Here’s A Brilliant Idea: 104 Activities To Unleash Your Creativity, by the Brothers McLeod
This book was co-written by two brothers, one of whom is a writer and the other of whom is an illustrator. As might be expected, therefore, this book mostly splits the difference between activities designed to involve creativity through visual art and activities that involve writing, although none of the writing and drawing requires a very high level of competence in either. In fact, the drawing shown in this book is rather primitive, to the point of being rather laughable, and although as I got this book at the library I was unable to draw or write in it, lest I mar the book for future readers, I did find the book to be at least somewhat amusing and that is something I can appreciate and enjoy. It is likely that if you have a sense of humor and a fondness for silly activities that you will find at least something humorous and worthwhile here as well. Best of all, all of the activities here already are set up in such a way where creativity can flow easier than it can with, say, a blank screen or a blank page.
I had a smile on my face as I read this book. There was something cute about the text that was wanted as well as the drawings that the book asked the reader to create. There is no real organization or structure to this book, after the introduction at least, but the book is divided by a series of humorous pieces of advice like staring out the window or going for a walk while leaving one’s phone at home, for example, as well as series of comments on a brief history of ideas as well as some funny suggestions on how to have ideas and, just as usefully, how to not have ideas (by staying in bed, staring at the television, and so on). Throughout the book there are occasions where some doodled figures are drawn in with exercises to write text for them, at other times the authors urge the reader to take familiar objects and make them into beings of some kind, as well as some chances to engage in automatic writing and coloring in drawings that are already made, and even doodle around seeing what results from it. One of the exercises even encourages the reader to make a new hieroglyphic alphabet of sorts, although I would be most prone to make something out of cuneiform wedges myself.
Often when one’s creativity is being thwarted there is simply a need to so something to trigger the mind into making more connections and allowing one to create something, and this book does a very good job at promoting the sort of behaviors that can encourage creativity in the future. For example, creating an alphabet for a language can then lead to questions about the structure and grammar of a language that is so created. Does one want to create a syllabary or even a more ambitious pictographical system of hieroglyphics like traditional Chinese writing? Likewise, creating a pair of opposite figures that nonetheless can get along might bring some idea of a drama to be drawn in a cartoon or written in a story. While I do not consider myself a particularly good artist when it comes to making drawings, sometimes sketching things out can help one resolve roadblocks in one’s thinking that are making it hard to complete a project or see how things can fit together. All in all, this book is an enjoyable one and likely a profitable one for those who are charmed and amused by its whimsical nature.