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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Color and Creativity

When I read this blog post this morning it got me thinking about Creativity and Color.
Posted: 11 Jan 2012 08:01 PM PST
Guest Blogger: Billy Coffey
It was my wife—God bless her—who said I was insane. And not only was I insane, but probably all the people in the world who called themselves writers were too. Certifiable. In need of round the clock psychological care and Thorazine milkshakes.

It was the pens, you see. She was going to the store, and I asked her to pick me up some pens. In my wife’s defense, I didn’t specify what sort of pens. And in my defense, I didn’t think I had to. We’ve been married for fifteen years. She’s seen me write before.
But she brought home black pens. I thought it was a joke at first. I even laughed. My wife didn’t call me insane then, but I bet the thought had crossed her mind.

Blue pens, I told her. I needed blue pens. Because blue ink produced the best words and black ink undermined creativity and the flow of artistic expression. How could anyone not know that? That’s when the insane comment was voiced. Jokingly, of course. Maybe half-jokingly. Which was followed by this:
“The problem isn’t black pens, it’s that you can’t tell the difference between what you want and what you need.
Of course I disagreed. It’s a pride thing. But as the day wore on and I kept staring at my pack of black pens, I began to see she was right. As a writer, I don’t really have needs and wants. I just have needs.

As I said this got me thinking about the color of ink, colored pens, and possibly using colored fonts when I write.
I discovered in college years ago that if I take notes using different colors that when it came time for the test I could actually see my notes in my head.  I could view the details as if the notes were sitting there in front of me.  This made a huge difference in future test scores and made me always have a collection of colored gel pens beside me to use at my discretion depending on how important it was to remember the details of what I am working on.  You don't want to or need to remember every detail of everything you do all day every day.  I imagine there is a limit to the amount of stuff you cram into your head and I don't want to experiment with process to find out what happens when your mind hits terminal overload!  Heavens knows I have enough trouble with every day challenges.
Because of my OCD I also have a collection of Zebra F-402 fine point black pens which I guard and prize highly.  I like writing with them.  They will write horizontally in case your writing on a wall, and don't ask me how I know this, but you can punch one through a hollow core wood door and they still write very nicely.  I like having one on my person almost always because it can be used as a weapon.  I am not above stabbing someone repeatedly with a ball point pen.
I wonder if color, writing in colored fonts would help writers be more creative?  Would it help us retain the myriad of facts that we need to retain and use through our work?  How does color effect our work?  How many writers use colored pens to write with?  Does the predominate use of black on white inhibit our creativity?  Does it hinder peoples mental abilities in all areas?
I understand as an artist the complete change in feelings, warmth, and attitude the difference between color pictures and black and white pictures has on people and their relation to the pictures.  Does this go deeper and cover more areas than photography and art?  Would the use of colors in our everyday life change our attitudes, feelings and enhance our natural abilities?
This is something I will have to re-visit after experimenting and getting some feedback from other authors.  What do you think about color and creativity?  Leave a comment . . .


J.L. Murphey said...

I did research on color and moods several years & contentment, a sense of well being; green=money; red= heightened sense of awareness (red flag for a bull type thing); yellow= uplifting moods; black- solitude, depression, absence of stimuli, we also think of formal stuff with black (legal documents, contracts etc), white= purity of thoughts, also a neutral setting. The same pretty much holds true for writing when you think about it.

The same goes for my writing. I'll still edit with a red pen, I'll put thoughts in green, blue for additions...the handy four color pens by I think Bic work well for this. When I write sometimes I'll change up the background color of my paper to black and use white rests the eyes.

Now when jotting down notes, my choice is the Pilot G-2. Ink flows smoothly, doesn't smear, dries quick. I often use these in various colors at book signings.

LK Hunsaker said...

I use pencil to write other than on computer but I've heard of authors writing in different colored pens. I painted my den a soft teal because it's both soothing and creativity enhancing. :-) Yellow is also creativity inspiring, but it can enhance hunger, as well.

Nice post. And I think every spouse of an artist feels the same!

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