Experiences from a Creative Mind: How do Artists Think?

Understand Where Creative People are Coming from and Learn to Start Unleashing Your Creative Juices

experiences from a creative mind: how do artists think?

If you're a left-brained, analytical, good-with-numbers kind of person, I applaud you! But I have no idea how your brain works. ;) I'm learning, though.

I think it's a good idea for us to learn about people who react differently and think differently from us. We can always learn something new that we can use to improve ourselves, even if it doesn't come naturally. As Christians, we know that what we should do definitely does not come naturally, and we have to work at it.

For those of you who don't understand how right-brained creatives think, here are a few snapshots that highlight common experiences for us creatives and will help you understand and feel empathy for those who are different.

1. Color Coding

We live by color. Most of us creatives don't remember numbers or even names as well as we remember colors. Creatives crave color all around us!

And we're very passionate about our favorite colors, too! Don't try to tell me that lavender and mauve are the same thing. They're not! ;)

A few ways color rules our lives:

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  • we organize closets or bookshelves by color

  • we remember the colors of book covers/DVD cases/CD cases even more than the titles

  • we create or make notes with color (oil paints, water colors, crayons, colored pencils, highlighters, or heck, even write with colored ink pens)

2. Routine, Routine, Routine!

Don't start blank. It might sound weird to impose a routine on us creative types. But I have found for me and my son that our creativity has more freedom when our brains have formed more habits we don't have to think about.

Blog template (from  John Koch )

Blog template (from John Koch)

  • Start with a template. When I blog, I always start with a template and an idea. I'm not starting with a blank page. I still use the blog template I got from John Koch when I first began blogging. When I write fiction, I start with a bullet list of events or themes I want to include.

  • “Rituals free us to be more creative” - Chris Brogan. It takes less brain power and concentration once a thing has become a habit. Then our brains are free to come up with new ideas or spin off into an area we haven't explored yet.

3. Experimenting and Playing

We creatives must have some outlet to just play with color or experiment with expressing our ideas. We do this in numerous ways.

  • Scrapbooking

  • photography

  • oil painting

  • watercolor painting

  • doodling

  • coloring

  • pastels (oil or chalk)

  • colored pencils

  • crayons

  • pens

  • paper crafting (origami, quilling, handmade cards, etc.)

  • web design

  • graphic design

  • video editing

    How important is experimentation in art?

I could run off on a tangent about art in general, but I'll try to stay on task. Experimentation is important in art in every culture, learning how to handle risk taking in art, playing without the possibility of failure.

In fact, art helps child development so that they gain confidence and the experience of playing helps them problem solve. If one thing doesn't produce the effect they were looking for, they learn to try something else, to keep persevering without giving up on the process altogether—unlike those of us perfectionists (or recovering perfectionists) who get easily frustrated when we don't see the results we were looking forward to.

Different kinds of creatives.

In this blog post I found, Betty Jade gives the examples of her two grandchildren, both artistic but with different “volumes.”

  • Her granddaughter's volume is “turned down,” introspective. I think of this like a turtle's shell, a world unto her own. I assume this is the introverted artist.

  • Her grandson's volume is “turned up,” very much a people-pleaser, inviting others into his world. I assume this is the extroverted artist.


I hope this has helped you analyzers to get an idea of what it's like to be a creative. We artists need you to let us experiment and try new things (within reason) without a 5-year plan. ;) We should celebrate our differences and the way God made us.

For those of you who are analytical, are these snapshots the exact opposite of how you do things? Or do you have any insights as to how you differ? Or are the same? Let us celebrate the way God made you, too!