I've had a few people ask me how I go about thinking up ideas for my art. I thought it would be fun to share a few of my brainstorming ways because I would love to hear everyone elses process. I wish I could start listing some real revolutionary, never seen before, brand new patent pending process of creative thinking. Honestly, the steps and checklists I use to sketch out ideas are pretty predictable. Perhaps I'll be able to add some clever ones you guys use.
I'll start with an object of interest. This could be any person, place, or thing that I think would be fun to sketch. I sat down once and thought it would be fun to do something with a bear, and I ended up with a couple of fun ideas from it and subsequently went through a bear phase in my art.
What you pick or find interesting is obviously inspired by life and your surroundings. I did art with a goldfish in it inspired from my wifes goldfish tank.
I have a very sad looking plant on the desk across from me (I guess I missed its yearly watering) so I'll use that to illustrate my method.
I really don't have any interest in simply drawing a plant in its exact likeness. If my dying plant was really capturing some beautiful colors or presenting a visually striking form... I would take a picture of it. I like art that adds, removes and creates something new from the likeness of the plant. If I'm being honest, I really don't have the artistic skills to render something with flawless realism. So I think my idea of what art is might have adapted to suit my skills a little bit.;]
Now that I'm all excited about a plant, I start making changes and seeing which ones stick.
Ok, the plant and most household plants fit neatly on a shelf. What if it was quite large? I could have this common household plant be big enough that people have built a house in it. It could be so large an ordinary office building now serves as it's planter. I could have a skyline of skyscrapers have these household plants growing out of the tops of the buildings so that it looks like these buildings are being used like clay pots. Hmmm, now I want to take my plant out of it's boring shaped pot and plant it in an industrial building model. I'll sketch several large house plant uses and scenarios in my sketchbook.
Ok, most plants are green, so what if it's black? What if it has a pattern on it? I could give it a camouflage pattern which would be humorous because plants don't need to blend in with anything, they are what hunters try to blend with. What if I had its green color dripping off of it leaving it pale and empty. I could make an image that shows the plant bleeding the last of its green blood into its own puddle of plant blood below. "The death of everything natural". When thinking about color I always check the compliment color to make sure there's nothing odd or useful there. A red household plant isn't all that odd. I'll sketch it out in case I can use it for something else later. Most of my best ideas are ones that I revisit later to combine with something else I've been thinking about.
Any of these categories could go on forever, but this one is exceptionally vast. Plants sit there looking pretty on a shelf. What if we wore them? What if I had a very beautiful woman wearing plants as earrings. I could do a version of mother earth with plants intertwined as her accessories. What if they were used in battle. I could have an army launching plants with their trebuchet's rather than boulders. If they're poisonous it might make for a fun sequential piece or short story. The prisoners of the war could be lines up against a wall for execution and fed a seed that grew instantly and they were all torn apart as trees grew out of them. What if plants flew? I could have plants like birds making their way through the sky. I could have them slowly floating around like the beautiful images of jellyfish in the ocean. What if we ate them like other animals for food? I could have a lunch scene with men in suits munching on plants rather than burgers.
I think you get my rather long and rambling point here. I have a few other check list categories I run through, but this is going way too long.
Do you guys have any methods of creative thinking you could pass along?