To the oft asked question “Where do you get your ideas?” I usually answer from everything. And it’s true ideas are everywhere, just pluck some. But that isn’t too helpful so I got to thinking about how do I ‘pluck’ ideas.

As I thought about my process I realized there are distinct different processes and three that I seem to use regularly. I decided to call them ‘associative’, ‘conceptual’, and ‘extensional (derivative)’. Ideas can come out of any of these, some, or all in combination.

If an idea is ‘associative’ there will be a sight, sound, smell, observation, or scene that clicks something, and images or words start cascading. “City Seens” was written from this inspiration. I’d be looking around on the street or the bus, riding the train or sitting in a coffee shop. Something catches my eye or a snatch of sound grabs my ear and it builds from there. “25-She shifts” is this exactly. The woman got on the bus; who is she, what does she do, where is she going. And so I make up answers to those questions.

This technique for me is the simplest. Writing I take the association and just make stuff up. Drawing/painting the imagery flows out I don’t stick on how does it look; it looks the way it does. Not that I just slap it out, but it’s that colour because that’s the colour I made it. I will make corrections in proportion or perspective, but only because it is distracting otherwise.

Next I’ll describe ‘conceptual’.


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