It takes a lot to be creative. Unlike some artistic superstars out there, every word and photo for this blog is a hard fought battle where I have to pull, squeeze and wring from my brain the few drops of gold that are steeping there. But I still persevere and because I think creativity is a muscle, I have been playing around with some books to help me exercise that skill a little bit more.
There is no clearer an example of how necessary working on my 'creativity' is than by witnessing my attempts inside the pages of Doodles A Really Giant Coloring and Doodling Book by Taro Gomi (of Everybody Poops fame).
Exhibit A: Give them arms and legs and imagine that they're having a battle.
My brother saw my drawing on the left of a rather...unprepared and weak looking robot.
Arthur: Jenn, that's not a robot.
Jenn: This is totally a robot. I'm going to color him grey.
Arthur: *sighs and takes my pencil from me* This is a robot!
*starts to draw*
It needs to have razors! Lots of razors. Yeeeaaa.
And this *draws some more*
and these things...
My robot is going to kick your robot's ass.
Jenn: ...OK...but I thought mine was pretty good...
I literally stared at his robot afterwards, just amazed about how he came up with that and wondering why mine was so much more pitiful looking. LOL.
Each page of this large doodle book gives you a prompt with a simple outline for you to complete. I love this book because the prompts are humorous, they remind me of how awful I am at drawing and they force me to be colorful and fun (since you know, I'm always Serious-McSeriousness in real life). This books is so obviously for young children. You can find it in the kid's activities book in the bookstore and the large format and thick black outlines are very suited to those with little to low dexterity or deftness of crayon.
I realized that I couldn't always handle the Doodles level of creative thinking and spontaneous creative output so next I bought, yes, an "adult" coloring book, Enchanted Forest from Johanna Basford. The only thing adult about this is the rather fine drawing patterns where coloring within the lines can be a challenge for small children. Honestly coloring within the lines was a challenge even for me and I quickly realized that eyeliner sharpeners...don't sharpen pencil crayons. Looks like I'll need to buy an actual pencil sharpener because I am seriously running low on sharp green pencil crayons.
I heard these coloring books are supposed to be calming but while I was coloring those two above pages (which took me three hours) all I could think about was how unemployed I was and how I was spending time coloring. I then had a flashback to when I had to color these massive clam shells in pre-school and because I was the slowest colorer, everyone had moved onto story time, and I was left to finish coloring the largest expanse of paper in grey.
Finally, 642 Tiny Things to Write About from the San Francisco Writers Grotto (a more pocket sized companion to the Grotto's original 642 Things) was bought because the creative area where I feel most natural, is with words. Granted, I have yet to perfect spell-checking and editing my blog posts but I remember loving being given random prompts to write essays on during English.
The prompts from this tiny book are brilliant. On this page there is:
Your mom has started online dating. She's going out on four or five dates a week, splitting her time among three men. She wants to tell you more about it than you want to hear. For each man, describe in her words the details that make you uncomfortable...
and on the next there is:
College application time. Explain in one paragraph why you want to attend a historical black college...
Bwahahaha! Aahhh..these things kill me. I don't like the idea of writing in this little book just because its a bit physically awkward but I do have some notebooks I can work the prompts in. Haven't started yet but I'm looking forward to writing some of these up!
Yea, creativity, a hard fought battle and a muscle that needs constant exercise. These books have been pretty fun and maybe you'll be able to flex some of your creativity with these as well.
Do any of these books appeal to you? How do you exercise your creativity?