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Thursday, October 7, 2010

When Inspiration Comes (Grab a Napkin)

This is what Jim Dawkins does.  The results are often spectacular, as seen on this video, the picture to the left, and the awards Jim has won.  (Full and Proud Disclosure:  I know Jim through his participation in a Lumunos group.)

There is actually quite a bit out there on napkin drawings these days.  Southwest Airlines  was dreamed up on a napkin.  UPS uses the technique in their ads.  Books have been written about the art.

One of the core principles of napkin drawing is that you use whatever materials are at hand when inspiration strikes.

(Lengthy aside on "when inspiration strikes:"   Inspiration seems to strike many different times and ways:  through conversation, dialogue and the exchange of ideas; while staring at the ocean or mountains; while sitting in traffic; in the shower.  But where does inspiration come from?  I can’t prove this, but I tend to agree with the etymology of the word:  in-spirit-ion.  Inspiration is an inflow of spirit, a Spirit which is Holy, a Spirit which helps us to create. This is consistent with the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity, where the Spirit brings creativity to artists.)

Sometimes it is best to wait to gather all the proper materials and find the ideal work environment before acting on inspiration or call.  Sometimes it makes sense to find the perfect teammates, the perfect setting, and the perfect time.

But other times the best thing to do is to grab whatever and whoever is available when the call comes.  Beautiful things can come from a coffee stained napkin.

PS  I tried writing this blog yesterday in “perfect” conditions:  at my desk, in front of my computer, reference books and internet within easy reach. Nothing came.  As it turns out, I am scribbling these words out on a piece of scrap paper in my dirty car in the parking lot of Barnes and Noble.  The irony is not lost on me.

Doug Wysockey-Johnson
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1 comment:

  1. I knew a pastor of a small town church that used to journal in a bar. Possibly wrote some of his sermons there as well, on the back of a whiskey stained napkin.