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I think everyone already knows that drawing and painting get a lot easier when you can visualize what you want the final result to look like.
What I'm wondering here is what people here do to kick-start their imagination.
In my case, I do a few things. Written prompts can be very useful - eg. SHINY HULKING CYBORG'S HEAD IS THAT OF SOME CUTE LIL' ANIMAL easily brings some images to mind.
I'll also commonly make some random marks on a page and turn it into whatever it looks like. I've been wondering about using Rorschach style ink blots as well.
Lastly, I've noticed I can "see" what I'm imagining a lot better when my eyes are closed, especially if I'm in a dim environment. I see tons of interesting stuff when trying to fall asleep. I've occasionally wondered it it would be worth it to buy some kind of blindfold - ideally one that block out all light.
Robert Mackee says that 9 out of 10 ideas one has, no matter how talented you are, are shit. In my experience that's about right.
So, the first thing that comes into your head is there because it's a cliche. So is the next and so's the next... only slightly less so.
It's only after one has been through dozens of alternatives, tried out this and that and rejected it, that something worth saying starts to make itself felt - born out of dismissing every standard answer the surface mind keeps coming up with.
That's what makes an artist different from anyone else - the willingness to put up with the uncomfortable feeling of not settling for the first answer that comes off the top of your head and the preparedness to live with the discomfort of something unresloved over a long period of time.
So, visualisation is really a kind of firmentation that has to be tested against actual marks on a surface in the real world, reacted to and sent once again back into the imaginative broth to cook again... and again... and again... until something starts to take shape. Something that one has never seen before. Something a little surprising. Something that you, and only you could ever know about. But never knew until you trudged through the predictable suburbia of your mind long enough to lay your hands on the secrets of its shining capital.
Last edited by Chris Bennett; June 1st, 2012 at 07:52 PM.
From Gegarin's point of view
I think it was Leonardo who used to watch plaster on walls to make up faces. Clouds serve a similar purpose.
I found a post on ISO50 which interviews 25 designers, illustrators, creative directors etc on how they get their ideas and how they visualize them: http://blog.iso50.com/14312/overcoming-creative-block/
...interesting posts, at least I've found what I was looking for, albeit in a thread made after mine asking a similar question
I was going to say something similar. I have this weird random splotchy texture on the bathroom wall in my house that I'm constantly seeing faces, aliens, and monsters in. I copied one down just the other day!
And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
Thumbnails are good, yep. I'm finding more and more that the real meat of the work of making a picture is in the thumbnail stage. Nail the thumbnails, and everything else is smooth sailing...
I watched a process demo by George Pratt recently where he showed how he treats a scene like a snowglobe... Don't settle for the first POV that comes to mind, instead imagine rotating the scene like a snowglobe, thumbnail it from all sides and see what you get... I think I'll be doing that a lot more now.
As for visualizing, lunch and a bit of a lie-down works wonders for me. Or taking a walk. Any situation where I can let my mind wander...
And then taking whatever snippets I came up with and thumbnailing and doodling to death. Usually coming up with new things in the doodling process. Or sometimes I'll start doodling without any plans and see what comes up that way. Then if I get stuck, take another walk...
Rinse and repeat...
I often get some of my best ideas visualized in my head like right before I go to sleep sometimes, laying in the bed just letting my brain work. I have some really cool ideas I want to get out, just can't get them onto the canvas yet because I don't feel I am technically there yet skill-wise. But it is eerie, I have ideas that haven't changed much in my head that I got like 2 years ago that look so clear in my head now as they did when I got them.
"I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams" - Zdzislaw BeksinskiMy Happy Little Sketchbook, please check it out and help me get better!
I like all the above suggestions. Chris's explanation about sitting with your thoughts and not taking the first thought as the solution, or answer, is an important method for getting closer to the truth of things. I often sit with a word, or a cliche, and ponder on its meaning. My mind quickly comes up with standard answers. After a while, my mind is silent for a few seconds and then tries to convince me that all the answers have been provided. For me to go deeper, I have to ignore those messages. Even ignoring my self criticism for ignoring myself! Then after a period of quiet mind, a revelation appears, as if my mind is saying "Is THIS what you are looking for?" Each revelation takes a bit longer, sometimes up to an hour, but it is worth it because they get profounder. Sometimes overwhelmingly so.
Another favourite for me is to record my dreams when I awaken. At first, I had trouble recalling my dreams. After about a month, I would be recalling and drawing something in my dream log book almost on a daily basis. I have had some profoundly symbolic imagery using this method.
P A HAUSAMANN B Hlth Sc (Couns)[SYD]. ADM
Drawing, [Box Art], Steampunk, Mixed Media.
Only truth exists, anything else is a delusion - P A H
Our imaginations are our only masters, how rampant they are is pretty important to create more and more for an overall good flow of ideas.
as far as practical go, just keep making something until you see a final image in mind, silhouettes and construction lines work best, and then go forth and conquer that thing till it's a true beauty.
My imagination is never off.
Ideas come from anywhere, anything, at anytime.
I have lately visualized the spoken sounds made during my listening of language learning, mostly the hard sounds I see as hard edges.
Makes for picking it up more interesting.
My SketchBook http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=139784
http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=192127"Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."-John Huston, Director
i love it when inspiration hits... just hopefully there's a place to scribble something down for completion in the future. having my PC nearby is great to flip out my tablet and sketch a basic image.
this has it's disadvantages when i jump out of my girlfriend's arms and quickly sketch something on my PC, hoping she'll understand that it's more a compliment than abandonment.