Getting the Research Done

I'll start to throw away "noise" and try to distill a mood, an emotion, a direction. I'm starting to focus in on my visual definition to my challenge. When I think I've distilled the information to it's core essence I'll pull out my list of questions again and measure my "core" against that initial list of questions. Does it answer all the questions, or does it fall short in some ways? Do I need to fill in some information, or do I still have some refinement left to do? Take your time and walk all the way through your exploration phase. You are setting the armature in place, and a solid foundation will help you find success. It is at this point, as a creative director, that I will start fleshing out my creative brief. As an artist, it is usually the place that I start hunting up reference material. Sometimes I'll have picked up some relevant materials. 
Materials in my exploration process, but often I've only gathered materials that help point me in the direction I want to go. Sometimes I have materials that show what I don't want (pointing towards that white space that needs to be filled) and I have to do further creative explorations to figure out how to fill that space. So as you can see, the research phase of creative development is just a single step on the creative journey. Do you have a creative exploration process that you'd like to share? Hints, tips and tricks for other creatives? Please share your thoughts or ideas in the comments below, or start a discussion in the ArtOrder community. Due to a delay in hand-offs. I am unable to post the challenge I planned on putting up today. Hopefully my editor will have good news for me today and I will be able to post the new challenge on Monday.

Research Questions

If I were to jump back up to the elf statement I made earlier - my mood board might be filled with images of acrobats, athletes in motion, natural motifs and patterns, successful WoW characters, various types of armor or weapons (real world and fantasy based), textures, patterns, metal samples, natural items (leaves, leather, etc). The items that go on the board aren't there to define an solution - they are there to serve as visual cues for questions we are asking while we explore the challenge we set ourselves.

Some common questions I ask myself in this exploration phase:
Who else has answered this challenge in the past?
What have others done in the past in response to this challenge?
What explorations did those answers generate afterwards?
Where can I see examples of this challenge?

Who am I trying to reach with this challenge?
What do they find important/valuable?
How do I want them to feel, or what action do I want them to take?
What colors/textures come to mind when I think of the challenge?
What music comes to mind when I think of the challenge?

I'll ask tons of questions, and try to find images or items that visually answer my questions, and put them on the wall.  By the way, write down all your questions. They will come in handy later. When I've got a wall of goodies, and when I've answered all of my questions in a visual manner, kind of created a visual representation of the challenge, that is when I will finally sit down and see if I can find the answer to my challenge. I start to sift through the visual information - look for answers, visual solutions, white space or ways to differentiate myself from my competition. 


Friendly Help

I was thinking about the role of an art director the other day, and I suddenly realized that we need to watch out for our egos. Aside from the obvious reasons, where a rock star mentality diminishes your value to the process, there is the whole aspect of our position that we depend upon others for nearly all aspects of our job. Whether it is depending on a illustrator to take the words of an art order and breath life into them, a graphic designer to execute upon a visual strategy that we dream up, or any of a million other places where we depend upon others to lend our role credibility. I realized this as I was talking with one of the R&D folks about a new game we have in development. (Don't start sending me emails asking anything about it. That's all I'll say on the issue). The discussion made me look at myself, honestly, and realize all the things I can't do. 

Yet, my job is so dependent on being able to have a solid relationship with folks that can accomplish all of those necessary items. My wife and I often talk about having our egos "right sized". Personally, I prefer to do the homework myself to keep my ego in check. It's a whole lot less humbling and painful than when an outside force has to step in and deflate my big head. I hate the way that feels. I hate it even more when I look back on the situation and realize it needed to be done. Yeah, I really hate that... The flip side to having that crazy ego issue is keeping a state of gratitude around me. I find it pretty tough to get all puffed up on myself when I realize what all the people around me accomplish, and how their accomplishments "make me look good." 

Whether it is the AD that has the ability to pull amazing quality from a particular artist, the artist that steps in at zero hour and hits a home run, the graphic designer that deals with the crazy amounts of feedback and changes and still creates an amazing design, the R&D guy who takes the time to explain a power to me so that I can provide better write-ups to the artist, the brand guy that takes my hand and leads me through a P&L (profit and loss) document so that I can understand better the business constraints of a product, or the fan that pulls me aside and unloads on me about the latest race I helped concept, all of those folks are absolutely necessary for me to do my job well. If I lose sight of that, I'm lost. Who do you rely on? How does you ego affect those relationships? What does all of this have to do with the world of publishing?

Electronic Projects

Electronics represent  a complex and vast  domain and the possibilities are so unlimited. You can find thousands of useful projects that will help you grow professionally as an engineer  whether you are a beginner or a professional. On the web, you can discover projects about wire detectors, broken wire detectors, wire detector circuits. invites you to discover our projects and articles for beginners and professionals. Our skill and  our ideas we’ll guide through electronic projects and will explain every step in detail so you’ll have no difficulty in understanding everything. We are a young and passionate community and we invite you to be one of us. Get involved in out talks and discover that is so much you can do in the worlds of electronics with the right support and advice. We offer you the best reasons in the world to continue studying electronic engineer and we proudly present you the most innovative methods and tips to become better with every single day. 
You’ll definitely not gonna get bored browsing through our website because you have so much information to deal with and so many thing that you help you understand our project and why not, these could be the foundation of your future work. Make us proud and let us have just a small contribution to your future career. If we haven’t convinced you  yet, you can always browse through a total of 1090 electronoc projects and articles from the main categories: fm transmitters, solar charges for solar panels, battery charges, kits, voltage converters, led, datasheet, and much more. One of interesting projects is the electrical live wire detector. You can see a detailed design for live wire detector. As this one, every project that we bring in front of you is as detailed as possible so you’ll recommended to all your friends who want to become better in electronic science.

Dungeon Delve Challenge

I finally got all the info from my editor and got my art orders written up, and that means it time for a new magazine challenge! What is a magazine challenge? This challenge is being lifted straight from the pages of an upcoming Dungeon Magazine article. Participation in this challenge affords you the opportunity to work on a real life art project, get your work seen by the D&D art directors and editors (and anyone else that is lurking the site), and you also have the possibility of having your work picked for purchase and publication! This time, we're taking on an adventure. Description: An adventurer in a dark dungeon, thrusting lantern ahead into darkness. Character can be just about any race, class, and gender, as long as he or she looks in bad shape-cut, bruised, dirty, hair all stringy and damp from moisture dripping off walls and off ceiling. 

This character is lost in the dungeon and doesn¹t even know whether there is a way out, much less where it would be. I'm looking for a piece that captures the concept of being lost in dangerous territory "behind enemy lines" type of vibe. I will not provide direction on the dungeon. The adventurer could be in a long dark hallway, or a vast dwarven hall under the mountains. The environment should be chosen to support the concept of the illustration. Challenge details: You can enter only one submission; You must submit both a sketch and final on or before the deadline to be eligible; If selected, you will be offered the opportunity to have the piece purchased and published. The fee schedule at which this piece will be paid will be $300, with the standard Wizards of the Coast contract. 

Submissions should be posted in the ArtOrder forums. Why is this a big deal? Well, in the comments of my "Getting Your Second Project" article someone asked if I could talk about someone that impressed me and got a second project. How appropriate of a request! Recently we had the Gotta Have A Hook challenge, and Mathias Kollros one that one. Mathias leveraged a win in that challenge into a published piece. He didn't stop there though. Mathias exceeding the expectations on his next commission as well, and quickly became a go to artist for both D&D and Magic art directors. Unfortunately, I can't showcase any of that work yet...but suffice it to say, Mathias has his foot in the door in a major way. Time will tell what he can do with it over the long hall.