Most 8 year-olds learn how to write, draw, and paint by grabbing a piece of blank paper and just get started. Not me.
I grew up in Italy and in 3rd grade I found out how Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci started a creative project. They learned it in the Medici family gardens in Florence where they were apprentices.
The rich Renaissance family set up the garden as a teaching studio.
Student artists were assigned to master artists and the apprentices leaned their craft by copying the work of their mentors. The masters taught them to immerse themselves in a subject to learn everything about it. They studied not only the form but the history, stories, everything they could find out about a subject they were going to produce.
I call this “immersion therapy.”
The combination of immersion and copying the styles of the masters helped the apprentice learn the techniques of discovery, learning, materials, tools, and technical craft to paint, sculpt, and more. It helped them learn how to feel a subject and see it deeper from many angles.
The young artists found out how to visualize a story in their work.
Apprentices did this until they were competent enough to create their own style. They continued immersion therapy on each project but no longer needed to copy. They created from the knowledge and feelings they had about the subject and could tell stories with a painting or statue.
Leonardo da Vinci took it to extremes and it pushed him into engineering, architecture, and invention – well beyond art.
This model for learning and the creative process has been the most effective method I’ve seen or used for producing content – writing, illustration, painting, sculpture, video, film, and photography. Most of the best producers of content use this process to learn and continue it throughout their careers.
I use it every day.
The process helps especially in producing in-depth content marketing material like feature stories. It inspires ideas for creative non-fiction, not just straight, grind it out, news copy.
When used effectively, I’ve found that it attracts a larger audience, encourages more engagement, and works to draw customers to a brand.
Immersion therapy isn’t easy to master but the benefits of richer and more insightful stories will payoff in a stronger brand connection with the audiences you want to reach.