Generating Good Ideas!

Question: There is no formula or procedure for coming up with great ideas. Discuss some methods that will help in generating good ideas for illustration.

When working on any project I normally have a few ideas that come to mind right away. However I have a 4 main avenues I tend to work through in coming up with good ideas.

Conceptual Notes:
Most would call them some type of thumbnail but I prefer to call them “conceptual notes”. They really won’t mean much to anyone but me. These notes will consist of symbols, graphs, text and even a rough sketch, very rough sketches. I use anything to get the idea out and move on. This is a process I use if I am just slammed with ideas. After I get the ideas out, I may try to brainstorm and workout a few concepts so that I don’t black ball myself into a corner.

Sometimes I have no idea where to start. I am working on a project where I have no experience with the topic. In this case I will start with some research. I will surf the web, for information, images, logos, websites, and maybe contact someone with more knowledge to gain a better idea of where I should even start.

Think Tank:
My all time favorite way to come up with great ideas is working in a “creative think tank”. Surrounding myself with other creative, or people that maybe quite concrete with an objective to keep me on track, or even people that don’t have a clue of what to do and are afraid of the challenge; I enjoy the group interaction. I find that sometimes the best idea comes from the worst suggestion.

Consult My Muse:
If all else fails and I cannot get a jump on a concept I talk to my wife. I tell here what I am trying to accomplish and maybe some rough thoughts I have, and she can normally help me clarify the direction I should head. My wife is not an artist, but she is very creative. Consulting another person and bouncing ideas of them can really help one figure out what will work and what won't, which helps eliminate many bad ideas.