You might be wondering why anyone would want to draw with sliced beets, bee pollen and an ink made from walnuts. To clarify - I've found that the practice of using only those things that are at hand - although limiting - can force experimentation and discovery. (A big 'thank you' to J. Ratcliff for the idea of painting with bee pollen!)
Consequently I feel that the term 'to think outside the box' might be a bit misunderstood. Although thinking in an unconfined mode is a very valuable ability, this aptitude should in no way cast a cloud on the value of inhabiting the box itself. (By the 'box,' I'm eluding to the often limiting circumstances common to adult life.) The box (provided that it is combined with a few tools or 'elements') may turn out to be a very positively challenging place to get stuck. Being forced to explore the full range of possibilities of just a few select elements without the distraction of extraneous possibility might harvest a number of unexpectedly engaging outcomes.
As we grow older the places in which we find ourselves as artists aren't always ideal and sometimes it's necessary to assess and repurpose the tools we're allotted. Too many aspiring writers and artists claim that they'll 'get working' on that book, screenplay or painting, when the limiting circumstances of their lives (the kids and the job) have finally changed. But accepting the reality that limiting circumstances may always be at play within our lives, needn't be the depressing realization some creatives seem to fear. It can be freeing and energizing to realize that we can initiate change from within whatever 'box' in which we're stuck, by employing whatever tools are within our reach.
Certainly 'Harry Potter' creator JK Rowling wasn't thrilled at the prospect of low-wage waitressing till the end of her life. Although mired in less-than-advantageous circumstances, she used her confinement to fully explore the tool that she had at hand. While reading her books it has often occurred to me that the diners and co-workers at the restaurant at which she worked spent years watching JK Rowling scribing words onto paper napkins. That must have seemed obsessive and rather pathetic to them. But the box is a place of surprises! JK Rowling is proof that anything can come from within it. Perhaps it has always been that way.
Consider our ancient ancestors spending the lovely Ice Age in a similarly confined space (a cave.) With the addition of pigment and grinding stones (and their old friend fire) our cavedwelling ancestors were able to create some fairly enduring vertically-read graphic novels.
So the challenge of boxhood requires that although we allow our minds to exceed the box's boundaries, we accept that we're constrained by circumstances, and we USE the constraint as if it were a tool for our benefit.
Ultimately the question arises, are constraints always useful in creative problem solving? I think they are - in a qualified sense. When given a constraint to work within one must have at least a few elements that are viable. I know this because during a rather spare financial time I attempted to 'make a wholesome supper' from what we had at hand, which was - that evening - beans and mayonaise. My daughter will attest to the fact that nothing good can ever come from the unholy alliance of beans and mayonaise. So beware! The discoveries possible within a constraint aren't always palatable ones.