5 Imagination Building Tips For Visual Storytelling
Explore what presses your imagination button
Those ideas might encompass single pieces of work or complex overarching themes that hold greater bodies of work together. But first I think it’s important to explain why imagination matters in the creative process.Why does imagination matter?Imagination for me is the single greatest tool I cultivate in my creative kit. Without imagination, I lack the ability to creatively innovate. But for years I tied my head in knots for attempting to come up with ideas that were 100% original.Innovation is difficult.However, as my design career developed I learnt to see the potential for imagination growth as a series stepping stones. I learnt see to that developing my imagination could be the process of building on ideas that have come before my own and it could help me to shift my own personal perspective of the world into a place it’s never been before.This unlocked quite a few doors for me. It relieved the pressure of always having to start at the beginning of something and I started paying attention to my imagination as thing I could work to improve on in the long term and how I could make it stronger and more effective.
Never underestimate the power of research. Learning something new can take your imagination to new places. Connecting something you have learnt that is fresh and new with something you already know can be like lightning. Try picking a topic you know a little about and Google it. Now see if you can move 10 clicks away from it, based on the information you find on the pages. Finally, compare your first step with your 10th and consider a scenario that could link them together. I chose:
Graphic Notation ... which got me to ... Ruby Slippers!
image source: smithsonian.comFrom these two images I imagined that the first was a floor plan of a power station being fuelled by an army of dancers in red ruby slippers and the floor plan illustrates the routes the dancers take through the station. The creative possibilities of the ruby slippers image influenced the way I see the graphic notation image allowing my imagination to create a new relationship between both pictures. From a visual storytelling point of view, I now have a framework in which to build on.If this was a scene in a film, I could now begin to imagine what kind of graphic props I would need to design like factory signage, notice board ephemera, packaging and logos.There are so many other places to research in addition to the internet as well. Don't forget libraries, archives, galleries, museums, shops. Anywhere that houses collections of information.2. Keep Post-it-Notes
Keep notes. Keep lots of them. Write down all the weird and wonderful observations you make using post-it-notes and find a place to stick them up. I have a wall in the studio dedicated to this:
Let's say you are looking to illustrate an interesting title for something or you want to imagine a new world? Then the best place to start is with the one you know. Make a list of everyday things. It can be anything you like; music, food, space travel, fireworks, favourite tv, monsters, footwear etc. In the illustration below I have chosen:
COLOUR - OBJECT - ACTION - PLACERepeat that process a few times so that you have lots of variations and connections You should hopefully end up with a few titles or sentences that look a little bit like this:+ The People With the Holes In Them versus The Market Square Teapot Army + 20ft Cliff Diving Musicians play 'The Number Crunchers of Littleland'
4. Train yourself to ask improbable questions and don’t be afraid to feel silly doing it.
The trouble with real life is that it makes so many demands on us being sensible all the time. What happened to that childlike surrealism, curiosity and wonder that allowed us to imagine impossible things? Children join up dots with ease as they have not yet learnt to eliminate the extremes in the pursuit of a singular manageable truth that we as adults often occupy ourselves with seeking out.Adult logic can often revise anything that is perceived to challenge order and sense and discard it. Well I say enough! Let's invite some child logic magic back in to our lives and we can do that by asking improbable and bizarre questions like:+ What does yesterday sound like?
+ If I was a box, could I fly by flapping the lid?
+ Can water talk?
+ Do chairs feel the cold?
+ Do dragons get hot?
+ Is my Aunty battery operated?
+ If I had a million eyes could I see what's happening on Jupiter?
+ Do frogs sneeze?
5. Get doodling
An obvious one this if you are a visual artist, but you would be surprised just how many creative people give up on the simple activity of taking your pen for a walk. Doodles really help. They are a visual recording of your wandering mind and an immediate pictorial interpretation of thought. Doodling really comes into it's own when you are engaging in another activity such as talking on the phone or watching television. Because your conscious mind is busy doing something else, your sub-conscious mind is let free to busy itself conjuring up patterns, shapes, words and icons that could help take your imagination to new places.What inspires your imagination?I hope you find these techniques useful. They are really just meant to be fun starting points toward feeling more inspired to take action with your ideas. And when we are inspired, we can imagine anything we want.
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