When it comes to being an artist, there is a whole lot more to it than just creating art itself – having a creative process is essential to help shape and refine your ideas, techniques, and overall approach to your work. The creative process allows you to explore and develop your artistic vision while also enabling you to overcome obstacles and produce work that is both meaningful and impactful.
So let’s explore why having a creative process is so important.
It helps to generate new ideas
Having a creative process in place helps you to generate new ideas and concepts for your work. By going through a series of steps and exercises that work for you, you’re able to explore new techniques and approaches and experiment with different materials, mediums, and colour ranges generating a wide range of ideas that can be used in your work.
It provides structure and direction
The creative process can provide structure and direction, helping you to organise your thoughts and ideas and focus on the elements that are most important for your work. By breaking the creative process down into stages or steps, you can systematically work through each stage, building on your ideas and refining your work until you’ve achieved the desired result. This structure can be especially helpful if, like me, you struggle with organisation and need a clear plan in order to move forward with your work.
It encourages experimentation and risk-taking
The creative process encourages experimentation and risk-taking, you’re able to try new things and can push the boundaries without the worry of ruining the final piece. By taking risks you can expand your skill set and develop your artistic voice.
It helps to overcome creative blocks
Creative blocks can be a major obstacle for any artist; we’ve all been there! It can cause frustration and make it challenging to produce new work. The creative process can help to overcome these blocks by providing a framework for exploring new ideas and techniques. By breaking the creative process down into stages, you can methodically work through each stage, focusing on one step at a time and gradually building momentum until you are able to overcome your creative block and produce new work.
It allows for reflection and revision
The creative process allows for reflection and revision, enabling you to revisit and refine your work until you achieve the desired result. By stepping back and reflecting on your work, you can identify areas that need improvement, experiment with new techniques and approaches, and make changes until you are satisfied with the final result.
My Creative Process
Every artist will have their own way of working. Some will dive straight in and let the piece develop along the way; others will spend time planning and gathering ideas, this could be in the form of photos, sketches etc. For me, I used to be a ‘dive straight in’ artist, but I quickly found that I was becoming frustrated when it wasn’t quite going ‘to plan’ in my head. I’d often waste hours of time and materials fixing or going over parts of the painting. This had to change.
The first stage of a painting is gathering material; for me I’m currently working on abstract portraits, so I’ll gather photos as references; I recently used a friend to model to gain some inspiration.
Having two young children means I don’t have much free time to create painting sketches or drawings, so I like to plan out my paintings using my iPad on a handy tool called ‘Procreate’. It’s a digital editing programme a lot of digital artists use for their work. In this programme, I’m able to transfer my photos and begin experimenting. I often do this in the evening when I’m most relaxed (and the children are asleep). It’s a really handy tool because you can layer and make adjustments, so when I start the actual painting, I can remove the top layers and work just as I’d planned. Though I also like to leave room for experimentation.
I begin the painting. I keep my iPad and the planned painting close by; however, I will allow myself to be guided by the paint and not become a slave to the digital image. I do often find that the painting needs more than what I’d planned out and subsequent layers.
If I feel the painting needs something else, but it’s quite ‘bold’, and I don’t want to risk ruining the painting. In that case, I will take a photo of the work and pop it back in Procreate and experiment some more to see what works and doesn’t work – it’s honestly an amazing tool, and I highly recommend it.
I’ll continue with the painting, often leaving it for a few days and returning to it with fresh eyes. When you work on something for too long, you often get blinkered vision and miss things.
I like to take photos and view the work on a digital device; as crazy as it sounds, you often spot things that you don’t in real life, so this is a really useful way to see it from a different perspective.
Once I’m completely happy with the outcome, I’ll move on to the next stage – photographing, descriptions, titling and uploading online; that’s another blog post in itself.
I hope you found this useful; every artist will have their own process, so it’s really important to find what works best for you.