Monday, March 24, 2014

Where Do Ideas Come From?

Where Do Ideas Come From?

An Evening with Jimmy Gownley

I attended the book launch for The Dumbest Idea Ever last night at Hooray for Books
Cartoonist, Jimmy Gownley drew throughout his presentation, creating characters to illustrate five sources of creative ideas. 
He encouraged audience participation and had us all laughing with his stories and spontaneous comic characters.
So where does Jimmy Gownley get his ideas?

1. Inspiration - Sometimes they just come to him, maybe from a doodle or listening to music, something spontaneous. 
He also noted that inspiration becomes more likely with practice - drawing, writing, playing music A LOT gets you ready for those moments of inspiration. 
2. Yourself - Jimmy encourages telling stories about your own life.  He even said that the more embarrassing the story is for you - the more likely it will make a GREAT story for other people to read! 

3. Other People - After yourself, other people's experiences, those of family or friends also make great inspiration for stories. 
With other people or yourself, it is not about telling exactly what happened but using what happened as inspiration in a story.  His example last night was a friend who "sneeze barfed" at dinner.

4. Your Medium
Medium is artist-speak for what you use to make stuff.  For Jimmy this is comics so he used an example of how different types of speech bubbles around the word "WOW" can make you say the word in different ways.  This is something comics can do that other kinds of writing can't.  It is interesting to think about other artistic media and what they can do.  For me I love collage because it can create something new while also reminding people of familiar stuff.  (See COLLETTE for examples of this).  What is unique about your favorite medium?

5. Influences
Influences can be stories, artwork and artists you like.   Jimmy described his own influence from a comic where the character who didn't speak just had thoughts written all over his shirt.  Jimmy took this influence and created a speechless character who wears pajamas and his emotions are shown on him with emoticons.
Finally, the kids in attendance got to call out a character (boy, girl, animal), a job and a favorite movie or book.  The group then worked together to build characters around these ideas. 
This also seems like a great way to get started creating your own characters and stories at home. 

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