Thursday, 23 May 2013

Creativity, the Talent Myth and Craft

I don’t believe creativity is something that can only be achieved if you were ‘born’ with it or trained for it. Creativity in my opinion is something that can happen at any time, anywhere, as anyone or thing.
Kids drawings developed as a painting.
You could be a kid and you could draw something using crayons and create some kind of dragon Cyclops with a Siamese chicken attached to its wings. Or perhaps build an imaginative base out of old VHS tapes for your action figures, making up a wacky story as you go for you and your friends.
You could be a man trapped on a deserted island with only his suitcase and umbrella uses his suitcase as a shield, pillow, shelter, materials gathering bag, etc. and his umbrella as a weapon, an extension of his arm to hook unreachable things or as a means to swing from branches, etc.
So some of these things might not be creative to everyone, but to others it could be something that they wouldn’t think of (and have it be a great idea).

                                          Wong Fei Hung (Jet Li) Umbrella lol usage

My point is, anything can be creative if someone thinks it is and doesn’t always have to come in art form. You don’t necessarily have to be trained to be creative (unless it involves kicking ass with a flimsy umbrella).

Speaking on the matter of art, the chances are however that if you were to be able to be much more open with your mind and not be stuck thinking about what popular media throws at you, your mind won’t anchor itself onto something similar and be influenced subconsciously by them. Of course this isn’t to say it’s a bad thing as you could always draw inspiration from other things you’ve seen. But the chances are someone will say that it’s a knock off of something. Even without influences like that it’s very common for other’s to relate what you’re creation is similar to.
I find that broadening your visual library by travelling, reading, personal experiences and participation/hobbies in as much things as you can and learning of historical and natural aspects of the world could possibly heighten your creative senses further.

I say travelling because visiting alienating foreign cultures and being able to experience them first hand always leaves your mind often shocked or fascinated by what you would not normally see in your usual daily life you have experienced beforehand.
A Chinese woman working whilst carrying her baby could be a bit of a culture shock for some people as well as make for a potentially good character design.

I mentioned reading because often words put into your head stimulates your imagination of the world or subject you are reading upon. Visually, you build up your own versions of what you are reading and can easily apply it to many things and you won’t be necessarily copying anything as you yourself had imagined it. Descriptive words are extremely valuable.

When I said personal experiences, I meant it in more the emotional feelings you have felt in your life. To have emotions influence your creations could help with bringing life and depth into them. They can be shown and applied in many different ways and in different forms such as through colour or composition and perspectives.

Participating in many activities and events can open you to new life experiences that take you out of your comfort zone such as various sports, health activities, or skydiving, etc. can help with inspiration. Taking interests in hobbies such as a musical instrument or dancing can help spark your creativity and see many different things in new ways, etc.

Learning historical facts or the ways of how the natural world works can open up the believability of your creations. Reading up, visiting museums or watching documentaries can also be extremely enjoyable

                                A recent documentary I watched on the the Knight Templar

These are just some examples on how these activities can help broaden your visual library as well as your creativity thinking process. Everyone have different ways of building creativity and it all depends on the people who view them as creative.

Creativity and skill doesn’t always have to be applied together. Skill is something that you can practice and hone your abilities to become more skilful at a certain something. Say for example you were extremely skilful at painting or drawing, yet the things you draw aren’t very creative (in my opinion) such as a man in a US ranger uniform. The painting could be very realistic however the subject matter is just dull and brown.
Though a painter who is less technically skilled as the former but was able tocreatively  utilise many different methods to portray something through the use of wacky brush techniques and wide use of colours could show something much more interesting than something that could be seen as a photograph.
Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but my point is that being skillful doesn’t particularly mean someone is instantly a creative person.

Within the games industry, I feel creativity is a fickle thing. Depending on which companies or individuals play it safe or dangerously. Creativity through the means of control schemes, rebooting a genre in a franchise or perhaps just adding new modes, characters, items, etc. all depends on what people think of them.
Slapping a brand name on something doesn’t mean that whatever that thing in development is, is instantly going to be a creative hit.

With a game like DMC, I find that the environments are extremely creative with how it is portrayed towards the player. With the new battle system and the control scheme, I don’t particularly have too much to say on it as it works well, but doesn’t particularly feel like it’s something very clever or new. With the development of the main character (Dante) however, in my opinion, I feel that they have taken a step backwards. Trying to force the badass attitude on him and turn him into a bit of an (for me at least) quite an unlovable punk just kills it for me. The new version of him has alienated me from the character that I had grown with my experience of Devil May Cry series and (again in my opinion) never saw a need for a rehashing on the character’s style as he wasn’t particular boring to me.

I love how surreal the DMC environments are!
                                         I still much prefer original Dante however!

Still commend the company for trying something different and following through with it.

With my own creativity in art design, I have always tried to create something with a believable background as well as have it potentially working in real life. However I am not completely constricted in this way of development. To slightly break the rules of it can open up possibilities and influence your ideas further during the development phase.

Here is an example of how I looked at creating myself based off of the world of Mortal Engines novel.

To begin with, I read the book to understand the lore of the world. I then took a fancy to the historical guild, one of the guilds of London in the book. as I was developing some designs for my character, basing from the descriptions of what I read, I end up changing the design of my character from a historian to an archaeologist, also within the book.

With influences from one of my favourite artists, Daisuke Ishiwatari, I decided to add something that would look a little ridiculous and not necessarily cool, but interesting to have. I also wanted to make it believable and to have it serve a purpose rather than putting it in for the sake of being different.
The Grandfather clock is used to carry old tech that he finds as an archaeologist and take back to London. Its strapped across his back and a possible reason that he uses this rather than a conventional bag could be because it's one of his most lovable discoveries.

A reason why his sword and glove is lit up could be because his line of work may involve exploring the deep and the dark; he would need a guiding light to plunge through the darkening depths.

Of course I don't like to anchor any meaning onto anything unless I have to, so I like to keep it quite open for anyone to have their own take and interpretation on my things as well!

As long as I start with something that could potentially work and ends as something that could still potentially work, going nuts in during the development phase can really boost your creative thoughts.

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