I hate these types of tasks, "come up with ground rules for concept and planning". When in reality I really don't feel qualified or in a position to be telling anyone how they should go about planning their work. At the moment I'm still in a position where what I can learn far exceeds what I already know, and this is probably why I feel this way. On the other hand, there is nothing from stopping me from researching how professionally artists go about planning and concepting there own work and feeding back here what I've learnt, not for anybody else to use but for myself.
So that's were the 'Art Process Boot camp' PDF comes in. Not only did I read it, all of it, even the bits at the end where the guy critiques his own work, but I printed it all out, which has probably cost me a bomb in ink by the way, and highlighted some of the parts which I felt where most important and, most importantly, most relevant to the planning of a piece of art work.
So I'm not entirely sure how to write this blog, whether to go on and on about what i think is important in planning or to share with you some of the items I highlighted within this tutorial, possibly a little mixture of both.
The most important thing I gathered from reading all of this was that in order to produce a good piece of art work you MUST apply a process in its creation. Ive seen plenty of other students who just chuck out concept painting after concept painting, even go on to get decent jobs within the industry, and there is no denying that these pieces of work look nice, but there is always something fundamentally wrong with these pieces of work, something you just cant lay a finger on, and that's because, according to this guy anyway, YOU NEED PROCESS. The key to any good painting is if it can communicate to the viewer. If you do not have this communication in your work, more than likely, you wont have the viewer's attention either. The second most important, if not equally important thing I've gathered from this pdf is in order to even start the 'process' you need to research whatever you plan on doing. You will not be able to produce something passable from memory alone, only the masters can do this! And this means reference. Reference, reference, reference. You really need good reference, and if you cant find anything to fit the concept you change the concept. I don't need to talk about how to get reference, I know how and so should you, the important thing is to make sure you search for ALL of the elements you will need for your painting. ALL of them.
The next step in the process after the previous tow, is using your process and your reference to plan your composition and this means by making small, possibly shitty thumbnails, but this doesn't matter, its about your working out, once you find a layout you like, you'll know it.
The rest of this pdf is more about the specifics within the process, in terms of actually doing the painting and in terms of planning is really important at this stage, the point here is to follow the 'rules' that cover ll of these specifics throughout the whole process. Specifics like focusing on tone, material, lighting and shadow, weight and balance, contrast and saturation and focal points. The most important thing which consists of all of these minor specifics that all add up to the major final painting is it's all about the process surrounding the understanding of purpose and discerning detail to create mood to achieve your concept, to have a clear inspiration and planning, a vision. So the next step is not in the specifics but in the remembering to ask the questions to find out.
The next steps are kind of about coming full circle and back to the beginning, firstly back to the point of communicating with the viewer and all of this planning should ask no matter how simple, does the piece tell a story? It doesn't have to tell the whole story but it has to communicate to the viewer and leave it open for the viewer to continue the story themselves in their minds. As I mentioned earlier if you cant do this, you wont have the viewers attention to begin with. And the final step which brings us back to the beginning is its all about applying the process throughout the creation of the piece of art work, this will give your work narrative and a purpose. As I mentioned we all see wonderful pieces of artwork everyday, from fellow students, peers, colleagues and professionals but more often than not we get this empty feeling and we can just brush past a piece of work without giving it any other thought other than, 'yeah, that looks nice' and this is because the work has no purpose. And this is because no process has been applied in its creation, it has just been created.
So here are what I think are the main, most important aspects of planning and conception, call them rules if you like. They do not directly consider the actual techniques involved within the painting process but cover the overall process which would go into a paintings creation;
-Planning the Composition
-Ask the Questions to find the Specifics
-Communicate with the Viewer
-Process in Creation