I like to think I started on my path as an artist when I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. I'd seen a picture my older brother drew, and it blew my mind. I knew if I were going to be that good, I would have to practice. I would have to hone my skill. As I look back at the situation, I'm almost 90% sure he traced the picture, but that's here nor there. He started something! The more I drew, the more I’d hear people say, wow, you're great. I could never…fill in the blank. It wasn't until I started teaching art that I realized they were wrong. Not about me being good but how they could never. As with anything, practice makes perfect, and the more you practice with your hands, mind, and eye, the better you become. Being a creative is simply a matter of practice.
Inspiration can hit at any time at any moment. We have to be open to it. I often head to the local Barnes and Noble to check out the fashion layouts and ads. I don't do it because I'm a fan, nor do I do it passively. I actively look for images that I like then try to dissect the shot. What are their lighting patterns, which lens could this be, why did they choose this color pallet? I try to force my way into the studio after the fact. The critical thinking component helps me get technically better, but it also helps me be a better creative. It helps me train my eye, which is actually what a client pays you for, your ability to create.
When you do see your first client, it can be a daunting task to just be creative on the spot. I am no one's dancing monkey. However, they are footing the bill, so I just might soft shoe a little bit. (what we do for the money). So how do we become this autonomous machine that can produce images in the blink of an eye? A recipe. When you are baking a pie, you don't just throw a bunch of random foods together and put it in the oven. You devise and execute a plan. It should be the same for creatives. Write down your creative recipe if it's listening to run the jewels, great if you need a calm window scene, perfect. Whatever it is that gets you into your creative space, write it down, then recreate.
Being creative, being artistic is just a way of seeing. It's free-flow thinking with a guided purpose. Even if you deem yourself a non-creative, take a moment to study a work you like, deconstruct it, and then decide how you would change one thing, then two things, then three things. Muscles grow when you use them, and so will your creativity.
~Eric Coleman, Eric Coleman Photography