5 Things Creativity

By Nicholas Nesbitt

Nicholas Nesbitt is a Johannesburg based creative specialising in Illustration, Digital Design and Sound Design. These are some of his latest illustrated ramblings. Enjoy :)

1. Creativity is cathartic

Creativity is cathartic, an outlet, similar to going for a run or having a good heart to heart with a trusted friend. It’s a way of releasing creative energy into the real world.

I found my creative outlet when I was a kid. I would draw very crude superhero comics. I would act them out for my family because I was too lazy/probably could not write yet to fill in the speech bubbles. This process helped to lift my mood.

What I did not understand then, was that this process of making something was a healthy way of expressing my inner world. It made me feel valued and I got rewarded with approval for using my talents.


2. Clear your ego

A true creative process can be likened to a meditative state. You lose track of time and space and you fall into that wonderful place called the process.

At some point in this process you might meet the Ego. Beware of the ego. The ego is that little creepy voice in your head that can puff you up or cripple you with doubt, either making your work too arrogant, or because of playing on your insecurities, it stops you from even starting to create.

Try to clear your head of all outcomes positive or negative and lose yourself in the task at hand. Ignore the Ego at all costs and have fun.

Ps. The Ego is a real Dick


3. Wait for the rain

Sometimes it’s difficult to get into a creative state of mind. If you earn your living from being creative it’s often expected of you to turn it on like a tap.

Creativity is like the rain. Sometimes you look up at the sky and there are no clouds, you wait longingly for that thunderstorm to wash over you.

So when the monsoon finally comes you need to be prepared. I try to always keep a sketch book at hand and furiously make the most of the flood before it disappears.

Sometimes the things you gather in those buckets might not be right for the project at hand but putting them down might be a new seed for something exiting to come.


4. Sharpen your sword

If you are experiencing a creative drought, and you feel like procrastinating rather try be productive with your time even if it’s in an uncreative way.

I like to think of this as sharpening your sword. This is the process where you build up your craft so that you can be strong for the challenges that lie ahead. Sort of like a montage of training like in the Rocky movies.

This might mean reading a book on something related to your work or getting out and doing a couple of sketches in the park.

Sometimes this “practice” sparks the inspiration you need and gets the gears rolling again.


5. Be America… Do more, think less

It’s good to have a road map of where you are going but if you are too rigid with this it can become a rule that suffocates your work. It’s ok to flip the script and wing it.

Try to have smaller milestones and don’t think too much about the final outcome. Sometimes you might overlook a beautiful idea because it’s not laid out on the big map.

Remember that creativity should be fun and a release of some sorts. If it feels good, it probably is and overthinking can only do damage to the process.

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