My creative project is a digital collage of myself and my past work, forming a varied and visually appealing picture that serves as a definitive piece that demonstrates my artistic talents and skill, and showcases my own mythology of original characters. I wanted to create a piece of art that represented myself creatively, as I thought it would be extremely valuable to myself and to function as an advertisement for my personal brand, showing people what I am capable of, and drawing their interest to the varied cast of characters shows within the piece.
The piece was created digitally, in Adobe Flash CS6, and drawn with a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet because I have had a significant amount of personal experience creating art of this kind. I have drawn with pencil and paper for years, taking a special interest in it from 2011 onwards, and purchased a graphics tablet in March 2014 to be able to draw digitally. This gives the advantage of accessibility and security to my art, along with the ability to copy the elements and reuse them at my leisure. Adobe Flash’s vector-based images allows the elements to be infinitely scalable, allowing for the design to be used for many different things, including t-shirt designs, computer wall papers, badges, banners and stickers.
The piece is also inspired from a number of sources that provided invaluable insight to me in my studies.
Csikszentmihalyi’s writing about the Ten Dimensions of Complexity (1996, p.55), which outline what personality traits creative people generally have has also inspired me as a creative individual and highlighted the importance of understanding my own personality traits. Other sources like Jung’s writing on active imagination and self-actualization (1997, n.p.), and more modern sources such as Lasseter’s Seven Creative Principles (Reis, 2009) talk about what environmental and personal factors can influence creative people to function at their best.
I do personally agree very much with this idea of understanding oneself, and seeking to reach one’s full potential as an individual by discovering and overcoming their flaws.
To better understand myself, I wanted to look into my past creative endeavors and memories and see what observations I could make. Looking at my past work now, it seems that a lot of my creations are inspired by things that I have seen or experienced, and in a way, my creations are each an aspect or a trait of mine, simplified into its own character, such as the StickKnights often being in conflict with each other, despite still banding together and having the same goals.
I wanted to represent the element of “pure creativity” in the piece but I was not sure how. I was intending for some sort of visual paint-like motif, representing creativity as a liquid that ran in a loop in the center of the piece, around my head and all of the characters. I wanted to do this because I thought it would be a great and fun use of my imagination to represent something abstract like creativity in a visual way. Furthermore, this is inspired by the writings of Csikszentmihalyi who writes about the state of Flow, when a creative individual enters a state of immersion, focus and concentration in their work. My idea was to represent creativity in a liquid, paint like state and have it ‘flow’ throughout the picture. Unfortunately I wasn’t sure how to implement this and I did not have the time to include it in the final piece.
I have drawn inspiration from people working in the field of art and animation, such as Josiah Brooks, whose numerous online guides and tutorials have proven to be an extremely valuable tool for developing as an artist and thinking about my career.
The characters included are all past creations of mine that I have been fond of for a long time. These characters have undergone numerous redesigns and rewritings (two of which I drew for the first time in 8 years just for this piece) which shows the degree to which I care about these characters. Nothing about these were made up on the spot just for this piece. Furthermore, I wanted to represent their personalities through their expression to show the dynamics of these characters, to provoke the viewer’s interest and make them want to know more.
In all I am satisfied with the piece in its current state, however, I did not allocate the right amount of time to experiment with the piece, meaning that I limited my time to add more interesting and different elements to piece to accompany the characters. As mentioned before, the paint motive, representing the ‘flow’ of creativity, was not included, and the background is a simple gradient. With more time it could have included more abstract elements to make the piece look more interesting.
The digital self portrait is the element that took me the longest to make, and I think that it is by far the element that I am happiest with. I think the mix of colors of the piece is reasonable, and no color stands out too much or clashes with the colors around it, which I think is very fortunate, considering the colorful cast of characters featured in this piece. For the piece I wanted to try to represent the characters as being in a 3D space, despite being in a 2D drawing. I did this by positioning them so that they overlapped, as if they are standing in a crowd rather than in a straight line. Characters that are closer are larger and more spaced out while the ones at the back are smaller and closer together, giving an imagined sense of perspective, which I think works well, and gives depth and space to the piece.
Overall, while I am satisfied with the final result, I would not call this the definitive piece that it was meant to be, and I am not as proud of this piece as I was hoping I would be. I believe that the piece was rushed. I think that spending more time in advance thinking about the project, doing concept art of the characters, and doing a few drafts of the piece before starting on the final version would have allowed me to have developed the piece to a much higher standard. Other than time constraints, the piece did not prove very challenging, and I feel like I could have done more if I had allowed myself more time and looked at more external sources for inspiration.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). The Flow of Creativity. Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention (pp. 107-126). New York: HarperCollins.
Jung, C. (1997). Jung on active imagination. (pp. 1-17, 28-33). (Ed. Joan Chodorow). London: Routledge.
Reis, D. (2009). John Lasseter’s Seven Creative Principle’s. Animation Magazine