What do easels, journals, social feeds, sketchbooks, code files and graph paper all have in common?
They are all places to think.
Being a creative, it is incredibly important to get your ideas out into the open - to make the intangible tangible and then refine...
Not only this but you need a good format for these ideas, for your thinking - some thoughts are better expressed in words, some in an array of images, some as a mathematical equations or even a programming language.
In all of these cases by bringing your ideas into a physical format, a format outside of your head really, it then allows you to think about it - your brain is free from storing the idea and can now instead act on it!
Finding the exact format for these streams of ideas is a personal - professional preference; they need to let you think how you are most comfortable with while also being practical to then take into the next stages of your artistic production - be that showing a client, formatting sheet music into audio or a thumbnail into several various designs.
You choose them based on their intended use (visual, audio, written) and their intended user (you, your team).
These formats can be messy, for only your eyes - freeing you from social pressure and allowing you to think solely on the idea.
Or they could be slick and neat - for outside presentation, to test methods of polishing to take on into the final product.
The variety and purpose is up to you.
Ultimately they are conception tools that then feed into the production.
Having a balanced mix of these is vital for thinking new ideas, executing them well and maintaining the pace of creative production.
My personal favorites are:
- a small moleskine sketchbook for rough line drawings, algorithm designs and tiny oil paintings.
- a large gesso-primed sketchbook for messy oil and material experiments.
- instagram for daily dispatching of visual ideas and crowd sourcing.
- pinterest boards for aggregate views of an idea.
- journal writing for daily thoughts, next actions, conceptual and theoretical roughs.
- blogging, a small thought a day.
- studio painting environment; my digital-traditional atelier setup for larger studies and finished works, with a lot of polish.
- code files. text files to think procedurally and syntactically about algorithms.
Having many places to think lets you express in a succinct way. Having clearer ideas means you can communicate them better - a basic ingredient in all artistic practice.