Creative Exploration: Embracing Play

I don’t know where this came from, and I don’t know where it’s going, but it’s helped me already, so lets get on with it, yeah?

I sat at the computer for way too many hours this weekend with my new drawing tablet (last week’s impulse purchase - but hey, it’s art supplies!!), staring in the face of my incredibly amateur squiggles and barely legible writing, which I had imagined after hitting the “purchase” button would actually be breathtaking sketches and stunning new fonts… ok i’m not THAT into myself, but I did not expect the total lack of control experienced with this new tool that seemed so easy. It’s a pen for gods sake!

After a few days, it grew to a conceptual level. I have no idea what I’m doing, I felt about everything.

Whether this was the onset of Pisces season or the impact of playing with a new tool no one will ever know…

…but out of this experience came some really interesting stream of consciousness things. One of which being this impromptu guide to creative exploration.


Through the workshops I’ve taught, I’ve found that what can be even more detrimental than not knowing the skills is the belief that you’ll never know the skills.

The immediate loss of control when learning a new skill is completely disorienting, and our brain signals us to retreat to safety. Go back to somewhere we know. Deny any interaction with this new form, for fear of total failure.

The only way to get through this? Embrace PLAY.

Fool around.

Expect nothing.

Probably actually fail. In totally.

How to do that? Here’s a few general suggestions for embracing play, each with options of passively or actively entertaining the idea. Sometimes you just need to DO something, you feel it coursing through your veins.

Other times, you’re totally exhausted. In need of some rest.

Notice which one would be most nourishing now, and try it out. Or make up your own. Or roll your eyes and go back to checking your e-mail.

Just kidding, don’t check your e-mail.