What exactly is going on in your mind?

What exactly is going on in your mind?

The TARDIS Guy stands next to a work in progress TARDIS being builtThe Creative Process

Let me be clear here, I really mean “my” creative process. “The Creative Process” sounds a little definitive. I tend to make things I crave, my fandom manifesting itself in physical form. I get excited about what I love and have to make something. I find myself wading in, first ankle deep, then knee, then waist. Suddenly I’m up to my chest and then quite often, in over my head.

I obsess over detail no one will notice, but hope they will, (ask me about my “tabulated squareness ratio table of TARDIS Panel Doors” spreadsheet, I dare you). I agonise over choices that don’t really need making and nothing, nothing, is ever good enough. Sound familiar? It does? Maybe this is The Creative Process? I used to think I was alone, but I’m not and neither are you. In fact, we have each other. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by creative, fun and engaged people. Some of them I know well, some I have not met and see only online. There will always be someone better at this than me, with more experience, more time, more something. That’s ok, I’m here doing my thing. There will always be people with less experience than me, that’s ok too, I’m here to help and share. Knowing there are others out there keeps me going. I spend a lot of time working alone and the isolation can have a negative impact. I sometimes forget what I am doing and why.

“But what about the actual creative process?”

Much like JAWS: The Revenge, this is where it gets personal. When I create, I am creating something I want or something someone has commissioned, either way it’s personal. When creating for myself, it’s easy to be disappointed, when creating for another person it’s devastating if they aren’t happy with the end result. The pleasure of a happy client is the best part of my work, even if that client is me, in my workshop, holding a new shield and having secret special Allan time, pretending to be Captain America. POW! CRASH! “Take that Redskull”

But that’s the beginning and the end of the process, what about the actual process of creation? I have a very talented author friend, Peter M Ball, who takes a very practical approach. His work is great, the operative word being work. After the initial idea, that is what creation becomes, work. The creative process is hard work. Thinking up nice rainbow unicorn ideas and leaving them in my head is fancy and cool, but for me, that is not the creative process. Creation implies completion. It is a process. It takes hours of research, design, labour and quite a bit of frustration to bring to life what I was all starry eyed over only moments ago and it’s not created until it’s finished.

“But what about the ACTUAL creative process!?”

I have two modes, “sticking to my strengths” and “I have no idea what I am doing”, also known as “learning new things.” You may understand these two modes? Part of my “thing” is that I like to create items that not only look good but to feel “real” too. I want them to be touched, picked up, and swung. I want to see you change the way you stand when you hold your new shield. I want you to feel like a God when you raise your new hammer. I use engineering practices normally reserved for industrial process to take the vision in my head and put it in your hand in the most realistic way possible. It’s exceedingly difficult to find vibranium these days so I translate what I want into real world possibilities. Having a background in engineering gives me insights on how to get as close to the look and feel I want as possible. So, when I create, I stick to my strengths, mostly.

I also have no idea what I am doing, by which I mean, I am often learning new things. This is also called “playtime.” You simply can’t know everything. I’m good at what I’m good at because I have done it a lot. That’s it, I am not magically talented. So, I figure, if I don’t know how to do something yet, then I better give it a go and do it a few times. Make some mistakes, mess it up and learn how to put it right. I learn the most about anything I am doing when it goes wrong. I learn how to put it right and move on. Sometimes I dwell, mope and get upset, but I get over it, eventually. This is what we call a visit from the Disaster Unicorn, spirit animal of the minor inconvenience.

Something else I do is look to others. Learning from the amazing pool of talented people around me is something I always try to do. Listening to others who are quietly doing their own thing is such a great experience. Working alone is good but collaboration can be great.

“Yes, all this sounds very nice, but how do you create the things you create? How is Mjolnir made? What do you do to make a TARDIS? You’ve told us nothing Allan, nothing!”

Yeah, sorry about that, I noticed that when I read through this one. I guess I could have written.

My creative process; Think of something to do, make it, if it goes wrong, try again, learn from others.

But that seems a little too easy, doesn’t it?

Next time; Me and Cosplay.

Allan, AKA “The TARDIS Guy”

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