Tag: brainstorming

Collages for Pondering

When I have something to ponder, I sometimes like to make a collage while I think. It helps me organize and prioritize my thoughts. It also gives added insights and helps me make connections.

I usually begin and end with a prayer and listen to quiet music while I work. I get my stack of magazines and paper and scissors and glue. I use school glue or glue sticks. The paper depends on how much time I have to spend, and how big the thing I’m pondering is. I can use an index card or a sheet of printer paper. Either way, I’ll need two. One to assemble things on, and once it’s all just right, I’ll transfer each piece over to the other and glue them down.

Index Card Collage. You can sort of see the outline of the index card angling up slightly to the right.

I use a mix of words and pictures. I just start looking for things that symbolize each element of whatever it is I’m trying to figure out. For example, at the beginning of the year, I’ll put together a collage as I think about what direction I hope the year will take and what goals and plans I want to make.

So, I’ll go through the magazines and cut out pictures of things I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes I’ll see a picture and realize I need to add a goal. Often, I get multiple pictures for each thing. As I assemble things on the page, there is never enough space for everything.

Collage I did at the start of 2018 as I set goals for myself (8½ x 11 sheet)

At that point, I have to prioritize. Which things need a bigger picture? Which ones will a smaller picture do? What can I leave out?

The arrangement of things often suggests connections. I move things around, and as I do, I see how things work together. The symbols often take on deeper meanings and multiple meanings. The arrangement can suggest importance perhaps by what is placed on top when things overlap.

It’s really personal, and anyone else looking at it probably won’t see the things I do. But, when I finish, I have greater insight into what I’ve been pondering, and I usually feel a lot more at peace about things. Plus, I have a visual reminder of my thought process that I can hang up in plain sight. I can look at it and continue to find further meanings without worrying that everyone else can see and understand my struggles and worries.

Collage I did last week as I considered my goals for 2019 (8½ x 11 sheet)

I’ve made collages when I’ve pondered over the plot of a story I want to write. I made a collage when I was feeling discouraged about my progress with my art and writing and wondered if I should continue. It’s not something I do often, but when I really want to sit and think about something, it really helps.

Is there a task that art helps you do? What do you do when you have something you want to study out in your mind? Have you ever used collages to help you ponder?

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Finding Ideas

Where do ideas come from? Everywhere. I just choose something and try to think of how to change it into something new. How could it be part of a funny story? A scary story? A happy story? Who would the story be about? How would different perspectives change the story?

Combining two unlike ideas always fascinated me. What would happen if the story of little red riding hood took place under the sea? What if the three little pigs story and the three bears story were combined?

From time to time, I’ll spend a few months generating twenty story ideas a day. I try not to be critical of the ideas, and usually the last few are the best ones, or at least the strangest. It gives me material to work from for a long time.

Is it the same process for writing comics? Pretty much. It’s just about picking an object or a situation and wondering how it would be funny.

For example, here’s my thought process for the cartoon I drew for this week. I began with asking what is funny about carrots? What do I know about carrots? Fact-checking comes later.

Bunnies eat them. They’re good for eyesight. They’re often sold in packages of mixed vegetables. Are bunnies funny? Are peas and beans and lima beans funny? What do I know about them? What if bunnies preferred peas? Or left all the peas on their plates after eating the carrots? Maybe they should stop buying mixed vegetables. Why did they buy them in the first place? What a waste. Maybe they need a pet that eats peas. What eats peas? Maybe they could turn them into some sort of pea soup fog. That sounds like a story idea. Hmmm.

I think I’ll go back to the mixed vegetable idea. I can see the vague outlines of a cartoon idea for that. I’ll sketch it out and see how it looks on paper.

Once done, I need to ask my husband what he thinks. Unfortunately, my sense of humor isn’t universal. Yay! He laughed. Now I can spend more time on it.

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