The Creative Atom: Capture

The better and faster you get at capturing, the stronger and more vivid your artwork will get. Even a small improvement is going to make a huge difference, because what you’re improving is the very building blocks of your art.

In CreativityWise we divide the creative process to 5 distinct elements, each color-coded throughout the site for clarity. Four of them are explained in the second introduction post (if you haven’t seen it yet, it would be a good idea to catch up later). Let’s have a look at the fifth element of creativity: Capture.

Butterfly photo

Here’s a picture of a butterfly (image by mk*). I’ve printed it on a shiny paper, and I must admit it looks great.

So here’s a question for you: would you say my printer is an artist?

…I’m sorry, that was a ridiculous question. Obviously, even though my printer made a beautiful physical thing, it can’t be considered an artist.

Is it just because it’s not a person? Suppose it was a person printing the image, copying it pixel by pixel with markers. Would you call this person an artist? I would argue that the answer is again no. That’s because simply creating something is not what creativity is all about.

What creativity IS all about

A flesh-and-blood artist would look at the picture and think – THIS is what I think this is; and he would paint that thought (which might look something like the quick sketch below). Then he would think: I also see THIS. And then THAT. And then another thing. Each thought becomes a few brushstrokes, and this process of converting observations to paint would go on until the artist is satisfied with the way the work represents his (or her) perception of the image.

Butterfly painting pass 1

The same process happens when writing a story, to take another example. Just as paintings aren’t created as a sequence of pixels, stories aren’t written as a sequence of words. The writer asks – what’s my story about? He converts his answer to words as he writes his rough layout. Then he starts shaping it, making observations about his characters and plot and converting them to more words, until he’s satisfied with the result.

You see, it’s the PROCESS of art that makes it so wonderful and important. Every piece of creative work is a structure made of many little thoughts, each thought captured in a concrete medium: clay, paint, words, music notes, polygons, whatever. In essence, capturing is what art is all about.

The Creative Atom

Capture TabForming observations and capturing them is a skill – in fact, I see it as THE fundamental skill of creativity; and that’s why it has its own color and tab in CreativityWise. The better and faster you get at capturing, the stronger and more vivid your artwork will get. Even a small improvement is going to make a huge difference, because what you’re improving is the very building blocks of your art: the creative atom.

 


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Comments

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4 Comments on “The Creative Atom: Capture

  1. krinat says:

    Hmmm…

    I thought that “Capturing” was something you do only in the beginning of the creative process – after the “Dream” & the “Explore” part. How do you do “Capturing” during the “Make” part?

    Rinat

    • Doron Meir says:

      Well… the full answer is rather complicated for a comment, but I’ll do my best to give you a quick idea: read the keyword post about working in passes. With each pass you need to CAPTURE the essentials, so basically you’re layering captures until the work is done.
      Hope that makes sense :)

  2. krinat says:

    Hi Doron,

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “Capturing”. Let see if I get the idea: Capturing is taking a big idea and breaking it into small bits? Trying to summarize it to the essentials?

    What I really don’t understand is what “Capturing” is the first stage of the 5 processes of creativity? For me, I get Ideas in the “Dreaming” and “Exploring” stages and only than I write short notepad lists of what is my idea for a post…In order the “Capture” something you first need to dream up an idea and research it a bit to find more ideas & thoughts, I think…

    Rinat

    • Doron Meir says:

      It’s more about trying to summarize it to the essentials, yes (not so much about breaking it down to bits, that’s a different idea called “chunking” which I haven’t written much about yet).

      CAPTURE is not really a stage – it’s more of a basic skill, something one should strive to get increasingly better at. It’s a mind tool that plays a crucial role in every part of the process: DREAM, EXPLORE and MAKE. So the better you capture, the more skilled you are at being an artist.

      Hope that was helpful – it’s not a very obvious idea, I know, and there’s only so much I can do in writing… I’m going to explain it very thoroughly in the Go*Capture course when it comes, with lots of examples and exercises to make it very clear :)

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