Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Why Factor

Original Post: 11/13/2010

The Why Factor – Motivation, Inspiration and Direction

The artist's journey

Before anything is ever put on paper, our artwork is born from an idea or thought. This may be something that suddenly springs into our mind, or it could lie dormant or brooding for years just under the radar - culminating, transforming and perhaps emerging once it finds an avenue or our skill/mindset is ready.

Sometimes we don't have an answer, but we should try to have some meaning to our creative endeavors. Understanding where we are, where we want to go and how we are going to get there gives us purpose and direction. When we find ourselves losing interest or wandering we should re-evaluate our artistic path, re-adjust and regroup. This is evident when we see artist's using themes, various mediums or periods of realism/abstraction. Their artwork seems to follow a path or evolve....this is the evolution of an artist's journey.

The artwork

Each individual piece of artwork should also have a purpose. Mike Sibley uses the term “the Why factor” in his book "Drawing from Line to Life" .  He continues by asking the reader "Why are you about to begin this drawing? ...What are you going to say?"

All too often we hear an artist give a brush-off excuse of “it's just a commission” or “I like the picture”. We should challenge ourselves to so much more! Even if it is a commission, you can still push it to “SAY SOMETHING”.

If you don't take the time to understand the motivation behind your drawing, you are in danger of creating a lifeless, photocopy of an image.

So here are some questions to ask...

What is motivating me to draw this?

Is it following my overall goal?

Or is it a sideline or different path that I want to follow? (that's okay too)

What do I want to say?

How do I want to say it?

What do I want to emphasize, exaggerate, express?

What approach do I want to take?  i.e. bold, subtle, realistic, dramatic, abstract.

What composition layout will best tell my story?

How do you approach your creative process?  What do you ask yourself?  Have you even thought of this?  Where are you on your journey?

If you are interested in joining Mike and others in conversational topics such as this come join the Yahoo group:


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