If you found yourself wandering the aisles of the self-help section in the bookshop, what area of your life would you choose to improve? Your life love, perhaps, or what about that bad habit you’ve been meaning to give up? Both are valid candidates for a slice of self-affirming action, but what about your improving your creativity?
If, like me, you think people are either born with creative bones or not, Rod Judkins is out to prove you wrong. In his first book, Change Your Mind: 57 ways to unlock your creative self, Judkins, a London-based artist and lecturer who specialises in creative thinking, aims to engage readers in the notion of creativity.
The book itself is a bold design statement, presented in a very artistic, unconventional way. Illustrations, life-affirming statements and quotes from famous creatives adorn every other page, in an eye-catching palette of lemon yellow, black and white. Published without page numbers or an index, the book, though small in size, has a coffee table feel – a title you would be proud to have on display – and as a result it’s easy to digest and pleasing to dip in and out of.
Before reading Change Your Mind, I imagined pages of exercises dedicated to awakening one’s creativity, such as drawing a ten-second portrait of a stranger or finding 21 different uses for a twig. In reality, Judkins has focused each of the 57 tips on changing the reader’s thought patterns and attitude, rather than setting practical tasks. Initially I found this unhelpful – statements such as ‘only do what you are passionate about’ are fine if you have enough money to support your desire to recreate iconic landmarks out of matchsticks, but for most of us, creativity manifests as a hobby that must be fitted in around the realities of day-to-day life. The provocative nature of tips like this does make an impact, but the practicalities of earning a wage and being able to keep a roof over one’s head seems to be a major roadblock in the pursuit of creativity.
However, as the book progresses, the tips become more realistic and applicable to all areas of life, not just creativity. Surrounding oneself with life-affirming, encouraging people and not letting fear get in the way of making decisions are two such examples. Quotes from famous artists, designers, authors and scientists bolster each tip and Judkins has cited every event and cultural landmark from Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity to the ongoing building of the Sagrada Familia as examples of creative thinking.
I found Change Your Mind refreshing and I think it’s one I’ll find myself coming back to in the future when I’m feeling creatively uninspired. I also think it would make a great gift for anyone looking to turn their creative streak into a full time job or even a start-up business. Judkins has proved that creativity is a habit that needs to be nurtured and encouraged in everyone, and that if we all think just a little bit differently, our names could one day be spoken alongside Pollock and Picasso.
Change Your Mind: 57 ways to unlock your creative self by Rod Judkins is published by Hardie Grant Books, and available to buy online here.