There’s a reason why sales of adult coloring books went up during lockdown. Getting creative has long been used as a way to destress, whether it’s through art, writing, music, or flower arranging. Often, ways of getting creative—like the ones mentioned—are thought of as completely separate from using technology. Valid? Totally. Especially considering that tech can be the cause of much of what’s stressing us out. (Emails! Social media-induced FOMO! Way too active group texts!)
But divorcing creativity from tech completely is a lot like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are plenty of ways technology can enhance creative outlets, while still providing a means of escape at the same time. “While creativity comes in many forms, technology can be a powerful tool, allowing people to share their ideas or even tap into another range of methods beyond your typical pen and paper,” says Liliana Aguila, the senior design manager for Microsoft Store. “Technology is a form of creativity in itself, and ideas can often even spark from one person to the next as things are shared online or through social media.”
For example, she’s personally been loving seeing the myriad ways people are getting creative using 3D printers—including making sneaker insoles and nail art. Just like how tech has vastly elevated communication, it can also majorly up your creativity game. Everything rounded up here will help do exactly that. Take a look and try one that vibes with the type of creativity you’re into—or experiment with a few!
Techy ways to get creative
The first Polaroid camera came out in 1948—way before technology invaded our lives. Give this trendy throwback the tech treatment by using Adobe Photoshop Elements 2021 ($70) to incorporate AI technology, edit the colors, add inspirational quotes, and more.
The Kano Pixel Kit is like an adult LiteBrite with over 16 million colors to build, paint, and play with—yep the possibilities are that endless. “As a beginner you may start with learning how to code, and then as your experience builds, you can start to create games, animations, and art,” Aguila says. Think of it as color therapy that’s teaching you a useful skill in the process.
This kit turns any piece of paper into a touch-sensitive light. Design it however you want using the electric paints; the kit comes with three templates if you’re looking for some direction. This is one creativity product you can put to use as soon as you’re done.
If you were a kid in the ’90s, chances are you got endless hours of joy from Microsoft Paint. (Total memory unlocked, right?!) Using a stylus to color with the Colorfy app (which is free) has the same meditative effect. The templates are intricate enough to keep it interesting, and you can upload your art onto social media when you’re done. It’s the adult equivalent of hanging your masterpieces on the fridge.
This charades-based app is a way to get creative through improv, while learning about Black history and pop culture. Available on both iTunes and Google Play, players act out prompts related to Black history, music, film, and culture as other players guess the prompt. The app is free, but keeping the fun going costs 99 cents, which unlocks categories like “Dance” and “’90s” that are too fun to pass up.
PSA: Gaming can absolutely be good for your mental health and a virtual reality headset makes the experience completely immersive. This one is the Rolls-Royce of VR headsets with 50 percent more pixels than the original Quest. It’s also easy enough to use that even a tech newbie can figure it out.
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