3 ways to stay creative for longer

I often get asked about the latest software I'm using or what monitor should people get and other similar questions.
The problem I have with that is that, while it is possible to give a fairly good answer to a first time buyer, many creatives have already invested in gear and the expense in jumping from an older model to a newer may not be as valid as expected.
With that in mind I often turn their attention to the smaller things that really help to make long hours in the studio more enjoyable or efficient.
In this post I'm going to share a few of my favourite items from around my own studio. They range hugely in price and utility but they make my working day better than it would be if they were absent.


1. Lego

I actually see this as a great tool not just a fun toy, which it undeniably is, but also as a great tool. I do a fair amount of one to one training in my studio and I like to encourage students to think about form in different ways.
Rather than polygons and surfaces think about volume and silhouette, weight dirstribution and balance.
I give them a bunch of lego and ask them to build something for me. What it is they build is of less importance than the conversation that follows but really helps both focus the mind alongside thinking of geometry differently.

Plus, who doesn't love a tax deductable millenium falcon on their desk?


2. Decent Coffee

You can't underestimate the value of having half decent refreshments to hand. I used to have a studio in my home. It was on a floor of it's own to aid in a bit of work/play balance but the kitchen was downtwo flights of stairs, which meant a real break in my workflow and thought processes.
That can be a big help in certain cases but it's too easy to loose focus and wander off to do something else.
Again, not too bad and it's one of things that makes freelancing seem appealing but it can cause you trouble.
If you have premises, like I do, then you often find that you spend too much time heading out to a cafe which is lovely but, apart form the increased expense, means less time at your desk being creative.
I also love gadgets and if there's an excuse to get one I will, so I have a little pod coffee machine which has been adapted to work with drinks other than the pods.
It gets almost as much use as my workstation and hasn't let me down yet. For $120 I cannot complain and it's the first bit of gear I turn on in the morning.


3. Music

As well as listening for pure enjoyment music has other benefits. First up it can help you think in different ways. Stuck with an idea? Then switch it for another genre. A little early morning Led Zep often gets me in the creative mood.
Music also lifts the general atmosphere of a room and can enhance whatever creative process you are in the middle of.
I swap between speakers and headphones depending on where I am, what I'm doing and who else is about and I have to say spend as much as you can on the best 'phones. Don't skip here. Animators can work 14 hour days and if you have something clamped to your head for much of that it needs to be comfortable and high quality.
I love my Bowers & Wilkins P7s, which fit perfectly and sound awesome. (I studies music production and well as graphics so am maybe a little picky - The B&Ws aren't perfect but pretty close for long haul listening). Look for a full review of them at some point soon.


So that is it for this post. There are so many things I could pick up and talk about and I'm sure I will in later posts but these three hopefully encompass what I like to have around me. Things that are both fun and functional but help me focus, or escape when needed.