There are many different mediums that can be used for tapping into our creativity. It can be fun giving different artistic methods a go in order to find the ones that you connect with the most. Here are some examples of different creative mediums that can be used:
Creating shapes from Plasticine or clay
Creating music and songs
Painting or drawing
Making a collage
knitting, sewing or felting
Doodling is the first creative method I will be covering in this series of blogs.
Doodling is often thought of as a spontaneous activity used to stave off boredom. Whether that be in a dull lecture or meeting or whilst on the telephone. Doodling is is a simple activity that requires little effort, skill or time, yet it can have a powerful impact on our minds and emotions. A psychologist called Jackie Andrade (2010) carried out a study that suggested doodling creates the right amount of stimulus to keep our brains active, rather than wondering off, which results in greater memory recall.
In 1938 Mclay et al. suggested that doodling is frequently used when:
waiting for an idea for solving a crossword puzzle... seeking inspiration, preparing lessons.... It serves not only as a recreation from concentrated work but also from mechanical repetitive activities like "memorizing", "transposing music"
Mclay et al (1938) suggests that doodling “may be an outlet for motor tension” and a “distraction of their [the doolers] thoughts from unpleasant contents.”
So doodling not only reduces boredom and engages our creativity but it can aid memory, concentration, bring inspiration, whilst reducing negative thinking and physical tension. So whilst on the surface doodling can appear as a rather pointless activity there are many benefits to engaging in it.
Another way of being creative is through movement. You don’t have to be a dancer to be able to use movement as a means of expression. Dancing encourages us to connect with our bodies and our inner world, it can be meditative or cathartic and ground us in the present moment. Movement is intrinsic to human beings and was used by Ancient humans during rituals and ceremonies.
There are some types of dance classes that are designed with the idea of movement being a gateway to increased awareness and well-being. Examples of these are 5Rhythms Ⓡ and Chakra Dance Ⓡ
Here are a couple of simple ideas on how you can start to express yourself through movement.
Stand still for a moment, connect with your body and become aware of any physical or emotional sensations. Become aware of the little movements you make in order to stay balanced. Allow the movement to get bigger, stay with that for a little while. Maybe your arms, legs and the rest of your body want to move too. Stay relaxed, focused inwards and move as your body wants (rather than the movement coming from your thoughts)
Select a piece of music. Spend a moment just listening to it, notice what emotions it invokes in you. Allow your body to gently sway to the music and your emotions in that moment, then as above, allow they rest of your body to move in the way it feels it needs to.
I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words - Ruth St. Denis
Zentangle www.zentangle.com is a concept that was created by Rick Roberts and Mary Thomas. It involves drawing structured patterns as a means of improving confidence, focus, awareness and relaxation. Whilst on initial inspection it can often be mistaken for a form of doodling, Zentangle is a more formal method for creating patterns. Whilst some Zentangle creations can look very elaborate they are often fairly simple to create. This can give the drawer confidence and appreciation of their own creative abilities. This method believes that there is no such thing as a mistake when creating an image. Any unintended marks made by the drawer are all part of the creative process and can be incorporated into the overall image. This makes Zentangle a wonderful technique for anyone who feels their ability to create is blocked by self criticism or perfectionism.
Some people think of tangling as a creative Mindfulness exercise. It can bring about a focused in the moment state of awareness that is similar to meditation.
If this is something you would like to try there are various books on how to get started, you can find information on the creators website and there are various zentangle ideas on pinterest.
Creating a collage
A collage often comprises of a blank canvas with various materials then stuck onto it. Materials can include clippings from magazines or newspapers, photographs, postcards, stickers, pieces of material, ribbons, glitter, leaves and dried flowers. Collage comes from the French word 'coller' which means 'to glue'.
Creating a collage can be a great way to express an idea if you don’t know where to begin or if you don’t feel confident in being creative.
Steps to creating a collage:
(1) Chose what material you want to use for your base. Examples of things you can use for the base are: a plain piece of paper, coloured card, a large piece of material or a roll of wallpaper.
(2) Start to collect items you may want to include in your collage. That may be magazines, random items you find in shops, natural objects from the garden or a forest. It can be fun finding materials for the collage.
(3) Have to hand some way of fixing the objects onto your base, e.g. glue, plain or coloured tape, needle and thread
(4) Then decide on the purpose of your collage. You might want to just sit down with whatever materials you have to hand and just start creating with no specific theme in mind. Alternatively you might want to have specific theme for the collage. Here are some examples:
Using only one type of material eg. items found in nature or magazine cuttings;
An emotion e.g. sadness, joy, anger or calm;
To remember an positive event;
To remember someone who has passed;
Hopes and aspirations.
(5) Create a title for your collage
(6) Once your college is completed you might want to reflect on it. You might want to do this with a therapist, a trusted other or using a journal (click here for ideas on starting a reflective journal) Some questions to consider might be:
Is there a dominant colour?
Are there any repeated images or themes?
Did you experience any emotions creating the collage or when looking at the overall image?
Is there anything you notice about the placing of the images? Are there spaces, do they overlap, are certain images placed next to other ones?
Does the image say something about you or your experiences?
Andrade, Jackie (2010) What does doodling do? Applied Cognitive Psychology, January 2010, Vol.24(1), pp.100-106
Mclay, W.S., Guttmann, M.D., and Mayer-Gross M.D., (1938) Spontaneous Drawings as an Approach to some Problems of Psychopathology: Published in Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. 31(11). Pg. 1337.
* When undertaking any form of exercise it is worth speaking to your GP beforehand