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The Four Knows of Creativity


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A talk I did for a Tearfund Rhythms Visual Communication day on 13/09/14. A bit of my story and a few things that I've found helpful to know when creating and communicating.

Published in: Self Improvement, Design
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The Four Knows of Creativity

  1. @richwells the four knows of creativity
  2. the four knows of creativity Four things that I have found helpful about creativity and visual communication
  3. Hello, my name is Rich
  4. Some people say that I look like Steven Merchant. Is that a compliment?
  5. I love drawing and so does Sophie
  6. Thanks mum!
  7. I’m Creative Director at a digital agency called Yoomee
  8. We’re based in an office building called the Electricworks in Sheffield
  9. We’re blessed to have a tennis table
  10. A beer cupboard
  11. And a three storey helter skelter slide
  12. I work with a great team of 12 designers, developers and producers
  13. I draw things, design things, code things and test things
  14. We also run workshops and get people involved with the design process.
  15. We make websites and apps for charities and people who want to do good things.
  16. We’ve just launched a campaign site for girlguiding, which has kept us busy.
  17. We also mentor young people.
  18. and are experimenting with teaching young offenders to code
  20. I take Tuesdays off to look after my daughter Sophie. We try to explore the world and do something different every week. http://
  21. I love drawing things
  22. Riding bicycles
  23. Falling off longboards
  24. Making silly ipad music
  25. And being part of my local church
  26. I always try to have a few side projects on the go, little things that I enjoy and challenge me to develop my skills.
  27. I’m trying to say yes to doing things that make me slightly uncomfortable. Like this talk.Yes!
  28. I’ve been a Tearfund supporter fo a while. In March this year I went to Cambodia to see the work they are doing over there.
  29. I went with Danny and Anita
  30. Cambodia is an amazing country to visit. So beautiful and inspiring.
  31. It also has a really dark history. There was a terrible genoside in the 80s and the country is still recovering now.
  32. We were here to see the work that Tearfund does in communities around Cambodia.
  33. Pastor Ke Pich
  34. We met with ‘Umoja’ groups who work together to use what they have to make a difference in their communities.
  35. We met so many inspiring people.
  36. I used Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share small stories of the people we met. I used drawings, photos, ipad paintings and short stories to create a ‘travel scrapbook’. There were a lot of challenges - poor internet and little sleep being two. I absolutely loved it though.
  37. We had a challenge to get 60 new regular givers. I created an art print that I sent out to everyone who gave. In the end we had 57 people sign up. I was blown away by how generous everyone was.
  38. @richwells the four knows of creativity
  39. Here are four things that I have found helpful when creating and communicating. the four knows of creativity
  40. The Four Knows of Creativity
  41. Napoleon has some sweet skills and so do you.
  42. you are creative We all have skills, we all have a voice and it is uniquely ours.
  43. In the 10 years I’ve worked in the creative industry I’ve gained lots of new skills but the thing I have learned the most is to have confidence in my voice, my way of doing things. confidence your way of doing it is the right way of doing it
  44. I’ve realised my best work is done quickly. I don’t try to be perfect any more. That’s really freeing.
  45. challenge yourself “get hold of a camera and some film and make a movie of any kind at all” Stanley Kubrick
  46. I love challenges. I set up the 100 Day Bible Challenge to encourage people in my church to read the bible. http://
  47. Lots of people got involved. I decided to make artwork everyday inspired by what we were reading.
  48. After about a week, I used up all my ideas and found it really hard work.
  49. The experience forced me to push through the ‘I can’t do this’ feeling.
  50. I had to make space to create in my spare time, alongside everything that was going on in life.
  51. It helped me find my rhythm, and think about how I work best.
  52. Looking over the 100 images, I could see my style, my voice in a way I never had before. We learn what our voice is the more we regularly create.
  53. Develop your sense of taste. Jiro is a 90 year old Sushi master who has spent years working on his taste. Capture the things that inspire you, study them, break them apart and work out what you like and don’t like. taste study the things you like
  55. - How would I describe my style? - What kind of work do I enjoy the most? - Where am I most creative? - When am I most creative? - What/who inspires me? - What's not helpful for me when I want to be creative?
  56. The Four Knows of Creativity We need to know what we’re talking about. Simple.
  57. Really look and listen to your subject. What stands out to you? pay attention
  58. Capture as much as you possibly can. Take as many photos as you can. If you are photographing someone, remember and write down what they say.
  59. edit you can’t tell the whole story and you can’t tell every story And then Kill your Darlings. Pick an angle to make your story shine.
  60. Empathy is really important. What’s it like to be them? What are they feeling?
  61. Abraham had a lot of responsibility when he was called to leave everything he knew and go to a new place. I thought about that as I made this image.
  62. The obvious thing for the red sea image would be to draw it parted, but what about before? What was going through Moses’ mind as God told him to be still?
  63. We all have a voice. But the way we use it depends on who we are speaking to. Who is listening to you? The Four Knows of Creativity
  64. My audience was very different to Anita and Danny’s. Most people who listen to me aren’t in the Christian world. I assume people who are reading what I make don’t know anything about Jesus.
  66. What piece of work are you proud of? Who was it for? Is there anything that you left out or focused on in particular?
  67. What piece of work are you proud of? Who was it for? Is there anything that you left out or focused on in particular?
  68. the four knows of creativity
  69. The Bible talks a lot about God as a father who knows us - an intimate relationship. He is creative and so are we - we are made in his image. I love seeing my daughter draw pictures and even though I could make something much better than she could, I’m still proud of her. I love it when she draws pictures for me. The Four Knows of Creativity
  70. He already approves don’t measure yourself by likes and retweets
  71. don’t make excuses "I'll be more creative when I have '...'. “I need a better camera/mac/*” just distracts you from doing your work. God wants us to be content and be creative with what we have now. Real creativity makes use of constraints.
  72. view your work as a gift from God be generous and help people out Being generous has got me really far. Viewing your work as a gift changes everything. Give away stuff and trust God for promotion.
  73. There is so much need for art and originality online, Nearly all of what we consume online is selling something. We need more than bad news, ice bucket challenges and Buzzfeed. making art is a calling
  74. Thanks very much @richwells