Category: Ramblings

Resources for Visual Artists: Public Domain Images

As a blogger and artist, I am constantly struggling for high quality images to use in posts and pieces. Royalties can bleed you dry, especially for something as trivial as a rant or simple blog.

BlenderDiplom has come to my rescue. These sites are filled with royalty free, public domain images that are actually high quality.

Resources For Public Domain CCO Images

Share the love in the comments and let us know some of your favorite image houses.

Resources for Artists: Be More Productive

We’ve all been there, needing that extra nudge to actually get something good done. Twitter and Facebook can suck you into a vortex and never let you go. We, as artists, need inspiration, tools, resources, and help with things we may not do so well (like social media marketing).

The good folks over at Creative Shrimp have put together a wonderful, catch-all list of 19 Useful Resources to Help You Get More Productive at Art. I use several of these regularly. You should really check it out.

(Six) Techniques to Inspire Creativity

We all know that creativity is hard, especially when you are staring at a blank paper. Here are a few techniques that should help getting those creative juices flowing, inspire problem solving, and be a lot of fun!

Where do ideas come from? Well, its 10% magical inspiration, 20% luck, and 70% creative problem solving. I”™ll admit there is nothing more exciting than that initial flash. You see something that sparks your brain and in just a couple heartbeats you have a powerful scene, an intriguing character, or an entirely new world.

And it”™s all yours.

It”™s beautiful.

Now what the hell do you do?

That”™s where the 70% comes in. How can you get from brilliant flash to fleshed out story idea? How can you get those creative juices flowing in the first place? Here are six basic starting points, or things to remember. This isn”™t “12 steps to a more successful sandwich” or some other pop-psychology, self-help book. This isn”™t an exhaustive list of rules that will make you the next J.K. Rowling or Steven Spielberg. These are just concepts that have helped me (and many others) get from blank sheet to story draft without wanting to jump off a mountaintop.

1. Clich̩Ӫs

Whenever you are thinking creatively, write down your ideas in a sentence each. Don”™t stop at one, force yourself to write down five, six, even ten solutions to your problem. Most of them will be crap. Some of them will be bizarre. A few might even cause more problems than they solve. That”™s totally cool. Remember: the first three things you think of will be what you saw on TV last night, or read in a book last week, or heard on the radio. Simply cliche. Solutions four and five will start to be original, but might be unorganized or confusing or bizarre. It”™s only after you”™ve let your brain spit out these misfires that you force your creative self to come up with something original. You”™d be surprised what your mind can do when you challenge it.

B.T.W. ““ that technique came from Walt Disney. I”™d say he knew a thing or two about creative ideas.

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12 Ways to Spark Creative Ideas

This is a great blog post from www.createdbyspark.com. These are eight simple ways to get those creative juices flowing. These tricks will work for anyone who wants to be a little more creative, not only certain mediums. So no matter how awful creative block feels, push through it and be intentional. The next break through is just around the corner.

A sneak peak:

1. Expose yourself different design mediums

This is probably the easiest, most effective thing we can do to spark an idea. We know that staring at a computer screen all day long can really wear you out after a while. Refresh your creative brain cells by: going to a movie, seeing a band, drawing thumbnails on paper, or painting a picture. [More]

2. Try color combinations (or any combinations) as the starting point

This isn’t just about colors for designers or visual artists. If you are a writer, put two different characters in a scene. A musician could try two styles of music. Whatever your medium, let the strangeness of the combination push your creative boundaries. Even if you don’t use the scene, you will train your brain to think differently.

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Practical Applications of Theoretical Research

I love research: defining a new problem, exploring the background, investigating approaches, collecting and analyzing data, forming conclusions, and sharing my interpretations for the rest of the world to tear apart. There is a special thrill in uncovering knowledge. I would imagine any research has felt that adrenaline rush at some point. What else can push you through months of staring at numbers on a screen, writes, rewrite, re-rewrites, and critique from thesis committees.

I love research, but not for research’s sake. In my opinion, research must be about more that simply acquiring knowledge. Practical, real world, living applications make all the difference. Not that every scholarly paper must end with “here’s how you use this in real life,” but there should come a point in a line of research where the “why does this matter to everyone else?” question is seriously addressed. This is a personal belief, I admit, but a driving one in my career.

To that end, I make a personal manifesto and vow. The research on this site will be focused toward practical application and improving lives. Not every bit will be useful everywhere. Not every article will be a how to manual. Theory, background, and data analysis are important. But, every bit of research I do is focused (ultimately) on creating stories that teach, heal, and transform lives.

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