Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Process.

I thought, just for the hell of it, that I'd do an overview of my creative process for the blog. Hopefully this won't come across as too egotistical; I've always been intrigued by other people's methodology. I won't get too nuts-and-bolts about the whole thing, though, 'cause I think that might make your eyes glaze over. Without further ado, then, this is for all you process junkies:

First off, I've got a bar in my livingroom (built it myself, yes I did), that quickly got pressed into service as a drawing table/studio. It's a big, flat, extremely solid surface, and it's got lots and lots of booze in it.

(Also, the light is really good during daylight hours.)

The digital part of my work gets done on the computer from which I'm currently typing - 24" iMac, 4 gigs of RAM, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - plus an Epson Stylus Photo R320 printer and an ancient Epson Perfection 1250 scanner. I keep thinking the scanner's on its last legs, but I've been thinking that for at least three years now, and it still takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I've gotten several thousand scans out of it to date - not bad for a $175 scanner with a $25 mail-in rebate.

The ideas, though - those just pop into my head unsolicited, for the most part. It's almost rude.

But seriously, I learned a long time ago to let my subconscious do the heavy lifting. As long as I feed my subconscious well - stuffing it full of sensory output, basically - the creative part of the process is probably the easiest. Years ago I was given a blank hardcover book, and I stuck all my loose thumbnails and PostIts into it. (There are hundreds of still-unused ideas in the book by now.) Looking through the book is usually enough to jumpstart the process. Not an entirely efficient method in terms of time and money, but from the perspective of pure creativity, it works like a charm. And it only recently occurred to me to do the same for my graphic design work, but it's already starting to pay off.

The gist of all this is, you're trying to train your brain to do a lot of the work while you're not even conscious of it. If you keep pointing your subconscious in the right direction, eventually it'll go there without being told. Example? In 2008 I made a point to paint every day, even if only for a few minutes. The payoff was that painting was always on my mind, so a lot more creative ideas were generated. (I'm doing it again this year, hopefully.)

So in a nutshell, then - set yourself up a dedicated workspace if you can, keep a sketchpad or notebook with you at all times, and above all else, feed your head.

Also, whiskey.