given. We've all blamed our lack of creative insight on a budget that was too small or, a timeline that was too tight. But the truth is that restrictions are necessary for creative output.
As a matter of fact, the more restrictive the environment, the more creative the opportunity. Let's illustrate this with an exercise. You're going to need a piece of paper and a writing utensil for the exercise, so if you need to pause the movie to get those items, do so now. You're ready? Good. I'm going to run you through a set of guided squiggles. Your task is to turn four random squiggles into other things. This almost child-like activity is virtually unrestricted unless we alter the rules of the game which, of course we will.
They're just not all going to be nouns. So the first you should do, is to separate your paper into four equal quadrants like this. And then, using your non-dominant hand, the one you don't write with, I want you to create four random squiggles, one in each quadrant. Like this Now that you have your squiggles, you're going to turn each one into something different. And I'm going to tell you what to draw. You can turn the paper at any angle you wish, if it helps you to see the beginning of something else. You're going to have about 15 seconds on each one.
Ready? Turn your first squiggle into a face. Go. Okay, now, turn your second squiggle into a fish. Ready, go. Good.
Now, let's make it a little bit harder. Turn your third squiggle into something that represents the word, dizzy. Ready? Go. Time. Alright. That was a little bit harder, wasn't it? So let's get a little bit more difficult. For your last squiggle, I want you to turn it into something that represents the word. Angry. Ready? Go.
Alright. In this exercise, the purpose remained the same. Turn the squiggle into something else. But the restrictions became gradually more difficult as each theme was presented. Along with the increased restrictions, however, is an increased opportunity to develop a creative solution. The harder the problem, the more creative the solution. I'm betting that your first two squiggles were more artistic. But your last two, were probably more creative. One of the hardest things a creative must do, is to insert restrictions where little exist.
If your goal is creative solutions, you must have obstacles to overcome. If a project isn't restrictive enough, it's imperative that you add more. If you're given more time or resources than you need, reduce them. For example, say you were asked to design a poster and you're able to do anything that you want. Consider adding restrictions such as it can only be two colors or you can only use one typeface. Once we have a problem to solve and the proper restrictions in place, there's only one thing left that we'll need to practice solving problems with relevence and novelty, and that's motivation.
We have to act. Problems rarely solve themselves.
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