Learning to Create

The last couple days have had one of those decoupled chains of events that get you thinking. Friday in the office, a co-worker I’ve known for a while asked to try out my iPad and Apple Pencil because he’s seen my visual work. Then another one who didn’t know me asked which apps I used to sketch as I was getting the iPad out. I showed her some of my storyboards I’ve used at work and we talked about note-taking techniques which work for us.

Then yesterday, I was riding to and from mountain biking with a friend in the car. On the way to the trail we talked current events and I told him that what we were discussing reminded me of a Rush song. He sang a few lines from the song without me having to say which one and on the way home, we put the car windows down and listened to Power Windows. During a pause, my friend told me that Rush’s creative process was different than most other bands. Neal Peart lays down the beat with a rough percussion framework and writes the lyrics. Then Alex and Geddy add whatever guitar, bass, and keyboard are needed to bring it to life. It doesn’t start with the lead singer writing the lyrics and going from there.

This morning, I sat down to coffee and Austin Kleon’s newsletter and flipped through a blog titled The Tools Matter and the Tools Don’t Matter. It’s about creative processes and how they’re captured. Everyone has their own process which they need to discover on their own. Imitation is fine because that’s how you learn, but to be told how limits building your own. What’s important is being able to capture ideas at the big picture level and detail them out. Sometimes changing up your process and tools actually helps build new ideas and new approaches.

How my process often, but not always, goes.
How my process often, but not always, goes.
Ideas rarely present themselves fully formed like Athena, goddess of intelligence and wisdom, springing from Zeus’ head. It takes recognition of a concept, initially getting your arms around it, then building it out to its final form… Much like this entry.



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