First off, credit due where credit is due. This journal was inspired by something I read in a Writers Digest Magazine. The Author Fred White discussed how to bring out your inner inspirations for writing, and I thought the same could apply to any art form.
The bottom point of his article was: Writers (Artists as well) don't wait to be inspired. It is possible to draw without inspiration. It's also possible to draw without creativity.
My take: You can have amazing drawing skills and still not be very creative. But where is the fun in that? Face it, creativity and motivation are like chocolate and milk, separated they are neat, but together they make a cup of awesome. So bottom line is, it's worth it to try and be more creative when doing artwork.
Chapter 1: Inspiration: Your friend or enemy?
Show of hands, who here got into drawing because of another person’s work? I know I did. Inspiration can be a wonderful, uplifting thing that motivates you to draw. When you lack motivation to draw, turn to your favorite artists! They can give you some amazing focus. What aspects do you like about their work? Their style? Content? Coloring?
But there can be a down side to that. Too much inspiration will cause you to shadow them. Sure, no one person can own a style, but do you really want to mimic them, or be your own person? Another tip is to talk to the artist you admire. The worst thing they will do is ignore you. I get ignored a lot. But sometimes they talk to me. You can talk to them about where they get inspiration, to try and help get YOU on the right creative path.
Chapter 2: Senses and your creativity.
As an artist, the most important sense to you is your sight (at least most of the time). But don’t just get stuck on that one sense! You have four other senses that can help you develop your creativity. Music is probably the next largest inspiration. Anyone else imagine when they listen to music? Anyone else picture their characters in some cheesy music video? In a cartoon? Doing epic things? Yes, music can dance a beautiful waltz with your mind. But don’t ignore those images you see when you listen to music! Write them down, what you see, how you feel, and try to portray them in your pictures. Music is drawing those images, thoughts, feelings, from a part of your mind that you can’t access easily without incentive. Movies and books can also be a great inspiration. I bet a few of you watch movies and get some awesome ideas pushing their way into your mind as you watch them.
Chapter 3: When dreams become reality.
Do you ever lie in bed at night, and ideas just seem to pop into your head? More so than during the day? Especially if you’ve been drawing/writing? There is a reason for that. You have many different levels of conscious thought. Basically, right now you are thinking of things that you don’t even know you are thinking of. Oh yes! Just like Music also helps release these thoughts, as mentioned above, resting the mind can draw them out as well.
Meditation: freeing your mind from thought helps those dormant creative ideas to break lose. No, meditation doesn’t mean sitting in the middle of the floor cross-legged and chanting. It just means concentrating on something you wouldn’t normally concentrate on. If you push away all the common thoughts: TV, what you have to buy at the store, work, friends, future projects, you clear your mind for thoughts that might not be as pressing. But it’s in those thoughts that you draw out past events or experiences, images or ideas that got pushed into the back of your mind that might inspire you. The way a character looks, an idea for composition.
What you need to do now is build on those thoughts. The more creative ideas you get on paper, the more your creativity will grow, making NEW ideas bloom!
Chapter 4: Who, what, when, where, why? HOW??!
If you have original characters, I bet you have some kind of special connection to them. Play out their life in your head. Sit down and picture YOU are your character. Where do they live? What hobbies do they have? What conflicts do they share? How would your character react to everyday problems you face? Refer back to Chapter 2, get inside their head, what they smell, feel, see... do they live in a fantasy world? What makes it so different from our world? Scribble all this down. Try looking at things in OUR world and give them a twist.
Let’s do a simple test: how does your character get around? No, not in a sexual way, I mean transportation. Dirty, dirty minds you people have.
In the real world, people where I live drive cars.
They do not have cars in my character’s world.
So how do they get around? In a fantasy world, many people might say “my character flies around on a dragon. That’s good, but let’s try something different. Giant wolves? Nah. How about bugs?
Giant centipedes, now that’s fun. But let’s draw on a little saddle for them. And let’s research different bugs and combine different elements of several bugs to make new species! How would this affect the streets where my characters live? Would they have to wear special clothing if some bugs were slimy? What about flying bugs, would the rider’s outfits change to compensate for wind? What if the bugs are intelligent? Do my characters hire the bugs for a price?
So, taking one idea and developing it snaps your creativity into action.
My most favorite thing to do is look up many different species and try to combine their anatomy to make a unique character.
Environments can be done in the same way.
RESEARCH is the key to character, environment, etc. development. Who, what, when, where, why. Use what you got! Use what you know.
The world is a beautiful place, you just have to know where to look. With the internet it makes it all the more easy.
Chapter 5: stick to it.
I like fantasy art, so I mostly do fantasy art. It’s good to have variety, but when you’re a growing artist it’s also good to focus on something, to build up one idea enough that creativity comes naturally and your world fits together without feeling awkward. I am still trying to develop worlds, and I find focus is helping, but I have a loooong way to go. I often find myself creatively constipated.
Chapter 6: Resources for getting that idea on paper.
I wanted to add another little section about how you can get those ideas down onto paper. Obviously, the more you practice, the better you’ll be at making the idea you see in your head transfer onto paper. But here are some tips that might help:
Don’t just draw one picture. Do several sketches, and take the picture that best resembles what you see in your mind. Do these sketches quickly: don’t get hung up on detail. Jot down notes while the image is fresh.
Most people are stuck on line art, but that’s only a small part of the picture. When you get an idea for an image, be sure to stop and think about WHY that picture appeals to you. Is it your idea for composition? Is it the colors? The design? The pose? Perspective? Don’t get stuck on just one aspect of the picture.
When you have those idea, make them GROW. Start some research looked up poses/clothing/ anything that might bring you closer to your goal. There are TONS of online resources to make this possible, many for free.