idea generating for art without MDD
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    idea generating for art without MDD

    I have a slight problem, which is that I'm soon going to be trying to get rid of what's unofficially known as compulsive fantasy or maladaptive daydreaming disorder (not in the dsm yet), and that is always how I got ideas for art/filmmaking/whatever, and it's great that creativity is easy for me, but not so great when I start running/pacing without realizing and injuring myself/scaring others, talking out loud 'to myself' and crying or laughing involuntarily whenever a character does, etc etc. There have also been many lost days where I've done nothing but pace and daydream, and that is not going to work if I decide to become a professional artist.

    But I'm not sure how to approach the creative process for art in a normal way, what's a normal way of using the imagination? Are there any books that could be recommended? And as MDers tend to be into art, are there any on here, and could you tell me how you dealt with it, and I'm also a little scared that when I start corrective measures whether I'll lose the ability to think creatively at all, please reassure me that this is not case.

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    Is this MDD a real thing or just your fun code? And my advice is worry less about others, right ways, etc. Do whatever you do and make it work. If you need to buckle down and do some studies, great...do that when it feels right...if you need to swim naked in pools of azure dream, embrace the fact that you can.

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    Trust me you won't feel so passionate when they're not your ideas. Some might even make you little mad at the stupidity of what your client wants verses what they should want.

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    Nah, it's not something I've made up, you can read studies done on it if you want, or browse the various support groups online. If anything, it's a little embarrassing to admit to having. Although I can see how it can be seen as attention seeking

    That would be great, I'm definitely following through the need to buckle down and do studies and not comparing myself too much with others, but for the daydreaming it's not something I want to do or should be doing anymore, it's not just normal daydreaming and just because there's a lot of creativity doesn't mean that the ideas are any good most of them are terrible. But really, I just want to know how I should approach coming up with ideas, and any books/tutorials on this subject, and as a sidenote anything MD specific

    That's interesting Shorinji, never thought of that, how do you pitch things to clients who have it wrong, or do you not risk losing your job and just do what they want? I guess it would depend on the kind of client?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lapprenti View Post
    That's interesting Shorinji, never thought of that, how do you pitch things to clients who have it wrong, or do you not risk losing your job and just do what they want? I guess it would depend on the kind of client?
    The problem is that you could pitch something wonderful, and no matter how well presented it is they will still sometimes make lousy decisions. It's like those horrible local car dealer commercials that have the bad acting kids. A lot of the time the director wants to make a good commercial, but the client wants to use their kids. It comes down to being a job. You have to eat so you tell yourself that its not your fault.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lapprenti View Post
    How do you pitch things to clients who have it wrong, or do you not risk losing your job and just do what they want? I guess it would depend on the kind of client?
    That kind of situation always reminds me of the scene from The Aviator where one of Howard Hughes' employees disagrees with some of the decisions that Hughes. Hughes instructs his employee that whenever that kind of situation comes up, just say "it's your money" and let it be.

    Whether that's the approach you should take with your client depends on the temperament of the client. If you have a brilliant idea that falls outside the original prompt, and your client is open to artist input, then you can show them a mockup of both ways. They may end up picking your version or incorporating some of the ideas of both.

    ----

    As for your MDD, it sounds like it could be an incredibly useful "superpower" to have for an artist, if you learned to harness it effectively. It reminds me of the Hulk in some ways, or Michael J. Fox's recurring character on Scrubs - an incredibly gifted surgeon who is that good because his OCD made it so he literally couldn't stop studying. In both cases, their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. I guess I'd encourage you to cautiously embrace it.

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    Hah, that's a little depressing, although I'm guessing there are better jobs that make it worthwhile, the higher the status you have as an artist, the more you get to work with better people, and there's always personal work anyway, so I'm not too put off

    Quote Originally Posted by SmallPoly View Post
    As for your MDD, it sounds like it could be an incredibly useful "superpower" to have for an artist, if you learned to harness it effectively. It reminds me of the Hulk in some ways, or Michael J. Fox's recurring character on Scrubs - an incredibly gifted surgeon who is that good because his OCD made it so he literally couldn't stop studying. In both cases, their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. I guess I'd encourage you to cautiously embrace it.
    You may have somewhat of a point but it's not good to romanticize these sorts of things, and what good is living in other worlds and constantly constructing (mostly useless and terrible) stories, when you're always drifting away and can't focus on making art, as well as acting insane. But I do know of people who have controlled their MDing until it's no longer a major problem instead of getting rid of it entirely, and in that case I'll just have to accept my kind of weird behaviour

    I know of one person who advocates this approach, Dorothea Brande, a writer from the early 20th century, she wrote a lot about 'the artistic coma' (a bit of pseudoscience, but relates to modern ideas of hypnotic kinesthetic movements that goes along with MDD, like running/pacing, or throwing a ball into the air again and again), music as a trigger for this (this is definitely true in my case) and not letting the imagination get in the way of working on skill and the technical side of writing:

    "...the quiescent period, since every writer alive occupies himself in some quiet idiosyncratic way in that interlude, it is seldom noticed that these occupations have a kind of common denominator. Horseback riding; knitting; shuffling and dealing cards; walking; whittling; you see they have a common denominator - of three figures, one might say. All these occupations are rhythmical, monotonous, and wordless. That is our key." "In other words, every Author, in some way in which he has come on by luck or long search, puts himself into a very light state of hypnosis". She also talks about a woman who "found that her stories fell into line best when she was at work on the kitchen floor, scrubbing", and that "she convinced herself completely that she would be unable to write again till she got back to the rhythmical monotony of the scrubbing brush"

    And from the section, 'wordless daydreams': "Most persons who are attracted by the idea of fiction at all are, or were in childhood, great dreamers. At almost any moment they can catch themselves, at some level, deep in reverie. Occasionally this reverie takes the form of recasting one's life, day by day or moment by moment, into a form somewhat nearer to the heart's desire: reconstructing conversations and arguments so that we come out with colors flying and epigrams falling around us like sparks, or imagining ourselves back in a simpler and happier period. Or adventure is coming toward us around the next corner, and we have already made up our minds as to the form it will take. All those naive and satisfying dreams of which we are the unashamed heroes or heroines are the very stuff of fiction, almost the MATERIA PRIMA of fiction. A little sophistication, a little experience, we realize that we are not going to be allowed to carry off the honors in real life without a struggle; there are too many contenders for the role of leading lady or leading man. So, learning discretion and guile, we cast the matter a little differently; we objectify the ideal self that has caused us so much pleasure and write about him in the third person. And hundreds of our fellows, engaged secretly in just such daydreaming as our own, see themselves in our fictional characters and fall to reading when fatigue or disenchantment robs them of their ability to see themselves under any glamorous guise. The little Brontes, with their kingdom of Gonda-land, the infant Alcotts, young Robert Browning, and HG Wells all led an intensive dream-life which carried over into their maturity and took another form; and there are hundreds of authors who could tell the same stories of their youth. But there are probably thousands more who never grow up as writers. They are too self-conscious, too humble, or too solidly set in the habit of daydreaming idly. After all, we begin our storytelling, usually, long before we are able to print simple words with infinite labor. It is little wonder that the glib unconscious should balk at the drudgery of committing its stories to writing."

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    I'll read that a bit later...but would like to address some misconceptions. You eventually learn that it doesn't matter what the client wants, you do your best to deliver your best. Yeah, it can make you shake your head, bitch it out with friends, etc. but in the end it doesn't make much difference, you just need to find pleaure in whatever it is.

    There are some real misconceptions about concept art...probably needs a new thread to discuss them. But for starters you can't have any ego. Save your ego for personal work you do for yourself. Concept art is a brutal crucible if you let your ego be involved. By its very nature most of your work will never be seen, it won't be executed to your satisfaction, and everyone who can will pee on it. It's just part of the occupation.

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    Being an artist and being an illustrator (and a concept artist is a kind of illustrator) are two different skill sets. Being an artist is solitary, being an illustrator is social. Just because you can make the prettiest pictures in the world doesn't mean you have what it takes to work collaboratively with people.


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    "maladaptive daydreaming disorder"
    Holy crap, my entire life is explained.

    and just because there's a lot of creativity doesn't mean that the ideas are any good
    Have you ever tried writing stories? Even if your ideas aren't very good (that in itself is subjective), writing and reading more may help develop those ideas into something greater.

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    Ideas are interesting things...they're actually far cheaper than a dime a dozen...in fact, they're relatively worthless. It is only through execution that they come to life and have any value or existence.

    I'm pretty sure I have the same thing I guess lapprenti...the MDD thing...we just never had names for stuff like that and thought it was a good thing. And believe me, if someone ever told me I had maladaptive anything they'd wake up later on the floor.

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    an average idea can become something amazing. Harry Potter. Really break it down. The story is actually very very simplistic. Not much of it breaks the mold at all. They have a few interesting concepts you don't hear 'often' but it's fairly average in terms of what goes on.


    She just knows how to really spin a story.

    Same with most stories and comics I read nowadays.
    Everythings been done, but the things that come out on top just are done well.
    Works the same with art I see as well. It doesn't have to break the mold to be amazing.
    In fact most don't.



    There are the rare occasions where I see something and it's an "Oh wow that's just really cool. Never heard of something like that really". But it still has to be executed well enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    an average idea can become something amazing. Harry Potter. Really break it down. The story is actually very very simplistic. Not much of it breaks the mold at all. They have a few interesting concepts you don't hear 'often' but it's fairly average in terms of what goes on.
    What's funny is that some people are good at ideas but can't execute them whereas others can't come up with the ideas but do well with them. I'll take your example of Harry Potter. Its basic framework is borrowed from Ursula K. Leguin's Earth Sea. To the point that people have asked Ursula about it and she responded that Harry Potter was "Highly derivative". Yet who can argue that Harry Potter isn't more successful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Being an artist and being an illustrator (and a concept artist is a kind of illustrator) are two different skill sets. Being an artist is solitary, being an illustrator is social. Just because you can make the prettiest pictures in the world doesn't mean you have what it takes to work collaboratively with people.
    Interesting, that seems like an important distinction to make. I doubt I'd be good at collaboration and communication right now, but I'm far from having to worry about that at this stage. It probably comes with experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by otherscape View Post
    Holy crap, my entire life is explained.



    Have you ever tried writing stories? Even if your ideas aren't very good (that in itself is subjective), writing and reading more may help develop those ideas into something greater.
    I knew there'd be a few on here who could relate!

    I used to, but writing to me, at least when it's in my hands, seems like a blunt instrument for expressing ideas, since mine are a bit like movies with dialogue and music that is in sync with the action, as well as the angle and position and movement of the 'camera' being a part of the mood and the story telling, they're inextricably linked. So I think art is more suited for that. Most of the time I can't MD without music, not properly anyway

    But I do write down small snippets to remind me of daydreams in case I forget

    Reading, well the problem with that is that your ideas after reading fiction or watching a movie are pretty derivative, and therefore useless. It's best to go straight to the source that the writers used themselves, nature, non-fiction, real life experiences, feelings etc. But I guess it's alright to sometimes use fiction for creativity, I tried it with Dante's Divine Comedy, a sort of mashup of that with countless other inputs. They stew together for a while, I add/modify/remove parts and from all the fragments of scenes, concepts and dialogue you can form a story

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Ideas are interesting things...they're actually far cheaper than a dime a dozen...in fact, they're relatively worthless. It is only through execution that they come to life and have any value or existence.

    I'm pretty sure I have the same thing I guess lapprenti...the MDD thing...we just never had names for stuff like that and thought it was a good thing. And believe me, if someone ever told me I had maladaptive anything they'd wake up later on the floor.
    That's a good way of thinking of them, I've heard that a few times, but I still can't stop thinking of the few half decent ideas I have as precious, even though there's probably an infinite number of combinations of an infinite number of things to make ideas from, so I guess you could literally throw away all the ones you have with a negligible effect?

    Hehe, bit harsh. I doubt that it would be seen as a good thing, talking to yourself, crying/laughing for no reason, making strange facial expressions and pacing/rocking/whatever for hours, you'd usually be branded as nuts and looked down upon, what era and place are you from? You probably just mean a good healthy amount of daydreaming and thinking

    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    an average idea can become something amazing. Harry Potter. Really break it down. The story is actually very very simplistic. Not much of it breaks the mold at all. They have a few interesting concepts you don't hear 'often' but it's fairly average in terms of what goes on.


    She just knows how to really spin a story.

    Same with most stories and comics I read nowadays.
    Everythings been done, but the things that come out on top just are done well.
    Works the same with art I see as well. It doesn't have to break the mold to be amazing.
    In fact most don't.



    There are the rare occasions where I see something and it's an "Oh wow that's just really cool. Never heard of something like that really". But it still has to be executed well enough.
    I agree, very few things haven't already been done, and execution is key

    The way I see originality is that it depends on two things, primary sources like reality among other things, and your own personal take on things. Since everybody is different, everybody will come up with different ideas and respond to things differently. There may be similarities, but there will also be nuanced differences, and that's originality

    There hasn't been much talk of precision concerning illustration, or any other form of conveying ideas, emotions, concepts etc. According to L. Strong, a writer, poetry requires the same accuracy as science does, essentially because no two people are the same, we have different worldviews, my anger isn't exactly like your anger etc, as well as the fact that feelings and other complex things are very hard to lay down and describe accurately all the subtleties. If you communicate ideas properly and accurately then your illustration will be an objective success, in my opinion





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    Quote Originally Posted by otherscape View Post
    Holy crap, my entire life is explained.



    Have you ever tried writing stories? Even if your ideas aren't very good (that in itself is subjective), writing and reading more may help develop those ideas into something greater.
    haha me too! I never heard of that disorder.. though do I think I might be suffering from it. still, when I get into 'the mood', I might get some weird looks because of my vacant expression, but I dont usually talk or laugh out loud, so I guess im safe. it isindeed something to do when you're doing something repetetive.

    writing is nice, but I prever making storyboards myself.
    but anyway, if you are going to be doing client work, PLEASE DONT think of the human relation parts as something that you'll just wing when you're 'good enough'. its an intricate part of doing assignments. anyway, most jobs I've had I got not because I was such a great artist, but because people knew they could debend on me to deliver (on time even). of course, maybe I just suck :p

    well, asf or daydreaming, I kind of think of it as a hobby. never had any use for it in client work. so my advise to you is, just use the usual creative thumbs stuff if you get any room for creativety. but dont count on it. daydream when you're out on walks. write it down or whatever if you feel the need. but keep it seperate from client work. clients will give you ideas that you have to make your own so you can love them and make something of it. if you try and put your own ideas in, your clients will either not like it, or they will take your idea and turn it into their own. which you will not like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashess View Post
    haha me too! I never heard of that disorder.. though do I think I might be suffering from it. still, when I get into 'the mood', I might get some weird looks because of my vacant expression, but I dont usually talk or laugh out loud, so I guess im safe. it isindeed something to do when you're doing something repetetive.

    writing is nice, but I prever making storyboards myself.
    but anyway, if you are going to be doing client work, PLEASE DONT think of the human relation parts as something that you'll just wing when you're 'good enough'. its an intricate part of doing assignments. anyway, most jobs I've had I got not because I was such a great artist, but because people knew they could debend on me to deliver (on time even). of course, maybe I just suck :p

    well, asf or daydreaming, I kind of think of it as a hobby. never had any use for it in client work. so my advise to you is, just use the usual creative thumbs stuff if you get any room for creativety. but dont count on it. daydream when you're out on walks. write it down or whatever if you feel the need. but keep it seperate from client work. clients will give you ideas that you have to make your own so you can love them and make something of it. if you try and put your own ideas in, your clients will either not like it, or they will take your idea and turn it into their own. which you will not like.
    That doesn't sound so bad and there's no need to worry if it progresses into something worse, it most probably won't. But, and I may sound a little dramatic here, if it starts negatively affecting your life in any way, or you're finding yourself doing it more and more, or your dreams start becoming too violent or disturbing, or even starting to say things out loud, stop it all together, perhaps join a support group and try seeking professional help before it develops into something extremely difficult to get rid of that will take over your life. At that point you may think that you'll be able to stop anytime, but plenty of people think that and end up in their 50s having spent their lives in another world. Again, this is unlikely

    Hmm, just how much of an initial idea is given by the client? Extremely descriptive or just vague? I'm under the impression that it's essentially something relatively loose (unless it's spider man or something) and you have to do most of the character design, environment design, mechanics of how the world works etc, and bring to the table many different possibilities which they will choose out of and ask you to refine. Is that how it works? I don't mind them taking ideas, but...isn't that the whole point? It seems like you're meant to come up with ideas within the framework that they give you, and they use them. I mean, ideas that I like very much I can just keep for personal work

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