Do you think you’re too old to play?

That’s certainly something I felt for ages. Having fun and playing was always very low on my priority list. Actually, I’m not sure it was even on my priority list for years. That started to change for me when I went back to school for design in 2012.

At school, whenever we were assigned a new design project, my instinct was always to jump right in and get to work on the ‘meat’ of the project. I like to feel progress and see that I’m ticking off to-do’s on my assignment. Our prof’s however really encouraged us to spend a good amount of time playing around with different ideas at the start. That could mean building models, doing cut and paste, doodling, or otherwise messing about. It felt like a waste of time to me when I could otherwise be producing real work.

Can play save you time?

Yes it can!

The trouble is, with a creative project, you really can’t produce the good work, the creative work, until you’ve tested out a lot of ideas. I have a tendancy to undervalue this stage. More than once it actually resulted me doing too much work, or rather getting too far ahead in my final design as I charged ahead on a concept that was less than stellar. Fortunately, we had regular peer and professor design reviews throughout a given project. More than once I made the unhappy discovery that I needed to rewind and revisit my initial concept to improve it. I should have started with the play! My project would have been much more creative and worthwhile.

How I incorporate play today

Fast forward to today. While I’m still not the best at taking my time in the play stage of a project, I am much better at having some play time. Both work related and non-work related. I do Lego, puzzles, dance, do handstands, doodle, colour and most significantly, cartoon. That’s the best play I have. Cartoons were what I loved to draw when I was young, when I drew for just for fun.

One of my main goals in Cartoon Club for Kids is to help everyone in class to feel more creative and come up with better ideas than they would otherwise on their own. This is why we always brainstorm together at the start of our online art class – no editing, just lots of crazy and fun ideas. With the children it’s easy because they are so naturally creative and play is their natural state. 

Being playful as an adult

When I started teaching Cartoon Break, my cartooning workshops to businesses, I found it a lot more challenging. The brainstorming/crazy idea stage of our online art class would often fall flat. As adults we seem to stuggle with this part of being creative. The online classes were not as fun as my kids classes – I needed a lot more playful ideas. I myself rely heavily on others for inspiration. I don’t need a lot of input to come up with ideas, but I do need a starting point. So I decided to be my own ‘other’ person. I started creating idea cards: little funny characters, captions and crazy objects that I could toss into the business cartooning brainstorm sessions whenever creative thinking was a bit low. A few playful ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

How play made Cartoon Club the Game

In my search for a way to inject more play into class I discovered on a great new way of cartooning. This was the seed for my new project: Cartoon Club the Game. This is a drawing game for anyone who needs a bit of a spark to get them thinking more creatively. Just like in my online cartoon classes, you don’t have to be an artist! The game parallels class: we start with a topic to set the scene and give some to the picture you’ll draw. We draw between four and eight short rounds to complete a picture. With every drawing round you see an Idea card. It gives you an idea of something to add to your picture. The challenge is to do it in a fun and witty way. If however, you are super creative like some of my fantastic Cartoon Club students, you can simply get creative and draw from your own imagination.

Come play Cartoon Club the Game with me!

I’ll be introducing my game during Half Term. If you are a regular Cartoon Clubber aged 8+ I’d love for you to join me for one of the free 45 minute sessions. It’s a family friendly event for adults and children, so BIG Kids do join in. I’ll be asking for your feedback and thoughts on the game. Please do book a spot to play Cartoon Club the Game. I look forward to some good solid play time with you all!

Cartoon Club the drawing game of Ageless art for families

:15Join me for a special cartooning session as we play my NEW Cartoon Club Game. All regular students are invited for a sneak peek! There’s no need to be an artist! You’ll take a break, put pen to paper and have some fun playing the game.

You’ll need: A pencil and printer sized paper or a sketchbook. You may also want an eraser and a black fine-liner.

For: Children ages 8+ and BIG Kids (that’s you adults!).

Thurs 18th Feb 11:15am or Sat 20th Feb 11:15am for 45 minutes.