5 Ways To Kickstart Your Creativity In 2020

Jenny Brownlees

You might not think it, but anyone and everyone has the ability to be creative. Yes, even you – the person who hasn’t so much as touched a glue stick since your teens. 

With creativity, there is no right or wrong – self-expression matters most and the key is going for it and making it anyway. Which is exactly the ethos of VSCO, a photo and video editing app where you can express yourself and share your work freely. 

With the new decade well and truly here (we see you coming, February), there’s no better time to put into play those creative intentions that have been lurking at the back of your mind. 

In case you needed any more reason to flex those creative muscles, it’s even good for your health: creativity helps to boost brain function, improves your mood and can help to ease mental health issues. Focusing on something that's entirely for you and your enjoyment is the ideal way to switch off from day-to-day pressures, let go and have some fun. It can even open doors in terms of personal growth and confidence. Which leads us to the question VSCO is asking all of us: this year, what will making make you?

So if you’ve been looking for a new creative outlet but don't know how or where to begin, the tips ahead are for you. Often the way to get going is to put your head down and dive right in...

Embrace your inner child

Who is it for?
If you've ever felt like your creativity has been restricted by perfectionism or comparison.

What can it do for me?
Children have amazing authentic creativity, but this often disappears as you get older. We say it shouldn't. It's time to get comfortable with messiness and mistakes and start celebrating curiosity and all-out experimentation.

How do I get started?
Just like you did as a child, get messy and embrace artistic play. Think of a playful activity you used to enjoy and start! Trace an image, book or magazine cover, then draw it freehand or have a go at painting five of the closest objects to you. Try doing this in an abstract, modern art-esque way and draw shapes and blocks of colour rather than perfect details.

You could even take inspiration from
Mary Surkova's VSCO page and experiment with cutting out images that catch your eye to create your own bright and textural collages.

The idea here is to practise letting go because no one's expecting a masterpiece. Celebrate the curiosity and experimentation that will come from mindfully playing around and you’ll likely find this leads to even more creative ideas or kickstarts a larger project, whatever your medium.

Who says kids should have all the fun?

Experiment with VSCO

Who is it for?
Any person who wants to express themselves creatively without the pressure of follower counts or likes.

What can it do for me?
While anyone can utilise VSCO’s free features, membership is a great way to take your creativity to the next level. By joining monthly or annually, you’ll get access to VSCO’s complete library of presets, editing tools and other exclusive features that’ll help you move forward on your creative journey. You’ll also find plenty of inspiration in the VSCO community by discovering other perspectives and sharing your own.

Film X, exclusive for VSCO members, is a collection of presets which replicate classic film looks. You can experiment with applying them to stills or video and explore the iconic looks that defined decades of photography. 

Looking to tweak your images and videos? VSCO's HSL tool helps you fine-tune the hue, saturation and lightness of specific colours so you have complete control over your content.

As a member, you'll also be invited to participate in weekly challenges which introduce a new way to create along with the chance to be featured by VSCO. Look out for these, as they're a fun way to get started, experiment and learn new techniques that will grow your creativity.

How do I get started?
Download the app for free from your app store. To become a VSCO member, start a free 7-day membership trial.

Try a colour challenge

Who is it for?
Anyone who feels inspired by visual prompts around them and wants to try a simple fun task to spark some ideas.

What can it do for me?
This age-old trick will help ignite creative ideas through the medium of colour, bringing awareness and appreciation to your everyday surroundings. Once you start looking, you’ll start to notice inspiring colour all around – and you'll soon feel the positive impact on your creativity.

How do I get started?
Pick one colour a day (or week – whatever works for you) and take a photo of everything you see in that hue.
Don’t concentrate on the photos being perfect, instead try being artfully abstract – shoot close and tight or experiment with different perspectives.

For inspiration, check out 'A World Of Colour' and the Spectrum Collection to see how VSCO creators bring multicoloured scenes to life with vibrant edits. Seeing the variations in hue, texture and medium trains the eye to notice these little details of life, which can later translate into other creative pursuits. You could even utilise the VSCO Borders tool, which has a range of colour options that will perfectly frame the image in your chosen hue.

Looking back at the pictures of colour you have spotted and collaged will get you feeling excited about making new things and how you can translate colour into other projects.

Get immersed in nature

Who is it for?
Those who thrive on being outdoors and want to start noticing the art and creativity all around – from architecture, patterns and shapes to nature’s landscapes, trees and flowers.

What can it do for me?
We know that being outside can benefit your physical and mental health in many ways, so it makes sense to look to spaces such as the countryside, local park or beach to get inspired. After all, Van Gogh had to get out and about to see those sunflowers before he painted his masterpiece. Being outside will also give you time to reflect on what you do and don't like, which is an important tool in honing your creativity.

How can I get started?
Take a notebook with you, pick your favourite view and try sketching it for five minutes. You could go there at four different times of the day over a week and capture the differences in colour and light in a quick sketch.

Notice any patterns that catch your eye – from colourful flowers to gnarled tree bark – and challenge yourself to draw them right there and then. You could even try doing a pencil rubbing of a specific texture. Remember those?

For more nature-centric inspiration, check out Sandra Linnell's photography and read about how she gets inspired by nature's creative wonders.

Immersing yourself in your surroundings will make you start to appreciate the little things.

Trial a timed task

Who is it for?
Time-strapped people who want to get more creative but are stuck on how to start.

What can it do for me?
Creativity rarely just comes to us from nowhere, so set aside time to experiment and try out a variety of mediums. Giving yourself a bite-size amount of time means you avoid the intimidation of perfection or not knowing how to start, so you’re more likely to dive right in.

How can I get started?
Set yourself a 10-minute timer. Starting with a blank piece of paper, loosen yourself up by creating a mind map, thinking of favourite colours, ideas that inspire or any mediums you’d like to try in the future. Often from a small spark comes a fully formed idea.

Is drawing your thing? Try a timed sketching task and don’t take your pen off the page as you draw. You could even try it with your non-writing hand or with your eyes closed. Sometimes the 'messiest' creations are the best! VSCO's weekly challenges are a good place to get some inspiration for different themes.

Timed tasks can be really rewarding for creative writing, too. This can begin from the simplest prompt such as 'your home town', 'bright' or 'nighttime'. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at short stories, poems or fiction writing, spending 10 minutes following these prompts is a great first step and much less daunting than staring at a blank page.

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