Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Be creative

What’s your style?

The Artdog Image of Interest

Bryant Arnold’s cartoon creates a great picture of how functions of the left and right sides of the human brain have been understood.

When I was a beginning artist and art teacher, theories about brain-sidedness had just begun to be popularized. I remember reading the first edition of Betty Edwards’ book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (now in its 4th edition), and having my mind completely blown (as we used to say). Yes, I’ve already admitted I’m older than dirt in earlier posts. I stand by it.

Thoughts about brain-sidedness have shifted since then. There is not as clear a dichotomy as this image suggests, humans being humans, and cognitive processes being notoriously hard to pin down.

And yet.

As a teacher, I’ve no doubt whatsoever that different people learn in different ways. Interpretations of multiple intelligences or different styles of learning vary by theorist (or by who’s putting together a new book and needs a new angle). But the fact remains that not everyone learns in the same way.

Whatever your style of learning, graduating from school doesn’t make your learning style change or go away. The more you can learn about yourself and how you relate to the world, the more creative you’ll be empowered to be!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Bryant Arnold, of Cartoon A Day, for the use of this image he created in 2012.

Why unleash divergent thinking on the world?

My guiding theme this month is activating and expanding our creativity. Certainly there are many ways to do this, and what’s ideal for one creative mind won’t be timed well or presented effectively for another and their stage of growth. With creativity, it’s far more a matter of guidelines than rules.

But however you slice it, play it, or try to sneak up on it, creativity generally involves divergent thinking. in a divergent thinking process, you don’t follow a single logic chain, you come up with a bunch of different possible answers to the question you started with. 

If this sounds like brainstorming to you, there’s a good reason. The whole point of brainstorming is to bypass the convention-bound internal editor or censor we all carry around with us in our minds, and free up divergent ideas. That’s why “there are no wrong answers” and “there are no stupid ideas” when you’re brainstorming.

The process has kinship to quick, unplanned sketches for artistsimprov for actors, or writing first drafts for writers (especially those who identify as “pantsers“).

Why unleash divergent thinking on the world? Because you never know what you’ll think of next. Or what some other divergent thinker, in any blend of disciplines under the sun, might think of next. Or how it might be applied. As John Spencer points out in this video on inspiring students to be innovators, the possibilities are endless.

Let’s just please try to use our creative powers of divergent thinking for good, okay?

IMAGES: Many thanks to Benjamin Riollet’s “Wit & Delight” Tumblr for the “answer with this abstract shape” image, and John Spencer’s YouTube Channel for the “I want to see students become innovators” video. I appreciate you both!

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