Creativity Corner The Creative Process

The Creative Process – Meet Mercedes Leon

September 30, 2013

It’s monday and it’s another creative process post!

For new readers: Much has been written about The Creative Process, which in its purest form is simply a way of solving a problem. That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Creativity and its process, contrary to popular belief, is not just reserved for artists and designers. I believe that everyone can benefit from learning and understanding the numerous ways of the creative process. I will invite people to share their own personal creative processes with us and hope this will help you with identifying your own.

I’m really excited to feature the talented mercedes leon and without any further ado, I’m going to let Mercedes introduce herself.

The Creative Process – Mercedes Leon

Hello. My name is Mercedes. I’m 27. I come from Spain but moved to the UK 2 years ago. I make a living from being a mixture of illustrator, designer and something we could class as ‘thinker’ (I know, I’m still surprised) and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks going to the office and thinking on the notion of creativity and the creative process.

Creative process Mercedes Leon 1

After many fags, notes, arrows and incomplete mental maps and sketches, I’ve ended up with not a lot of new stuff. After I proudly assembled all my flamboyant, hard-won keywords, each one connected with each other in some sort of hierarchy, I casually took a look at Wikipedia only to find very similar results, maybe in slightly different fashion, but essentially the same. Although I think this here looks a lot nicer.

Creative process mercedes Leon 2

For both me and Wikipedia, the creative process may have several STAGES.

Motivation/Incentive: We need to place that (whatever it is) in the real world. Be it showing it to family, trying to sell it or implementing it –there we have the outcome. Being creative can make you feel better but if nobody else knows about it, it’s kind of nonsense.

The first idea might come because of an external necessity, such as a brief or the need of making money, or it might just appear spontaneously (with no-one demanding it)

Once we have an idea, we want to write it down, to communicate it, or implement it. During this process in which the idea takes shape, it probably will be redefined and re-imagined and other tangible ideas or outcomes may appear.

The result of the above, be it in writing, as an object or a method. It can be quite different from what we initially ideated, but that doesn’t matter. Creative process Mercedes Leon 3

The thing about creativity, which is interesting, is that it’s something that can be applied to everyday things, to any area or subject matter. It is not something restricted to advertising neither to artists. It is about trying to (create) make or design something new, or better, or doing it in a different way. So creativity can be applied to everything.

The only difference between those so-called creatives and those who are not is the skill and determination to express, communicate and materialise or implement the idea. There is a great deal of darkness, insecurity, limitations and challenges during the creative process, and that’s exactly when one should be flexible, pay attention to detail and persevere. Flexible because the outcome rarely is exactly as we imagined it in the first place, and we should accept that. Perseverance because it’s necessary to face the problems during the process and try to resolve them. This has a reward and it’s the unexpected aspects of the outcome, which can be even better than we initially imagined. If it’s not, but still does the job, then we should be happy, learn from it and move on.

The creative process may require to challenge or forget the way we’ve always done it, the previous examples, with an aim to make it ‘different’, hopefully better in one way or another. ‘Never surrender’ is something that I learned while I was at Uni (be patient, you never know), and ‘Hard work’ is another one that took me years to digest but has happened to be a golden rule for succeeding in the creative process (which means, finish what you start and do it as well as you can).

Creative process Mercedes Leon 5

Summing up, creativity is about observation, imagination and thinking a bit differently. It’s about never surrendering in our aim to do things better, having fun, recognition, hard work, uncertainty and self-confidence. It’s about communication and expression, about challenge, defeat and small little victories. I guess a bit like writing this post!

Mercedes, thank you so much for describing your creative process. I now feel a little responsible for you having too many fags:-) but hey ho, I’m sure we all appreciate you sharing your interesting journey. Gracias! 

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  • Reply caroline @trend-daily September 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Wow-fascinating-and so impressive from a 27 year old-not sure I think that way now, let alone when I was that age (not that long ago 😉 ) Brilliant serie Tina. You put so much thought into your written conten-almost the polar opposite to myself-variety makes the world go round!!! xx

    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      Hahaha. Not sure laughing at the ‘not sure I think that way now’ or the ‘I was that age (not that long ago ;-)’ Hahaha LOL
      Thank you lovely. I always hope to inspire.

      I believe you’re a stylist:-) so visuals is paramount on your blog. You do very well. Glad you enjoy the series. xx

  • Reply Jocelyn Casey October 1, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I love this series, Tina. The process of creating for everyone is uniquely different and fascinating. Thank you for sharing your way with us, Mercedes. I wish you both a wonderful day! Jocelyn

    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      Thank you Jocelyn, that’s nice to hear!

      Hence the category, I’m fascinated by the differences and similarities we all share xx

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey October 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Mercedes. As a reader I appreciate the effort you’ve put into this post. There are a lot of things to digest, mull over and think about. Mind maps are kinda scary to me – too much chaos. Tho following yours through, it does make sense. I also value the linear approach you’ve shown. I think that my creative process is somewhere between the two.

    Your summary is excellent – especially the part about uncertainty and self-confidence. These are two things that all creative people need to juggle with – certainly I juggle with them daily.

    Thanks again and thanks Tina xx

    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Mind maps are the opposite to chaos. They help us associate various aspects into an orderly manner.

      Yes, I so get the uncertainty and self-confidence….
      Glad you got something out of it. xx

      • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey October 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm

        I guess, as we all see things differently, it depends on how you view a mind map. I genuinely find them chaotic but appreciate some people will see their usefulness x

        • Reply tina October 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm

          Yes, apologies, you’re absolutely right! I guess I’m such a fan but then also see the usefulness in linear notes x

        • Reply Ellie Greenfield March 27, 2017 at 10:59 am

          Yes Gerard, i hear you and feel instant brain-scramble when i see one.. start backing away and closing me eyes. Then i get a little curious and begin to follow the paths and it starts to makes sense; that is before the scrambled eggs find me and start chasing me again!!

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey October 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    PS. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ve pinned both the mind map and (not so) linear creative process 🙂 x

  • Reply Holly October 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I’m so pinning this goodness too! Very valuable info in a pleasing visual representation. Fabulous!

    “The only difference between those so-called creatives and those who are not is the skill and determination to express, communicate and materialise or implement the idea.” Yes! Yes! Yes! This sort of reflects my own personal mantra “express :: connect :: create” – It’s meant to remind me about what it is I’m working toward. And I try to apply it all the time, to every aspect of my life – personal, professional,and spiritual.

    Thank you both Tina and Mercedes for this post 🙂


    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm

      Hahaha. I think a lot of people have pinned these….

      Yes it’s interesting. I often hear people talk about how someone nicked their idea and ran with it. Well, all I can say is that there are the doers and then there are the talkers.
      I strive to be the doer… it hasn’t always come easy though…

      Glad you enjoyed xx

  • Reply Chi @ 106 October 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Oh, this is brilliant! I’m with Gerard and Holly – I feel a Creative Process Pinterest board coming on. 😀

    Charming illustrations, infographics and a wonderful perspective on creativity. What’s not to love? There is just so much about Mercedes’ approach that inspires and resonates with me but the one that really jumps out at me is “Deliver and be damned: aim to do it again and doing it better” – hear, hear!

    Thanks, ladies – another fantastic CP Express in the bag. 😀

    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Ha. Loving al this pinning… I’ve also got a Creative Process Board and have finally managed to tag the photos to the posts.. phew:-)

      I agree with you. Before I started blogging I was a real perfectionist (not easy). Now, if it’s good enough (even if it’s not) it gets released and there is such
      relief and comfort in that. As Merced says: “aim to do it again and doing it better”

      Thanks Chi… Yep, wonder whether anyone has noticed Mercedes is the first Lady to do it:-) xx

  • Reply Shameless Author October 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    just wanted to say thanks Tina for this great opportunity, it’s been a (slighty painful) pleasure and I think I’ve learnt lots. And thanks to all you sharp readers for your kind comments and pins!

    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      Hi Mercedes,

      Thank YOU!!! Hahaha. yes, I can imagine the fine line between pain and pleasure in getting this done (in more than one way:-) but you did it and did it brilliantly!
      I’ve so much enjoyed having you here and look forward to meeting you on Monday!

      You’re right, I do have ‘sharp readers’…:-))

  • Reply leah of sang the bird October 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative process recently. Thanks Mercedes for sharing, the infographics are fantastic. You have certainly inspired me!
    Tina, sometimes I wish I lived closer to you so we could chat face to face, and I could absorb some of your youness. xx

    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Oh honey, you know there is the telephone and there’s Video skype so unless you don’t have a phone or broadband:-), there is no reason not to connect!!
      I’m always here for you.

  • Reply Anya Jensen October 2, 2013 at 8:57 am

    WOW I can understand why Mercedes has a job as an illustrator and a thinker – so cleverly done, love it – love it – thanks Tina and Mercedes for showing us your creative process. Happy Autumn day y’all,

    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm


      I know I love that Merecedes calls herself a ‘thinker’. I am and to some people it sounds weird but there’s really not another word for it:-)
      Happy Autumn.. xx

  • Reply Catherine October 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you Mercedes for sharing your creative process with us. Working hard and never surrendering is what’s resonated with me. I’ll think of this when I’m feeling uncertain in my creative process. Thanks Tina & Mercedes x

    • Reply tina October 2, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      Such good mantras to have… ‘Working hard and never surrendering’… for me ‘never surrendering’ is the biggest one. There’s always a way:-))
      Pleasure x

  • Reply Doris October 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Mercedes is such an insightful young women. I loved reading this creative process. There are too many things that resonated with me to list on this one. But I absolutely identy with the hard work and never surrender mantra also. I too am going to “pin”. Thank you Mercedes and Tina. xD

    • Reply tina October 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this one:-)) Yes, I can also identify with a lot of Mercedes’ process.

      Pin away dear Doris xx

  • Reply Ellie Greenfield March 27, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Loved this! Thanks you Mercedes, and Tina. I’ve been in the dark-night-of-the-soul lately and was close to giving up; however this article has been a great reality check, and inspiring too. Love the mind noodles. cheers!

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