Saturday, 28 March 2009

Worrying, Thinking and Creative Thinking

Recently I have read some fantastically creative cartoons. The beauty of the cartoon is that it is usually a complicated idea, emotion or feeling that is perfectly condensed into a few words and sometimes even just one image.
As we were travelling down to Hampshire last weekend something about the conversation in the car prompted my (eleven year old) son to pipe up, “Wus Geets Daddy?” He managed to refer to a favourite Rupert Fawcett cartoon by condensing it into just three words.See the full cartoon
It’s From Rupert Fawcett’s Book, Daddy.

Interestingly Rupert Fawcett only got into cartoons when he was in a period of being between jobs. He pulled on a hobby and now his cartoons are on greetings cards worldwide. … Maybe making sure you have time for a creative hobby is a good idea? But what if creativity is your main job too?
I stumbled upon Hugh Macleod’s How to be Creative manifesto a couple of weeks ago. It was written back in 2004 and at that time he was very definitely saying, “Keep the day job” (in his case advertising) and keep your real passion as a hobby. For him this was cartoons on the back of business cards.
A recent visit to GapingVoid suggests that Hugh has now managed to make cartoons a much bigger part of his life.

My reason for writing this post is that I feel that recently I have been doing too much worrying. “Wus worrying Daddy?” Well, worrying is just thinking isn’t it? Asking questions, maybe asking yourself pointless questions or questions with answers that aren’t very helpful. Mmmm, but thinking is good isn't it? That’s how we are creative. Thinking, opening your mind up to possibilities, asking good productive questions such as, “How could I say this? What material would be best? Is that too obvious a form or material for this sculpture? As I’ve been working on a new “being” Roger (who has now been renamed Stan) I have done lots of thinking BUT too many of these thoughts/questions have been UNCREATIVE.

This is from Hugh’s Manifesto How to be Creative. You can download this for free from

There are only 24hours in a day and how many of them can I afford to spend worrying about what other artists are doing? How I can fit better quality community and educational arts activities into my life? Those are those very important income earning activities. I have been especially asking questions about what I am prepared to do and what I am not prepared to do. Knowing this and being clear on this would undoubtedly free up a SIGNIFICANT amount of thinking time!

Ignore Everybody is Hugh’s most read blog post. There are 37 points on it. I have picked out these ten which are currently the most pertinent to me.

1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be yours.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

11. Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

13. Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.

15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

19. Sing in your own voice.

27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

Finally, a favourite quote from
Paul Arden’s book Whatever you think Think the opposite.

"Advances in any field are built upon people with the small or personal point of view." Paul Arden


Jane Porter said...

It's so easy to spend too much time worrying - I am sure we all do it. I find the most creative work comes from playing and sometimes that is hard to do too, especially if constrained by worrying...I guess the thing with the creative workshops is to find a way to make them feed into your own creative practice, and vice versa. This is what I would like to do more with my workshops which so often are completely separate from my own practice.

frillip moolog: said...

Thanks Jane. We need to know that we are not alone! Yes, I agree with you about trying harder to get any educational work to link more closely to my own art parctice. I say that, "My mission in life is to encourage and nurture people’s imaginations and creativity in a fun and enthusiastic way.” I try to do this through both my Frillip Moolog sculptures and also my creative sessions with
So I should take some of my own medicine and relax some more and nurture my own creativity a bit more. You've heard the expression, "Be your own best friend".

mand said...

It's showing! My behind-ness with keeping up with people's blogs, i mean. I'm glad i did see this (eventually).

Hugh Macleod’s most relevant point for me is that if it's really original, no one will be able to see it working. In other words, when they say, 'Couldn't work!' or 'But no one does that!' (i think the latter is easier to see through), you know you're onto a winner.

I once heard a fighter pilot on the radio say, 'If you don't feel the flak, you're not on target.' Without examining the metaphor too carefully, i bear it in mind. ;0)