For as long as I can remember, I’ve associated creative pursuits with other activities. In every class from kindergarten through college, my head was always down as I listened to entire lesson plans while doodling superheroes, 3D cubes, and stylized words. I created logos for bands that didn’t exist, bands that did exist, comic books I wanted to make, and movies I wanted to film. Teachers often assumed I was ignoring them when I was drawing, constantly asking why I found the blank page in front of me more interesting than their lessons. But these doodles weren’t a distraction, they were a core part of my learning process, visual evidence that I was taking information in. Finding a way to put mark on the learning process made me feel like a better student.
… and when we have to relearn to be a “student of making”
The key is finding a form in which the final product matters less than in my professional work. The framework I craved as a kid is omnipresent in professional design. There will always be limitations, and I like working within them. But the impulse to create is a different beast altogether. Without the need to produce a polished project because I’m on the clock, the creativity process feels more fluid. I explore more ideas more freely and don’t feel the pressure to turn them into complete package.