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Old 08-05-2009, 11:24 PM   #1
mocaw
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Gideon Klindt
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"Artist's Block": What do you do to generate ideas and stay inspired?

Today I had my first small bought of "Artist's Block" kind of like what I've heard about in terms of writer's block being like. Normally if I have a block like that, say with learning something new, I just give it time and keep trying. However, when working for payed work sometimes deadlines don't let you sleep on it.

I'm wondering what practices some of you do to help generate ideas in these instances, either for techniques or concepts. Do you just stare at the page- do you flip through your favorite art books/pages? Do you just doodle until something hits you? Go for a walk around the block? Lay down and listen to some music? Get intoxicated on coffee until the room spins? Meditate until you float away into concept bliss?

Normally ideas just come to me- and concepting/brainstorming is relatively easy- but like I said, today I was at a loss when trying to sketch up ideas and it freaked me out!

Additionally- any books, tutorials etc. suggestions on the creative process that you feel give insight into this issue would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Gideon
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Old 08-06-2009, 04:34 AM   #2
Lunatique
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It really depends on the task at hand and what the exact situation is. Maybe you should tell us about the project and where you got stuck.
 
Old 08-06-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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It's a minor project illustrating a shirt and CD cover for a band. I made several thumbnails going off of ideas they had that went from tame to progressively odd and conceptual. They chose the last and final one- the most "strange" and conceptual that I just threw in there on a whim- a pregnant body with a cassette tape for a head with headphones on! GULP. It looks ridiculous to me!

Not the craziest thing in the world...but slightly out there for the band.

So I just sat there looking at it...trying out any key word I could...sketching around it...yet I was a blank. I tried drawing it from different angles, poses etc. Blank. Exhausted the obvious choices just to get them out of my head (fetus with headphones on, fetus rocking out, an nest inside the body, arms with microphones and instruments coming out, the body as a self played cello, etc.) It needed something else- anything else...but I couldn't get to it. It needed to have something else...but something that some how made it more elegant...brought it back from odd, and made it approachable.

In the end I just took the easy way out and slapped graphic birds flying out of the chest with semi elegant motion paths swooping around the figure. People like birds- they've been in- it's a cheap trick. Only could have been worse had I used owls! I hate using tricks like this when it's not warranted...but maybe you've gotta do what you've gotta do when the the deadline is looming?

They like it...but I feel like I took the cheap way out on it...so now I'm moving on to the final. I can only use 3 colors BTW...no gradients...has to be graphic...stippling, hatching etc. So that kind of limited things too...at least in my brain. Not sure if this one is going to make the blog roll or the portfolio!
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Last edited by mocaw : 08-06-2009 at 05:32 PM.
 
Old 08-06-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
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On a side note- I guess if you can't identify in anyway with what you're illustrating then it's going to be hard to go the extra mile and get into it enough to have an open mind? I probably shouldn't have included that thumbnail then!
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:40 AM   #5
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Perhaps you're dwelling on it too much.

Creative people always bitch about not having enough creative freedom, or the client has bad taste and stupid ideas. Your situation is a blessing because your client appears to be very open minded. When a client lets you have full creative freedom, it should be cherished. My personal rule is that I always put the client's needs first, and if there's something I don't agree with I'll try to talk them into something different. If they give me full creative freedom and do whatever I think works best, that's when I go to town and do what "I" personally want (as long as it's within the context of the gig). Since apparently you had full creative freedom, you really should've just done what you personally would've liked.

Also, try to look at the situation differently. Maybe the gig is turning into something that's not what you normally would do, but it will add variety to your portfolio, and it will increase the range of your style and sensibility. That's a good thing IMO.
 
Old 08-14-2009, 03:59 PM   #6
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"Creative people always bitch about not having enough creative freedom, or the client has bad taste and stupid ideas. Your situation is a blessing because your client appears to be very open minded. When a client lets you have full creative freedom, it should be cherished. My personal rule is that I always put the client's needs first, and if there's something I don't agree with I'll try to talk them into something different. If they give me full creative freedom and do whatever I think works best, that's when I go to town and do what "I" personally want (as long as it's within the context of the gig). Since apparently you had full creative freedom, you really should've just done what you personally would've liked."

I've been very lucky in that the publisher I do book covers for mostly allows me a great deal of creative freedom. I refused to work for one publisher, who pays extremely well, because they allowed the artists no creative freedom at all. Though I wanted to kill the last client I had because she constantly wanted changes, and several times I had to explain to her why something couldn't be done due to artistic constraints. You want me to put a can opener in the snowman's hand? You do realize the scene scale is so large you aren't even going to see the can opener or know what it is. Like that. Fortunately, she deferred to me as far as most things. I've worked for others who had specific things in mind, and asked for changes now and then, but nothing I couldn't live with. Being an artist and writer, I strive very hard to please my authors. And I have been fortunate. My publisher learned very quickly that if they allowed me artistic freedom, I'll turn in an image that's far better than they hoped for. This is mostly because before I can work on an image, I have to contemplate the material, I have to think and ponder, I have to find a focus for the image. Sooner or later I do put something together that seems right to me. This is not a process I can explain easily, nor one I could possibly teach to anyone else. It's just what works for me.

When I do have a block, I force myself to work. I'd prefer to think and ponder but that isn't always possible. When that happens, I go through my morgue file until I find an image that catches my attention, then I buyild a scene around it. Sometimes it comes out well, sometimes it doesn't. But it keeps me working. I recently had a book cover assignment that was for an author I happen to be friends with. It also had a pretty high rate of pay, for me. But I couldn't get a grip on what I needed to do. I kept making false starts. So I discussed it with the author, concentrating on the scene he wanted from the book, until my mind was stimulated enough to come up with something that worked for me. I had to find something that was artistically coherent and gave me a focus to work with.

I look on these things as challenges. I'm disabled, sick, poor, blind and generally not feeling too good. So I try to do things that challenge my mind and my skill. That keeps me getting out of bed in the morning and working. I'm close to finally being able to have a decent computer built, and being able to work without the limitations of a poor computer is so exciting to me that that adds to my pleasure in working as well. And will no doubt increase my challenges, as I will simply have to increase the complexity of my work until I learn the limits of the new computer. You have to challenge yourself. I think a lot of the time when you hit a creative block, it's beause you aren't challenging yourself, trying to get better. Getting into a rut is pretty damn hard on creativity.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:59 PM   #7
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