Would you consider yourself a creative individual?
It can be difficult to exercise creativity when faced with the stress that comes with daily routine and obligations. However, Emily Humberson mentioned in a reflection post that “creativity encourages the ability to think in innovative and original ways- which is absolutely crucial to being successful both in academia and ‘the real world.'” It seems that being creative is beneficial, not only in writing and illustrating comics, but in several aspects of life.
Creativity is thought to be a natural gift bestowed upon certain people. This is simply not the case. Everyone has a fountain of creativity inside of them. However, like any other skill, it is something that takes practice. I found a helpful article by Susan Kersley that listed three ways to get in touch with your creative side. It lists relaxing, visualizing, and experimenting. I decided it would be useful to explain these three practices and relate them to brainstorming comics.
To relax is to become less tense or anxious. In order to accomplish this, it’s important to breathe slowly and deeply. During my freshman year yoga class, breathing techniques proved to be a huge factor in clearing the mind and releasing tension in the body. I remember the instructor would encourage us to inhale until we couldn’t fill our lungs with anymore air, hold it, and then to exhale very slowly until nothing was left. It would help to visualize the energy/stress in certain parts of your body, and to mentally release it. Eventually, when doing these breathing exercises, you should transition into a relaxed state. This will make visualizing and experimenting enjoyable and easier processes.
Kersley states that visualizing requires you to think about your particular project and allow your mind to wander over different ways of completing it. She mentions that you should visualize yourself moving into the scenario you come up with and to note the things that may or may not work for you. It may be helpful to consider a genre that you can see yourself creating, and visualize the tasks necessary in accomplishing it. If you’ve already decided on the genre, or even the story itself, relating your idea to similar works can ease you into more ideas and the possible steps you’ll want to take.
Exercises in Lynda Barry’s book, What It Is, encourage you to visualize memories that have been buried under time and responsibilities, taking you to places in the mind that you may not have visited in years. These exercises are great ways to experiment. It’s important to write all things that come to mind, and to not judge the ideas or feelings that come to you. Kersley says that “sometimes what is needed is just doing anything, even if you are uncertain of the possible outcomes”.
Though at times it may feel like an exclusive talent, the truth is that everyone is capable of acquiring a creative mindset. Utilizing Susan Kersley’s list may assist the creative flow to occur naturally and easily. Relaxing and experimental tasks are necessary in the development of a comic. Creative exercises are beneficial to individuals inside and outside of academia, and promote an opportunity for a successful and unique outcome.