Art,  Events,  Spring into Writing,  Writing

Nick Patton Inside the Box

The Picturebooking Podcast, hosted by Nick Patton is arguably the best picture book podcast available today. Nick does a fantastic job finding wonderful guests to interview. He asks fun questions and it’s always neat to hear how he interacts with his guests. Nick is also an illustrator and creates beautiful art!


Creative Paralysis meets Shoebox Dioramas

We’ve all been there, sitting in front of our screen, staring at the blinking cursor. Biding time until someone’s creative genius shows up.


We know it’s going to be a while.


So we wait.


Wait, wait, wait. Blink, blink, blink.


My recommendation when this happens is to check out this peep diorama.
Isn’t it fun? It’s Peepkle, you know, like Beekle but with peeps!


This shoebox diorama never had a blinking cursor. Why?


Because it was half done before I started. It was a contest at Mead Public Library.


My wife found the shoe boxes and bought the peeps. I spent five minutes thinking about my favorite picture book scenes before I stumbled upon Beekle. I pulled up an image from the book and sketched out the design.


Twenty-four hours later it was done.


Why can’t writing or drawing or painting always be like that?


Maybe it can.


Maybe we can take some of what makes shoebox dioramas so fun and bring it into our other creative endeavors.


With the shoebox, you are literally boxed-in in three directions. Let’s apply that to art and say that we need to limit some of the creative options.


Box yourself in, but don’t close the lid. Giving yourself an opening to go wild inside a tight window.


If you make quick decisions on your walls you’ll be half done before you start and that blinking cursor will be moving right.


Dr. Seuss gave himself walls when he challenged himself to create a story, GREEN EGGS AND HAM, using only 50 words.


Chris Van Allsburg gave himself walls when he eliminated the use of color in his JUMANJI illustrations.


What if you give yourself the wall of not creating a story, but exploring a character or a world?


Or what if your walls were telling the story with just dialog?


Defining what your project is not, can free yourself up to discover what your project is.


I hope my shoebox diorama helps you the next time creative paralysis enters your world. For more creative inspiration to make better stories listen and subscribe to the Picturebooking Podcast.

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