Creating Church: The Four “i’s” of Creativity


If you want to be creative, there are four words to keep in mind. To make it simple, I’ve picked words that all start with “i”, so they should be easier to remember.

Get inspired
Look for something that you like that you could use in the following phases. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know why you like it or if you don’t have the skills to reproduce it. Start with what inspires you. Is it the work of Jony Ive or the films of Steven Speilberg or the writings of J.K. Rowling. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with the content. I’m talking about the art of the piece. Collect examples.

This is why would-be authors are told to read a lot or why film makers are told to watch a lot of films. You need to see what you like first before you’ll ever be ready to make great art of your own.

Study, really study what you like. Don’t stop at “it’s pretty.” Ask yourself why it’s pretty. What makes it different from other things that are similar that you don’t like as much. If it’s a physical thing, ask yourself why they chose the material they used. If it’s a book, ask why the number of pages it has. Why is this scene included and another not included?

You’re trying to get to know the work so well that if you had the skill, you could copy it from memory. When you’re done looking, look again and see what you’ve missed. Look for what’s there and what’s not. Try and answer all the questions that it raises.

Now that you’re familiar, try and recreate it as best as you can. Maybe you can’t paint like Rembrandt or write like Poe, but try and do something as similar as possible as the original. The two things you’re trying to do are figure out how the original was made by trying to makes something like it and you’re trying to hone your skills doing things that you might not have been able to do before because you didn’t know to try.

This is why art students copy artists and why authors write in the genre of their favorite authors. You’ll see where you fail and where you succeed and can keep working to do better.

Once you can copy the piece that you love, try and improve on it. Maybe the technique is the same, but the subject is different. Maybe you can mix up two pieces to make something new, juxtiposing the style with a different material.

Whatever you do, don’t start from scratch. Start with something that inspires you and use it and other pieces to inform what you want to do.


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