Creative Exercise (or, “Mad Libs Chimera #1”)

13 04 2011

This weeks sketch I have no real name for.  I don’t know what to call it.  Except for Mad Libs Chimera #1, which I suppose could be its name.

In case you’re wondering what the inspiration was, this strange beast was a product of an exercise I created to get those creative juices flowing.  Think of it as a mad lib for artists.  If you’re not artistically inclined (in the pencil and paper sense), don’t worry.  It ain’t meant to be pretty.  It’s just to play creatively.

So this is for all of you artists and writers alike.

Here’s the exercise:

1) Make the following list.
Head:
Torso:
Forearm/foreleg:
Waist/middle:
Backleg:
Tail:
Back:

2) For step two, you’ll need some friends or family.  Ask for seven animals/beasts.  You can specify them to be real animals, if you’d like, but I give the option of real and mythical beasts.

3) Doodle to your heart’s content.  You can make the animal as practical or outlandishly ridiculous as you wish, so long as you have some fun doing it.

Here’s a rule, though.  Do not pare down the animals you’re given.  Just like mad libs stories.  The point of this exercise is to not look within your own brain for the inspiration.

The animals I was given to work with were lion, tiger, bear–and yes, the first three were in that order–phoenix, dragon, wolf, and scorpion.  Match that up to the list, and imagine my temporary befuddlement.  First off, I wasn’t used to using these animal’s traits like this.  The tail of a wolf?  The legs of a dragon (as opposed to more recognizable horns)?  The back of a scorpion (and not the iconic tail)?  And second, how was I supposed to fit them together in proportion?

But that wasn’t the point.  It forces you to work with something a little different, which is often exactly what we creators need.  I was in a writer’s block rut when I got the idea for this, and it was a fun little way to oust my creative anxiety while I waited for words to start speaking to me again.  Work with what your given–not what you’re used to working with.

And, of course, have fun!

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