The Creative Process

Creativity is often seen as a solo pursuit. But that isn’t always true.  Yes, the spark can seem to happen within the individual sitting alone in the studio. But all you have to do is think of all the creative ideas from others that went into that individual’s history long before the moment of inspiration hit to realize he or she does not truly create alone.


The Spark Within

Here is the drawing I did yesterday. I am using it in my workshop at SXSW later this week.  I drew this while I was streaming live on Periscope. I play a game called ‘Guess the Quote’ when I do my napkin drawings, with the viewers playing a variation on Hangman, guessing one word at a time while I draw the image and give hints.  

I came up with the idea of these two very unique characters, one standing on her head, to illustrate the idea of upending expectations. I had already drawn the two characters and had written in the quotes when one of the ‘#NapkinKin’ (my tribe on Periscope) suggested something that led to an even more effective illustration of the idea.


The Spark Without

He suggested I turn the second part of the quote upside down. I had already written it in so I couldn’t change it on the actual napkin. But I was able to change it in Photoshop.  However, even without changing it in the drawing the idea sparked my decisions about how to complete the background. 

All of a sudden I was thinking about symmetry and reflection, making the top and bottom look the same but not exact, so if you rotated it 180º you would feel it still made sense (granted, this making sense is within the context of a drawing that really isn’t about making sense, but you know what I mean).



In my larger charcoal and pastel drawings I often use models. The best ones are the ones that know it is a collaboration. Yes, I am the artist. But the creativity is sparked not just from within myself but by them as well. That is why models are often called ‘Muse’. Because they inspire the creativity of the artist.

Your Spark

If you are an Artist, never forget that your creativity, no matter how individual and unique you might thing it is, owes much to the artists of the past and those around you who inspire and collaborate with you.

If you are not an Artist, never forget your creativity isn’t restricted to that fact.  Your creativity is not just about what you create, but about what you inspire others to create as well.

Either way, creativity is one way you can be sure to change the world.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman |

Quote is Anonymous


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