All posts from 2016, newest first.
The structured design process
Creativity seems to be this all or nothing thing; it’s either there, or it isn’t.
We wait until a spark lights up our brain and the ideas whirl around, then pick something to our liking. When inspiration hits, it's almost like magic. Especially when it’s used to create art and crafts, when we create beautiful things from our colorful minds. There’s no real structure there, no to-do list to follow. But how do you come up with ideas that fit your project?
The creativity journal or project book
How do you keep track of your craft or art projects? If you are anything like me, there are probably a handful of unfinished projects swirling around in your
home somewhere. I know from other people (a lot of knitters are notoriously known for this…) that it’s not a straight-forward rule that you start a project only once you’ve finished the old
My mom for example, is a Ravelry fan, and has lots of sock and other knitting projects lying around. Some, which she can knit from memory; easy projects, for when concentration is not at its best. Others, which come with a guide of several pages; the more difficult ones.
I personally have several stories I’m working on, both in writing as well as in ‘comic’ form. I draw characters from these stories, or make up scenes.
But how do you save your inspirations and make sure you don’t mix up the abundance of projects? How do you store your idea snippets?
(Idea snippets are rough ideas for part of projects. Say, an interesting pocket for a bag, without the rest of the bag design. You can use these later, for when you need inspiration.)
I for one, keep project notebooks. I highly recommend using at least one project book, or creativity journal. So what are they, and how do you use one?
A Creativity journal is similar to an art journal; it is used to journal, to draw in, do paper crafts etc. Basically all creative expressions that fit in a
paper book. Contrary, a Project notebook is not used for craft projects in themselves, nor journaling. They are identical however, in that you can use them for tracking your projects. So
basically, a creativity journal is a project notebook, plus journaling and crafts.
Since this post is about project management, I’ll limit the explanations to the functions of the project notebook. So without further ado:
How do you manage your creative projects?
It’s usually not much of a problem if you only work on 2 to 3 projects, tops, and finish these before starting something new.
But what if inspiration hits yet again, and you just can’t bring yourself to work on gazillions of unfinished masterpieces-in-progress? And when you finally
decide to dig out one of your older crafts – “I haven’t touched this in 3 years!” – you have no real idea what brand or color of wool or paper or … you used in the first place?
Or when your project is so large, that you lose sight of the overview and details; like writing a comic book, where you think up a whole city including habitants. How do you keep track of all that?
Or if you want to make a second copy of a made-before item, and now you can’t remember the exact measurements or the pitfalls you ran into the first
Well, then it might be time for some project management.
Now, that doesn’t sound like that much fun, and certainly not for a hobby that’s supposed to bring you joy, but hear me out. Not knowing or forgetting some important piece of information can be a real source of frustration, too , especially when you’ve finally found some inspiration to work on a certain project. One of the joys of crafting, or any creative endeavor, is to finally end up with a nice finished item.
And keeping track of your projects certainly doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing task of bookkeeping that will take you days on end.
Now, I don’t mean to sound like an expert, since I’ve only recently began keeping track of my own projects, but I'd like to share some of my experiences and tips with you.
If you only have a few simple projects, that you put away for a few days only due to busy life, it may often suffice to just store a simple sheet of paper with
a project with some notes on it, or keep tabs on your projects in a small notebook.
If you are knitting from a guide, for example, you can write on the back where you left off (which you probably already do) and make notes if certain stitches needed to be looser/tighter than what you usually do. Then if you can store the paper with the knitting, you’re all set. (If you use a notebook, store it in a fixed spot).
If you do have a lot of projects, or just large projects, with quite some time in-between, it’s easy to lose random sheets of paper, especially if these
projects end up jingled together in the closet or drawer.
So if you need some serious ‘bookkeeping’ I’d suggest using a notebook or binder.
A binder has the advantage of adding and relocating pages whenever you need to, while a (hardcover) notebook may be sturdier and more portable. In case you intend to use a notebook, I recommend leaving a few pages for an index, bullet journal style, and then just fill the pages as they come. More on keeping a project book here.