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  1.  (10828.1)
    A lot of Whitechaplains make stuff up for a living. Lots more of us do it for fun.

    What's your creative process? Do you meticulously plan out a piece of work beforehand, or do you start with the vaguest of ideas and let your work develop under your hands?
  2.  (10828.2)
    most of the time my creative process tends to be making stuff up as i go along.
    even when i draw a single image sometimes i have no idea what i am doing till i am done.

    i have recently been trying to control my chaotic process more, but i have an extremely short attention span so its difficult.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2012
    My Creative Thang is writing. Essays and reviews, but most often material for role playing games.

    When I'm in the groove, shit pops semi-formed into my head. The source material is things I've read or heard or seen, but when the holy pilot light is lit the synthesized memes just come to me. I think through the presentation -- a sort of first draft -- while walking the dog, while staring at the ceiling late at night, while I'm driving.

    When I finally get to sitting down and actually writing, I can knock out stuff quite quickly.

    The flip side is, well, like now. Haven't done anything creative in months. Low text-tosterone. I chew stuff over in my head now and then, but there's currently nothing with the force and urgency that demands to be written down.
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2012
    My sketchbooks are mostly filled with words. The images come later, after I've had some time to think about what things mean and how they relate to each other. Usually the images will arrive fully formed in my mind after writing some of the same text again and again. Sometimes, more often than not lately, the text is in the image, too.

    I make things to communicate ideas, to say things I can't say adequately without art. I'm uninterested in what my hands do without direction. Figure studies and such are nice, but for me they just exist to make the next real piece better.

    And then I make prints which, for me at least, is very much based in process. I want my relief prints to look like they were carved. I want the viewer to be able to see how it was made. Even though the idea phase is done at this point, it's just as important as anything else. If the craftsmanship is less than impeccable, the idea means very little.

    Lately I've found that although I use bits of text a lot in my work and in making ideas happen, I'm not a very good writer. This is a problem as I want to make books.
  3.  (10828.5)
    I beat up small children and steal their ideas.

    ...actually mostly I just ..herd art supplies around me, and then go on binges when ideas take me, or ask my coworkers "Hey guys. Name your favorite animal" and BAM. DRAWING.
  4.  (10828.6)
    My schtick is writing.
    I always carry notebooks with me, or if caught out use my phone SMS to note down ideas. Then I write at least a thousand words a day on something, whether that is a short story or my novel. When it comes to the actual writing I tend not to plan out before, using the Stephen King method of putting characters in a situation and letting them work their way out of it.
  5.  (10828.7)
    illustrator/aniamator, my process differs for the mentioned mediums, illustration it's all worked out in my head first, animation script/storyboard stage is a lot of notes and planning. which dictates what has to done later.
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2012
    Stage 1 - Notebookery
    Notes and scribbles in a solid notebook that never leaves my side. Plot ideas and skeletons, character sketches, test runs (1000 words of a voice, to see if it works, and later plot fixes and to-dos).

    Stage 2 - Netbookery
    Researching background, bookmarking and reading. Test runs become first drafts. Trying to nail voice is the important part here - plot can always be fixed or changed.

    Stage 3 - Workshop
    Show first drafts to other writers, get notes, work on revisions. repeat, repeat, repeat.

    Stage 4 - Layering
    While new chapters accrue, old chapters get layered with detail.

    These stages all pretty much happen simultaneously once a project is up and running, and feed into one another. Eventually I end up with working second drafts, and revise them. Constantly. It's never finished.

    Blogged a bit about the process of the novel I'm writing over here, if you're interested in seeing how that all pans out over the space of a year. Post titles #wordcount.
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2012
    "Process" he says

    I usually just start banging out a story, realize I fucked it up, then go back and outline. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
  6.  (10828.10)
    I have lots of ideas. At least no shortage of them. It's the motivation that the hard part.

    Generally, it's have creative people around. Hopefully said creative people react to what I create and give feedback. Have people who are encouraging. If anyone knows how to get off of external motivation to the internal sort, I'd love to hear it. (Granted, I'll still have doubts, but I tend towards that direction anyway.)
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2012 edited
    1)Inspiration comes from nightmares, daydreams, various crazy flashes of enlightenment. I keep a sketchpad on hand most times so I don't forget interesting ideas when they hit me.

    2) My subconscious does most of the creative heavy lifting once I have the basic idea for a piece of art. I generally just sketch in a loose pencil outline when starting a new painting, mark in the basic elements with black paint and a fine brush, then add whatever secondary and fine detail appeals to my art sense. I almost always conform everything in my paintings to the freehand pencil lines of the original sketch, which is why my work tends to have a wavy, warped appearance. I am extremely obsessive in my work, and it's not unusual for me to spend hundreds of hours on a large painting with a size 00000 brush, adding in extra layers of ornate detail.

    3) I use a lot of photo references and maintain a large photo morgue. Before the advent of the Net, this meant either going out and taking hundreds of reference photos myself (and I sometimes still do this when a specific image is impossible to obtain in other ways) or collecting books and magazines. I have more pictures of insects, spiders and strange sea creatures than anything else, then motor vehicles and other assorted machines, then buildings. Most of my reference library is digital these days, and I find most of what I need online.

    3a) Learning to paint from photos can be a bit of a two edged sword. You develop your technical skills through copying, but your composition skills can suffer.

    4) Sometimes I take my easel out on the street if there's a particular building I want to capture "live". I have developed a thick skin after thousands of comments from passers-by; it's like being a YouTube video personified. Also I now have sprouted eyes in the sides as well as in the back of my head, from constantly being on the lookout for crackheads stealing my stuff (and homeless people are not the romanticized figures you see in police shows on tv).

    5) I develop my style wherever possible. Usually this is a matter of adding new techniques that I have either discovered on my own or observed in someone else's work, or occasionally test-driving an established style which appeals to me.
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2012
    Musician here. I have realized in the last few years that I work much better in a creatively controlled collective. I need to see how ideas come across and work out in real life, and can only go 50%-80% on my own before I need other players hash it out with me. The funny thing is, I am one hell of an in-the-mix producer and a solid co-writer. I can take what many people have done, here the potentials, and take it other places and other levels. I don't know if sometimes it is being too close to a thing that makes it harder to do that with yourself. I just started a new project with some good friends. We had our first session tonight, and am extremely happy with the initial results, and happy to be part of a solid group that will working together for what looks like a long time. I like to have at least an idea and a mood, if not a complete structure before going into a session, but I did play with a completely improvisational post rock band for a long while, so writing "in jam" isn't bad. I have a phone and a computer full of sudden idea voice recordings, and they are a lifesaver.

    From the literary writing standpoint, I am restarting recently as well. In the make yourself write at least 250 words on something every day phase, as well as puking words and ideas onto paper as fast as I can "when the spirit calls." I wish I had more skill in the visual media department, but lets be honest, there is not enough time for what I am doing, and in the end, I just don't quite have the drive or talent for it. I have extreme respect for you people that do.
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2012
    I'm an artist and worse than that, a printmaker.
    I come up with ideas and images and throw them into any number of sketchbooks. This could be anything from a written sentence to sketches of an idea to just a bit of anatomy that I like and want to come back to for something. I like doing studies of elements that I like, I almost never do anything that I'd share with the general public, as my sketches are kind of like shorthand or outlines for what will come.
    From there on out, when I'm ready, I start drawing out my idea. This usually involves a lot of reference as I am obsessed with getting things Right.

    Once I have a lovely image, this is, of course, only the beginning. For a screenprint that means drafting out the separations (fills, outlines, accents, paper background) and then fiddling with a mockup in photoshop until I have a good sense of what's going to be what colour. And sometimes this also involves erasing accents out of the image or adding new bits or throwing a texture on top of it to degrade the image entirely. Then I print my separations (sometimes adding hand drawn elements to them), burn my screens, do the ink mixing alchemy (which can be a process taking several hours depending on if I'm trying to pantone match or just throwing things together or creating my pigments from other materials not found in jars at the art supply shop) and print everything over the course of hours/days. And then comes curating them down to the best that will become the edition. I can allow for things that slip registration or that didn't flood fully to give the whole edition a chaotic/grungy/handmade feel or I can select 10 out of 50 prints that are absolute perfect reproductions of my initial mock up.

    • CommentTimeSep 11th 2012
    I forgot to add my basic rule of thumb for all creative projects. They are like relationships, friendships. You just have to keep showing up. Every day. If you have a bad day (yesterday was one for me), fine. Throw out whatever you made that was shit. You still showed up. Show up again tomorrow. I firmly believe that talent and drive only get you so far. Attendance is just as important. In my twenties I spent a lot of time talking about writing rather than doing it. As soon as I started writing every day it was possible, it got easier and more productive. Still haven't quite nailed the 'earning money' part yet, but I've made a start.
    • CommentTimeSep 11th 2012
    Recovering academic here. I made it most of the way through a PhD in philosophy.

    I always built my papers around quotations. My method was just to go through the primary readings at hand (i.e., actual stuff by Nietzsche or Foucault and not secondary sources) and start pulling out quotes. I would then find the quote that seemed like it had the most potential for exegesis/riffing, and lead off the paper with it as a cold open.

    I looked at it as similar to a DJ remixer might when approaching a song - I wanted to find the central beat or riff in the work, or at least the one that had the most resonance with me, and start remixing it and going through possible variations on the theme.
  7.  (10828.16)
    10% inspiration, 90% perspiration . . . . .
  8.  (10828.17)
    Any and all of the above.

    I'm finding that I'm increasingly physically led - the more physicality I can bring to the process, the faster I can work and the more effective it is. With writing this tends me towards using paper and pen as much as possible, certainly for 'personal' projects (write for hire I do find easier to do on the computer directly, but its all very to a brief so...).
  9.  (10828.18)
    I don't have a consistent approach.

    Sometimes I get a flash of inspiration, shove everything to the back burner, and Just Do It. For example, several months ago I was reminded of an incident that I thought would make for a hot bit of erotica, so I cranked out a script, sketched up layouts, scratched down inks, and there it was. No rumination or revision. Nice and raw, like it should be.

    In another example, a graphic novel reinvention of the Gospels is something I've spent the past decade on, researching, outlining, plotting, reimagining, writing and rewriting parts of the script, designing and redesigning characters, etc. I imagine this to be my Magnum Opus someday, and at the rate it's progressing, it'll have to be, because I won't have time left to do anything bigger afterward. :/

    Most projects fall somewhere in the middle. For example, the above-mentioned erotica short is part of a series that I've built a whole spreadsheet for, mapping out the shape of it. But individual pieces spring up and develop unplanned.

    Texture's comments about treating the creative process like a relationship that you have to keep showing up for, are insightful. There's a mantra in the Sequential Workshop community: Do The Work. That's what it takes. A writer writes, a painter paints, an inker inks, and so on. That's the most important part of the creative process: doing it.
    • CommentTimeSep 11th 2012
    @texture I totally agree. You keep showing up, you keep working. Attendance makes a huge difference. There is a quote from Ira glass, it is currently printed on my desk in the studio, and I know it has been shared here before, but it is still one of my favorites...

    "Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through."

    @Greasemonkey And the nice thing is, often through the perspiration I can usually find more inspiration, even if it is just enough to keep on going.
  10.  (10828.20)
    I just make it up as I go along...try not too think too hard and keep things loose. Strangely, all this comic projects mean I've had to slow down and think harder about the process. Every page is an ongoing learning process.

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