Creativity Practice

Sometimes when I feel like I’m experiencing imaginative stagnation – or if I’m just bored while waiting for the serving staff to deliver my meal – I search for a way to kick-start my creativity. My mother and I used to scribble on the back of paper place mats to give each other some doodle direction. We would turn the paper until we could see an image in the scribble, and then we would develop another place mat masterpiece. I later upgraded this practice to scribbling with watercolor paint because it allows me to better see where my artwork originated. I have since called this practice technique “Blobbing.” It is a great exercise to strengthen your visual mind, and to keep you keen on spontaneity. If you have ever spent some time lying in a field making shapes out of the clouds, then you will know exactly what to do.

I have taught this practice to elementary and high school art classes by explaining the game of finding images in the clouds. Some people have snapped photographs of some amazing shapes that are useful as examples.

(Left: Dolphin leaping in Sausalito, CA. Right Top: Dinosaur lurking over Friesland, the Netherlands. Right Bottom: Red Snapper over The Blasket Islands, County Kerry, Ireland)

To start Blobbing either load up a brush with a selected water color or choose a nice, fat marker. You might find that your scribbling seems to look the same, so try closing your eyes or let someone else scribble with the brush or marker. You can also use your opposite hand, or you can hold the utensil by the very end to create a loose grip. I usually make a few blobs at a time and let them dry.

Once a blob is created, you can turn the image until you see something in your mess. You can also make copies and create something out of multiple orientations of the same blob.

The sky is the limit, no pun intended. You can do something simple or you can add more to your blob to make it more of what you want. Below are a few examples of my most recent lunchtime blobbing’s.

As you can see I forced myself to keep a bird theme to further challenge myself. I always have fun with this practice technique. I hope the same is true for you. If you like, you can print out any of the blobs above to start, but it is always best to create your own. I am eager to see what others come up with, so please leave me a message or send me a picture of what you have created.

“My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” – Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles

If you would like to see more photographs of cool things people find in clouds, you can visit The Cloud Appreciation Society Website.

About benwilliams
Renaissance Man: Illustrator - Adventurer - Jester

4 Responses to Creativity Practice

  1. Awesome work Ben…

  2. Chrystal Roggenkamp says:

    This is a really interesting technique, Ben. I enjoy the spontaneous and lively nature of your drawings. After many years of attempting to master digital mediums that lend themselves to photorealistic styles, I am always looking for ways to add more energy and roughness to my work.

  3. Trish Downing says:

    Fantastic piece, Ben. I’m going to try this with Lily…

  4. Marty McCauley says:

    Ha! Very cool stuff! I did something like this once after running out of ideas ideating exterior facades…

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