My grade 10 art class are working on a major unit on generating ideas and creativity. To make a long story short, they have to visually represent a theme. They are still currently in the research and planning phase. I know their ideas may be adequate, but more often than not, they will require more breadth and depth. As a teacher, how can I push them to try new things? How can I get them to think outside the box?
If you can get your hands on Nicholas Roukes’ book “Design Synectics: Stimulating Creativity in Design,” I highly recommend it (Davis Publications, Amazon). He offers some enlightening challenges and ways to think. It’s pretty much a staple in the art room. His “Art Synectics” book is good as well.
Within the first few pages of Design Synectics, he gets right in to offer ways to challenge your thinking about your subject. I’ve compiled them below into a document for my students to consider and apply. Feel free to use it if it makes sense to you as well! You can also view the pages via Flickr here.
Following on from my previous post on creativity, inspirational advice etc., I began going through my Diigo bookmarks again reviewing other similar items. I made a list. 40 things I have found useful to get and stay creative. Try not to snicker, but for me, I have found these things helpful and make attempts to remember them. As I try to further learn Adobe Illustrator, I decided to import the list into that. Below you can find my three designs and if you click each picture, it will take you to a higher resolution image on Flickr, where you can download it if you wish. I’m not sure if it is finished, or if I am satisfied, but sometimes it is good just to stop and produce. If you have additional offers or advice, feel free to leave a comment. (Yes, I know I probably could have achieved the same effect and probably gotten it done faster if I simply used Word or Pages)
Here’s a question for you: If you had to come up with an “anti-creativity checklist” for your organization… a checklist guaranteed to stifle imagination, innovation, and out-of-box thinking… a checklist designed specifically for people who want nothing to do with disruptive change… what would your checklist look like? With a wink toward the irreverent, here’s mine. (www.youngmemoon.com)
Even though this video has a business slant, it is interesting and I am considering creating something similar for my art students. (Thanks to @theresamcgeeart for sharing via Twitter)
Jules Feiffer is featured in this video (below) discussing how he developed a style using sharpened dowels. This is great as I have tried using twigs with ink versus pen and ink. It forces you to be more expressive and I recommend this activity with students. Below is a quick 10 minute sketch done with a tree twig and ink. (The video is good too.)
Benoit Philippe contacted me offering the above ebook as a resource. He describes it as:
…a collection of 17 practical exercises for artists. I have learnt some of them over the years and designed some to fulfil my own needs. I am a painter, so most of these exercises are visual ones. However, many of them do not require specific artistic skills and are suitable for anyone regardless of their age or level of artistic ability.
These exercises are varied and you probably already own most of the required materials.
You can use them as warm-up before you start a new project or as a way to explore new avenues. I also hope teachers will use these exercises in their classes as they are great fun.
It inspired me to give it a try as I can see this as something my grade 6 or 7 students would enjoy. At times I wish I was still an elementary classroom teacher as I would use this to inspire creative writing (do the art first and then look at it to see what story comes to them).
First create a line doodle and then start looking for images to fill in. My first photo is the original doodle and the second is the completed piece. Click it to take you to the larger Flickr image. I used B2 sized paper (500mm x 707mm) and marker. There’s also a simple video below showing the stages of development.
I was inspired by this video to try something new with my artwork (thanks Craig R for sharing it). Though it is good to develop personal style, I find myself doing the same thing over and over. With time on my hands I gave the technique a go a few days ago.
The premise is to be influenced through music to explore creativity. I chose “In Sickness and in Health” by The Legendary Pink Dots from their The Whispering Wall album. I had no plan in mind and simply went with it, playing the song over and over for about an hour until the work was complete. It’s harder than it sounds and I doubted myself throughout the whole experience.
My goal was to simply break out of my comfort zone and explore new possibilities and various techniques that I usually don’t use. I used graphite, pastel, ink, coffee, charcoal, gouache, watercolour and collage.
The final piece itself is not a work of art, but a document of an exploration process, something newer art students may struggle with. I recorded the process in the video below and sped it up reducing it from fifty minutes to approximately three (you may also click the photo to take you to the Flickr page).
We are about 2 months into school now. I don’t know about you, but I am BUSY. Swamped actually. Every year seems to grow and get busier and busier. More stuff gets added but it feels like not much is taken out. With this, I ponder if I continue to challenge my students out of their comfort zone in Art. Are they challenging themselves or simply giving me what I want for assessment purposes? Do I encourage them to experiment enough or do I rush them?
I was flipping through some bookmarked videos and stumbled across this one again (video below). Not fully related to what I am writing but it made me wonder if I am understanding my students. I can’t remember who passed it on to me, so apologies. It’s in Japanese with Korean and English subtitles. Some food for thought.