How I come up with ideas

How do you come up with ideas

This one is a hard one for me, cause I use to come up with tons of ideas from scratch. However lately I’ve had a harder time finding ideas, or even finding ones I like. Here’s some tools I’ve learned to get the most out of my imagination:

Collect stray ideas

Sketchbooks and journals are my LIFE. I used to keep one of each with me at all times in case I get a image in my head or an idea for a novel. I could easily write it down or make a doodle to remember it later. 
When I was bored I just started doodling, and it helps to make a lot of sketches. I was taught in school that you have to have one-hundred bad drawings before you get one that is any good. I found that to be very true in my professional life. Plus when you’re bored you can go back in your collected ideas and take one.

Do lots of activities

This goes along with the previous one a bit. Doing lots of things just gives your brain a break, and that can help you make even more ideas. It’s a weird thing with your mind that comes from being “distracted”. This video gives a really good explanation of that
But also I found that doing lots of things can also give you the expertise in that subject. It helps if you know a bit of that. Even little quirky things makes for good starters.

Talk to people

You can learn a lot of interesting tidbits from people. Kids say that funniest things, and it lightens my heart. Not only are they really funny but they give you a bit of insight into imagination. 
Seniors and you elders can give you insight into thing you wouldn’t know, like how life was in their childhood. I found a lot of good things to work with when I talked to my Pop-pop tha had been through WWII—even though he had a horrible experience, he was still so funny and full of life.
Anyone can even be an inspiration by themselves. For example, my cousin is really fun to be around. I often find the urge to draw her, and when she’s with her husband I think it’s even more special. Small things like that can really spark a good picture.

Look at others’ work

Not only should you already be looking at others’ work if you’re an artist already, but getting a wide range of images in your mind gives it more to work with. It comes as no shock that someone can find inspiration in other artwork, but it also helps to give you something to strive for. 
The challenge with this one is that sometimes we feel discouraged when we’re not up to snuff. Try looking at it from a  different perspective—remember that they were once learning. Try sending them a message thanking them that they have given you inspiration or helped you in some way.

Read books

A lot like looking at others’ artwork, reading books gives you knowledge of what you’re working with. Read books for fun or for research. It could be that you’re reading your favorite book and a scene pops into your head, or you’re doing school work and you learn something about the world around you that you want to draw or write about.

Do random research

Same with reading books, except this can include research on the internet. I find myself in a kind of wikipedia binge sometimes where I’m researching how bolt-action guns work for a novel then end up in ancient folklore or human medicine. You can find things in research you may need for a novel or find a picture of something obscure that you just HAVE to draw.

Watch movies and TV

Out of all the things I think movies and TV inspire me the most. They make me WANT to draw, especially fight scenes or costumes. I’m sure you can imagine what you can create after you’ve just gotten done with that episode of Sherlock or got out of seeing a new movie. (Personally I stick to Sci-fi and fantasy on TV but my movie favorites also include old movies like Back to the Future). Just remember to watch with a critical eye!

Take a break

Your brain needs a break from working on creative stuff once and a while. If you find yourself frustrated, go do something else. Play a video game, watch a movie, make cookies, take a nap… anything. It helps keep yourself healthy and your brain is no exception! If you work it too the bone, then you’ll find you can’t use it when you need it.

Look at childhood drawings or journals

This is the most humorous to do with a friend or sibling. The point with looking at old work is not to just make fun of it, but remember how creative you used to be. Children are ALWAYS making things. They want to doodle, sing, and make believe. I think that when we’re kids, we have no filter, so anything is fair game. Try to go back in time and remember your process, remember what it was like when you were a kid. It can be enlightening but you may also find something you forgot about that gave you so much joy, and you can reuse ideas from your childhood days and remake them!

Remember things you used to like

This kind of goes along with looking at your old work, except it has a twist. Look at things you used to do, like shows you liked that are no longer on or if you used to go outside or played with specific people. I found that since I used to play outside all the time after school, I have a love of the scenes from my old neighborhood. The ideas of those places give me a love of trees and places to hide and run in, and that seeps its way into my works.

Travel

Getting new experiences is the point of travel. Take a vacation to a place you’ve wanted to go to, and pay attention to activties and people. You also can’t really exist in a bubble if you go somewhere really out of the way (like another country) and meeting new people gives you more perspective.

My Biography and Artist Statement

I’ve been struggling with my biography for a looooong time. In college we were required to write it on our student websites for a grade. I ended up with a generic one:

“Rebecca Gowdy was born in suburban Winchester, Virginia in the summer of 1989. Her family has always joked that she came out of the womb drawing and has been doing anything art related since childhood. It wasn’t until high school that her love of “making things pretty” turned into a pursuit of a design career. In 2013 she will receive her Bachelor of Fine Art concentrating in Graphic Design at Shepherd University. Rebecca specializes in illustration, but her strengths also lie in typography layout and identity design. Rebecca hopes to go into the comic book business, writing and illustrating graphic novels, but can see herself doing most anything. Ideally, she wants to bring design to the more rural areas of the Shenandoah Valley. “ But then I realized it wasn’t me. I tried to fix it, but ended up still not liking it. I even used a dumbed down version for a professional summary:

“A creative and motivated graphic designer and photographer in offering strong attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. Works independently and has experience in supervising team projects. Strengths include utilizing graphic design software to create recognizable and trusted brands with event marketing in mind.”

However, something I still am happy about is writing a mission statement from my community college days.

*“I am a daughter. I am a student. I am a trusted friend. My life reflects my passion. My passions comes from my actions. My actions define who I am. I am created by God. I am the created, yet I create. I will follow in the footsteps of the Artist’s Artist. I will be open to new ideas. I will always see the world with wonder. I will always create.

I may walk a dangerous road, but I will not fear the future. I will never stop learning. I will always remember to listen before I speak. I will always see life as precious; it is not my job to judge a life. I will treat myself with purity and grace. I will treat other with what I treat myself.

I am a creator. I am a storyteller. I am a comic book artist. I am a photographer. I am a painter. I am a designer. I am a sketcher. I am a fantasy writer. I hold whole worlds in my head. I see the world as inspiration. I see the world as my canvas. I am a visionary.

If my vision no longer suits me I will transform it. If my vision no longer suits someone else I will fight for it. My skills are not static. An artist is not stagnant. An artist fails, and learns, and succeeds. If I fail I will try again. There is always more than a second chance.

An artist brings dreams to life. I will bring dreams to life.” *

Advice from Other Artists

I recently got some wonderful tips from my favorite artists that I wanted to share. These people are so talented and a lot of them do art for fun.

TheGeneraless | Professional Character Design Artist

I asked them about what to post as content to a gallery like tumblr or a website and this is what they said:

*“As for when it comes to Tumblr and deviantART, choose whatever content makes /you/ happy. It's what I do, myself. Whether it be personal, fandom, photography, writing--anything you enjoy making and putting your heart into.

I tell this to a lot of people who ask me about how I got my own small following, and whether or not they should be worried about popularity when putting their original stuff out:

Nothing will be popular immediately.”*

I also asked about if consistency or passion is more important:

*“Consistency is important if you're looking for a /specific/ fanbase, or if you're looking to spotlight a specific art style or passion. Consistency in original projects is especially important when it comes to gathering a following for that. People are drawn to something with a lot of content naturally--and quite a few are willing to stick by the artists as they learn and grow on their own right, with styles, stories, characters, the like.

So consistency is important--but consistency and growth go hand in hand. Consistent styles can improve while remaining consistent. Same with characters, worlds, fandoms, the like. It's all about maintaining the core of it all and the passion you feel for it.”*

Mayshing / Christine Chong | Film & Animation Professional

I’ve been watching mayshing for a while on DeviantArt and have found her to be a wonderful artist and person in general. I asked her about how she got into the business of art.

*“For any business it's always exposure. I think in the earlier days I borrowed fanart power and took out early enough for some series like Naruto, Sonic, SAO, and so on. Now I am not borrowing as much anymore it's a bit harder? You can still do impressive work, not having as high of exposure but if you got the right niche/genre for your originals you can do well enough when you open for commission.

Because for the business of art you first need exposure, second you need good portfolio on what you can do, thirdly is advertising your work ethic by constantly updating work to your gallery, paid or unpaid. And you will get returning customers/new ones.”*

KaiserFlames / Alyssa McCarthy | Professional Fantasy Illustrator

I literally adore her dragon art unconditionally and is one of the few artists I never have pet peeves about anatomy. I asked her about how she got into the business of art and what tips she’d give about promoting art.

*“I've honestly just been doing art for a loooonnnngggg time and never stopped. I did go to school for it, which helped teach some things, but the majority of my techniques and things are self taught just by constantly practicing and learning from other artists I admire. And also drawing from life. Everyone harps on it, but it is one of the most important thing you can do for your skills. It's the best way to learn about color and anatomy and all that stuff. If you can't get out to a zoo or get live models, the next best thing is to work from photographs, even if you never post them online (and if you use copyrighted images, it's fine to practice on them, but generally not fine to post them unless they are changed significantly).

As for promoting your art... that can be tough. I started out on DeviantArt and that was a big help. Artstation, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and social media places like that are excellent tools to use. Getting yourself ALL OVER the internet is the best way to really get attention. Surround yourself with the art you want to create so that you can learn from it, and if you can learn directly from artists you admire, do that too. Be active, be friendly, be professional, always be busy with your art.”*

Time Managment for Artists

Time management has never been my strength, but I have learned ways around it.

I’m the kind of person that thinks in blocks of time instead of by a schedule. I also have a nasty problem with only being able to draw when I’m in the right mood. It’s the product of my OCD but is still a hurdle for everyday life, when everyone else expects you to work with precise timimg.

Still I’ve learned a few things over the years:

If you work in blocks of time, then commit to it. I’ve had struggles with sitting down for my work at a good time but then getting distracted or not having anything in my head. For art, it means major creative block.

I learned from an episode of Writing Excuses that if the blank page “mocks you” then you sit and force yourself to write, even if it’s crap. I’ve harnessed that mentality in art by letting myself just sketch whatever, even just shapes.

Treat your time jealously. If you were working a regular job, your boss would expect you to be at work on time. Treat your work space like your office and be at your desk or studio when you told yourself you would be. Then block out other distractions (especially if you are easily distracted).

Beware of burnout. Remarkably, time management isn’t always about being a workaholic. With my sensitive mental disposition, I’m more aware that I need breaks from work. The mentality of getting things done is draining so letting myself slack off at time is helpful. Sometimes when your daydreaming or distracted is when creative problems find solutions.

You don’t want to let yourself burnout by being mindful 24/7, so take time to sharpen the ax with relaxation. Read books, play games, watch tv, or go out with friends. Use whatever will recharge your batteries so you can be back at it with renewed vigor.

Take health seriously. Time management means nothing if you are sick or depressed. Even if funds are a main concern, you can talk to someone about how you feel. Physical issues like colds, broken bones, or viruses are best looked at by a doctor, but I know not everyone can afford a psychiatrist.

Apart from scheduling doctor’s appointments, make sure you’re in regular contact with people you trust to talk about your feelings. The catharsis of venting properly or just airing problems out is immeasurably valuable until you can see a professional.

Art School

Remarkably I would not recommend art school to aspiring artists. It may be from my personal experiences but art school is the quickest way to kill real inspiration. As much as I loved learning about the “rules” of art and design, there are lasting issues that still stunt my growth.

Now everyone is different, and there are probably people who would be well suited for an art school. From what I’ve seen, the ones to get out unscathed are few and far between. I thought it took very little to injure my determination but it turned out that my depression really stunted my art career.

Depression hits more college age students today than before, and it’s growing. I fear that will not change much, unless there is a major revamp of university life.

But I will say this to my rising seniors: if you want to go to art school, don’t let people stop you. Art as a career is truly a noble path, and I wouldn’t change my own decision for anything. If you have the drive to get into the field, do it my whatever path you choose!

Quotes That Inspire Me

In art:

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” Oscar Wilde

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” Andre Gide

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”

—CS Lewis

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. “ —Aristotle

In Life:

“Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” —Proverbs 16:8,9 (NIV)

In religion:

“A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.”

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

—CS Lewis

Reworking Branding Materials

Over the next few weeks I'll be working on redoing my personal branding. Starting with my logo, which has become too mediocre. I still like it but not what it could be, so I will be adding to it and amking more "me".

After that, I'll do new business cards and redo the website some more. I will hope to have all my social media working in tandem, branding matching after that. Hopefully it'll smooth out my portfolio a bit, and make it feel unified. That helps creativity.

Expect many stand along products, like bookmarks, charms, posters, and art that you can buy along with my regular commissions.

Updated Site

I just updated my site so it fits a bit more steamlined. I expanded the gallery, and compacted the about page--with a changed picture. I wish I had a better picture for my face, but the one I have up will have to do. I added a lot of links to my footer for my other sites, take a look sometime!

Work in Progress of Votum Cover

For some reason I just like work in progress pictures, you know? It's nice getting into the mind of an artist and/or designer. Here's some of mine for a book cover illustration, I really like these and would like to do more...

Commissions coming up

Even though my commissions have been available for a long time, I finally found a site that'll help get my work out there. It is launching on January 15th and is called ArtCorgi. I hope you all will be interested in ordering somehting from me either through that site or via mmy email.

Merry Christmas!

I won NaNoWriMo 2013!

Well, even despite getting sick for an entire week (blame the cold and medication withdrawal) I managed to make up the words I lost and write 50,000 words in November! I am so proud of myself, because it means since the end of May I have written over 150,000 words in various stories of mine. You can say I'm feeling accomplished. X3

Keep an eye out for my books, Votum and later Circle of Stone Magic, because I plan on publishing them. I'll be spending my extra time editing them until they are shiny and ready to be sold. I may even be inspired to illustrate even more scenes from them now!

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