The Secrets of Creativity According to Marshall Vandruff

Contributed by Melissa Kojima

Galileo, the father of astronomy said, "You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him discover it within himself." And that is really what a good teacher can do. He can open up whole new universes within you.

If you can find a teacher like that, you hang on his every word like its pure gold. I have been lucky enough to find that kind of inspiring teacher in Marshall Vandruff. Having took many of his seminars and courses, he has unlocked the secrets of creativity and illustration for me many times.

He likes to use the metaphor of passing on fire to his students. He give them fire to light their fuel and some burn slowly and softly while other are lit and explode like rocket fuel. Each student is unique and will burn differently.

I'm not sure what kind of fuel I'm burning, but he has definitely lit a fire in me. He helps me to discover new realms and to decode what was gibberish. Here are a few amazing things he recently revealed to me. He said there are 3 things that are the secrets of creativity:

1-Find how things are similar using metaphor. For example:
A little boy is a monkey.
Apartments are filing cabinets for people.
Fireworks are dandelions.

2-Find things that are different using opposites. For example:
The smoothness of a woman's skin placed next to the scaliness of an alligator.
The chaos of a crowd placed next to the order of columns on a Greek building.
The bright colors of a rainbow hoovering over a dark and shadowed valley.

3-The more creativity feels like recess, the more likely you will do it well. For
example, if you want to create detailed paintings that are as real as your own flesh, but you cannot sit still for a minute, it will seem like torture for you to create this kind of slow and carefully rendered art. If you find a way to create to fit your jumpy, quick nature, you will love, do it all the time, and eventually become great at it.

If you'd like to know more about Marshall Vandruff and perhaps take his inspiring and informative art & illustration courses, click on this link. You won't be disappointed.


  1. The third one is so true. Be true to yourself and do what you love to do.


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