5.2 Generate ideas

The purpose of ‘Generate ideas’

To use the outputs from Research to generate a diverse range of ideas using experimental processes.

For this assignment it means using the experimental creative approaches  tested during Research on the first subject, Fricis Freienbergs, onto the other two subjects: William Clarkson and Edith Thompson.

William Clarkson

Visual chart

I created a visual matrix of thumbnails by following the agreed process. I became clear that for this subject there was lots of human story, some architecture, and little else. Clarkson was a colourful character and a bit of a scoundrel, so this is not a surprise.

William Clarkson visual chart

Chart to trigger lateral thinking

I created the word lists using the agreed process.

Like with the original test using Fricis Freienbergs, the 10-minute thumbnails resulted in more abstract/ obtuse visual interpretations.

10-minute thumbnails based on random word groups
This final sheet is influenced by the work of Aubrey Beardsley. I’d watched a BBC documentary about his life and work just before doing the exercise

Intuitive brainstorming with colour

I decided to experiment with using the colour mixing capabilities of Photoshop to create the colour swatch. The advantage of working on Photoshop is that (for me) it’s a more rapid process and I can experiment more wildy with different colour combinations. The disadvantage is that it’s less subtle and nuanced than working with paint.

My hope is that I’ll still get that level of experimentation when I move into experimenting with media using these colours as a starting point.

NOTE ADDED LATER: This approach allowed me to make quick colour thumbnails later in the process with a readymade palette.

Intuitive colour chart created in Photoshop

Intuitive brainstorming with media

My media brainstorming was inspired by this Instagram post of an illustration by Masha Pryanichnikova, who uses simple shapes stamped onto the image relief print style to create interesting patterns. I wanted to explore this for the William Clarkson image because I’m anticipating the use of a repeat pattern across at least some part of the background, and on some items of clothing. I think this visual approach will match his colourful character.

Fig 1 – Masha Pryanichnikova Instagram post showing use of relief printing as part of mixed media combination (2020)

I started by making a series of simple stamps cut from lino mounted onto strips of wood.

Lino stamps glued to wooden blocks

I tested these by creating repeat patterns using a grey ink and sponge ink pad. I was conscious that further experiments would be needed to see how this would work using different paints and inks.

Stamp test sheet using one coiour – A2 sized

Edith Thompson

Visual chart

The visual was made by following the process. Like the William Clarkson process, the human story was by far the strongest element.

Edit Thompson visual chart

Chart to trigger lateral thinking

The word list was created using the agreed process.

In line with the previous 10-minute thumbnails, this process resulted in broader and more unexpected visual ideas.

Edit Thompson word list thumbnails 01
Edith Thompson word list thumbnails 02

Intuitive brainstorming with colour

I chose to revert back to use of acrylic paint for the colour brainstorming.

Intuitive colour chart created using gouache paint on watercolor paper

Intuitive brainstorming with media

Using lino stamps as part of the William Clarkson media experiment got me thinking about how I could start to exploit my printmaking experience gained during Printmaking 1. Since finishing that part of the course, I’ve not really given myself the opportunity to make use of that knowledge.

So I decided to do that now. My media experiment was a simple combination of relief printing/collatype techniques to create interesting textured patterns.

Relief print media test using gouache paint background with relief print using acrylic paint and poster paint on a heavily patterned wallpaper – A4 sized

I followed that with a process that I’ve been told about but never tried out; using bleach to ‘eat back’ into a painted area to create patterns and other effects.

I was interested in this media approach because it would give me another way to create patterns and textures, either as a stand alone process or in combination with another.

Painting with bleach on liquid watercolour

I also tested painting with bleach on gouache but it didn’t have any effect on the paint.


At this point it felt like the right time to move on to more detailed design. I had all of the ingredients:

  • Subject research
  • Artist research linked to media tests
  • Numerous ideas generated through experimental processes
  • Colour swatches generated through experimental processes

The next stage, ‘Design’ was all about taking the strongest elements and iterating these out into final designs to be worked up into finished artwork.


List of illustrations

Figure 1 -Pryanichnikova, Masha (2020) Instagram post showing use of relief printing and mixed media At: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFDEaYQIweM/ (Accessed: 18/09/20)

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