Pencil in some creative break time

pencil-in-some-creative-break-time-1As a web designer, I spend the majority of my day sitting in front of a computer monitor (or two), because when it comes down to it, nearly the entire creative process from conception to completion is done within the digital world. Wire framing, mood boards, page layouts, and illustrations are all done in one Adobe Creative Suite program or another.

All of these elements are tested on a number of “form factors”—which in layman’s terms means asking, “do you have a big screen or a little screen?” At any given moment, my desk will have three or four different screens lit up and blaring their millions of colors at me (and they’re beautiful).

It makes sense that the majority of my working day is spent creating things digitally: I design websites, which, for as long as they’ve been around, have been exclusively electronic entities. Meticulously designing a ten template website on 8 ½” x 11″ paper just doesn’t make sense.

The problem with living solely in the online realm is that my brain gets complacent thinking only in digital terms. I find that creativity at its best is usually achieved when it’s pressured and forced outside of its comfort zone. For me, that means putting down the mouse and picking up a pencil at least once a day.

Don’t get me wrong, sketching isn’t a foreign concept to me (or to a designer of any kind, for that matter) I’ve been drawing my entire life—not particularly well, maybe, but drawing nonetheless. Illustration and creating in physical media are a part of my creative background, and I consider them a foundation of my design abilities. I just never draw on my own anymore. So, to both foster increased creativity and to give my eyes a break from the beauty of millions of colors, I’ve begun what I’ve dubbed the “Drawing-a-Day Project.”

The concept is simple: Five minutes, one pen, one yellow sticky note. Draw the first thing that comes into your head. Repeat daily. Not a novel exercise, but one I’m really enjoying participating in. It forces me to be imaginative outside of my daily projects and to just be creative for the sake of being creative.

So far it’s been going on for a week. Here’s a sample of what I’ve whipped up so far:

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“Portrait of the Muppet
As A Young Frog”
“Jellyfish Descending” “Ampersand in Repose”