Can Creativity Be Taught And Learned? - 3 Effective Methods
Updated: Oct 18, 2020
Everybody has at least some amount of creativity but is it possible to increase your own creativity? As a child, I asked my grandmother that particular question and she just said no. Now I know that the answer is another.
Can creativity be taught?
For a long time, people were convinced that you are born with a certain amount of creative intelligence that is perpetual. Nowadays, due to scientific research, we know that through specific exercises creativity can be increased.
In this article, we'll go over the most effective creativity-enhancing exercises in my personal experience and also scientifically proven ones. At the end, you'll learn what the famous John Cleese has to say about all this.
I. 3 Ways Of Learning/Teaching Creativity
You can't learn creativity like you can learn languages at school. By reading books about creative intelligence or the accomplishments of creatively successful people you won't be able to learn how to be creative. You can boost your creativity with creative exercises.
In order to achieve that, I found these three following methods to be the most efficient ones in my personal experience. There are many more ways you can go to increase your creativity but I want to familiarize you with especially these three.
What are the three best ways to enhance creativity?
2. Observe Everything
3. Let Your Mind Wander
Let's start directly with the first one right now without much further beating about the bush here.
Have you seen the breathtaking AMC series called Mad Men? It is a series set in the 1960s that deals with the life of a creative director in an advertising agency. The agency called Sterling Cooper was inspired by an ad agency that really existed at that time and still does actually.
The inspiration for Sterling Cooper was the agency BBDO which was co-founded by Alex Osborn (whom the company received the "O" from). This Alex Osborn was not only a co-founder but also an advertising executive in that company.
He experimented with his employees to get better ideas for ad campaigns. After several different approaches, there was one method that stood out from the other methods he experimented with.
Brainstorming appeared to be the most effective way to inspire creative thinking.
From my personal experience, I can only confirm his conclusion. I, too, have made the experience of having a lot more and especially better ideas for different things in my life after I took 20-30 minutes to brainstorm.
Whether I am looking for ideas for the Mac H. - Creative blog to write about or ideas I could realize on paper with a pencil or any other field in life where you need to come up with creative ideas. Brainstorming is by far my favorite approach to do so.
I can only recommend trying this yourself the next time you struggle to find creative ideas. Probably you're reading this article because you are struggling with that at this very moment. There is one simple thing you can do right now.
Get a pen and a piece of paper in front of you and think about your field of interest that you need to find ideas for. Think about it in general and then "branch it down". I don't know if that's even a real expression but I call it that.
Think about the general topic and write every word or phrase down that comes to your mind. Take one of these terms and repeat the process with that term. You'll find new and definitely more specific terms.
In the beginning, this might seem a bit arduous and you might need a little time to get going but I assure you, once you're really in the process, you will see how fast you get new and very specific ideas.
2. Observe Everything
Every artist, entrepreneur, and creative in any field is able to see the world in its entirety and every part of it. Especially as a drawing pencil artist, observing is an exceptionally important part of the learning process.
Of course, observing the world with precision enhances your creativity tremendously and can be the source for finding lots of new ideas.
I'm just saying that it is so much more to a drawing artist. Since this blog is all about drawing for beginners and learning how to draw I almost have to mention the other huge meaning the art of observing has for you as a pencil virtuoso.
I've already talked a lot about that field in this article on Mac H. - Creative where we've gone over the five basic perceptual skills of drawing. How you see and perceive the world around you is very different from a professional drawing to a non-artist.
Non-artists see the world with their left brains normally but a drawing artist needs to have a view on things as if he or she is about to draw it. Looking at something and being able to recreate it with a pencil on a drawing surface is a complicated art.
Knowing how to see your surroundings with your right brain is probably not even one of the most important steps on the learning path to becoming a pencil artist but the most important part of it.
Observing your environment and seeing it with the right brain is key to succeeding in creative thinking especially in drawing.
If you want to learn how to see as a drawing artist I recommend checking out the article on this website covering the five different things an artist sees differently. You can check it out by clicking this link. It will open in a new tab.
3. Let Your Mind Wander
Letting your mind wander or "daydreaming" as some prefer to call it has a pretty bad reputation thanks to our time at school, right? Did your teacher approve let alone encourage your daydreaming? If he or she did, I envy you because my teachers didn't.
Let this be in the past and think about how daydreaming can increase your creativity. If we go back to Mad Men once again and if you watched it you are very likely to remember Don looking out his windows, lying on his couch or even sleeping at work.
Despite all that time he used to do nothing (at least that's what it looks like from the outside) he is one of the most important employees and later even a partner of the Sterling Cooper advertising agency.
Daydreaming and even getting sleep can be a great source for creative ideas.
If you want to do the same I want you to follow my instructions now. Only some parts of this way of getting ideas and enhancing one's creativity are scientifically proven but this method works wonders for me personally. If you trust my experience, do the following.
At first, you need to lie down on your back. Research shows that apparently people are more likely to solve puzzles when lying on their backs. I can't really prove that but it does seem way easier to think freely when I'm lying supine on my bed.
Now, all you have to is to have a pen and a piece of paper next to you to write down everything that seems to be a decent idea for your project, whatever that might be.
I often start by thinking about what the last thing was I did in that field. Let's take our blog for example. When I'm struggling to find new ideas to write about I think about the last topic I wrote about and just think about that topic in general and start breaking it down just as in the brainstorming sessions I talked about earlier today.
Every single word or image you get while lying down that you think might be at least somehow valuable has to be written down. If you don't write it down you might fall asleep and wake up without knowing what your great thought was.
That's basically everything. Just let your mind wander around a specific topic or even no topic at all and just see where you arrive after a few minutes or hours.
Sometimes I have my best ideas shortly before falling asleep. The very short window between being awake and being asleep is the time where I'm apparently reaching a peak in my creativity. Try the various daydreaming options yourself to find your creative peak.
II. The Opinion Of John Cleese
As I was researching more on that topic I stumbled across a very interesting blog post.
Within that article, I saw that they had included a short video of John Cleese, one of the most famous comedy actors of all time that is best known for the British comedy group Monty Python. "The Meaning Of Life" and "The Life Of Brian" are two of the most famous movies this group has produced.
In the video on the site—which you can reach by clicking this link—John Cleese talks about how he would teach aspiring writers or actors to get creative ideas.
The method he is recommending to kind of steal or borrow other artists' works to learn from them. He says that aspiring actors should take a scene from a movie or a series that has truly impacted them in a way and watch it over and over again.
After watching this scene many times you will reach the point where you're no longer emotionally impacted by the scene so you can analyze it in a neutral and professional way. The next thing he recommends to do is to recreate it.
At some point, you will have learned so much about this scene, the emotions, the structure, et cetera that you will not only be able to recreate it but also to add your own touch to it. Through that technique, you will create a unique style eventually.
If you think about it you can actually apply this technique to drawing artists and every other kind of artist as well.
In terms of drawing, you can take drawings that you think are really inspiring. Observe that one piece of art carefully and thoroughly until you understand every single piece of it and try to recreate it.
Draw it in so many times always in completely different unique ways in order to understand the original drawing but also to learn a lot more about drawing in general.
A great way to enhance creativity and concurrently learning a lot about your particular creative profession or field of interest.
By the way, if you're completely stuck with finding new ideas and progressing at your work, you might want to check out this other article I wrote specifically on solving creative blocks.
Some things are similar to what I mentioned in today's article but it is more thorough and detailed than the advice you got here. You can check the article out here.
III. Related Questions
1. What Makes A Person Creative?
The way a person thinks about solving a problem can be creative or not creative. A very different approach to solving a problem than the average one that is seen most often hints to a creative mind of the person.
2. Why Do Schools Kill Creativity?
Since our actual school system was invented around the time of the industrial revolution, the curricula are intended to teach students how to be effective workers for authoritative entities.