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Pass The Popcorn And Embrace Your Inner Child!

December 7, 2011

A friend of mine sent me this video. It’s tempting to label it as something that one’s clients need to watch, but we so-called creatives need to watch it, too.

Every illustrator needs a work ethic, but it’s not much good without a play ethic. Here’s the next generation of illustrators to prove it– roll film!!blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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What do you think? Do our best ideas emerge when we’re playing and having fun? Is it possible for the creative process to be too open-ended? Do we need deadlines to help focus our thoughts? Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2011 3:23 PM

    Loved this post and video πŸ™‚ In our world, everyone’s rushing to get things done..but then creativity gets sacrificed!


    • December 7, 2011 9:23 PM

      Well said. Speed is the enemy of reflection, and we need to reflect in order to create. Of course that’s easier to say with a 2-week deadline than “we need it yesterday”… : ) Thanks so much for your kind comment and for stopping by!


  2. robpixaday permalink
    December 7, 2011 3:43 PM

    Oh, YES!!!!!

    Wonderful video!
    “Play” is essential, I think. We all define it differently, though, so it’s tough to manage people and their various versions. Also, it’s tough to predict how long projects will take.

    Open-ended? Umm…to me, that can be another word for”treading water.” Can be, but isn’t necessarily. For me, the ideal is to FEEL like everything’s open-ended and playful, but to KNOW that it isn’t, that things need to happen. That way, I feel free and can “play” but I don’t just wander indefinitely.


    Shhh!! that’s a naughty word to us procrastinators…LOL

    Fabulous post!!

    Would you mind if I post the video on one of my sites, with your site linked and credit given? I don’t know when I’d get to it, but I’d let you know so you could see.


    • December 7, 2011 9:38 PM

      I really like your stated ideal: to feel one has time to play, but to know that “things need to happen.” It’s the kind of balance, the kind of mind game that every creative needs to master– at least those trying to earn a living… : )

      Yes, feel free to repost the video, a link back would be great. Many thanks for sharing your insights! : )


    • robpixaday permalink
      December 13, 2011 11:16 AM

      Aww, thank you.
      Not sure when I will, probably after January 1st. In a bit of upheaval right now, so most of my plans are on hold.
      Will definitely link back. I love this post!!
      AND your site.


  3. December 7, 2011 4:03 PM

    Amen sir! I think we need both- I know I need limits in order to get the job done, but every creative needs to have an idea of how much time they need in order to do their best. I know I will often come back to ‘fix’ or improve something I previously thought was finished…
    Great video!


    • December 7, 2011 9:45 PM

      Amen #2! I also think we need both: time to play around with ideas and work up concepts, and a time limit that forces us to focus and get organized. I don’t think I’d complete many projects without the latter… : (

      And I can identify with your need to keep tweaking things, too. A time limit is a must for us tinker-aholics!! : )


  4. December 7, 2011 8:34 PM

    Those kids have such creative little minds =]

    I agree with what the video mentions of, but as there is limited time to do things, it unfortunately has to be that our minds have to go in working mode straight away to get it done, and most of the time it does work.

    And it’s not like you can say to your client that they have to wait for you to come up with an idea until the creativity sets in, otherwise they’ll just dump you for another designer who’ll do it instantly!

    I’ve had experiences similar to this with my uni modules — the assignments within it only last three weeks until we are set with the next one, and sometimes it’s not good when you get creative block for days at an end and the deadline is very close.

    And is it possible for the creative process to be too open-ended… Well, maybe. Depending if you are working as a team or on your own, but there is a definite limit to ideas coming through. At first it might come one after another, but gradually it will come to a halt. I wonder if those people who filmed the video asked those children to do that process a few more times with the same amount of duration, would they be able to keep drawing out their ideas or would it eventually stop(?).

    But I believe ideas can emerge from anything really: fun, play-time, walking, or just when you’re about to fall asleep :p (which is what sometimes happens to me!)


    • December 7, 2011 10:07 PM

      Good points all. Yes, there aren’t too many creatives who are so successful, so in demand, that they can blithely tell a client: “Patience! I’m a creative, my good man– I need time!!” Well, there aren’t many living at this address, anyway… : )

      Interesting point, too, about how long the kids could keep it up, keep generating ideas. It all looks very neat and simple in a snappy edited video. Still, I think the video’s main point rings true: there’s something about the playful attitude of a child that fosters ideas. They don’t worry about whether they’re “good” or polished or cool– they just have fun and see what pops out. We could all take a lesson there, I think. It’s easy enough to trash the bad ideas later… : )

      Perhaps we get ideas on the edge of sleep because we’re not trying so hard. Perhaps… uh… perhaps… zzzzzzzzzzzzzz : )


  5. December 9, 2011 5:07 PM

    Absolutely agree with the video – now retired I tend to get the best ideas as an Artist by doodling. The art of the doodle is the cradle of creativity in my opinion and when in work I rarely had the time to doodle – or it certainly was limited.
    The results were often obvious, repetitive and boring – but give a little time and suddenly as if magically – tangential and lateral thinking kicks in and gems can appear!

    Good article!


    • December 9, 2011 7:39 PM

      Many thanks for your very perceptive comment. Yes, there’s something very liberating about the lowly doodle. My own tend to look like an ungodly mess, but I suppose that helps give them a certain power: no time to worry about how good or plausible they are, just get them down on scratch paper or a napkin, and worry about the rest later… : )

      “Tangential and lateral thinking”– I must remember that! It sounds so much more impressive than “I stare into space and suddenly I think of something…” : )

      Your work and your blog are both enormously impressive. It’s an honor to have you stop by. Many thanks.


  6. Margie permalink
    December 10, 2011 12:58 PM

    Excellent video! I think creativity often happens in a blink of the eye – time is what is needed to actually move it from our head onto the media (and then see if it works!)


    • December 10, 2011 8:05 PM

      Yes, that was a good video– tho it lacked the excitement of your own Bee Meets Flower animated GIF, if I may say so… : )

      You’ve touched on a key creative point: getting ideas from the head onto the media. I know in my own case, much is often lost in the translation!!

      Always good to see you, Margie– thanks for stopping by.


  7. December 13, 2011 8:44 PM

    Maybe one can also interpret this as leaving things until the last day/hr./min. πŸ™‚

    which is what happened at work with a colleague who sits near me.

    If it isn’t a deadline but more a just vague idea and acting on it. The worse, is not acting on it and the creative idea floats around ….for months.

    It’s a neat video and says so much in little time!


    • December 14, 2011 9:14 AM

      Thanks Jean, excellent point. I shudder to think how many good (but half-formed) ideas are lost because we think, “No big hurry, I’ll work this out later”– and then never do. Waiting till the last minute can be a great motivator, but we seldom do our best work when we start cutting corners. Many thanks for stopping by!


  8. December 14, 2011 2:29 PM

    Marvelous! Great video and I love the quote of creativity in that video.

    Yes, I think our best ideas emerge when we’re playing and having fun because it means no stress at all but enjoyment and excitement.

    Sure we need deadlines.

    The point is how to work without stress or pressure with the deadline.

    Nice article, Mark! πŸ™‚


    • December 14, 2011 9:08 PM

      Thank you for that very kind and perceptive comment, Inge. I do so agree: we need deadlines (hopefully, reasonable ones!) to help us focus and pace ourselves, and at the same time we need to “stay loose” and not let stress short-circuit our creativity– adopting a playful approach to our work can help us there.

      And speaking of enjoyment and excitement– always nice to have you stop by! : )


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