Accusing Mirror

Illustration of a girl accusing her reflection in the mirror

This week’s word for Illustration Friday is “mirror.” I didn’t think of my usual cartoon with a caption this week. Instead, I thought of teens who go through self image problems. It isn’t limited to girls. At one time or another, we all have a crises with our image, don’t we? We all wonder if we’re smart enough, good enough, and doggone it… do people really like us?

When we get older, we realize everyone else, including the high school cheerleader, the jock and the brain feel the same way. We all have feet of clay. Part of growing up is realizing everyone is concerned with themselves. We all want to look good.

So relax! We all experience insecurity. Once you realize that, you’ll feel more secure.

Kids, Creativity and Influence

Lawrence Wilson had a good blog post today on five ways to unlock your imagination. He pointed out the things that bring him closer to God also fuel his imagination.

Playfulness was the one thing that really struck out to me. I realized playfulness fuels my creativity and make me feel child-like. That’s a good thing. Preschoolers and early elementary kids are so creative in their play. One of the tragedies of this world is we lose that creativity as we get older. Why is that?

One reason is kids don’t have the experience of failure. The world is new to them. They haven’t faced a friend who ridicules them for doing something out of the ordinary. What’s wrong with wearing a tutu with swimming flippers and a sunflower hat? Plenty if you are in elementary school! You’ll be branded as a weirdo before you can turn in your tutu.

But it’s that same kind of playfulness that can give us a creativity breakthrough! Oh, to be a child and have no worries about doing something society brands nonconformist!

Another reason is when we’ve tried something, and it doesn’t work, we hesitate before we do that again. That’s good for a preschooler when he is doing something that could be dangerous. It’s not so good when it comes to creativity.

When I teach, I look for ways to be creative. Ask yourself silly questions. What does love and pepper jack cheese have in common? What does an aardvark have in common with teaching perseverance? It’s those little mind games that can set your imagination free. After all, humor is all about surprise. We laugh when we connect something that normally doesn’t connect.

Here are a few ways to generate a creative brainstorm:

  • There is a program on the web and available on the iPhone called The Brainstormer. Give it a try!
  • Do something you’ve never done before.
    • Go to a different ethnic restaurant.
    • Try a class at your local library or community center.
    • Try an adventure. You may be surprised what kinds of recreation are available in your area.
  • Participate with kids at play. It’s amazing what they come up with. Four to six-year olds make up totally crazy worlds that, to them, are perfectly believable.
  • Look around the room and find an every day object. Take a few minutes to devise some unconventional uses for that object. Is that fork a back-scratcher for an elf? Is it a strange compass? Could it be a recliner for a hamster?
  • Ask questions. Even if you think you know the answer. Besides, do we REALLY know the answer, or do we just assume we do?
Take a look around you and see things differently. Better yet, see the world through the eyes of a child. It will make you a better teacher and artist.
When I found out this week’s theme for Illustration Friday was “influence,” I through this was perfect. With creativity comes influence!

Bottled Up

Cartoon of  a girl and a boy with a bottle for a head. The girl says, “Why do you bottle-up your emotions like that?”

I drew this for Illustration Friday. This week’s word is “bottled.”

Warning Thanks

Cartoon of a boy and a girl. The girl has a warning sign on her shirt. The boy says, “Thanks for the warning.”

I drew this for Illustration Friday. This week’s word is “warning.”