Being able to produce an artwork based on scenes that only exist in my imagination gives me a wonderful sense of achievement. However, it’s a long journey to get there even as a professional illustrator. As much as I want to create a new piece, there are moments when I sit down in front of a blank canvas, not knowing where to start. Whenever this happens, I take a step back and look through the photographs on my phone. I hope to share my insights on how photos can help during each step of creating an artwork, from visualising those initial ideas to adding finishing touches.
COLLECTING PICTURES AS HABIT
Even when I’m just going for a walk, I habitually take countless pictures despite knowing that I’ll often have to free up the memory storage. My phone is full of images of urban and natural landscapes during my visits to places near and far.
You don’t need an expensive camera or smartphone, and the photo doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. I simply take photographs of the buildings, sunset or random little objects that I’ve come across with my phone.
Keeping photos is also a way of capturing experiences and memories in a visual form. Looking back at these images helps bring back the moment when I pause to think of something, and they can lead to new, exciting ideas.
IDEAS AND THEMES
A photograph contains a range of information, not limited to the time of the day, weather and location. We can also guess the relationships between people and even their feelings. Using the information that a photo provides, we can come up with a fun story that starts with what’s already in the picture.
For example, looking at the tall buildings of New York City and the subway that runs between them, I thought of an idea of how nature is being missed among the crowded buildings and people living a hectic city lifestyle. The smallest thing in a photograph can ignite your creativity and bring an interesting narrative to the illustration.
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