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Wednesday 18 July 2012

GUEST POST - How to be more creative: awakening the artist within you

As the saying sort of goes, while the London Mice are away, the Guest Bloggers will play...

We have a couple of very lovely guest bloggers who've agreed to help poor old HK Mouse out while the other two drink Pimms and Smoast (they're insufferable, I apologise on their behalf - can't wait to get them back at the end of August while I'm away and they're desk bound!).

First up, one of our long-time besties, she's practically the fourth mouse anyway - Kimberley Sander, on being more creative...

Some would say creativity is innate, and to an extent I would agree. 

I'm fortunate enough to have inherited my father’s artistic ability, and for that I am eternally grateful. However, without the influences I had growing up, and without the constant usage of that creative epicentre in the left hand side of my brain, I'm pretty certain that my artistic and creative flair would have been left firmly under wraps. 

So yes, like a lot of things, some people have a genetic predisposition to being more creative than others, but a lot of creativity relies on awakening and exercising the left hand side of the brain, meaning there's still hope for those who consider themselves ‘artistically challenged’. When people say: “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”, apart from it making no anatomical sense at all, they are simply being bone idol (pardon the pun), or just disinterested. What they really mean is: “using the left hand side of my brain right now would be like making James Corden run a marathon”. With the right training and advice, James Corden could be in tip top shape and running a marathon in no time. In the same way, with the right training and inspiration, everyone has the potential to be creative! 

There are no rules when it comes to being creative. According to my trusty app (the 2012 equivalent of the oxford dictionary), 'creative' is defined as ‘having the power or quality of creating, resulting from originality of thought and expression’, so without getting too philosophical, creativity is born from imagination and ideas, and one’s ability to express them through the production of something physical or visible. So in order to be creative you must have ideas, and in my experience, ideas come from what we see and do. 

So what about being artistic? Well originally, I would have said that creativity and artistic ability were separate entities, the latter pertaining to a more prescribed set of skills, but both involving the ability to produce a visual representation of ones ideas. According to, 'artistic' is defined as ‘conforming to the standards of art; satisfying aesthetic requirements’. Now, since art doesn’t seem to have many standards these days (controversial I know), and every individual has different aesthetic requirements, it seems to me that is in agreement that everyone does indeed have an artist within.

So for those of you that feel as if you’re drowning in a sea of creative geniuses don’t shy away from giving the left hand side of your brain a brisk stroll, you never know you might surprise yourself, and those quirky comrades that you long to create with.

I leave you with my top six tips on how to be more creative…..

Find your creative personality – Just like fashion, creativity evolves from your own eccentricities. Be bold, be brave and be you. Take your interests, the things you enjoy most, and build your ideas from these, just like you would conjure up your fashion style ideas. I love vintage clothes and furniture, antiques, animals, pretty fabrics, anything to do with old screen printing and block printing, photography, the 1940s and 1950s, architecture, and the list goes on. The things I create are inspired by all of these things.

Look around you and absorb what you see – Ideas come from the things you see, and memories you have, so make sure you keep your eyes open. Take lots of photos and use the photos you take. I am obsessed with taking photos with my smart phone and editing them in instagram to produce photos that in the words of, ‘satisfy my aesthetic requirements’. It is so simple but so effective. And contrary to what some people say, using instagram is not cheating, almost all photographers edit their images to get the required product. Photography takes practise; play around with different subjects and different lighting by taking photos in different settings and at different times of day and then edit away till you get images that satisfy your aesthetic requirements.

Visit interesting places – Good ideas and good photos don’t just develop from nowhere, you need to feed your imagination! Visit art galleries, museums, quirky bars and beautiful buildings. Travel to alien cities and abstract landscapes, and take photos everywhere. Experience drives creativity.

Collect materials – I am a serial hoarder of anything that may come in useful in a creative sense. I collect used wrapping paper, old buttons and cards, scraps of fabric, ribbon, pegs and old photos to name just a few. These odds and ends, along with a craft box full of the essentials, give me scope to create pretty much anything I dream up. Oh and I would be nowhere without my glue gun – a MUST have for any creative endeavour.

Dream up ideas – Use all of your experiences and think up some potential creations. Carry a little notepad with you at all times and write them down, if you are anything like me you will forget them as quickly as they come to you. Use the internet to inspire you; there are lots of arts and crafts blogs out there with hints, tips and ‘how to’ sections to give you a bit of a head start. Anything that you can buy, you can potentially create yourself. Here are some of my favourite sites and blogs to get you started:

Give yourself time to create – Whether this be sitting at home making naughty little mice cake toppers for your friend’s wedding, making cards for all your loved ones' birthdays, making yourself a wedding fascinator, attending life drawing classes, making jewellery from precious metal clay, photographing everything in sight or embarking on an all-day screen printing course. Life in 2012 is hectic; make a little time to give your creative side a workout.

Follow Kim on Twitter @kimberoses

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