Wouter Tulp: Thoughts on experimenting

Recently I found myself planning an illustration. Working out the concept, the composition, the colors, shapes, characters ect. It seemed like I wanted to be on top of everything in advance. I think its is a good thing to 'do your homework' before staring an illustration, but it is equally important to let a drawing evolve, and have accidents occur, to respond to.
Creativity needs freedom and space.  Especially at the moments you are not deliberately trying to squeeze out a concept for an illustration, the best ideas seem to pop up. (in the shower, while taking a walk, in your dreams)
Also, to be creative, it is nessecary to leave in the possibility for your painting to fail. If you do not do this, and you are sure what is going to be the outcome, you will do the same thing over and over, and never learn something new...

In order to push myself to explore new techniques and concepts and to let creativity flow freely, I like to play this little game:
Before I get started, I make sure my equipment is ready. I set up a blank canvas and prepare my paints, or get my sketchbook and have my pencils ready. Then I set a time limit for myself. This can be 10 minutes, or a whole day. For this painting, I took 1,5 hours.

1: limited time:  1,5 hour.
2: In the first 15 minutes I come up with a concept, do little sketches, and look for reference images
3: In the remaining hour  and 15 minutes I paint.
4: I try things I haven't done before

This way of working forces me to make descisions quickly. There is no time for hesitation, and often it results in strong choices. I learn ton's of new stuff doing it, even (or maybe especially) when it's not working out at all...


Florian Satzinger said...


Vasburg said...

'We don't make mistakes, just happy little accidents.'

It's also important to get used to the three first steps to get your commissions done on time.

Dave said...

Hey Sam.
One of the things I love about your blog is that you do what I refer to as smart practicing. You push yourself and practice with a great deal of consciousness involved. I learn a lot from this, and I thank you for it.

I think you might find this an interesting read. It's not long, and discusses what kind of practice makes experts stay on top of their game. I would argue that the correlation of this kind of practice with keeping your brain young, flexible and healthy is also high: http://www.coachingmanagement.nl/The%20Making%20of%20an%20Expert.pdf

Hope this inspires someone :)

Jose Rivolta said...

Hola, hemos agregado un trackback (enlace hacia este artículo) en el nuestro ya que nos pareció muy interesante la información detallada pero no quisimos copiarla, sino que nuestros lectores vengan directamente a la fuente. Gracias... como consultar reporte gratis del datacredito

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