Monday, October 22, 2007

some exercises

This is a continuation of an old post where I promised some creative exercises but never followed up on it (sorry)
Being primarily a cartoonist I will of course skew these small acts with an eye toward cartooning but it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that there are corollaries and connections between all the arts and what benefits an artist of one stripe can also benefit an artist of another. Some of these exercises will not be helpful to a writer of poetry or a dancer or a person who battles sharks but with a little luck there will be at least something in this list that will appeal to everyone's idiosyncratic creative drives. These are presented in no particular order.
  • Make a grocery list and go shopping. When that is done take your list and sit down at a table. Make a quick drawing of each and every item on the list... don't spend more than two or three minutes on each drawing. Make a small book of those drawings (if you don't know how to make a small book you can look it up with a search engine of your choice using keywords like 'zine' or 'minicomic.' I will post a detailed how-to on that subject in the distant future) Take that book to a local zine show or craft fair and sell them for a quarter.
  • go for a walk and collect objects you find on the sidewalk. Make sure to have at least ten items. Once home arrange those items on the floor in a row, in an order that you think of as "harmonious" for lack of a better word. Write a short story incorporating all the items. The items should appear in the story in the order they are arranged on the floor.
  • Write a poem, do not spend too much time on it, this is just an exercise remember? Turn that poem into a comic strip, turn that comic strip into a song, turn that song into a video monologue, turn that video monologue into a short story... you get the idea. Take no more than twenty or thirty minutes on each form. feel free to stretch it out over several days if you need to though. When you are done you should be able to notice distinct strengths and weaknesses that each form offers.
  • write a short biographical study, this can be in comic form, prose, screenplay, whatever. Try to make the study dramatic and narrative, not just a list of events. Make sure to remain true to the facts.
  • write a stream-of-consciousness story for thirty minutes or more. if written on the computer you should print it out. with scissors cut the paragraphs apart and paste them together in no particular order. read the story aloud and see what new inspiration you can derive from it. repeat as many times as you can stomach. try the same technique cutting each sentence into strips and rearranging.
  • go and see what some of my co-contributors have to say here and here both articles are hugely inspirational and many good exercises could be cultivated from them.
I'll try to list off a few more exercises whenever things get slow around here. Thanks for reading, now go make stuff.

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