How to be creative?

I often get asked how I became so creative? I don’t know that there is just one way you can become creative. And, I don’t think it just happened over night. For me, it began when I was a young child. I practiced through out my life. You can read about my experience here: How did I become so creative?

But wait…you’re not a small child, you say. Have no fear, you can still become creative. You just need to start somewhere, explore, and practice! Today, I will provide a few ideas on how you can get started to find and develop your creativity.

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Why do you want to be creative?

First, we need to decide why you want to be creative. How did this desire come about? Did you wake up one day and say, I want to be creative? Are you on a budget and hope that if you are creative you can stretch your dollar? Did a child’s school assignment spark some interest? Is it a skill you need for your job or soon to be career? Whatever your reason (or why) for wanting to be more creative, it doesn’t really matter. It can, however, affect how dedicated you are to finding and perfecting your creative mind.

After you have recognized your why, it’s now time for a little exploring or trial and error. I say error, but I believe there are no mistakes or errors in art…or at least no mistakes that can’t be fixed 😉 . I have always heard that we learn from our mistakes and with my experiences, I sure have! Exploring a few different mediums is a great way to start and see what makes you light up. You can then move on from there.

**disclaimer** I am in no way being compensated for saying this but since I was a little girl, I have always preferred Crayola brand craft products over any other brand. It is worth the extra $ so you can have the best experience! That being said lets explore.

How to be creative with crayons:

Lets start with a coloring book and some crayons. Oh how I love me a fresh big box of crayons (insert dreamy eyes here). Yeah I know it sounds preschool-ish, but trust me you gotta start here. You need to find that little child inside and what they like. Pick a page and color it in using your crayons. Set a 5-15 minute timer and focus and color until the timer goes off. Don’t worry about technique or color schemes right now, just color. Push hard or light, scribble or color neat, use 1 or all colors, you can even mix colors. Explore all different ways to get the color on the page.

Pick another page and repeat the exercise, but this time before you start coloring, think about the colors you want to use and maybe your favorite technique you discovered in the previous exercise. (TIP* I always outline the area, by pushing firmly, then fill it in, using lighter pressure. (TIP* Outlining the area helps prevent you from coloring outside of the lines). A funny quirk I have…I don’t like to use the same color next to each other.

You can repeat this exercise as many times as you would like or you might know right away this is not for you. You can even do this with blank sheets of paper. Listen to your inner child and follow what your heart wants to do.

Let’s move on to our next medium, markers.

How to be creative with markers:

I love how easily the color goes onto the page with markers. I would color with my markers for hours, until the sides of my hands were colored from rubbing along my art piece (Good thing they are washable). Call me OCD, but I had a specific way I would color and it was so pretty. Once I discovered this technique, I could never color another way again…and still can’t.

Repeat the exercise you did with the crayons, but this time with markers. Try different techniques. Color in short strokes or big long and slow strokes. Color in different directions or in circles. Just play around with it and see what you like. When you find your technique, color another page using only that technique and different color combinations.

Repeat this exercise as many times as you would like until you find your special technique. If you have learned this is not your favorite, then try another medium.

Let’s move on to our next medium, pencils.

How to be creative with pencils:

There are many ways we use pencils. When I was young, I loved doing my homework and “handwriting” assignments (yes we actually practiced handwriting) using a pencil. Not just any pencil, it had to be sharpened, but the tip broken off so it would leave a thick line. And not just any thick line, a deep, dark, leave crumbles of lead behind kind of line. You could probably make another pencil with all the lead on the side of my hand when the writing was done. When I was complete, it looked so pretty with a stark contrast. I loved it!

Little did I know that you can shade with all those lead crumbles from pushing hard. That’s what we are going to do in this next exercise. Using a blank paper and a pencil (sharp or blunt), set a 5-10 minute timer and begin writing or drawing on your paper. Practice using a freshly sharpened pencil or a dull blunt one. Try using different pressures on the pencil or even try holding it a different way. Just explore the different things you can do with a pencil.

When you are done, using your middle finger, rub along all your drawing and writing and watch how easy it is to smear and shade.

Repeat this exercise with a fresh piece of blank paper and the favorite writing technique you discovered previously and keep in mind the areas you want to shade. If you have discovered this technique is not for you, then move on to the next medium.

How to be creative with colored pencils:

You have discovered how fun a pencil can be on paper, now it’s time to explore pencils with color! You will find that the texture of a colored pencil is very different than a lead pencil. And it doesn’t crumble as easily. But color does make it so much more fun! You know the drill by now, set a timer+

Just keep exploring until you find what you like. If you haven’t found what you love or a special technique, it’s ok. keep trying and exploring. Maybe putting color on paper is not your thing. In that case, try exploring different ways to create like painting, wood working, crocheting, sewing, clay, etc. There are several ways to be creative, you just need to find what makes your heart beat!

Good luck, my friend and keep creating!

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