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Identify and Isolate the Variables

In any situation, it helps to know what elements you’re dealing with and what each of those elements contributes to the mix. With that information you can get results you desire more predictably and exert more precise control over the process. This idea is routinely applied in scientific fields where the benefits are clear for all to see. Not solely applicable to areas that are highly technical, it is equally applicable in any creative endeavor. Being analytical is one mode (to be listed among others) of creativity. The art is in knowing when to apply it, not being limited to using it exclusively or avoiding it altogether.

Find more Creativity resources here.

Stimulate your creativity in my workshops.

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Look at Things from Many Perspectives

One of the hallmarks of creativity is the ability to look at things from many perspectives, both conventional and unconventional. Often taking a different tack when engaging a problem reveals dimensions, relationships, insights, and solutions that might otherwise remain hidden. If you’re looking for something new, in order to find it, you have to look in new ways. Spend a little time exploring your options so you can be sure you devote yourself to the best approach available.

Find more Creativity resources here.

Stimulate your creativity in my workshops.

Put It In Writing

May 15, 2009 | 1 Comment

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Put It In Writing

Writing helps clarify thought. Find the words to describe your images and you’ll not only be able to make your work clearer to others, you’ll understand it better yourself. Use one word, one phrase, one sentence, one paragraph, and one page. This sounds simpler than it is. Take the time you need to find the right words. The next time you find yourself called upon to describe your work, you’ll have the words to do so at the tip of your tongue.

Find more Creativity resources here.

Stimulate your creativity in my workshops.

Identify the Core

May 14, 2009 | 1 Comment



Identify the Core

“If you had to eliminate all of your images save one, which one image would you keep?” This is a question I frequently ask my students and myself. It’s not something I recommend you actually do, but answering the question, hard as it is, is always very revealing. Identifying one image that most embodies your vision helps clarify your visual identity. List the strengths of this image. It’s likely these strengths will be present in a majority of your work. These core strengths often provide a foundation you can rely upon and develop further to make your work even stronger. These qualities can also be used to identify your particular passions and concerns. After you identify the image, ask yourself why you chose it. Did you choose an image because it fits other people’s criteria of success? Did you choose an image that has a particular relevance to your personal history? Did you choose an image that evokes a powerful emotion? Did you choose an image that symbolically represents something important to you? Strike up a dialog with your work. You’ll get to know your work and yourself even better.

Find more Creativity resources here.

Stimulate your creativity in my workshops.

Evaluating Success

May 13, 2009 | 1 Comment

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Evaluating Success

Specify your standards for success to help you realize how far you’ve come and when you’ve arrived. Identify your standards before you begin projects. When you see your criteria, you may refine them, setting an even better course. With the clarity that comes from creating and organizing a list, you’ll be more likely to set an effective action plan to achieve each goal. New ideas will emerge!
Here are a few tips to setting standards for success.

1 – Keep it simple. You’ll understand your standards better and be able to share them with others more easily.
2 – Make it measurable. You’ll be able to make more objective evaluations during and after your efforts.
3 – Seek support. Collaborate with others who have additional skills. They’ll be able to help you accomplish specific tasks more successfully. They may also provide you with useful feedback.
4 – Celebrate success. Before moving on, enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and reenergize, both with yourself and with others.
5 – Review and revise. Take time to evaluate your progress both during and after a project. Course correction is both the secret to getting there and to going farther.

Identifying your standards for success doesn’t keep you from exceeding them (quite the opposite), it will help you find useful perspectives and enjoy the successes you have achieved.

Find more Creativity resources here.

Stimulate your creativity in my workshops.

Take A Break

May 12, 2009 | Leave a Comment

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Take a Break
Stuck? Take a break!
When the solution to a problem eludes you … Go for coffee. Take a walk. Take a nap. Sleep on it. Sometimes, you may need to do this for many days in a row.
Often, taking a break works best after you’ve done the necessary preparation or research on a given problem. Get the known (what you know and what others know about a particular challenge) out on the table and into the light of the day. Finding the know will help you find the unknown. You’ll identify all the involved components and become more aware of what’s missing. But, the unknown usually won’t come to you when you are in an analytic state. It usually comes whey you are in a receptive state. Taking a break creates a space that you will fill naturally. Nature abhors a vacuum. Use this to your advantage.
Really let go. Get the problem completely off of your mind (which means out of your field of vision). If you find you can’t stop your mind, do something else with your full attention. You may be so fixated on a problem that to get your mind off it, you have to make yourself do something else that’s entertaining, exciting, or challenging.
You might think letting go is a sign of a lack of commitment or a form of quitting. It’s not. Many times it’s an absolutely necessity. It’s a way of taking a necessary rest. At some point, everyone and everything needs rest – even your mind.
Once you’ve had the experience of benefitting from letting go, doing it again will become easier for you.

Learn to be more creative.

Energize your creative life.

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Think Outside the Box
The box causes you to repeatedly search the same ground and find the same results. The box is usually created by unacknowledged rules of conduct. To think outside the box, you first need to define the box. Solution? List all of your assumptions. While some are created personally, many are inherited culturally. (We all live in many cultures simultaneously – geographic, professional, familial, etc.) Often it’s what seems most obvious that limits you the most. Once these invisible guidelines become visible, you’ll find yourself empowered with new choices. The act of making things visible is a catalyst for change.

Find more Creativity resources here.

Stimulate your creativity in my workshops.

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Learn to Be More Creative

You can learn to be more creative. How? Let me count the ways! Try these five ways for starters. (You’ll find more tips like these in every issue of Insights.)

1 Acknowledge that you are creative and commit yourself to becoming even more creative.
2 Identify your habits; then, consistently and systematically challenge your habits.
3 Become more versatile by expanding your technical and perceptual skill sets.
4 Study ways that other people are creative; practice and adapt those ways to suit your needs.
5 Place yourself in stimulating environments that will prompt you to generate.

Find more Creativity resources here.

Stimulate your creativity in my workshops.

Variations

May 5, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Here’s an excerpt from my article in the current issue of After Capture magazine.

“Once you’ve identified the core concerns, strengths, and weaknesses a body of work your path becomes clearer. Stick to your strong points; repeat them. Eliminate or minimize weaknesses. Introduce small variations of less essential items to add life, complexity, and nuances to the work. Enrich text with subtext. Make a list of possible variations upon the elements that you’ve identified. Consider, different points of view and different combinations of elements. Keep adding to your list as time goes on. It’s likely you’ll generate many more ideas than you can accomplish in a short time. With these options in mind you’ll never run out of ideas to pursue. Pursue only the very best ideas; let the lesser ideas pass you by. How do you evaluate new ideas? Ask yourself some questions. How much repetition leads to saturation (adding more information without adding anything new)? How much variation can you support without losing track of the essential idea and starting a new one? Does including a variation reinforce or distract from the entire body of work and its theme? If it reinforces it, include it. If it distracts from it, set it aside for another use. Quite often these images can start new bodies of work. They can even serve as bridges between related bodies of work. Engaging this process consciously increases the likelihood that you will produce the more significant results both now and in the future. You’ll know what to move forward on and when to move forward. You’ll know what to defer and when to defer it so you don’t get sidetracked …”

Find my PDFs on Creativity here.

Learn these and other core concepts in my workshops.

Bill Atkinson, one of the original authors of the Mac interface and color management expert, offers excellent free resources on his website. His website is so rich you might miss the free color management resources he makes available – targets, profiles, test files. In particular his Profile Test Images file is excellent for evaluating inks, papers, and profiles objectively. These resources are excellent. I recommend them to all of my workshop and seminar participants. I recommend them to you too.

Find the downloads here.

Find out more about Bill here.

Check out his book here.

Check out his photographs here.

Want more? Check out my free downloads here.

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