A Creativity Course – Just Follow Along

Is it just me or is there an absolute abundance of instructional materials on being creative. Didn’t people just figure this out alone, working with the materials and techniques they were familiar with? Didn’t they simply say to themselves, “Today I am going to try something different, just to see if it will work.” Since when did we need to gather together in workshops or follow along in a book taking it one step at a time?

I think it might be a bit like the growing popularity of “adult coloring books”. When I first heard that phrase I thought the subject matter within the covers was perhaps naughty pictures. But I actually have been told that they are like children’s coloring books, just smaller areas to color in. The expectation is still staying within the lines and they are themed. Not like super heroes or Sesame Street, but butterflies, flowers, etc. This seems like a rich territory to subvert into something else, mass produce them and make a bundle. Let me think on that.

But for now I am remembering the dot to dot books. Remember, always start at “1” and follow the sequence to the end, and WOW something appears. And at age five, you drew it all by yourself. So I thought I would try it sixty-seven years later.

Here is my numbered dot drawing:

blog dot to dot

Of course sometimes some small features need to be added  to the drawing because a kid would not know how to do this themselves. Bet you can’t even guess what this will be when the dots are connected.



blog unicorn

A unicorn! How fun is that!

But if we take it a bit further and question the sequence, we can go off on our own. In a creativity course you may not be encouraged to do this until day four or somewhere half way through the book.

Within five minutes after I made this drawing up, I wanted to see if I could find a dragon just by connecting dots in random order. I made my lines where I wanted to and then ended up with the following.

blog howling cat head

A cat with an antennae on her head in mid yowl.

blog catterpillar pointing

Or turned to the left, a pointing caterpillar, again with an antennae.

blog rabbit hiding

Turned another way it’s a rabbit hiding in the grass. Does he, too, have an antennae?

blog grasshopper landing

And my personal favorite, an action shot of a grasshopper in mid somersault.


And all that with just one trip through violating the order of numbers.

If I was a quilter, I could cut all these shapes and stitch them together, and repeat them in blocks big enough to get me qualified for entry into Quilt National. Why not?

A basket maker, and I would definitely do the rabbit in willow. Do it large for some yard art. It could be done in the round or simply a flat piece. Oooooh, maybe a series running along the edge of the garden.

The yowling cat calls out to be a clay sculpted pitcher where you can pour the whatever out of that open mouth. All you’d have to do is increase the volume by making his neck longer. You may need to take off the antennae. (Artistic License).

But you can already see the possibilities here. I think I can do a book with this. The unicorn alone is rich with only one interpretation turned four ways. I think I will try another configuration. A dragon could still appear.

But what if I did another dot to dot, another smile and eyeball for clues of course. It is endless. And it could add a fun addition to the plethora of creative thinking books out there. A workshop with students struggling with where to draw that next line once they finished staying on course. I am warming even more to this idea as I write. At the very least it is going to be a handout at the next workshop. The only addition I think it needs is for the learner to be told to collect four phrases from a romance novel written before 1984 to be put into a poem about how the image they have created is relevant to an old flame.

I like it.