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How do you develop your creativity?

Creativity is a vast and fascinating subject! As you know, creativity is one of Cabinet d'Illusions' core values, since our aim is always to publish creative and original ideas or concepts! We refuse to publish anything too "classic", and do our utmost to find you interesting tricks or writings that add real value, not just to the technique but to everything around magic, i.e. staging, reflection, etc.

But one of the questions most often asked at conventions is: how do you create a magic trick? How can you be sure that your creation hasn't been published before? How can I make sure I'm always coming up with new ideas? This article is here to answer your questions and give you some ideas you can explore, so that you too can add some of your own personality and ideas to our beautiful art of magic.

It's rare to invent

Let's be honest: inventing something from scratch requires knowledge, time, patience and sometimes even... luck! What we're trying to say is that you also need to remain humble: inventing something, whether it's an illusion or something else, is difficult and can't be controlled. We often think we're inventing something when it already exists, either identically or in a slightly different form.

So the first thing to do is to have as broad a culture as possible, to keep abreast of what's new (not just in your own country, but abroad too), to go to conferences, to talk to other people and to read what's already been published, sometimes decades ago!

Although it's rare to invent something from scratch, it's far from impossible: every year, various creative competitions take place (FFAP awards, ICI awards, etc.), proving that it's still possible! Innovation can also sometimes come from a detail, an improvement (more commonly referred to as "perfecting") that can create a new effect or a new method.

Also, remember that an effect is not just a series of techniques, but really a performance in its own right, requiring staging, appropriate music or text, almost choreography. The same trick performed in two different ways can quickly go from flop to miracle, so focusing on the purely technical aspect of creation isn't good; it's a whole, and sometimes an original idea for presentation will give an effect 100 times better than a new technique that's impossible to do but original.

We're deeply convinced that everyone has a part of their experience, their character, their sensibility to contribute, and in this sense each person is a potential creator, whether in technique, effect or staging. It's up to you to find out which path you recognize yourself in!

How to find inspiration and ideas?

Something very important for creativity is to constantly soak up different sources, of all kinds and on all themes. A (very) serious mistake would be to attend only magic conventions, on the pretext that you want to keep up to date and know everything that's going on. It's obviously essential to keep a constant watch, but it's far more profitable to get out of your own zone and widen your blinkers. How can you bring something new to a field if you stay locked in?

To extend the example, imagine a box containing a few Lego bricks. You can assemble one brick with another, a third with a fourth, try all sorts of combinations, but after a while you'll be limited by the number of bricks in the box and won't be able to build anything new. If all you do is eat magic all day long, you'll be stuck in that Lego box, unable to get out and continually coming across effects that have already been created, because the authors will also have had access to the same bricks as you.

To overcome this problem, you need to immerse yourself in what's outside the box, and nothing is too much trouble. This can be achieved by (non-exhaustive list):

  • Visit an exhibition or museum
  • Reading books
  • Listening to songs, going to concerts, attending shows
  • Walking down the street
  • Strolling through department stores, especially creative ones
  • Browse Instagram accounts you like
  • Etc.

The example of concerts is not chosen purely by chance. To give you an anecdote, one of our ideas for great illusions came to us while attending a concert by a well-known band. As the singer rose into the air in a peculiar way (though not magically, as she was attached to a metal structure), a detail caught our attention that, after much reflection, became a full-fledged effect. We deliberately can't give a precise description, as this effect is currently under development, but how many times can fantastic scenes painted on canvases inspire us, how many songs can give us hints for stories or scenarios for our shows, who hasn't browsed a creative or art store with no other aim than to find what we're not looking for?

In short, let yourself be carried away, with no pressure whatsoever, by a flood of arts and cultures of all kinds to create your own imagination. You'll see that the brain is a muscle that trains and soaks up faster and faster, and you'll be amazed at the number of ideas you can write down all day long by immersing yourself daily in a moment of relaxation with a little "cultural extra".

An idea is never bad

If there's one thing we've learned, it's that an idea is never (we'll never say it again!) bad (except when it falls foul of the law, of course!). If the idea germinates, it's because the brain concludes that it has potential. Maybe it's not feasible because of a lack of time, human resources, money or knowledge, but in the absolute sense there's a world out there where it could be realized. 

Make a note of all your ideas and create a real repertoire. This can be in the form of a pad of paper, a computer file, ... whatever suits you. You'll see that time sorts things out, and so does your brain. An idea on its own may be useless, but give it a day, a week, a month, or even several years, and one fine day, as you turn the pages of your notebook, you'll come across a note that will light up your mind. The idea you had must be associated with this note for the puzzle to be complete. That's the whole point of dipping into your notes from time to time: to see which ones can be combined to create new things.

Let your brain run wild

This time, I'm speaking as a person and as the author of this article to give you my personal experience with the hope that it may help you if you feel the same way I do.

Ever since I was a kid, I've always had this annoying habit of having dozens of ideas a day, and above all this irrepressible need to write down or draw my ideas. I can't explain why, but it's as if my brain was "full" and writing down my new ideas allowed me to rest it and think about something else (before new ideas came up again and again!).

For a long time, I wrote down my ideas as soon as I had them, and I realized that I was amassing a lot of them without really exploiting them. I'd write them down, but then move on almost immediately to the next idea, without even taking the time to really study it.

I realized that forcing yourself not to write down an idea straight away, but instead to force your brain to store it, will make it think about it unconsciously, as if it needed to be "simplified" and "concretized" to store it better and take up as little space as possible. I'd then wait a little while (a day or two) before writing down the idea, which then had time to germinate. If I refrained from doing this at first, it was because I was afraid of letting go and forgetting an idea that could have been the idea of a lifetime, the one that will be remembered of all the others. In fact, after years of experience, I realized that we had to trust our brains and that few ideas were really forgotten. Most came back later in one form or another, but remained there until they were put down on paper. On the other hand, by letting the brain reflect on a thought, you make it more concrete and give it more potential. As a result, I had fewer ideas in my notebook every night, but they were of much higher quality and, above all, more concrete.

So don't be afraid to trust your head, even for the most giddy of you! 🙂


If I had to conclude, I'd say that I sincerely believe that EVERYONE has the power to create, and that it's absolutely not reserved for an elite or a group of people touched by grace.

I sincerely believe that everyone has something to contribute, whether in terms of effect, pure technique or staging, and that all this can be called "creativity". What is certain, however, is that this creativity needs to be worked on, or at least nurtured. If you're reading this article, it's because you've looked further than the tip of your nose, and that you're curious. Keep using this curiosity to explore as many different worlds as possible, and don't hesitate to contact us if you need help in realizing your ideas - we'll be delighted to advise you!

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