Exercise 4

Generating ideas

For this brief, I was provided with a selection of book-related sayings. The task was to generate lots of visual ideas and responses to these starting points. The brief specified that I must not discount any ideas at this point; it was important to be as imaginative as possible and explore all possibilities. As per the instructions, I used spider diagrams, thumbnails sketches, and annotations.

First, I wanted to spend about half an hour looking at all the sayings, one at a time. I used a black biro and simply drew what came to mind for each one. This gave me a sense of which sayings were sparking more ideas and providing the most inspiration.

From this, I discovered that I struggled to come up with much for ‘closed/open book’ and ‘by the book’, whereas I still had lots of ideas for ‘bookworms’ and ‘the oldest trick in the book’. I decided to take these two further and spent about an hour on each one, drawing whatever came into my head. I started seeing that one idea quickly lead to another idea, and I also found myself redrawing or refining images, but tried to stop myself doing this. I kept reminding myself of the brief and the fact that I wanted a wealth of ideas to critique later.


Below are the pages of my sketchbook filled with ideas linked to the phrase ‘bookworms’. This was a nice saying to explore because, not only could I consider the meaning of the phrase (a person who enjoys reading), I could also visually explore ‘books’ and ‘worms’ and how to combine all of these.

I started off by thinking about all meanings of the saying and trying to combine these in different ways.
I found it quite helpful to cut small rectangles of paper out to try an idea on then stick into my sketchbook. This was where I discovered that my ideas were quickly leading to other ideas; the creative juices were flowing!

The oldest trick in the book

Here are the ideas I generated for the saying: ‘the oldest trick in the book’. Again, I took a similar approach in breaking down the phrase and considering visual ways of representing these concepts or terms. ‘Tricks’, ‘old’ and ‘books’ all combine to give a sense of the saying.

This page shows me splitting up the phrase and exploring ways of communicating this. The ‘old’ part of the phrase was trickier to communicate.
The second page was a great space for exploring ‘spell’ language as a way of representing tricks, and considering how this could be included in a sketch.

I found this task to be enjoyable, although I soon yearned to narrow down my ideas and select ones that were working best (as is probably evident from my refining too early on). I think, because I was so focused on producing lots of ideas, I did end up with a wealth of content to critique in the next task, but I definitely need to work on separating these processes a little more. It is so important to be free of expectation and restriction in this first stage of the creative process.

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