Kedron Rhodes Thoughts on Design, Innovation & Leadership

Follow the Directions

Titus curled up on my lap this evening and asked me if I would draw him two dragons. This isn’t an out of the ordinary request around our house; drawing, building or making something is all fair game. In fact, we’re either drawing, building or making something nearly every day of the week.

Having young kids has forced me to put my creative process into a framework in which I can explain it to them. It’s pretty simple:

Follow the directions in your mind.

I tell this to my kiddos every time they ask, “Wow dad, that is so cool! How did you do that?”

I follow the directions in my mind.

I’ve come to realize that visualizing something before it’s created is a skill not everyone has, and one that takes consistent effort to maintain. If you’re in a creative profession, you know just what I’m talking about.

Here are a few simple tips that I use to help visualize the unseen:

Focus. First and foremost, you have to be able to shut the noise down in your mind in order to construct anything with detail. Building the unseen is nothing more than a house of cards, and with one little distraction or wondering thought, the whole thing can come crashing down.

Get detailed. Construct as many details as your mind can maintain before you begin manifesting your creation. This isn't to say that you should have it all detailed in your mind before you begin. If you waited for that kind of clarity, you'd never begin.

Use milestones. As you strengthen your ability to convert your creative thoughts into reality, you may need to get really rough prototypes out early and often in order to keep building. Getting a rough prototype out is also a great way to save a seed of an idea that you can build on later.

Practice daily. Seriously.

Fill in the gaps. If you find yourself struggling with visualizing your idea, do some research to help flesh it out. Knowledge gaps can often be filled pretty quickly and shouldn’t hold up the process too much. Feasibility gaps are a whole different story.

What do you do to help visualize, before you create? Ping me on Twitter @kedronrhodes

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