Jun 28, 2009

Living a Creatively Curious Life

Presentation Splash Screen Graphic

FYI: This presentation has been updated since I posted this. The content linked to this post is still good but the updated presentation is only available through in person speaking engagements. If you'd like to invite me to speak at your event contact me here. To see dates and locations of where I'll be speaking next visit the Glitschka Studios facebook page.

I just got back from the HOW Design Conference in Austin where I did a session called "Living a Creatively Curious Life." Normally I get really nervous before I speak but this year I was far more relaxed. Mainly because I had been preparing and researching for this session since last summer.

Speaking to designers. (Photo by Ivan Boden)

The best advice I have ever been given about speaking came from my oldest daughter who told me several years ago "Dad, just don't be boring." Her advice has proven to be very true. Information is great, but if it's not wrapped in a compelling visual package it just won't resonate very well with designers who are visually oriented.

Outline, notes, reference, and more notes.

I can't say I have a set process for producing my sessions but I guess one could find a method in my madness if they looked hard enough. It is like producing a movie of sorts, I find myself editing out content because it's too long or just doesn't add anything to the overall message.

I got a lot of great feedback from hundreds of designers who attended the session and approached me afterwards, but the one comment I appreciated the most is a designer who told me I should have left one part out of my session and I agreed with her. I had considered cutting it but second guessed myself the night before and left it in. So that in and of itself showed me I need to improve my editing skills.

Standing room only cutting a rug.

Here is an audience captured video of the same thing.

The most important element for me personally when speaking is to make it fun, let the audience laugh either at me or with me in regards to a point I'm trying to make, or a project or process I'm sharing.

I turned the tables on my audience at the end of the session and pulled out my video camera and challenged them to act on a moment of creative curiosity. I turned up the music and informed them it was time to dance and the above is the end result of how my presentation ended.

Creativity Pack includes:
- Full outline (best I can do sans audio or visual)
- Outline includes links to related content
- Creativity Exercises
- Resource Downloads
- Helpful Links
- Inspiring Links

Download Creativity Pack
PDF Creativity Pack

FYI: My original intention was to take the audio recording HOW made and create an online version. Well the recording was at best hostage quality and dropped out in far too many places so for now this is all I can offer. If your AIGA, AdFed, or other creative or marketing group would like to hear this presentation just contact me directly and lets arrange a date where I can do it for you in person. This session is not only good for designers, it's an excellent presentation for marketing and creative managers as well. Aren't you a little bit creatively curious now?


Aaron Riddle said...

Vonster - Great stuff! Thank you very much for sharing. I wish I could have seen your presentation in person, but this will do nicely. Keep up the great work and blog posts!

YESH said...

Von, your session was the highlight of the HOW Conference for me. Thanks and keep on .. keep on truckin.


Brian Mays said...

Von, thanks for these last couple of posts. These are going to be passed around my office and my professional community. They hold so much truth.

Diana said...

I'm always amazed at the generosity of creatives. Thanks so much for this. I enjoyed your session and the poster is great.

Anonymous said...

I did get to see the presentation at HOW and it was so full of creative energy, I could barely stay in my seat. Eveyone was talking about it. The room was packed and people lined the walls, sat on the floor, whatever. We all agreeded, as we left the room blown away, that this was what we came here for. Like a big ol can of WD40 for my brain, the gears are spinin. I feel like a newbie again.


G Money said...

great presentation at HOW! very inspiring! you can tell your daughter you were definitely not boring...

Anonymous said...

Great presentation at HOW!

Also, tell your daughter thanks for the sage advice: "don't be boring." That's something we should all strive to live by.

Vonster said...


A big ol can of WD40 for your brain! I like that.

Thanks everyone.


Steve said...

Dang! All of the images that are hosted on your floatingbanana.com website are blocked at work now. I tried to go to the site and my work internet filter categorizes floatingbanana.com as "hacking". Weird. All of the images worked just last week. Bummer :(

Anyway, I'll check out all of this stuff at home, but your blog was always a good distraction while at work!

Jenny said...

Hey Von! It was great to finally meet you at the HOW Conference. I really enjoyed your session and it is in the top 3 favorite sessions I attended! Thanks for posting up your stuff and I can't wait to see the visual presentation again.

Neil said...

Great stuff, Von! I wish I could have attended you session. We could hear you next door rockn' the walls. :-)

wabbington01 said...

I'm so glad you decided to do that! Too much fun! :D

nick george said...



cberry240 said...

I was down there but missed your presentation. Sounds like I missed out big time. Can't wait to get the MP3

Anonymous said...

I agree. The best session of the conference! Stimulating! What was it you think you should have cut?

Vonster said...

OK, so some have been wondering what I should have cut. Well like Van Gogh I should have cut off the "Stick it in Your Ear with Jeff Pollard" clips.

I loved the opening with the "Shit Horse Designer" quip but the others broke the flow a bit so that is all I felt I could have edited out of the presentation.

Jeff did a good job but I just didn't work them in that well.

Mary said...

I can't wait for this! Your presentation in Boston was great, and I was very bummed that I missed the Austin presentation. Thanks for making this available!

Reggebah said...

Vonster, Thanks for the creativity pack! I'm trying out the "What do you see" exercise. I'll post the results when I'm done.

In the meantime, here is another creativity exercise that I came up with: I take photos of clouds with my phone's camera. Then I print them on paper and draw what I see in the clouds right on top of the printout. Here are the results: Cloud Drawings at the Replacement Komics

Thanks for posting so much good information. I've really enjoyed your vector-portrait how-to posts. I don't use illustrator in my artwork very often, but I learned a lot just reading your posts.

Matt said...

Best session of HOW.

Thanks dood!