The Inspiration Notebook
I teach mainly design and composition workshops... (occasionally I’ll do dye/dye painting and screen printing workshop too especially if I can do it at home because of schlepping all that stuff!!). In my design classes I’m teaching how to come up with designs, how to manipulate the elements into an interesting composition, how to block it out etc….but first you have to come up with an interesting idea!
I have always suggested that people come with an “inspiration notebook”.
I ask them to start collecting pictures, photographs, ideas, sketches – anything – and put them into a notebook.
(I use sheet protectors then I can just throw anything in there). I find such a notebook works better for me than a formal sketchbook which tends to end up with other information in it too e.g. phone numbers, series of photoshop commands, envelopes ( have you ever noticed - the vital piece of information is usually given you when all you have on hand is an envelope!!) etc etc. I also like to sketch on separate pieces of paper so I can pin them up on the wall and I frequently photocopy them and try out different value arrangements. So a notebook full of sheet protector pages works better.
Here are some typical recent pages:
These sketches are from an idea in the middle of the night regarding water and steelworks - you can see the finished piece (for once there IS a finished piece!) on my webpage.
The picture above was from the black and white series I worked on last year - see the Buildings page on the website - I made 2 or 3 pieces based on sections of the above...then I thought it would be really interesting to make a screen print from this idea...I took a big screen and painted the above image on it...it printed up really interestingly - havn't used it yet though!!! Then I thought, hmm, wonder how it would look with reverse values....and got the above sketch...and then...got no further - yet!!! Maybe a path to be followed another year.
The photo in the middle came from a book (I'm sorry I've forgotten which one), two things there appealed to me, not yet acted upon.... one was the gorgeous colour of the plaster - no wimpy white for those folk!! and the other the great variation in textures....these ideas are slowly simmering!
I rarely make something exactly as it is in the Inspiration Notebook...but it sets the vehicle rolling....!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!
PS I’ll report on the Stephen Pressfield Book: The War of Art - as suggested in a comment on the last post – or possibly you’ll never hear from me again because I’ll be working too hard too blog!!