Mining For Ideas

I've always thought my best illustration samples have come from my dummies. Or from stories I've written. If I know a character well, I draw the character better. The character seems more real, because the character is more real to me. This makes total sense. Plus my heart's in it more. When we put our heart into our work, our work is stronger.

And yet...

This summer I decided that takes too long. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love making dummies (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE -- I'd rather make dummies than anything else). But dummies take a looooong time to finish. And if I keep relying on my best artwork coming mostly from my writing and my dummies -- well, I think I may just morph into a glacier or something.

If I'm actually going to ever come out behind my studio door and promote my work regularly enough to sell one of those dummies I love making so much, I've got to use my problem solving skills to figure out a way to produce more satisfying RANDOM samples that I can use for self-promotion.

Enter PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month -- where I'm writing a new picture book idea down everyday), and my Golden Coffee Cup goal (I'm trying to make an unprecedented 10 whole collage samples in one freaking month -- not sure I'll make it, but at least I'll wind up with something better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick). It turns out these two playful crazy spirit-of-NaNoWriMo-things go well together.

The story ideas I'm coming up with kinda mostly suck (even though they're really fun to come up with, and some have surprising potential). But they are mostly coming from things or people I already know well enough to make samples for. Which, it turns out, is very helpful for my random sample goal.

For example, when I was in Virginia City last year, a ghost visited my room! No joke. She opened the shades one evening after I am positive I closed them (go ahead and be skeptical those who must, but know that I stick my tongue out at you). So one of my story ideas, and subsequent illustration samples-in-progress, involves a cowboy and some ghosts. And a location that's haunted me for the past year.

Who knows if I'll be able to make ghosts with collage. But I'm certain I'll have fun trying. 

(Hey, P.S., This is just the "drawing," for the collage, in case you were wondering. I haven't made the actual collage yet. I normally piece my drawings together in Photoshop -- it feels more like collage, you know?)