The origin of ideas
Studying illustration unfortunately comes with alot of time spent pondering over whether the concepts and themes your coming up with are actually of any value. As you sit there, nibbling anxiously at your pen, you squeeze eyes shut, begging for a lightbulb moment that'll solve all your problems. Inevitabley they never come. Like waves leaving the shore, you feel for a few brief, brilliant seconds you have something, and within a blink of an eye its gone. This frustrating cycle of events has left many of us within the creative world in a right twist- with deadlines looming over us, and time trickling slowly away, we unfortunately do not have the luxury of waiting for that spark of inspiration. Instead, we must wait- we must think. We must seperate ourselves entirely and just think over what needs to be done- the specifications, the rules, the desires of your client or tutor- are you free of these bonds or are you restricted by a want for 1 sheet of A3 paper? All these things buzz like flies around our brains, and for a few hours, we're locked in posistion, sketching and painting like madmen as we try to discover IT.
I always thought experiencing this process was something to be ashamed of- for some strange reason I believed the greatest of artists and illustrators could look at something, or hear a certain note of music and instantly have their painting or statue etc. before them. In reality, this heartrending cycle of belief and disbelief is something all artists will experience- and it was in one of my first lectures today that I discovered this. We were exploring the topic of ,you guessed it, ideas and at first I was completely baffled by the tutors first question-
' If you needed to juice a lemon, how would you do it?'
Nearly half the room went for the most practical answers- find a juicer, squeeze it between your fingers- but one or two people decided to be brave and suggest absoloutely nonsensical solutions- they chose to be creative. And its that daring, that bravery with your thoughts which marks artists out against the rest. I was completely shocked that he was okay with some of their answers- crush the lemon under a car, squish it between your buttcheeks ( I am not kidding, I don't know if this dude does squats or something, because I am pretty sure my cheeks can't squeeze that hard!) In any case, as he heard these supposedly crazed responses he said that because those people had thought outside the box, because they had thought about the question and given liberty to be imaginative, they had found the most interesting answers- sure some of them probably wouldn't work, but it made them unique- it showed they could think independantly, and not just use the first solution which entered their heads. I was outstanded and a little embarrassed- for all my arrogance in believing I was as creative as can be, it turns out the way I think requires a little bit of tweaking. He asked us the question again at the end of the lesson- rather than be conventional, I decided to go with my imagination, and suggested we find a vampire who was looking for some pre-neck biting practice. Ridiculous as it is, this thought gave me alot more to mull over- how would I draw this? Would it be a single illustration? Would it be a sequential story of a virgin vampire who was scared of biting his first breather? In short, it was a whole lot more fun.
I couldn't believe how simple a question could change my whole outlook on the process of discovering a concept and then creating ideas to support it- as we ended the lecture, he put on a video recording of David Lynch, discussing how ideas come to him, and what ideas actually are- the way he put it was beautiful- he said:
' Idea are like bait on a hook- you reel them in and when you catch an idea you love, that is a beautiful, beautiful day. And that idea you caught might just be a fragment of the whole whatever it is your working on'
And as I walked away from the lecture I agreed with him. Thinking is a beautiful, wonderful process- its heartrendingly frustrating, can leave you in tears and desiring nought more than to rip up the paper in front of you, but at the end, you will have something entirely unique to you or to the group your working with- and that is an incredibly exciting prospect.