Boost Your Creativity With These Mental Exercises

Whether you are working on the latest animated corporate video for your client or a graphic design overhaul of a website, creating art on demand can be exhausting for anyone with an artistic soul. You run out of ideas, or you feel the burnout approaching. But it would be best if you didn’t think of creativity as a finite resource. It is more like a muscle, and you need to exercise it to get more use out of it. Here are some useful creative exercises that will help spark inspiration in your daily creative work.

Start Copying With A Twist

One nice exercise that should be simple to do is to do some copying. While a lot of artists don’t think much of copying a piece, it can be an excellent starting point for your creativity. Look for a work that you like, whether it is a portrait or a landscape. You then try to recreate it with your skills. The key thing here is that you are not trying to make a 100 percent copy. While the copying can help with technical skills like color mixing and more, your goal is creativity. It would be best if you threw in your twists to the existing work.

For example, the original piece might have been a portrait of a woman in a particular style of dress. You should see what you can do to change the dress. Changing the color is just the beginning. Imagine giving the subject a completely different outfit. This and other creative changes can help spark your creativity.

Put A Handicap On Yourself

One of the sparks that cause inspiration is a necessity. People create or do things because they need to within their limitations. For example, the famous French artist Henri Matisse was nearing the end of his life and was unable to paint. But he still had a creative spark in him, and he needed a way to express himself. This was when he started his series of paper cut-outs. Instead of splashing paint on canvas, he started to cut out colored paper and to paste it on to the white canvas. This sounds simplistic, but the artist’s late work still has the power to impress.

Do something similar. Choose to use another medium or put a constraint on yourself and see what happens. Some artists try to create a piece in one color or bar themselves from using straight lines. This is where creativity comes in for you.

Warm Up With Variations


A popular exercise for warming up creatively is the exercise called thirty circles. An artist is presented with 30 empty circles. They then try to turn each circle into a recognizable object within a limited time. The first might be a ladybug, while the next is an eye, then moving on to a basketball. The exercise continues for the 30 circles, and it can be a challenge. This pushes you both with its time limit and the ability to spread yourself creatively. By the time you are done, you will be warmed up for your actual work.

Approach A Subject In Different Ways

In a similar theme, you might consider taking a subject and presenting it in several ways. This showcases the importance of approach and technique in presenting the final product. For example, a simple still-life of a bowl of fruit might seem boring. But what if you presented it differently with shadows and a darker tint to things. You might also decide to change the perspective of the subject. Being creative on what approach to take can flex your creative skills.

Challenge Yourself With Simplicity

Another challenge for your creativity is to try to be as simple as possible. Similar to how people can’t seem to do push-ups properly, simple pieces can be increasingly challenging. Fancy designs and complex work can cover up a lot of sins. Stripping down your work to the bare-bones can allow you to see how the various elements work in your piece so that you can understand them more. It also lets you do more with limitations. For example, seeing what you can do with simple lines can be interesting to see.

These exercises are a great help for any creative spirit. But there is also another part of the creative process you shouldn’t forget: rest. Similar to how biological muscles need to recover, you need to combine flexing your creativity with some quality rest time. It can be surprising how stepping away from a project for a short time can refresh your creative energies. Combine these exercises with smart resting, and you’ll see your creative powers grow.

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