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Crossover creativity

A good friend of mine and Circusplanet colleague Tim van Hellemont (a.k.a. Netwel) loves messing about with Photoshop. He’s been an active member and contestant of Photoshop Contest for a few years now and occasionally shows me some of his work. Go check out the website and Netwel’s profile. The contests are pretty amazing to say the least!

A few weeks ago, Tim showed me some Photoshop tutorial DVD’s from The Gnomon Workshop. Besides the amazing skill level, some of these guys use very interesting methods to push their creativity. One of them stood out for me in particular. I was immediately trying to think of ways to apply his approach to diabolo. I think I have succeeded and would like to share with you.

I am talking about Nick Pugh’sOriginality in Design” DVD. I’ll try to summarize his approach, but the DVD is just packed with great advice so go check that out in full if you can.

The approach
The starting-point of the DVD addresses the difficulty that many design artists face while trying to achieve originality in their work. He then describes his own method to get the creative juices flowing. He starts off with a huge amount of sketching — up to hundreds of pages. He explains how this process helps to shake all the cliches out of his mind and gain a mind state where he has a chance to explore a different angle and create something original. In the initial stages of sketching, he tries a variety of techniques and is definitely not trying to design anything in particular.

A great suggestion is to use both hands for drawing. This will (hopefully) split your brain into the 2 halves it’s made of and force you to use both to their full potential. The key here is that you don’t really want to be comfortable by doing the same you always do and following some sort of routine, or you’ll find yourself stuck drawing the same things over and over. You will have to explore new territory, which can be really exciting.

His last piece of advice is to avoid going back. Put away the eraser. Stack up your pages with sketches and keep on drawing until you feel like you’re done. Walk away and come back later to review your drawings. The majority of your drawings won’t be useful at all; however, if you discover only a few things that are actually really original and different, you have succeeded.

Applying the approach to diabolo
Creativity is applicable to a wide range of skills. Applying this approach to diabolo isn’t as hard as it may seem. The first issue you need to think about is how you are going to record the process. You can’t write it all down, so you will have to set up a video camera and film your session.

Go with the flow, use different techniques, try different kinds of tricks, and apply the ambidextrous approach. Let’s get the standard repertoire out of our system and gain a mind state where you can go to the next level without worrying about mistakes and drops — they’re a natural part of the trial-and-error process.

Don’t go back trying the same tricks and sequences over and over again. You’ll have the ability to review your new “hooks” after your session. You can stop recording after an hour or so, and come back later to review what you have filmed. The majority will be crap, but there’s got to be a few nice moves you can work out!

Dang. Dang-diggy-dang.
I recorded one of my practice sessions once (way before I saw this DVD), and reviewed it together with William (a.k.a. Crackers). This led to some nice tricks in the end! One of them being the trick at 1:36 in my “Dang-diggy-dang” video — the slowcide hit-back to wrapcide. It used to be this thing that evolved from an alternate infinite suicide exit. William pointed out he loved the look of it, so I worked on it a bit more. Having a second pair of eyes can help immensely when reviewing your recordings.

Please keep in mind this approach might not work the first few times and you don’t have to record for a full hour. Go try it out!

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