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Naivete Enhances Experience

By Peter Lloyd

I remember my first art class project. How could I forget. It provided one of the most powerful, instructive, and memorable creativity lessons I've ever enjoyed.

After handing out paper and crayons, our teacher instructed the class to fold our drawing papers in half. Then to unfold them and draw two short lines a short distance apart across the fold near the middle of the paper.

illustrationShe instructed everyone to draw a head on the top half of the paper using the lines as the image’s neck. We could draw any kind of head, human or animal. When the class completed their heads, she had us place our images drawing-side-down and trade them with another student.

After the trade, we all drew bodies on the bottom half of the paper using the neck lines and without peeking at the heads we were completing.

You can image the results, but I doubt that your imagined images come anywhere near the incredibly astonishing combinations we created.

Since then, I've come across a similar, more professional, but no less astonishing collaboration.

Illustrator Mica Angela Hendricks creates faces inspired by old black-and-white movie stills. Her four-year-old daughter finishes the illustrations with bodies and backgrounds. See the amazing results at Illustrator Collaborates with 4-Year-Old Daughter.

Hendricks writes about the collaboration, “It was such a beautiful combination of my style and hers. And she LOVED being a part of it. She never hesitated in her intent. She wasn’t tentative. She was insistent and confident that she would of course improve any illustration I might have done. And the thing is, she DID.”

I never get tired of recommending random combination. Now I'm even more convinced that you will find fresher and more surprising results when at least one of your collaborators is utterly naive.

Peter Lloyd is co-author with Marco Marsan of Think Naked: Childlike Brilliance in the Rough Adult World.

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