Intro: Finding Creative Solutions
So you want to know how to be creative, lil' pea picker?
Don't we all?
Well, here's a slick trick from the thicket sure to help you take your idea from pit to peak.
So to start off, let's get an assignment. Since no one's hollering for one just yet, I'll get my own. Let's say I'm making a pic for a lumberjack. He's easy going and let's me have a lot of freedom, like tinkling in the woods.
So, I'm going to be making him a sticker to put on his rig. I don't know what his rig is or why he'd want a sticker, but that's what I'm all about. Lighten' up. That's the first step to anything creative. Kick back. Relax and sharpen your ax.
Step 1: Tools of the Trade
First things first, we got a list of words.
It ain't just a list of words. This here list is gonna be your torch in the dead of night.
Hold tightly to it. Kiss it, hug it. Treat it like a fine lady. Take it out for gourmet hash n' grits. Goodness.
This diddy is a set of actions. Instead of hacking like a madman at the same limp limb, this is going to branch you out into a whole new frontier. Use it wisely.
When you start sketching ideas, use this list to guide you. Just pick a line and apply it to your assigned topic. Like the lumberjack topic I am doing here, I'll use this list to encourage me to explore new and creative options – that's the goal, right?
When you find your boots stuck in the mud, look over this list. It's got a fix for every jammed log. (smooth as Ex-lax) Just pick one from the list by random or orderly, if you're the systematic type and apply it.
Now, Bunyan, lemme show ya'll how it's done.
Step 2: Stepping Up to Swing
I got all kinds of lumberjacks dancing for attention in the upper deck so I need direction. I look to the action list and pick "give it a friend/enemy". Now, I use this to form an idea from the vague lumberjack visuals in my mind.
Put it to paper. There's one big ol' menacing enemy tree looming over our tiny Lumber-daisy.
Sometimes the tree looks big – the assignment is too much. (deep woods stuff there)
Keep on swinging, pardner. Pick another from the list. Keep going. Don't stop. Grab a raft. The river waits on no man.
Step 3: Getting Jiggy
I choose "change the material" from the word list this time around.
I pull out the jigsaw and wood burner and start like teen lovebirds carving initials in tree trunks.
Getting a hand from my buddy Designsomething and his 5 Close-up Logo Mock-Ups Vol. 2 at Creative Markett the task's a breeze. I scan the sketch and apply it to his instructions and there it is. Easier than fallin' off a log.
Another splinter off the trunk and we're cooking.
Step 4: Chainsaw Time
So, we're well on our way, but we ain't got all day right?
I go back to the list and choose "Skew".
This go around I throw the lumberjack among a whole mess of skewed trees. There's room for breathing here folks, we ain't living in a cave. Choose the word and do what it means to you. It ain't the best, but it's called brainstorming, ya'll.
So before we start slipping the skids (obscure lumbering reference), I move on to a new action word from the list.
Step 5: One Size Fits All
Now that's one fat axe. (blush)
I see you're getting the point about now, so let's chew the fat a bit.
The list is meant to get you out of the standard approach. Find a new axe to grind. You may be feeling a little off the beaten path, and time is of the essence. But, time can also be wasted pounding away with a dull blade. Consider this exercise sharpening the blade. Yeah, you ain't full on cutting yet, but you'll get a better result than the beaver-tooth slop chop that would have come from some lame initial idea.
Fight for your freedom. Argue if you must to acquire this time, because it means better results. We aren't here to fill the earth with weeds.
Okay let's look at some more.
Step 6: Sightseeing
• So the first pic here is from the action list step "peel". He's eating Birch burgers. Roll with it.
• The second comes from "punch holes in it". A one-of-a-pine home. (ugh)
• The third sketch is inspired by the word "stack". Peace not war, become one with the tree.
• The fourth drawing came out of "isolate". I once spied a lonely brute among the trees. I wonder if he saw me?
• The fifth iteration comes from "crack". Let's take another crack at it.
• The sixth is a mix of quick ideas. "inverse", "change texture" and "rounded/squared".
• The seventh comes from the action "white out". It's not just for mistakes.
There you have it. Several ideas to choose from, mingle together and use to wrap up this final image. We're not quite out of the woods yet...
Step 7: Timber!
I chose the "white out" sketch and mixed in some elements I liked from the previous sketches. Scanned the puppy into the computer and began to poke at it.
The stamp effect on the character comes from the Vectorpress Illustrator action. A handy action to keep in the packsack.
The plaid print also came from Vec Fashion's shop. Every good woodsman needs his red plaid.
I added some texture using various Photoshop brushes and completed the look with a photo filter, all acquired from the Creative Market, cuz let's be honest. It's a wilderness out there and us creatives got to watch each other's back.
Our time to part is upon us. Go back and save the action list, it's a trusted resource I've gleaned from several years logged in the industry. I'm sure it will help you find creative pastures. Have fun, be crazy, go camping and make something amazing.
So next time you head out timber cruising remember this here fireside advice: A man on a journey needs a friend at his side to make it out alive.
Runner Up in the
Graphic Design Contest