From Stuck to Inspired: Exploring Creativity with the Magic of the Crazy 8 Method

Henri Matisse | The Snail | 1953

Creative blocks are a very common phenomenon that we all face regardless of what we do professionally. Finding inspiration and unlocking your creative potential can sometimes be a daunting task. Anytime I face the inability to generate an idea or find a solution, the best solution for me is to shift gears and engage in activities completely unrelated to the task at hand. I was going through a creative black phase myself recently and Crazy 8 method seemed to be quite effective for broadening my thought horizon. Hence dedicating today’s article to it. 

So what is the Crazy 8 Technique?

The Crazy 8 technique is a simple, powerful, rapid-pace and quantity-driven brainstorming method to help break away from fixed or predictable ideas and tap into fresh perspectives that you may not have discovered otherwise. It involves creating eight quick sketches or visual representations for an idea within a set time limit. The time limit of the technique helps you bypass self-censorship and judgement, fostering a more open and spontaneous flow of ideas. 

Here is how you can implement  a Crazy 8 brainstorming session in the office setting.

During the session, gather a diverse group of participants with relevant expertise. Introduce the technique, emphasizing the goal of generating a large quantity of ideas in a short time frame. Provide materials like blank sheets of paper or a digital platform. Set ground rules, encouraging participants to be creative and non-judgmental, prioritizing quantity over quality. Start an 8-minute timer and prompt participants to generate ideas individually using sketches, keywords, or short phrases. After time’s up, have each participant share their ideas, facilitate discussions to explore and build upon concepts. This technique is also wonderful to encourage collaboration within teams. Repeat the process (if needed).

Like myself, if you are going through a creative block, here is a Sketching Crazy 8 exercises that you could do on your own that will get your creative mind flowing.

Set a timer for 8 minutes and challenge yourself to sketch as many different objects as possible within that time. Start with a blank sheet of paper and a pencil or pen. Select a group of objects with diverse shapes, textures, and sizes for your still life arrangement. Begin drawing one object, focusing on capturing the basic shapes, proportions, and key details, then quickly move on to the next one. After each minute, approach the next subject from a fresh perspective. Repeat this process for a total of eight rounds, drawing different objects each time.The goal is to capture the essence of each subject in a quick and spontaneous manner. Don’t worry about perfection or details—focus on generating a variety of sketches and exploring different subjects.

Keep in mind, the purpose of the Crazy 8 technique is not to create polished masterpieces but to stimulate your creative flow. Embrace imperfections and allow yourself to experiment freely and be spontaneous. This technique is all about quantity over quality, as each sketch acts as a stepping stone toward your bigger vision.