Chunking, connecting, repetition, limitation and happy accidents......

    One of the best lessons you can learn in life is to trust your gut.
    The subconscious is way smarter than the cluttered self-aware conscious mind, and will make superior decisions in most situations, especially creative endeavours.
    It's my assertion that the vast majority of creative analysis; In truth an exercise in retrospective pattern-searching, of psychometric archaeology if you will, is the discovery of choices and relationships that often occurred at the subconscious level in the mind of the creator, rather than, as is often though, conscious decision making intentionally applied.
    What do i mean?
    My contention is that many, but of course not all, of the choices made during the the creative process are subconscious, and not actually consciously intentional, or even apparent to the creator 'in the moment'.
    When creatives talk about 'flow' this is what they mean; an extended period of time where the conscious mind steps-down, yielding control to the subconscious.
    This is where the magic happens.
    Herein lays the crux of my criticism of many of the 'How to' tutorials available today; That they cover only the technical side of the creative process, the technical side being just a part of the whole. The real creative spark exist outside the technical realm. It is of course much more difficult to pin down and even harder to communicate. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't explore it.

    Today's image was made for fun and exploration 3 years ago during a bit of down-time between jobs. I was gearing up to do an astronaut/moon oriented personal project and this was born out of early thoughts around the idea.

    Groping back into memory, as far as i can recall this piece began life as snap-shot in my mind. Though often these appear to me in some sense fully-formed as an idea, in truth they are rather nebulous and hard to pin down to actual specifics. The final image rarely resembles this fleeting spark.
    Next comes a hurried sketch. Smashed out as quickly as possible in order to capture its essence, intended more as a 'note to self' to remind me of the broad strokes of the idea than as a genuine preliminary drawing.
    At this point a search for reference images usually ensues. Followed by a 'quick and dirty' montage layered up over the initial notation sketch. This mock-up of the image forms the raw bones of my composition and provides well as reference for painting.
    Now the fun begins, and if the mood is right the subconscious takes over and 'flow' comes into play, steering my choices by feel rather than studied consideration.
    It's like jamming with yourself I guess.
    During this period decisions emerge from a general feeling of exploration based on hunches, and judged on 'what might work' at any given juncture. Attempts are made and discarded in a flowing, non-precious vein, to be replaced by new options until, at the gut level, I'm satisfied. This process continues until the work is near completion.
    For the final tweaks the conscious mind is awakened and brought to bear for final finishing choices like color grading etc.

    Looking at this image in its completed state I'm quite pleased with some of the design principles exemplified; The chunking of the ground value, how it frames the two astronauts and blends seamlessly into the rocket to form a single shape. The restraint in the palette and very limited value ranges that work to clearly define the image in a way that's simple and easy to read, The pleasing repetition of the planets and space helmets.
    These elements all seem intentional, but those choices occurred at the subconscious level, I honestly didn't plan them when i set out to make this image. I don't think this detracts from the power
of these design principles at all.
    I guess the point I'm driving at is that the subconscious mind is often a more salient and powerful tool than the conscious mind.
    Trust your gut - Usually it knows best.

    I am currently devising a series of tutorials based on some of the works featured in my current project, and hope to cover this side of the work therein. A new Patreon page is coming soon, look out for it, and please support if you find my work and insights useful

Best regards,



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