How to generate, capture, and collect ideas to realize creative projects.


Non-Destructive Graffiti

Professor: “Hey, unless this is a nude love-in, get the hell of my property!!!”
Hippie: “You can’t own property, man!
Professor: “I can, but that’s because I’m not a penniless hippie.”
Futurama – 2.18: “The Problem with Popplers”

I am currently working my way through an interesting tumblr blog I stumbled upon (warning: NSFW — a strange mixture of Kittens-Gender-Porn-BDSM, but interesting — if you are really sure you want to have a look at it, it’s Still 2213 postings to go (if I calculate it right), but so far it brought me 2012 interesting graphics and 316 nice quotations (I drag the images on my desktop and move them into a DEVONthink folder and capture the quotes with the DEVONthink text plugin — not only makes storage easy but it also gives me the numbers). And yup, the digital squirrel in me went nuts.

Looking at all the interesting (= makes you laugh, think, energized) postings, I was reminded that I wanted to do a posting about non-destructive graffiti. Personally, I love good graffiti, I love quotes in public places, well done images. But I hate tags on buildings and the general destructive nature of it.

But graffiti does not have to be this destructive and obnoxious:

Spray it on Cellophane

cellophane graffiti

Cut from the blog entry at

A posting on shows this incredible idea: Instead of spraying on walls, the artists used cellophane. It can be Read More


Coursera’s “Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques” starts today!

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”
Howard Ikemoto

Coursera offers a lot of interesting courses — one of them is “Introduction to Art: Concepts & Techniques”. The course starts today, so you can still participate (given that you can access the course information as long as the course is running, you could possibly enter the course later, but you will likely miss a lot of the course experience).

The very short impression I gained from the first videos is very positive. In a way, I feel like during school when I failed to understand binary code at first — I simply wrote down a couple of 0′s and 1′s. When I finally understood how it worked, it was very easy to see why my first guess made no sense. I felt similar when watching the video about lines — there is a lot of basic information I missed when trying to understand drawing — and I am looking forward to learn more (if I can make and defend the time for it ;-)).

BTW, Coursera offers also courses about music, writing, art history and the like. Highly recommended. :-)


Thinking beyond your discipline — Or: Making better Photos

A man’s face is his autobiography.
A woman’s face is her work of fiction.
Oscar Wilde

It is astonishing how blind some disciplines can be for the talents of other disciplines. I’ve already written about the benefits (and challenges) of interdisciplinary work in science (and did an update in the 2nd edition of “Organizing Creativity”), here I take the example of photography. Or rather, of photography and other disciplines that are very helpful for photography, yet are often neglected when it comes to teaching/learning photography.

I am sure there are others, but I focus here on

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The creative process is a mess of unrealized ideas, false starts, and revisions. It offers more blood, sweat, and tears than your parents’ record collection. Once you experience it, however, it’s tough to live without it.
“The Creative Process” by Grant Snider

I recently stumbled upon “INCIDENTAL COMICS” by Grant Snider. Beautifully drawn comics with depth (literally and figuratively), humor, and inspiration. I also like his explanations below the comics (see the quote above for an example).

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Happy Birthday “Organizing Creativity” 2!

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint … . What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.
Henry David Thoreau

It’s been exactly a year since I made the second edition of “Organizing Creativity” available.

Happy Birthday!!!!!!!! :-) :-) :-)

Organizing Creativity 2I wanted it to be read, so I made the double-page (spread) version available for “free” (donationware), and it seemed to have worked. More than 9800 people visited the download page in the last year and Google Analytics counts over 1800 downloads (I guess it misses some, tracking PDF downloads are a little difficult). There were also some great comments, public on Amazon, and private per eMail, — very encouraging and helpful :-)

Not bad for a just-for-fun project. :-)

Regarding the donationware aspect — if the reader finds it helpful there are some ways to give me money for itthis did not work that well. Only a few people bought the book as print version or the high-quality PDF version. Still, I am even more thankful to those people who bought it. I didn’t do it for the money, but it’s still nice that the work is appreciated. After all, feedback is the life-blood of an author and money is actually as honest as feedback can get. I am also very grateful to Dylan Damian and others who offered proof-reading. It helped a lot :-)

To celebrate it’s first birthday, I have decided to make the single-page version available for “free” (also donationware). But note that the graphics are still downscaled — the PDF is great for viewing on a tablet, but not for printing. I need to leave a difference to the single-page version at Lulu.

1 page download Organizing Creativity PDF single-page version — ideal for iPad and other tablets that can display PDF files.1 page download PDF

2 page download Organizing Creativity PDF double-page version — good if you want to read it on your computer monitor or print it with two “pages” per page (although if you want to read it on paper, buying a printed version of the book is probably easier).2 page download PDF

Hope you like it. If you like the book and want to return the favor without paying something, recommend the book in your social networks. Perhaps your contacts like it too.

Thanks :-)


Impressive examples of everyday creativity

To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.
George Kneller

I tried out Diaspora* and stumbled upon this link: 99 Life Hacks to make your life easier!

There are some really impressive and surprisingly solutions to everyday problems.

Highly recommended!


Transform any notepad into a sketching notepad

gluedSome sketching and painting notepads have the paper glued together on all four sides of the notepad. This makes sure that the paper stays in place when you sketch/paint. Given that I love the paper of Clairefontaine notepads and that they do not offer their pads as sketching/painting notepads, I tried to modify one of their normal spiral bound notepads this way.

I opened the cover and carefully applied glue (“Uhu(R) Kraft”) to the sides of the notepad. One side at a time and let it dry overnight. It worked perfectly — the paper got a little uneven, but only minimally. The liquid adhesive dried and did not become sticky anymore. In retrospect I should have left (part of) one side unglued to make it easier to remove a page.

But it’s a nice way to get a sketching/painting notepad with the paper you love.


Book now proof-read :-)

“Once I thought I was wrong, but I was mistaken.”

A short while after I made the second version of “Organizing Creativity” available, Dylan Damian contacted me and offered to proof-read the book. It was a nice moment — people have called me strange (or stupid) for offering something¬† for free I worked on for months (years, actually), but I believe that when something is useful and you burn for it, you should make it available. And given that I never intended to earn money with it, why not offer it in a donationware format. If you like it, you pay what you like, if you do not like it, you should not pay for it.

But frankly, I would have never thought that Read More


Two nice sketching Apps: Paper by FiftyThree and procreate by Savage Interactive Pty Ltd

Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.
Edgar Degas

procreate1Having my iPad for about three weeks, I tried out a few sketching apps. While I love Autodesk SketchBook Mobile I do not think that this is the end of the line, and it is not. Depending on what you want to do, two Apps are very interesting:

Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree strives to give you the Moleskine experience on your iPad — you have to buy additional ways to sketch to really use the software, but the ease with which you can sketch is impressive. Not sure how a graphic professional would feel about it, but the sketches look nice to an amateur. Read More


Versions for eBook Reader

During the last few days I had a look at the ePub format — the format to go if you want to offer something on an eBook reader. It looks to me like we are back at webdesign-square-one — only now it’s not a battle between Netscape, Explorer, and Opera, but between different hardware devices.

After some interesting (and time-wasting) experiences with InDesign and its (lack of) ability to help you create ePub files (it can, but you need to edit them manually afterwards), I think the ePub version will take at least two weeks.

What bugs me is not only that ePub makes it Read More