Step by Step Brainstorming Demo

This video is a demo which shows approaches to brainstorming as an artist. How do you start with an idea and develop it into a viable piece of artwork?

Several brainstorming exercises are shown, including drawing mind maps, how to research topics, search for reference photos, draw thumbnail sketches, and more. Demo led by Art Prof Clara Lieu.

Video Walkthrough

  • Try to identify the most obvious, cliché version of your idea, put it down on paper and then eliminate it.
  • Every idea is worth putting down on paper, no matter how idiotic it sounds to you.
  • Brainstorming works more effectively when you can do it over a period of several days.
  • Doing a marathon brainstorming session all at once doesn’t provide the opportunity for you to step back and let the ideas marinate more.
  • Make sure you are consulting reliable websites online when searching for non fiction content.
  • Search articles and write down key words that pop out to you.
  • Sift through all of the key words that you found, and take out the ones that are too vague or difficult to connect with an image.
  • The beginning of the brainstorming process happens very rapidly, but inevitably you will slow down and get stuck!
  • If you’re stuck and don’t know how to proceed, keep your hand moving, look at some reference photos and do some quick sketches.
  • Sometimes a quick image search can stimulate an idea so resist the temptation to stop and stay in your head.
  • Keep your sketches super scribbly and loose so you can draw very fast.
  • Drawing higher quality drawings will slow you down too much and you won’t get many ideas down on paper.
  • Get feedback from others on your ideas and thumbnails if you can!
  • Sometimes a process of elimination can be an effective way to figure out which idea you want to pursue.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

When I posted this brainstorming video, and someone commented on the video, saying that they were very relieved to see how much work I put into the brainstorming process.

They said they were under the impression that brainstorming was all waiting for that “eureka” moment. I actually find waiting for lightning to strike much more stressful, I don’t like the idea of waiting for stuff!

When I can take it into my own hands and make my ideas happen, I find that very empowering as an artist.