Thursday, June 28, 2007

Logic vs Creativity (Left vs Right Brain)

One fundamental question that has been raised many times is can creativity be learned or practiced? Even I had this question and doubt since long time. I was worried after my first CEED result if I am creative enough or not. If I am not, I cannot move into animation or any creative field. Even today I struggle to find creative ideas, but now I understand where do they come from and I know that I can be creative, in fact anyone can be creative.

I got a kick on this thought when we were doing thumbnail studies for color theory assignment. What we had to do was to design a single motif which eventually would create a pattern. I started off with excitement since I had so many ideas, but I got only few thumbnails on my page. I was worried and thinking what to do. Our professor told us that while exploring ideas do not think of how a motif would look in the pattern or how it would fit in the pattern, whatever comes to the mind just translate it into a thumbnail. And later on after exploring ideas we can see if a particular motif will work or not and may be modify later. At once it clicked to me that what I was doing was wrong, I was going into more of logical aspects of ideas like how details will look and how they will connect and how can I literally translate my idea of fish in the net. I was more focused on details and not the whole idea. Whatever new ideas came were rejected by left brain in doing more of analysis or logical explanation. So I realized that I was not letting my right side of the brain take control.

Left and right sides of the brain have individual and separate functions. They each process different kinds of information and outputs different kinds of results. This link shows which side of the brain handles what. So simple fact is that a person who uses left side of the brain more tends to be more logical and technical, while the person using the right side of the brain more tends to be more creative and artistic. All the intuitive and random ideas come from the right side of the brain. Many times even if we get some really good ideas they do not come out because of the interference of the left side of the brain. So for people who wants to be more creative has to make their right side of the brain function more efficiently and be careful in not to let left side of the brain interfere. The book "Drawing on right side of the brain" by Betty Edwards is based on the same theory and in a way she revolutionized the way people learn drawing with this book.

So the trick is to do exercises that make your right side of the brain more active. The above book itself has many good exercises (which I have not done, but I know it has). One basic exercise I know of is to draw something without looking at it. The first drawing always comes out very ugly and you may hardly recognize it sometimes, but with practice you can get unbelievable results. Well sounds like there is a really simple solution to be more creative right? Well in my experience it's really difficult, because of the human nature and because left brain always keep coming if you already have that dominant. For me since I am coming from a computer engineering background and being a person who likes to invent algorithms, it's a really a tough job. But sometimes it really helps and it works as well. It's just that you have to be aware of it when left brain starts interfering. So whenever next time you are looking for ideas, first stop your left brain and just draw thumbnails of anything that pops in your mind. Later on you do all the analysis of ideas to see which works and which does not. So here are the steps to do something creative (IMO):
1. Explore ideas(Let the right side of the brain rock) (DONT think if a idea will work or not)
2. After gathering ideas analyze them and discuss them.
3. Find best 3 ideas out of them and compare them (more detailed analysis)
4. Select the best idea and modify if required.
5. Move to the first execution step.

For art analysis would be in terms of design principles like composition, shapes and forms, rhythm etc.

3 comments:

Kumar Ahir said...

Ever tried of making patterns from a single motif in flash?
What you need to do is make a single motif and convert it to a symbol
then place many such symbol instances besides each other.
then changing just one symbol will reflect the change in entire pattern.
try this.
I did this in my first semester and it came up quite nice.

Maulik said...

I had done that in Illustrator. Though it could be a nifty trick in flash. Good idea!

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the creative brain tips. I was searching for some inof about what side of the brain does what and this was very helpful! Have you ever tried looking at things with your right eye closed? Things look different maan!