Saturday, January 30, 2010

My creative process

Everyone has a different one, but I'll share mine with you. If I tried to sit in a room and stare at the wall and come up with an idea, nothing would ever come to me. I know because someone told me that was their creative process, and I tried it. Nothing. My mind was completely blank. I personally need to get the ball rolling. If I get a new scene, I just start drawing anything. If I want to draw a comic about a gangster or a spaceman, I just draw them. I need to get the ball rolling. Anything that comes to mind no matter how random. Now I have a character, and an environment to explore. I can look at the drawing and say. Hey, where is he walking, what is he looking at. You can't come up with an idea before you come up with an idea. If that makes any sense. You just go. Again, no thinking. Just explore. See if you get lead down a road. Once you have a couple of key ideas that you like, then you can move on to outlining or thumbnailing or whatever it is you want to do next.

I was talking to one of the writers at work about this and he said he did the same thing. He would actually type, "I am typing right now at my computer, and the door is over there, there's a bird outside my window..." and so on, just so he was moving forward and going somewhere. You basically have to get that ball rolling some how. Once you get that ball rolling, then the ideas come flooding. that's when you jump out of bed at 2 in the morning and right stuff down to use the next day. Then the ideas start playing out in your head.

If you ever have to storyboard a scene, just draw random shots of the location and characters. You may use them, you may not, but it really helps to get started.


  1. I love the comparison with your writer colleague. That makes so much sense in terms of writing, so it really makes sense for anything artistic.

  2. Andy: also, depending on the movie or t.v. show you work on, the writer writes more of a general outline. Something like, "I need the two characters to meet some how and by the end of the scene they like each other." And that's all you get. So you have to come up with all the dialogue, location, etc.

  3. great explanation. It's always interesting to see how someone else approaches something

  4. Rad,
    It's always interesting to hear people's train of thought.
    Now what do you do for a creative process, say when you don't have an idea of where you want to go?
    I have quite a few nights where I just want to start designing up some characters and sometimes I have no idea as to what type I want to do. Although I suffer from this maybe a third of the week, but still sit down and create something to get a flow of some sort.

  5. If you haven't already , check out the book -
    Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

  6. cosmic pencil: If I don't have anything in particular to draw, I'll just play with shapes. I have some pretty standard ways of drawing heads and figures, so I'll just push the shapes of those around. But honestly, 90% of my drawing time is spent doing copies. I spend very little time actually drawing out of my head.

    pbcb: I'll have to check that out. I also heard Steven King had a good book on writing, but I haven't found it.

  7. Rad, just wanted to stop by and say thank you for this blog. I poured over every post the other day, and it had my head spinning! You've got so much great info and tips on here you should be charging admission. Thanks again!

    BTW, you are an amazing artist! Love your work. Can't wait to hear more on your comic.

  8. agreed, doodling funny faces and situations always gives me the best work.

  9. *sigh* far too topical to be coincidence, hahaha.

  10. nice, thanks for sharing :) I for one, discovered that travelling by train is amazing for my creativity :D I have so much time to do nothing else but sketch and plan and write and make storyboards...

  11. rad sechrist said: "I also heard Steven King had a good book on writing, but I haven't found it."

    if you're still interested it's called "On Writing" the isbn is 0743455967.

    btw i've learned a lot from your blog. Thanks!