Images are as important to an artist as diction to a poet or flavor to a chef. Images are alive, perhaps not breathing but most definitely speaking. They can take on an idea and shout it out to so many people at once. A flag is an image but it can inspire some of the most wondrous, magnificent, and heinous things human beings are capable of. Lynda Barry spends the first part of her book trying to explain how the images we make are alive and how they can reach out and touch another person in ways that are unique to that medium. Developing unique images that are one’s own has and always will be a struggle for all artist. One way for an artist to find something new is to engage in formstorming. The idea behind form storming is that you recreate the same image or idea many, many times, but differently every time. This forces your mind to think of something new, broaden your pool of inspiration and create something truly your own. You begin to approach the same problem from different angles, shedding a new light on it. I have a small advantage in that I am bilingual and can instantly approach it from a new place by simply thinking about it in the language of my fathers. This colors it with different cultural and social norms that add a new flavor to the image. On page 14 of What It Is, there are several little birds. Each one is unique and drawn differently but they are all the same idea. A personal style has emerged that is unique to that artist.
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