If you are curious about the creative process behind my art… you will discover that creativity is actually precisely planed.
It all starts with an idea…
And that means I’m moved or inspired by something. This can be anything actually. A tree I pass by or an image from a movie… or even my own dream. Some get inspired by books, music or even things that others say “by accident”. I guess there is no right or wrong way to be inspired.
If you need some inspiration take a look at this Pinterest board of mine!
The inspiration doesn’t strike regularly if I’m not busy with my art on a regular basis. As if a well that drys up if you are not drawing water from it.
Sometimes all of a sudden I have an image in my head where all the elements fit. Sometimes I have only a general idea of what it should be. In that case, I let it rest for a while. Sometimes I go back to the same idea and sometimes I don’t. If I’m starting to be confident about an image that I have in my head it’s time for step 2 of the process and that is a sketch.
If you are serious, make a sketch
A sketch for artwork could be anything and as elaborate as you want it to be. Sometimes I’d draw stick figures just to show some pose or specific movement that I need to have in the image. On other occasions, I’ll actually make a drawing with colors and proper shapes. These could be more or less worked out, it doesn’t actually matter.
Since I work mostly with photos as medium my sketches are on a flat surface. This could be a piece of paper but since recently I have started to use Adobe Photoshop Sketch. It’s a brilliant app that works both on my Samsung tablet and on my phone. It’s way easier to use it on the tablet but in the case of an “artistic emergency”, I can just flip out my phone and do some quick sketches. Perhaps I’ll refine them later and perhaps not.
Why do I need a sketch for my artwork?
That is a good question. 2 reasons my sunshine only 2.
Reason 1 is that I want to work out the idea even further before I flip out my gear. In my case also before I go somewhere at a ridiculous time of the day (or night), wearing a wig and a fancy dress. So I need to know what’s in the shot and what’s not. What am I wearing? Do my dress and hair need to flow or do they need to be flat and still? What’s the composition? It’s way easier to draw, erase and redraw in case of things that don’t work than to figure it out on the location.
Reason 2 is communication. It’s actually really hard to explain to someone else what you need them to do. So if I’m working with a model (and mind you my models are my friends and by no means profs) it’s easier to show the sketch than to try to put an image into words.
So the sketch is ready, what’s next? The logistics!
Depending on the idea, I might be shot in the studio or on a location. Some ideas will actually require shooting in multiple locations including the studio.
I don’t own a studio in a physical sense of the word. I don’t really have an artist place where all sorts of photography lamps and pros are hanging out. If I need to shoot in studio conditions, I’ll be shooting in our living room after it’s dark.
I prefer natural locations with loads of open space or forests. Locations where I wouldn’t be bothered by people constantly passing by or dogs running around freely. In my particular situation, I invested some time to get to know my immediate surroundings. I live long enough in the same place to know when I have a chance for the light that I’m looking for. So if the moment is right, I’m heading directly to my spot.
My locations are not perfect. They barely ever are exactly as my sketch. They need to be close enough for me to Photoshop things in or out.
So when I know what I want (my idea and sketch) and I know where I want to shoot it, only then comes the part of how exactly am I going to do it. What do I need to take with me in terms of props? What do I need to take with me in terms of photography gear? Do I need some extra lights? If I shoot outside, I mostly shoot with natural light. But I usually do use props like dresses and wigs, sometimes some handmade stuff like books or crowns. So the moment I know what I need to take with me I can also decide how I’m going to get myself and all these things there. Should I go by car or by bike?
Finally, some photos are getting done
After all this thinking and planning I finally get to shoot. Most of the times it doesn’t take long at all. Just a few shots are enough because I know perfectly what I need to capture.
Puzzling with the images
Back in my “studio”, the photos need to be manipulated into the idea. I used to use GIMP and only recently I have switched to Photoshop and Lightroom. I’ll usually layer several photos together, blend them, mask them, change their colors. I know what I’m going for so I’m not doing random things and see what sticks.
This fuzzy feeling
It’s a fine feeling when the image starts to speak to me. From the moment of conception of an idea up till the part when I can see a living image right there in front of me. And then it’s done. All of a sudden the deed is done and I can’t wait to share my creation with the world!