- Create a wish list. Make a catalogue of things you would like for your next birthday, Christmas or other event.
- Take a photo of important information like a list of phone numbers, your Christmas card list, something you need to remember later and so on. Take a photo of your shopping list so you can send it to yourself if you forget the list at home.
- Keep an idea file with photos of things you have seen and would like to make yourself. Or a hairstyle you would like next time you are getting a trim.
- Photograph collections of things. An especially effective way to deal with clutter from collecting too many things. Choose which you really want to keep and photograph the collection before you disperse the rest.
- Play scavenger hunt with friends or family. Photograph something specific in your home or town and challenge others to find the item or place you photographed.
- Turn a photo into a jigsaw puzzle instead of the more traditional greeting card sent for events, holidays and such occasions.
- Become a photojournalist and collect all your photos to tell a story.
- Use your photos for digital scrapbooking and keeping an art journal.
- Choose something interesting or unique and take a photo of a day, create a series. See if you can take a photo a day for a full month, even a full year.
- Take photos in black and white and see how different people, places and things look in shades of grey.
- Photograph collections of things by colour. Display items of all sorts, but all of them are red, for instance.
- Photograph the same place at sunset and again at sunrise, make sure you have the camera positioned in the same spot for both photographs.
- Practice portrait photography using dolls, stuffed animals and other inanimate toys with faces. Pose them and sort them in patterns and try different light and shadows too.
- Photograph reflections in windows, water and anything else creative. Mirrors don’t really count, too easy.
- Try night photography. Make the most of available light or explore the flash features (avoid washed out photos from flash).
- Take selfie photos. Explore new ways to take quick self portraits.
- Photograph people with different facial expressions. Start a collection.
- Create a household inventory. Useful for insurance but a good way to go through what you have and sort it out.
- Take a photo of old photos and other things which will fade with time. A digital photo can keep them fresh, preserved.
- Photograph your luggage when you travel. If anything goes missing you can show just what you had when you started out.
- Play with macro and close up photos. Insects are a good challenge, interesting and not hard to find out in the garden. Flowers and plants are popular for up close pictures too.
- Photograph anything you would like to sell and post the photo to online forums where people are buying.
- Try street photography. If you’re too shy find a good place to people watch and pretend you’re checking your camera while you take the photos.
- Try food photography. Learn how to display fruit, vegetables and home baked goodies for taking great images.
- Take photos by candlelight. Make them romantic or spooky.
- Try urban exploration, taking a photo of something forgotten or derelict in your area.
- Play with focus. Focus on items near and then try the same photo with the focus on something in the background.
- Try catching a water drop and the ripples they create in the standing water.
- Go abstract, looking for interesting shapes, textures and colours to turn into unique images.
- Take a drive and get into landscape and nature photography. Or, find a great spot where you can take a photo of the cityscape for your town/ city.
Use familiar stuff in a new environment
This is easy. Take your show on the road. If you draw mandalas at night before bed, draw at a cafe. If you mostly shoot photos of your kids, photograph iron gates or weathered doors. If guitar is your thing, get friends together to play at your house.
Use new stuff in a familiar way
Build on something you know how to do. If you paint flowers with watercolors, paint the same subject with acrylics. Shoot a roll of black + white film instead of digitals. Sketch with thick markers rather than a black pen. Make orange-spiced pecan muffins instead of blueberry-walnut.
Use familiar stuff in a new way
This means playing with your materials! If you know do mono-printing with a rubber brayer, use a brayer to make an art journal background. If you embroider on aprons, try stitching on an art journal page.
Explore completely new stuff
What sparks your curiosity? What would you try if failure was irrelevant, just to try it? If knitting is your passion, experiment by making a bracelet with FIMO polymer clay. If you design digital graphics, try pottery or learn to knit a scarf. If you usually play guitar, try painting with watercolors. For me, freestyle embroidery was intriguing yet out of my comfort zone. You can also pursue this idea by taking a class ~ you can find a course (web or live) in hand dying fiber, photography, photoshop, watercolor, ceramics, jewelry making, sewing, guitar, sculpturing recycled junk, making bread.
Read all the posts from past Creative Experiments on Daisy Yellow.
What to Write
Any time you are not sure what to write or just can’t seem to get started – read back your last post to the journal and comment on it. Did you meet any goals, achieve something or did the day you expected turn out completely different from what you had written?
Write with Pen and Paper
Take a break from the computer, sit in a different chair and use a different table when you write your journal. Buy yourself a paper notebook with blank pages for you to fill. Pick a pen with a nice flow and even a pretty colour of ink to write with. (Blue ink can be pretty – there are all kinds of shades of blue ink in pens once you try out a few of them).
There are endless books created to be journals. You can go to a book store and look at a display full of them. Pick something appealing to you. While you’re there pick out a bookmark too. Not that you really need one but it’s nice to have something to mark the page you last wrote and the new one where you will write again.
There is a nice feeling when you actually write with a pen on paper. Plus you will be practising your penmanship. keeping cursive writing alive and working through writer’s cramp rather than losing those muscles and that hand dexterity.
Writing Every Day, or Not
There are those who believe a journal or diary must be written in every day. That’s a lot to stick with. I know from my own experience how tough it is to stick with a schedule/ plan like that.
However, writing everyday does give you writing discipline. You can get into the habit of writing each day and then it does become easier. You will even find yourself composing your daily journal entry as you get up in the morning, on the drive into work or while you’re doing something routine like brushing your teeth. Then all you need to do is sit down long enough to write it all out.
Putting thoughts on paper is a great way to sort out all the stuff going on in your head. We think about so many things, get so many ideas and plans and then poof, they’re gone as we get busy with something else. Keeping a daily diary is a good way to keep track, solidify, and give more respect to your ideas, thoughts and plans.
As you sort out and give some real space to everything in your head you will find your mind become a little better at organizing everything going on in there. You can define your thoughts as you have to work out just what they are and how they could work in order to put them on paper.
Of course, there is no law saying you have to write in your journal or diary every day. So don’t take it so seriously you end up not writing at all because you feel you haven’t done enough with keeping the journal. It’s there, waiting for you, when ever you come back for it. A journal is just a notebook, a collection of pages, it doesn’t blame you or want you to feel obligated to it.
To Edit or Not to Edit
This is such a tricky thing. I did go back and edit some of my old diary posts. I regret it and yet, those edits are part of the history of my diaries now too. I still feel I should have just left them as I originally wrote them, however. I can never go back in time and be the person I was at the time I wrote them. It seems just a bit snarky to criticize or correct myself in any way.
Of course, some of what I wrote were not so much edits as comments based on how things turned out as time went by. The comments are pretty cool really. Now, even more time has gone by and I have yet another perspective on both the original post and the comments I made on it somewhere in between then and now.
One of the good things about keeping a journal/ diary on paper is that you can’t so easily delete your old posts. Online you can make a quick decision to edit or delete something and it will be lost and gone forever.
Extra Tips for Diary/ Journal Writing
If you’ve been keeping a journal. or diary, for awhile it can become a little stale just talking to yourself, the same monologue. Here are some ways to perk your journal writing back up and make it something you can look forward to again.
Start with a diary you like. Shop for a pretty or interesting blank book or make a cover (and even pages) of your own. Or, you might use an online diary and begin on a site like Open Diary, LiveJournal or Blogger.
If you really want to write every day, do it. Keeping a writing schedule is a great way to boost your creativity and discipline yourself to write.
If you don’t want to be a disciplined writer versus a creative writer then don’t push yourself to write ever day.
Whether you write daily or not, don’t always write a long post. Give yourself quick days so you don’t feel chained to your diary. Then, when you have something to say and really do want to write about your feelings, thoughts, ideas and happenings in your life, do so. Give yourself all the space you want to explore your own self.
Have fun with your journal. Draw in it, sketch, stick souvenirs or stickers inside the pages, Turn each fresh page into something uniquely you and don’t be too timid about trying something new. This is your diary, your journal, all the rules are your own to set, or even ignore when you choose to.
Be emotional. In life we are told to be nice, not to be too sensitive and not to get so angry. However, in your diary you can vent, you can pour out sadness, grief, envy, anger, bitterness, jealousy, loneliness, hopeless feelings – any and all feelings can leak out from your fingers, into your pen or your keyboard and onto the fresh white page. This is your place to be emotional and not be judged or told what you should feel.
Always remember this is your adventure on paper. Write it your way.
Don’t always write in the same place or at the same time. Take your diary on the road. Go out to the coffee shop, the mall food court, anywhere you can find a decent place to write. Don’t always look for quiet and solitude. There’s something kind of special, romantic and even mysterious about being a writer right out there where everyone can see you.
You don’t have to use your best penmanship. As long as you can understand our own grammar, spelling and punctuation, that’s all that really matters. (Maybe some day your diary will become a big, best seller) but right now it’s all just your own message in a bottle to yourself. Make mistakes, get messy and don’t go back and fix everything.
If you write with paper and pen take some time to try a few different kinds of pens. Experiment with ink colours, thick or thin nibs and different kind of grips on the pen itself. It’s really nice to have a pen that completely suits your writing style.
Write with pencil if you find yourself wanting to sketch or go back and fix your spelling.
Not everything in your diary has to come from your own brain. If you come across a quote by someone else stick it in the pages too. Write about why you like it, what was special about it for you.
Inspiration, Prompts and Articles for Diary Writers
- Online diary – Wikipedia
- An Introduction to Journal Writing | D*I*Y Planner
- Writing The Journey: Online Journal Writing Workshop
- Scribe Time
- The Center for Journal Therapy
- Journal For You!
- Inspired To Journal
- Daydreaming on Paper
- Journals | BellaOnline
Diary Groups and Projects
- International Association for Journal Writing
- Flickr: visual journals
- Flickr: Drawing Journal
- The Diary Project
- The Online Diary History Project
14 Reasons Why Artists Keep Visual Journals.
April 13th, 2005
Keeping a visual journal helps the artist develop a sense of self–discipline. By drawing in your journal everyday you are developing the habit of creativity. The drawings can be ever so simple and as time goes by you will have developed a repertoire and a visual source book. When the time comes to design a long term drawing, a painting or sculpture you will have a wealth of ideas available and you will have developed your skills so that drawing up your design is just a matter of applying what you have learned.
The chronological nature of the journal means that you are automatically recording your personal improvement. By recording trouble spots that need attention you are creating a path for yourself to follow. Because the internet is such a rich source of instruction and example you should put aside time to go online to find out what the solution to your artistic problems may be. Once you have collected a variety of examples and ideas use them to work out a personal solution by trying out all that you have seen. This process will nurture your artistic development and help you develop a sense of direction.
A journal can become for you a ‘place’ where you can work out what themes are developing on the journey. As issues, questions and ideas develop ‘go with them’ and let them give you direction. Themes are good because they give you a dialogue and point of interest. This can be a good starting point for discussions with other artists and fellow students.
It is always good when you are presenting your work to be able to fit it into a theme. Many exhibitions are grouped in this way. The working out of a theme also gives the artist a sense of completion when that thematic response has been followed to its logical conclusion.
Style is a process of evolution. When you begin keeping your journal you may not even know what your preferred style is. As you develop on a daily basis a personal style will emerge. Dialogue with that style. Ask your self why you have gone in this direction? Does it make it easier? Can you see patterns and relationships? Do you know what is influencing you? Write you’re self-questioning down in your journal as you go it will make interesting reading in years to come.
Once you have begun to develop the habit of creativity you will also have begun developing an intuitive awareness. You will see things that stimulate curiosity and provoke fresh and new ideas. You will not be able to keep up with them. Jot them down. Keep your journal at hand at all times. Make sure you always keep it handy and small enough to fit into any bag or in the glove box of the car. Draw everything that catches the eye. Later you will be excited by all of the things you have gathered as source material that you would have forgotten about entirely if you had not recorded them in the minute. Collect ideas by jotting them down (scribble neatness doesn’t count) come back to them at a later date when that intuition or inspiration becomes relevant to the work at hand. If notes aren’t taken at the time…the thoughts may be lost forever.
Everybody has artistic talent and can be good at drawing. You only have to tune in to the creative, intuitive and artistic side of the brain – the right side – and you will be able to draw accurate and imaginative portraits, landscapes, still lifes.
Regard your journal as your personal safe place. A collection of experimentations. No one should be looking over your shoulder …it is your space for trying out techniques in a non-threatened way before committing to a more public form of artwork.
It is also a means of communication, a holding place for ideas to share with other artists and students who wish to learn. So keep it with you when mingling with other artists. If you are making preparations for submissions or to win contracts make sure you are keeping your notes in this way as it can facilitate discussion at a later date if this becomes necessary.
Your journal is your note-takers paradise … as a place where ideas can be kept in the written form as well as visually… Keep the writing short and precise but do write down any ideas that come to your head as we often forget what stimulated our visual inspirations and the writing may be useful. Supplement your scribbles with poems, haikus, prose, and songs what ever is helping shape your thoughts and ideas at the time is relevant and may become useful.
Keep technical notes as well make sure you are learning about mixing colours, learning theory. Writing down and recording what you learn means that you have a ready reference. Again the internet is a great way to find our information… if you are having trouble understanding light sources for example enter that as a search term and you will be amazed at how much free information you can find. Be patient and don’t just click on the first few sites you find. There is a wealth of information out there for the taking if you put in that little extra effort.
Set your self-learning tasks of specified natures with a particular learning outcome anticipated. For example record atmospheres by going for a walk in the same place on a daily basis for a month but at different times of the day. Draw or paint in watercolour exactly what you see. Or go to a different place but at same times of the day. Don’t just look for atmospheric or natural effects look to at the kinds of activity you can find. One example of this might new going to the same street corner at different times throughout the day – even the expressions on the faces of the people will change as they come and go. Try it you may be amazed. Another way of creating a learning exercise is to look at and examine objects from all sides and views. Keep on setting yourself small learning tasks like tis and you will be amazed at how much you improve and how your understanding of techniques increases.
Again your journal is a safe place where you can experiment with abstractions finding ways to express emotions and feelings. You can make your artistic journey a catalyst in your personal development by recording dreams, daydreams and locating meaning in them through exploration and analysis. Again the Internet is a great place for subscribing to discussion lists where people want to explore self-empowerment and personal development.
Above all this safe haven of personal expression can become for you if you let it a source of relaxation. A ready breathing space in a busy way of life. Learn to do relaxation and breathing exercises before and after you draw not only so that you tap into the more intuitive side of your brain but that so that the discipline of drawing and the artistic pathway becomes a source of great personal pleasure. Your journal should never be a chore but something you look forward to as a little breather in the busy pace of life.
Eventually your journal will naturally evolve into your precious planning tool. It will be a place where compositions are mapped out over a period of time before any major painting is begun. Projects will no longer be daunting, as you will have a never-ending fountain of reference ideas and information. Above all enjoy the journey and don’t let it cause you even the slightest stress.
Journaling is best if it is done daily. It is also easiest to remember if it is the first thing you do when you wake up of a morning. Start the day by recording a drawing of your dreams. Or if you haven’t dreamt throughout the night, simply draw the first thing that occurs to you when you wake up.
I copied this for myself years ago. I had kept the link with the original post but that site is no longer online. I did find Joan, still writing at Suite101 and I have given that current link to her and her writing about art and creativity.
Originally posted to SuiteU, part of Suite101. SuiteU is being removed from the site. I wanted to save the ecourses so this resource would not disappear.
By Joan Martine Murphy
Most people would love to be able to draw what they see. Many people find enormous pleasure in the art of self-expression. Sadly the idea of learning to draw skillfully is quite daunting for a high percentage of people of the Western World. This is sometimes due to negative experiences that have come from early child hood.
Drawing is a form of communication, which can allow us to express ourselves when words will not suffice. This simple art form affords us the opportunity to express our emotions in a safe and pleasurable manner. Many people for example find that the simple exercise of drawing negative emotions which are then ceremoniously torn to shreds or burnt away – is a useful, safe way to deal with them. The exercise allows the artist to move on to a more relaxed and harmonious and peaceful happiness state.
Maps, symbols, colours, expressions and many other elements of design convey meaning and help us to construct a world of illusion. They help us re-present our reality. This can be useful, informative, recreational and healing.
The basic idea: to record nonstop everything I could around me with my pencil and watercolors. A drawn journal filled with details ranging from the all the coffee I drank to the different buses I took. After a whole day of drawing and walking around the city the name seemed quite fitting: “SketchCrawl” – a drawing marathon. The crawl was more tiring than I imagined but also more fun and exciting than I had thought. Giving yourself this kind of mandate for a full day changes the way you look around you. It makes you stop and see things just a tad longer, just a bit deeper … needless to say I loved it.
I soon figured out it was much more interesting to do the marathon with a group of artists instead of all by myself! And so SketchCrawl turned communal. After a whole day of drawing it proved to be amazingly interesting and inspiring to share and compare other people’s drawings and thoughts. Different takes on our surroundings, different details, different sensibilities.
The next step was making the SketchCrawl a World Wide event: having people from different corners of the world join in a day of sketching and journaling and then, thanks to the Internet, having everyone share the results on an online forum.
So here it is, we have a website now, a few Crawls behind me, some by myself some with friends and artists from around the world … and hopefully plenty SketchCrawls ahead of us.
– Enrico Casarosa, San Francisco, California – February 2006
This was originally part of the Suite101 University ecourses. They are all being taken down from the site, sometime soon. I have preserved some because they are worth keeping. It seems a shame to lose something which has value and had so much effort put into it’s creation.
By Dawn Whitmire
“Catch the Wave — Become an E- Publisher”
Anyone with a computer will tell you e-commerce and e-publishing are definite waves of the future. More and more e-publishers are popping up over the Internet and it’s not surprising others want a piece of this pie. If you’ve thought about becoming an e-publisher, this course is for you. However, let’s be frank. This is not an easy job where you’ll make quick money overnight. E-publishing takes investment of your time and knowledge. You have to be willing to learn that which you do not know and to find someone who can teach you. If you’re reviewing this course introduction, the thought has crossed your mind or maybe you know someone who is interested in venturing into the wide world of e-publishing. Can we show you how? Absolutely. Can we make you a success? Absolutely … not. That will be up to you. Your success will depend upon your devotion to your task and your drive to succeed. We can give you the steps to take; we cannot infuse you with determination.
The ecourses are being removed from SuiteU. They had a lot of work put into them and were offered free. I think they are worth keeping online and available.
Creative Writing Workshop
By Wesley Sharpe
My interest in creativity springs from a university class I attended on Creative Teaching. Before I began my study, I believed the myth that only a few exceptionally bright and gifted individuals are creative. During the next few months I learned that creativity is an innate ability regardless of IQ.
Aware that creativity is an inborn gift, I studied the creative thinking skills of elementary school educationally handicapped children. In eight weeks of instruction these boys and girls made outstanding progress in their ability to think of more ideas and more original ideas, than children without special training.
Like many new ventures, several years passed before this idea evolved into a book that focused on helping parents understand and teach their children inventive thinking skills. Since then I have continued to study and write about creativity.
Originally from Suite101 University, a free ecourse posted a few years ago. I’ve saved the information here because there is a lot worth keeping and I don’t know what will happen to all of it now that Suite101 is closing this area of their site.
By Jason Reeher
Welcome to the Suite University course on writing newspaper editorials. In this course, you can learn effective techniques for writing letters to the editor, then submit your opinions to everything from your local newspaper to national publications. Valuable for anyone interested in public affairs, current events, and pop-culture, this course will help the student to develop a writing interest, as well as hone argumentative and persuasive writing skills. This course is great for beginning writers, as well as those interested in scientific disciplinary writing, print journalism, editorial processes, and public policy discourse.
Writing newspaper opinions is a great way to gain expression for your writing. With relatively little time invested, you can learn to produce concise, effective and persuasive editorials on a regular basis. Perhaps the most exciting element is that YOU can choose your subject based upon public interest and current relevancy. By learning what subjects are most important to your target community, whether it’s local property taxes or “American Idol,” you become part of the public discourse when your opinion is published. This course can help you get there.