4.2 Generate ideas

The purpose of the ‘Generate ideas’ phase

This phase is about working with the research to generate ideas and concepts that could be developed in the later phases of work to solve the problem outlined in the brief.

I timeboxed this phase to 2-days of effort.

A video summary

This video provides an overview of the work that was generated during this phase.

The process is recorded in more detail below.

Initial thumbnails against text

In order to shape up the work I created a series of thumbnails against the story text;; a process I’d used several times previously for designing comic strips.

Thumbnails against text page 01 – A2 sized

You can view a higher resolution version here: Text thumbnails page 01

Thumbnails against text page 02 – A2 sized

You can view a higher resolution version here: Text thumbnails page 02

During this exercise I identified 6 x core images that would be needed to illustrate each scene, and one additional pictures that it would be nice to have, time permitting.

  1. Establishing shot
  2. The Angel of Death takes the man’s soul
  3. The man’s soul looks back at his lifeless body (stretch target)
  4. A strange masquerade
  5. Strange birds
  6. Sharp stones
  7. Who are you?

Model making

I watched Paul Rego: Telling Tales which follows Paula Rego over a period of 6-months and consists of 6 interviews. During one of these she talks in some detail about how she incorporates models into her work, combining them with live models to create sets that she uses to create her paintings.

I really like the combination of dolls and model figures with live models and how, Rego’s paintings are essentially observational, although they look imagined.

I felt unsure and nervous about how to proceed.

I took on of the clay faces produced in 3.0 Fast and fixed it to the face of a child’s doll that I sometimes use as reference.

Model head07
Model 7 – 3-minute clay portrait
Clay mask fixed to a toy doll
A quick sketch of the model to see what it felt like and what I could achieve – A2 sized

Having been inspired by the working process of Paula Rego I then tried creating a clay mask on top of another dolls face.

Visual style test photo ref

I used this as the basis for a test illustration. My objective was to experiment with using the models as the basis for the image, and try out a visual style based on the work of Russian illustrator’s Masha Pryanichnikova and Victoria Semykina. Both use layers of acrylic paint and coloured pencils to produce distinctive work that is unlike anything I’ve come across in contemporary British illustration.

Visual style test
Test illustration that formed the basis of Illustration 2 – The Angel of Death takes the man’s soul

Doodle sketching

One of my creative approaches was to use automatic drawing to generate ideas. I started with some reference material and allowed myself to just go where the doodling took me.


Sketch doodles page01 – A2 sized
Sketch doodles page02 – A2 sized
Sketch doodles page03 – A2 sized
Sketch doodles page04 – A2 sized
Visual style test01
Pencil, Posca pen, spray paint and coloured pencil visual style experiment – A2 sized

This exercise generated a lot of material that I was to incorporate into the finished artworks.

Cut-up and fold-in

One of the ways in which I used it was in a cut-and-fold exercise.

The process started with photocopies of the doodles and a background image painted from Hampton Court Palace photographic reference.

The final layout and composition formed the basis of Illustration 3 – A strange masquerade.


Paula Rego: Telling Tales – Jake Auerbach Films (s.d.) At: https://www.jakeauerbachfilms.com/product/paula-rego-telling-tales/ (Accessed 22/08/2020).



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