Becoming a Creative

While you may not become Picasso, you can learn creativity

Honestly, I squirm a little bit when someone compliments me with, “You’re so creative!” I used to respond with, “I just follow instructions really well.”

This was not false modesty. The things I knit, paint, play music with, there are instructions. A knitting pattern, a reference picture, music notes on a page– I followed instructions with technical skills I’ve developed.

I’m the type that marvels in art museums because I couldn’t fathom my brain coming up with those things — even if I had the technical skill.

Now — many will say that it’s because I’ve lost my creativity; after all, children are very creative! While that’s true to a certain extent, when I’ve looked over old notebooks…I doodled the alphabet a lot. Not pictures. The alphabet. (I was, and still am, such a nerd.)

So for a long time, I wouldn’t call myself a creative.

But aren’t you a designer?

So how have I learned to be a creative? How could you learn to be one too?

I learned the basics

Learning about hierarchy, grouping, spacing, perspective, consistency, — all are very learnable concepts — and when you have terminology for it, you start to see it everywhere and can learn why it worked and why it doesn’t in different cases.

I studied creativity

I started behaving like a creative

  • Be curious about everything — I read a lot of articles about tons of different fields. I recently picked up a National Geographic subscription. I have apps on my phone I don’t need, but I’m curious to see what others are up to.
  • Give your brain space to be creative — Set a timer for time to get up and go walk, or be bored. Your brain loves to noodle when its given space to.
  • Start a collection of things that inspire you — designers will call them “moodboards” — but essentially I have collections in pinterest, bookmarks, of things that I’ve seen and found. (You only start to build this when you get curious!)

I put myself in and create creative environments

From the books, I have learned exercises and structures for making more of my working sessions creative and I use them! My reluctant coworkers have begun to embrace their own creativity as well.

I practice

Lastly — don’t compare yourself to others.

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Ashley Crutcher is a Digital Designer at InterVarsity located in Madison, WI. She tweets at @ashleyspixels and enjoys cuddling with her furkiddos, working with yarn, ringing handbells, and thinking too much about everything.

Digital Designer

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