For those that missed it, for many people online last month (June) became 30 Days of Creativity, an impetus to do something creative every day for a month. (A bit like Nanowrimo, but with just doing things). Aided by a convenient plug to use Pinterest, I decided to give it a go. I didn't entirely do it (I had to go to a few conferences and so didn't always do something every day) but had an utter blast.
(The full list of what I did is on Pinterest).
Here are some things I learnt from doing it:
1. Pick an appropriate theme.
I'd just bought a Wacom, and was itching to try it out. More generally, I'm trying to do things digitally (writing, drawing, sketching) where I'd have done them with pen and paper in the past. So my unofficial theme was “to be able to use a computer and Wacom like I would a pen and paper.” The range of things I ended up included drawing in the painting program that came with the Wacom (inadvertently by an Auckland company), making collages with Illustrator, and making fonts (more on that later). Some of my favourite examples to come from this are below:
Friends of mine had other themes like making repeating patterns, or learning to quickly and effectively document research. My former boss was even making stuff out of the things in his kitchen rubbish (apt for a designer championing sustainability)!
The theme will also help you on nights when you're tired, and can't think of anything to do (often the inspiration is the hardest bit!). The 30 Days team did offer daily ideas, but I found having a recurring theme the easiest — it meant I could iterate on an idea/technique for a few days until I got sick of it. I did have the advantage of time with this to some respect as I'm studying rather than working, so if you were super-busy with life, you might also pick an easy to do theme like taking at least one picture of something interesting.
2. … do at least one thing you'd always wanted to do.
I'd always wanted to make a font of my handwriting, as I love making notes online, but find the typefaces rather sterile compared to handwritten text. I knew that I could do it, (I'd played with the opensource software Fontforge years ago, and even installed it on my computer at the time), but never actually got around to doing it. Voila….
(This was my first attempt, where I sketched straight into Illustrator, hence why it looks Comic-Sans-y. I'd later find it better to draw into Photoshop, but that's another story).
3.Network, pinboard, use any way to stay motivated.
As I said, I did miss a few days, but I pretty much stayed on board as it gave me such a sense of accomplishment to post things up to my Pinterest whiteboard, and I had a few friends doing it as well.
The twitter stream also helped a lot.
4. Take comfort that it's only a month!
I'll be honest: I was shocked at how much a timesink it could be at times (though now having read up on making fonts I can see I was only stratching the tip of the iceberg with that stuff). Between doing what I wanted to, my 750 words, and oh yeah, my studies, it was a pretty big task. But this also came down to what I wanted out of the month.
All up, I was really happy I took part in it, and that I did what I did. Any other people who got some great things out of the 30 Days of Creativity?