(Originally published on 6/15/2016)
|Cover illustration for “The Mindsight”|
Our consciousness and especially our subconsciousness is a mesmerizing thing.
Psychoanalysts and scientists still marvel about its functionality.
If you want so, programming is a term that also works. You can program your subconsciousness with ease. The programming language is called habit and self-affirmation is the syntax. Fun fact is; we often program our subconsciousness with the wrong syntax. And without even knowing.
An easy example:
We often find ourself in the situation that we say:”when I have the new tablet, I´m going to do better work!” Or:” When I enroll in this workshop, I´m sure good enough to do my best work!”
The frustrating result is that we don´t do our best work and that we don´t do more. Why is that?
Combined with marketing fuzz that others spill upon us, we shape an opinion. That opinion circulates in our mind and is a syntax for bad programming in our reality. “I´m not good enough until I´m done with this workshop.” Or “this other artist is so damn good, but when I get my iPad pro, I will be better too.”
Facebook, youtube, Artstation, you name it. The internet is full of excuses, enough stuff and reason to hate yourself or mankind, or both.
The issue at hand…
We all love some gadgets, and it is OK to look forward to the new iPhone or this pen display or the new package of acrylics. This is important. What is wrong is just that we often project our hope into things. With the syntax that goes like this:“If I have ..X.. then I will be able to ..Y..”
If (X) then (Y).If mission accomplishedGoto line 1Repeat
Feels like writing in TurboBasic in the mid 80´s, doesn’t it?
Do you see the problem?
The true issue is our mindset. The way we let it harm ourselves is pure sabotage.
Our faithful dog (our subconsciousness) is happy that he helped us reach our goal.
Buying this new tablet, etc. and waits for new orders and a pat on the back.
I want to avoid this scenario.
To improve on that matter, is to use the correct way our inner dog wants to be trained.
The right syntax.
The first thing is to find activities or goals, that you like but have issues with. Let´s say you have a creative block, one thing you can do is to ask yourself a simple question.
Having paper and a pen or pencil nearby for writing a list might be a good idea now.
Make a list with two columns, on the left you write: ” What if…” and on the right side you write down things that go through your head. Don´t force it. If you can´t imagine anything, take your time. Stream of consciousness is the key here. For some people it will work the best right after getting up in the morning.
Also, don´t be stiff about it. Disconnect from all need to push forward. Don´t associate any pressure with this, the first thing is that this should be fun.
Here´s an example list that I did so you get an idea:
The first 4 lines are nonsense but the lines after that are pretty usable ideas. For an artist this can even be concepts that allow for a complete new series of artworks. This is actually how I question the status quo and develop ideas and concepts for my own art. Everyday a whole new universe opens.
How it works
The thing why this works is basically because we train ourselves and our dog to come up with new ideas. Now it is important to turn these into a reality. Step-by-step, from ideas to a list of ideas to one result and two and even more, you build a new habit. One that is totally independent from any tool.
This kind of habit-forming can´t be taken from somewhere, you have to do that all by yourself. But once a new habit is established, your dog will be happy to deliver new ideas and means for you to reach your new goals. It all becomes a new cycle. And with that cycle, you create works, get in the right mood and produce better, even more authentic work.
Below are some examples of works that I created around this syntax. I can´t relate on how a creative block feels because with so many ideas on my plate, things never get boring.
|What if Elvgren painted Asuka + other Comic-Icons?|
|What if Elvgren painted Catwoman + other Comic-Icons?|
|What if F.R. Unterberger painted Laputa/astle in the sky?|
|What if Benedict Cumberbatch would be Gambit?|
|What if Bierstadt painted Howl’s moving castle?|
|What if Easterbunny and Santa did a fight?|
|What if Brom painted Fullmetal Alchemist?|
Think about that.
Another huge benefit is that you are able to show your innermost personality. Some combinations can be striking and unique to you, if rendered great, these can set you apart as an artist.
More motivational stuff in a fresh cartoon style: How to properly talk to yourself to be successful
And finally, a talk from Ryan Kingslien about the mechanics that keep us from doing what we really want to do, very inspiring;