View Full Version : Creative ideas: Whats your process?

10 October 2004, 05:53 AM
For all the artists out there whether you create music / sketchs / write: How do you get your ideas? Do you immediatly see in your head a perfect vision of what you want to create and try to re-create that vision? Do you sit back and work away randomly until you have enough material to combine into one coherent peice? Do you decide what to communicate and let your subcouncious come up with the lyrics or images to express yourself? I want to know, how you think.

10 October 2004, 05:56 AM
Good artists borrow.... great artists steal.

...but really, what you are asking about is the key issue that seperate artits from everyone else. There is no one answer because everyone is different. Every aspect of your life sculpts your art. Live a borning life, then you might make borning art. See things, go places, do stuff. Experience is the key.

10 October 2004, 07:17 AM
The process of any given artist is limited by the knowledge and methods he posseses at that time. It is also affected by the invironment and general lifestyle and mood.

ideas are not accidents but they might appear so if you are not aware of your own process. The ideas might seem to fall from the sky but in reality it is never like that.

Personally I am a thinker. I never start out by sketching. Actually I rarely sketch anything which is also my weakness. But I can think out most ideas in seconds. I like to watch a lot of anime and character driving shows when working on characters. Pump your brain to the limit and remember to think about the characters when you see them. Who are they, where do they come from etc etc.

The brain is a mighty tool once you learn how to utilize it. Sketching is great but there is more to design than just visuals.

Ed Bittner
10 October 2004, 11:01 AM

I kind of disagree with the whole knowledge - methods thing. While it's true, we are all molded by everything we've experienced, and everyone we've known, and most artists are deep thinkers, and are dreamers as well. The whole "what if" notion comes from a place beyond our methods or processes. In my own experience,(I'm 50+yrs.), the minute I latch on to an idea or a suggestion, it's like opening up the windows and the wind starts blowing in. Often, I have to whittle away at too many ideas to see the proper one,(but, I've been at this for alot of years).
If one can just "let go", it'll happen. I'm not much of a "trial and error" guy. It usually just comes to me.
Jack, yup, I get inspired everyday by other peoples work.

10 October 2004, 11:33 AM
I'm with Ed on this one mostly, especially the 'letting go' thing ;)
superlayer is right though, in suggesting that acquired knowledge as a result of exratamural stimuli can bolster and 'influence' both our subjective and objective approaches to creativity.
Equally, As JackDeth said, people are different...


10 October 2004, 02:33 PM
In my case it depends...if it a personal project, It just appears, sometimes it is triggered by a memory or something I just see what I can change to fit my project.

However, when I am at work, I can't afford to take time. I usually take a long break after the first work period. During this I go to drink with people. Civilians(I mean other than artists) have a whole different point of view on these kind of stuff, and they really help me a lot. Not sleeping for about 2 or 3 days also can trigger some delusions, but these are rarelly helpful.

10 October 2004, 02:39 PM

Dream like a puppy

10 October 2004, 03:10 PM
Isnt art a way for the artist to express him/her self? Or is it communicating an idea to an audiance through visuals? Thats a tuffy.

What I'd like to know is if there is any books or websites (or help from fellow web surfers) that teaches you how to communicate to an audiance by just drawing, painting, animation or whatever?


10 October 2004, 03:13 PM
Drinking on a Friday night. I get some of my best ideas when I have a good buzz. Ehh works for me. :beer:

10 October 2004, 03:22 PM
I have the visions of what I want and usually lose myself in those for a while. Then I make them somehow. I've always been heavily drawn to comics and high fantasy art so a lot of what I create is very fantastic characters. I spend some time in complete and total lala land thinking about who the character is and what they do and why.

And then I try and put them in some form other than my imagination. Sometimes it works, sometimes...


10 October 2004, 04:23 PM
I personally try to keep a sketchbook + mini voice recorder (the kind with a usb plugin that will convert the recordings to wav files automatically) + a digital camera on hand anywhere I go... and have access to a scanner at my apartment... that way I'm set to record ideas as they come and get them in to a physical form as quickly as possible, and am not limited to being able to draw them, or having to write them down in sketch book as a dialogue... still do that quite a bit though... Having all of that sorta stuff on you can get you lots of ideas while they are fresh, before they fade... In college I used to only use sketch books, and I tried to capture dreams in them to base paintings on them... If I'd had the mini recorder back then I could have done a much better job since I can only write so fast, and it's sometimes easier to state ideas in vocal format to get ideas across than it is to sit down and start doodling and stuff as the doodling causes you to jump from the creative to the technical side of your brain, which can easily wipe out afterthoughst of dreams in less than a half a minute... as technical ideas start creeping in to the dream ideas/thoughts/etc.

10 October 2004, 04:25 PM
on the can...if you know what i mean...That is where most of my ideas come from.

10 October 2004, 09:08 PM
for me there are 2 main ways how i get ideas,
The first is watching TV and Movies I see something in a movie; the lion king for example and I imagine things; my current project is trying to make my dog into a CG Disney style charecter.

The other way is I have very intersting conversations with my flatmate (who is not an artist) where we create these hypothetical situations and then try and make them as screwed up as possible, It sounds stupid but i tend to get my best original ideas from this.

oh, and if they fail I have really wacked dreams.

I think creative people suffer from some form of psychosis

10 October 2004, 11:42 PM
Good artists borrow.... great artists steal.
tis the key. Buy expose, great source of inspiration, watch futuristic movies (Mad Max, star wars, lotr, AI are great examples to boost your inspiration).

10 October 2005, 09:22 PM
i take my inspiration also from watching videos or visiting websites. is always a good inspiration for me, because there is so much variation of art (3D, paintings, photography etc...)

10 October 2005, 09:38 PM
I have no 'process'. They just happen. Sometimes daily. Sometimes weekly, and sometimes not at all. :shrug:

10 October 2005, 09:58 PM
i keep banging my head against my microwave until i get an idea or two.

or until i see pretty colors. either way, fun fun peanut butter lamp post dinner place mat fun!

mostly, ideas just come to me. mainly because i'm on a different mental plane then everyone else and can see through everyone [enabling me to see your thoughts float away].

10 October 2005, 10:48 PM
How far can your 'borrowing' go before it's considered 'stealing'? I don't copy anyone, unless for practice, but I'm curious.

10 October 2005, 03:08 AM
Here's an idea: pillage the fond memories of your childhood for ideas. :scream:

10 October 2005, 05:30 AM
Good artists borrow.... great artists steal.

good one :)

10 October 2005, 07:10 AM
Good question.

Borrowing, stealing, .. experience, etc.. however you want to put it represent a small fraction of the creative process. Consider it like steroids. It can boost the process but lacks the longevity to step it up. The downside of such dependency is long term drought of ideas.
The key to any creative process is to shut down reception from the outside world and listen and communicate to your self. Now, this is not about good or bad art, nor about high or low quality, but it's about a creative process that its outcome is representative of YOU. I second the fellow who recommended to go out experience a lot of things, since that could help not only the visual memory, but will certainly enhance your recognition of potential ideas.

Don't take me wrong, shutting down your reception could take fraction of a second, or hours. The key is to connect to your self.

lol..I don't know why I feel like a Yoga instructor :)

10 October 2005, 12:10 PM
I don't really have any specifc process, because it completely depends on my idea.

Usually when I come up with an idea, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do with it. This completely varies from idea to idea though. For instance, sometimes I'll want to convey a certain emotion, other times I'll want to convey movement, other times I'll want to just play with colors or shapes. The only real advice I could give is just go with your gut instinct. Also, never try and mimic another style just because you think it looks cool or something. Often times when an artist tries to do this, they end up being unsatisfied with the results, often because they over work the image. That's not to say it's bad to experiment with different styles, because different styles can work better for some situations than others.

10 October 2005, 03:30 PM
Usually a little worm squidges itself through my ears into my brain and starts talkinmg to me... but sometimes I just egt hit with something on the back of the head, that really works well, gives you the time to process whilst lying twitching on the floor.

technique is for when we make our ideas imo. My ideas are dreams and things I have/do to keep myself busy, things I'd rather see instead of reality and general 'ambient noise' that left a noteable impression on me.

10 October 2005, 07:41 AM
Music always inspires me to draw and write, but I have to be careful.I once tried to make a romantic (digital) painting while playing the sountrack of Mortal Combat in the background. My work turned out to be... quite interesting :p

The traditional walk in the park also works good for me ;)

10 October 2005, 12:39 PM
Inspiration and ideas are not the same thing. Sometimes I'm feeling pretty inspired to create, but my ideas are crap!
I get most of my good ideas either brainstorming with other people (creative teamwork is great) or in my awakening slumber after a good night's sleep! Like Ali said, shut down reception and connect to your inner self.

11 November 2005, 01:11 PM
I have found that my mind is often fixed on the medium I use and I feel that it sort of constrains the creative process. I have been trying to “brake free” from this and to do that I try to get inspiration from things in other mediums (What I mean is that if I want to make an Orc(or anything) in 3d and start looking at other 3d images for inspiration my image often becomes uncreative because this has been done so often and looks much more “traditional” rather than creative).

I have there for started to look into poetry and such from other times (yehh I know, sounds heavy and I know a lot of poetry is hard to read (Specially if it’s not in your native language)) but if you use study notes and the some of the help there is available you should have your mind filled with new “original” Ideas (worked for me at least).

I have mostly been studying the English romantic period at the University and it is very inspirational to read the texts the authors made. And also to see that from some of the more famous poems, Artists have created artwork and you could have 5 different versions showing the same place/person

11 November 2005, 01:56 PM
Write every idea down. No matter how lame or incongruous.
I think a major difference between a professional creative artist and the average learning artist is professionals know they will forget!!

11 November 2005, 05:48 PM
I've been exploring my own process recently; a valuable resource has been Robert Genn's book "The painter's keys". ( this guy has a free newsletter that is absolutely fantastic as well.)

Nonetheless, I think you need a system that allows you to adjust your process to the problem at hand. Having no system tends to reinforce established patterns. Having a rigid step-by-step process always ends up with really stale crap. The goal of my system is to always be "in the zone". Instead of "thinking", you create, and then analyze for the next obvious idea. "Let the work tell you what it needs", so to speak.

A valuable resource is a list of the different visual aspects you find interesting. You can start with the basic ones, contrast, lost and found line, pattern, etc., but just keep a list around. If you ever get stuck, just pick one obvious thing off the list that you want to establish better. Work it in a thumbnail if the primary work is too far along. Thumbnails are nice, because they're small, and can only take like 10 minutes to work. And you can bash away at them.

The key here is avoiding "thinking", where you're spacing out and wondering how to make things better. If you don't know what to do, you're not going to find out by thinking about it.

Of course, if you're like me, running out of steam happens with more frequency then I'd like to admit. So burn it, delete the crap, and move on. (Or move it to a folder for "crap" and forget about your mistakes.) The whole process is liberating, once you can get past being too "precious" about what you're doing.

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