Twilight's Creative Checklist

How to be creative
How to be creative?
That takes talent baby.
Sorry Rainbow, but you're 100% wrong.
Creativity takes practice, knowledge, and accepting mistakes.
And tips, but we have those here for ya.
Well, I'll listen, but I'm not gonna be happy about it.
Oh you... now! on to being creative...
I have no idea what I'm doing.
And that's the great part. You have the freedom to do anything! You can play!
I like play. ...but wait, its you.
There are rules, aren't there?
It's a checklist in fact!

Twilight's Creative Checklist.

Alternate title: Being free in art. Ideas, Anatomy, Seeking shapes, and Solving unique problems.

1. Don't be afraid

The first thing to do to be creative is to prepare yourself.

Checklists in checklists!

This means no fear. How to do that? Well, that's another checklist.

  • Accept that mistakes happen. Nobody likes making mistakes, nobody likes messing up, but you're going to have to get out of your comfort zone and do that pose you've never done before. Mistakes are how we learn. If a line isn't correct, it is better to have it down as a foundation rather than to have nothing. Put marks on the paper, set out to make a new undersketch. Free yourself from the idea that the mark you put down is ever the right mark. It is simply better than the last one.
  • Have confidence in your ability to solve problems. You either have the anatomical knowledge or your references do. You can find it and you can put these things together.
  • Take risks. Put that mark down. Don't know which one? Try anything. From a horizontal line to a sine wave, try it. If it is wrong, you'll be able to correct it. If it isn't there... then there's nothing to correct. You will fail. Over and over. And you will learn something each time and only ever lost a sheet of paper. That poor paper.

2. That @#$%&ing blank piece of paper

Art isn't made in a vacuum. Don't start with a piece of paper, brainstorm! Look at other people's art, look at the composition guide and try a new technique, watch an episode (the horror). Art doesn't come from nowhere, and it isn't fair of you to expect your head to make things out of thin air. Where do ideas come from? Other people. That movie you saw that one time. Language. Other art. It is a response, not a vacuum.

3. Problem solving. Building the problem

I sense another checklist coming on.

Art is creative problem solving. That's all there is to it. This is likely the most important part of brewing creativity. So how to approach it from the beginning? Identify the variables. You've got your intention, the anatomy, and the actual composition. But what about the little problems within? What about that anatomy? Checklist time! Another one to go over when you're stuck. Solutions:

  • Revise and experiment with your undersketch. It isn't permanent, rearrange!
  • Seek out the lines. Draw a mark, any mark. Compare to your reference (or headknowledge/critique) with the thickness, proportions, angles and everything.
  • More coming with your suggestions. Woo! Participation
    My brain's not fried at all.
  • Compare your solution to the whole. Great, now that you've got an idea, or are trying something, compare it to the whole problem, that is the whole composition. Does it fit anatomically and compositionally or is it awkward (see IDing compositional awkwardness. Coming soon.)

4. Ask specific questions

Part of problem solving but it deserves its own point. Break the problem down into simpler parts. Note: simpler does not mean smaller. In example: For shading treat the head like a sphere at first then break down more individual parts and account for exceptions. What questions are this? Well where are the exceptions? What is the bridge of the nose? Where's the cheek? Should it be bigger or smaller (never assume its right)? Compare to your references here and ask "Is this more to the left or right in reference?" Up or down? Big or small? Taller or wider? The more specific of a question you can ask yourself the easier it is for you to answer.

5. Letting go of control

Not for everyone… (its for everyone), but quite helpful for broadening your understanding and letting you be free. Fly! Let yourself make dirty art. Sketch things out, seek marks out by putting down a foundation first of crappy marks. Let your curiosity get the better of you and put things down. Make big gestural marks. Make mistakes. For example put down some huge curvy lines for the wing space.

Checklist Over? Check.

Now whenever you're stuck you can simply check the checklist!

You may notice that there's a lot of redundancy here. The solutions aren't too dissimilar.
I noticed.
There's a lot of vagueness and ambiguity here. Questions please.
This turned out not at all like I intended... I expect to be yelled at.