This post is going to start in a different way: you’ll find a huuuuge premise containing examples and explanations in order to introduce today’s topic. Also, there will be more images than usual (and I’m really proud of them!!) so, enjoy!
| Use your environment to boost your creativity
Looking at this picture, you won’t find anything special. You might think that it’s just a wall, and actually you’re right.
It was almost midnight I think, and my boyfriend was just minding his business right before going to sleep; of course, I decided to bother him by taking pictures just because I was bored and tired as well. But right after that I noticed something really funny (at least, to me) so I saved it in my favourites and I took it back the next day.
What happened to me is a really common phenomenon that happens to many of us and quite often. Kids are the best players in this game. How many times have you looked up in the sky and seen a cloud that was similar to an animal, a face or an object? The Internet is also full of hilarious pictures of cappuccino foam or food, in which you can actually see funny facial expressions. “Pareidolia” is how this inclination to see faces/characters on objects is called.
According to Wikipedia, Pareidolia is the tendency for perception to impose a meaningful interpretation on a nebulous stimulus, usually visual, so that one sees an object, pattern, or meaning where there is none.
Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, seeing faces in inanimate objects.
This demonstrates the power of creativity and imagination of human begins: we take it for granted, but humans, as reported by scientific experiments, are the only creatures able to imagine and see things where they’re not present at all; not even similar. We can see an animal in a cloud, or a face in a building. Why not take advantage from this gift?
This is what I got from just a shadow on the wall. My mind literally created this character from my memories and past experiences, and just put it on an inanimate shape! After discovering this I got inspired a looooot, so I decided to take more photos in the following days and have fun with them.
These are common objects that you can find in my apartment and condominium and, even though they look really ordinary and simple, I chose to experiment with them. Special or stunning objects are not needed to stimulate our fantasy; the important thing is for them to be in the right place, or just funny, colorful, or unusual.
This is the first creative exercise of the series: creating using your environment!
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Honestly it’s an interesting technique to boost your creativity when you don’t feel that much productive. We have all experienced an art block or just a bad day in our life, and this could really help you way more than you think. Practicing, it could also become an exercise in a daily basis, and you can be able to benefit from it every time you’ll need it in the future!
| What’s necessary?
What I’m trying to do today is to explain what you can do and what you can search in these photos to create funny and singular illustrations in order to train your creativity; also, it would be a helpful way to spend your free time and treat your issues with drawing. The tools you’ll need can be pretty various, depending on the style of illustration you want to adopt.
For the examples below I decided to make digital illustrations, and the tools required are the simplest: I just used my iPad, my hands and some imagination!
If you don’t have the possibility to draw directly on the pictures (maybe you don’t have an iPad or graphic tablet) you can always sketch the environment traditionally and add your character. Or painting them on canvas, ink on paper, sculpting them with Das and so on. Photos can be part of your illustration but also just a tool to reach inspiration. This exercise has no limits talking about media and ideas!
| How to work with pictures?
There you are some points to come up with ideas for new creative illustrations:
- Find a shape that tells you something
- Look at shadows in a different way
- Get inspired by the colours and the “mood” of the picture
- Tell a story
| Find a shape that tells you something
You can get inspired just by a random shape; building a character or anything that comes to mind sometimes is really easy and automatic for our b rain. For example, I really saw a skinny body with a hoodie at the top of the lamp in the studio. So, I built the character in my head before I even took the picture. Also the green pouf on the bench looked like a guy that was really enjoying his favourite book; it looked very soft and comfy, so the image of a chill guy came into my mind.
| Look at shadows in a different way
If you don’t find any interesting objects around you, you can always count in the shadows! They’re basically a slightly distorted version of reality; that’s funny because you can play with it in many ways: in fact, you can be able imagine a face of a wall, completely out of his context, like in the first example of this post.
Shadows are not necessarily only “the shadow of something else”; they can become something completely independent and have their own personality!
| Get inspired by the colours and the whole mood of the picture
Let’s take the previous lamp-guy case: my initial idea for this illustration was a guy with a hoodie only. But the dark shade on the upper side of the picture inspired me to make him bothered, because it was raining on him. This consideration changed the whole mood of my illustration at the end, because it went from a neutral mood to a rainy and not-really-happy mood just for a detail.
| Tell a story
Sad part of the whole experiment is that the illustration of my poor dead blender is actually based on a true story: suddenly it started smoking from his head when I was just trying to have a smoothie. 🥺
This time it was the story behind what happened that inspired me. In fact this picture, unlike the others, was taken to show my boyfriend that I had broken the blender (sorry, again 😁), and not exclusively for the making of this post. At the evening of the same day I was looking for pictures to draw, in order to make examples for this post: when i saw it, the story came back to my mind and made me choose it. It was funny but yeah, I feel really sorry for the blender 🥺
In conclusion, you can try infinite different combinations between real life and illustrations: after all, what has always inspired man’s creativity, and therefore art in general, is the world around us. From adults to children, anyone can carve out some of their time and create unique illustrations using their own environment!
Enjoy, and if you decide to follow our creative exercises, we would love to see your results!! You can send us your artworks on our instagram page or email address ☺️
- Pareidolia is a phenomenon that makes us see faces where actually there are not.
- Human begins are the only animals able to imagine.
- Every tool can be used for this exercise, and you can do it wherever you want to.
- You can find inspiration from shades, shadows, colours, mood and story from a picture.
- There are no rules and anyone can benefit from creative exercises like this.
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