Friday, January 18, 2008

the happy mistake

Your in the middle of a creative piece. Maybe you're constructing some crucial lines or perhaps you're applying some watercolor or oil paint. Suddenly, something happens. You don't know why but your hand moves a little too much and you realize you've made a mistake. Aaaaaaagghhhhhh! You don't even know what you've done so you decide to react first and think later. Well, after "later" arrives, you realize that this "mistake" is contributing to the concept. It works. You don't know how but you've managed to accidentally kick the piece up to the next level!

What I'm referring to is the "happy mistake". And the truth of the matter is this...usually, the "what have I done!" sensation only lasts a few moments. Once you see that the mistake is actually supporting and enhancing the piece, the skill and experience you've gained over the years tells you to use the "mistake" and possibly expand on it. That's where we as creatives make up for our's also the moment the mistake becomes intentional.

I'm writing this article because I just had one of those happy mistakes! I've begun the planning stages for a business I am EXTREMELY interested in starting so I decided to buy a journal to keep my thoughts/planning/ideas in one place. As I was designing and constructing the journal's cover, I thought I'd made a huge mistake; not only did I think I made a mistake, the feeling lasted for a few hours! As I gave the process of repair one last shot, an addition of color made me see the forms in a different perspective and it turns out that "mistake" fits perfectly with the concept of the journal.

The moral of the story? Next time you think you messed up, don't get frustrated. Give it a few moments, look at it again, and then decide. Sometimes the biggest errors can lead to the biggest successes!

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