Tuesday 26th October 2010 – ITAP – The Reflective Visual Journal
Something I agree almost completely with the lecturer about is how to approach some of your sketchbooks; almost with a vicarious abandon. They are a tabula rasa which is yours to experiment with; hone skills, annotate ideas, scribble thoughts down. A sketchbook, not unlike a book of anatomy or Wikipedia, is a tool, a means by which you can lubricate your working process, and use as a personal release. As touched upon earlier, it is by no means collated for anybody but yourself. If people want to look at your work, give them a portfolio, if people want to see your thought process, then it’s a different matter.
|When sketching to understand form, I always use ink: It allows for bold mark making and the knowledge of no ability to erase mistakes makes one intuitively be more conscious of what is being recorded.|
And none of this is really possible without the key element of drawing. This is the key element that separates digital and traditional: There’s tactile feedback from a sketchbook; there’s an intuitive physical connection between the hand and the brain which can only really be instantiated this way. A skill which I must hone, as I fall foul of it, is drawing as you think, not drawing your past thoughts. This is what I envisage dissociates undergraduate sketchbooks and college student sketchbooks, what separates a master and a juvenile: The arguably simple task of dissociating the critical and analytical, letting the creative flow with abandon. Although we must remember simple and easy are not one and the same.
DaVinci is an excellent example: his notations, numbering in the thousands, are almost entirely visual; showing a direct link between his thoughts and his mark making: freeing his ideas to allow them to develop on the page freely. This is at the core of what makes a brilliant sketchbook: the suspension of the critic; drawing to germinate your ideas, not for ‘art’. I assume what was being implied here was that if you let the ideas flourish; something far more primordial and closer to the esoteric form of ‘art’ may be borne, for, as Picasso said: “I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else”. It’s an exploration, not an exercise in creating pictures.
|Using my sketchbook to explore potential compositions of form.|
Utilizing ones creative Brain.
What we were lectured on was how we need to suspend the analysis and critical thought patterns which we readily place upon ourselves, and which seems to be intrinsically connected with textual communication. I’m guilty, as I love a little A6 notebook in which I make one word or one sentence notations to myself, mostly middle of the night moments of unhindered neuropathy that leads to either a nugget of an idea, or an inexplicable concept.
Instead of this, the subconscious censorship we place over our thoughts should be discarded; through the aforementioned process of intuitive drawing. This, to use some neurological theories, allows the right hand side of the brain; which is the curious, spontaneous, experimental side of us, to take charge, and let our thoughts flow. However, this must be implemented in balance with the usage of the left hand hemisphere of the brain; responsible for speculation, analysis, critique and logical connections. To get the best from any exertion both must be used in turn: Allow free-form experimentation, but then in turn speculate on its usage. This working spiral will allow an initial concept to develop and develop and become something more than a shallow idea.
Basically; ones previous working pattern should be turned on its head: Whereas in schools one is taught to write, think and analyze before putting pen to paper, now is the time to allow the pen to be put to paper to think almost, and then annotate, allowing good ideas to be siphoned from the detritus. Have a theme; make it almost a visual brainstorm. An example, last night I watched the music video to ‘Indestructible’ by Disturbed ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWxBrI0g1kE&ob=av2n ), and using that as a starting point, and as a theme, began to develop thoughts centered around the concepts of armor, warriors, fighting, imposing silhouettes, etc. There should be, and was, a direction, and from it I harvested one or two nice compositions to come back to in the future.
|Can see how firstly I simply threw ideas down in pen and ink, then analytically chose the best parts to create a nice composition.|
Tuesday 23rd November 2010 – ITAP – Development of Creative Thought & Structure in Illustration & Graphic Art.
Developing Ideational Fluency
The task of generating ideas, or, as I normally look at it; how to be inspired, is probably the paramount difficulty facing anyone of a creative tendency. Being unsurpassed in technical execution is pointless if one cannot find an intuitive and original outlet for it.
Personally, I have numerous approaches I take to hunting for that flash of inspiration which can make or break an image. The first and foremost I use is note taking and my small A6 journals. These indispensable books are nothing more than collections of one, maybe two word ideas, small facets of an idea I’ve had which I can jot down on a bus, in a lecture, at the pub, wherever. It allows me to never forget a potential composition, or interesting design, and, when feeling uninspired, as though the dreaded artist’s block is hanging over me like the sword of Damocles, I can turn to my journal and start sketches from there.
A second method I use is collections. I collect everything, and rarely use it. Mostly digital, I have folders full of catwalk shows, other artists works, photographs, billboards, figure studies and short animations which I call reference, but which are really more like stepping stones; used to either help when referring to how to draw a particular garment, or, if I have an idea, what inventive ways have been used previously for a similar idea, and then these can combine and allow for me to remove mental barriers to allow my designs to merge and move in a new direction.
Managing a Creative Environment
Feeling calm, at ease and at one with the place where you decide to work is incredibly important when creating individual work, I’d say on a par with personal, cultural and social interests. It alters ones thought process, and if you aren’t comfortable with where you work it will be evident in your sketchbooks and developments.
As a creative entity, the studio/bedroom/room, the workplace where you spend the majority of your time is integral. It should be an inspirational place, stimulating, a reservoir of creativeness within which you should be able to submerge yourself to work.
My workplace is still quite chaotic, I haven’t yet found a nice equilibrium between the technological side of my life and the messy traditional art side. My next investment will be a drawing desk, from which all my most used art materials will hopefully be in reach, making for a very comfortable, fluid, and calming environment. I surround myself with photos of friends, art works of the people I aspire to, and random figures and models I’ve collected on my travels, all of these mean something to me, and simply spark an essence of nostalgia and warm memories, getting me in a state of mind in which I can easily work, stress free (mostly!).
This workplace is “EatToast’s” a university student from America, whose workplace I simply find wondrous. Looking at it I simply want to delve around, looking at her books, her art supplies, and simply soaking up the different atmosphere. It’s obvious from the photos that a lot of thought has gone into her studio design, and while she seems startlingly outgoing (especially compared to me and my workspace), the sheer volume of intriguing posters, models, and other pieces of work leave me inspired, let alone her.