Three Basic Tips For Coming Up With Cyberpunk Stories

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Well, since I was busy with last year’s cyberpunk short stories at the time of writing (I finished this one just before writing this article), I thought that I’d talk some more about writing cyberpunk fiction.

In particular, I thought that I’d look at some of the techniques that you can use to come up with interesting cyberpunk storylines. This article will be about writing shorter stories, but you can probably use these techniques for longer stories too.

1) The unseen: One of the best ways to come up with an interesting cyberpunk storyline is to look at the types of locations that often go unseen in the cyberpunk genre. In other words, it can be interesting to set some or all of your story somewhere like outside of cyberspace (like in “Blade Runner), or possibly even in a rural area (like in “eXistenZ“). The only limit is your imagination.

Of course, when you’ve found your rarely-used setting, then you’ve got to work out how to use it in a story. Generally speaking, one easy way to get a short story out of an unusual location is to use it as a backdrop for part of a larger story (which is only hinted at during your story).

For example, the short story I linked to earlier takes place in an abandoned shopping centre. Whilst this location is an important part of the story, a few descriptions imply that the story is merely a few moments from a larger story (eg: the story mentions why the characters are in the shopping centre, and it’s hinted that they are trying to find somewhere better to stay).

2) Research: One of the best ways to learn how to tell cyberpunk stories is to read, watch and/or play as many of them as you can. Seeing all of the different types of stories that people can tell within the cyberpunk genre will open your mind to the possibilites that the genre has to offer. For example, not every cyberpunk storyline has to be about computer hackers or even about cyberspace. There’s more to the cyberpunk genre than just three novels by William Gibson.

For example, the films “Blade Runner” and “Ghost In The Shell (1995)” are about robotics, and about what makes us human. Computer games like “Deus Ex” and “Technobablyon” look at subjects such as political conspiracies and the role technology has in politics. Warren Ellis’ “Transmetropolitan” comics look at the role of the press in society (and what a Hunter S. Thompson -style journalist would be like if he lived in the future).

A film like Satoshi Kon’s “Paprika” adds dream-like surrealism to the cyberpunk genre (and is worth watching for the opening credits montage alone). The anime series “Cowboy Bebop” focuses on a group of space-travelling bounty hunters living in a cyberpunk future. The classic computer game “System Shock” takes place entirely on an abandoned space station that has been taken over by an evil Artificial Intelligence.

Computer games like “The Longest Journey”, “Dreamfall: The Longest Journey” and “Shadowrun: Dragonfall” blend elements of the fantasy genre with the cyberpunk genre. A short computer game like “The Last Night” or a webcomic like Winston Rowntree’s “Captain Estar Goes To Heaven” follow the grim lives of hired assassins in lawless cyberpunk-style futures.

So, do some research, and it’ll show you that the cyberpunk genre is about more than just nihilistic computer hackers talking in technobabble (although this is fun to write though).

3) Technology effects: This is one of the classic pieces of advice for writing science fiction, and it’s just as relavent to the cyberpunk genre as anything else. In order to come up with an interesting story, just look at a “futuristic” piece of developing technology and ask what effect it would have on the world if it’s use was more widespread.

In fact, the entire cyberpunk genre itself was invented because the idea of the internet took hold of people’s imaginations. The very first cyberpunk story (“Cyberpunk” by Bruce Bethke) was written in the very early 1980s, when the internet was known about – but nowhere near as widespread or popular as it was today.

So, one way to come up with interesting cyberpunk storylines is to look at pieces of technology that are being developed today (eg: 3D printing, drone technology, AI-driven cars, Virtual Reality, augmented reality, wearable tech etc….) and to ask yourself how it might affect everyday life in the future. Let your imagination go wild.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Three Ways To Keep Your Imagination Strong

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If you are an artist or a writer, then your imagination is one of the most important things that you own.

Whilst you obviously still need to put the effort into practicing the skills needed for making good art or writing good fiction, you also need a strong imagination to get the most out of those skills. Having a strong imagination means that you’ll feel inspired more often, you can come up with better creative ideas and that you’ll enjoy creating things even more.

But, how can you strengthen your imagination? Here are three (of many) ways to do this:

1) Be influenced regularly: People who are new to making art and writing fiction can sometimes have the false impression that imagination should work on it’s own. That to allow anything to influence or inspire you somehow “dilutes” your imagination. This is something that I used to think a long time ago, and it is absolute nonsense! Your imagination won’t get stronger if you starve it and/or don’t let it do it’s job properly.

Although you need to know how to take inspiration properly, regularly looking at other creative works is one of the best ways to strengthen your own imagination. Not only does it show you what sorts of things are possible, but it also gives your imagination the building blocks that it needs to build new things.

It’s a bit like how learning new words can help you to express ideas that you couldn’t express before. Seeing (and thinking about) how other people have done things, seeing how different people have come up with different interpretations of the same types of stories etc… gives you a lot more ideas about how to do things your own way.

Not only that, the more influences and inspirations that you have, the more “original” your work will be. If you’re only inspired by one thing, then the things you make will probably be a second-rate imitation of that thing. However, if you’re inspired by lots of different things, then your work will be a unique mixture of many different influences.

2) Daydream: Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you probably daydream a lot anyway. Daydreaming is an essential part of creativity (and of everyday life too). But, if you really want to keep your imagination well-fed, then you need to daydream in a very specific way every now and then.

In other words, you need to find things that provoke new, complex and interesting daydreams. Generally speaking, novels, films, games, comics, pictures etc… that give you a glimpse of an interesting fictional world are probably the best things to choose.

Because these things only show you a few parts of a fascinating “world”, your imagination has to create the rest of it for you. It then has to work out what it’s like to live in that world, what sorts of things happen there etc… But, unless you’re making fan art or writing fan fiction, then you need to take this one step further.

Daydreaming about other people’s fictional worlds helps to teach your imagination how to come up with it’s own fictional worlds. It’s good practice for coming up with more original ideas. After all, once you’ve built a few “universes” from hints and glimpses that you’ve seen in films, novels etc… then building one or your own (even if it’s just for the background of a painting) won’t seem quite as daunting.

3) Ask questions: When you see something that inspires you and really fires up your imagination, then ask yourself why. Ask yourself why this one thing has inspired you so much.

If you’re not sure why, then look at the emotions it provokes in you. Look at the types of characters, settings etc… that it contains. If it’s a work of visual art, then try to work out what colour combinations it uses, what types of lighting it uses, what type of costume designs are used, what artistic techniques are used etc…

Although ‘dissecting’ the things that really get your imagination going might seem like it’s taking the “magic” out of them, this isn’t true. Knowing how and why these things are good for your imagination can help you to improve your imagination even more. But, how?

Now that you’ve worked out why something really invigorates your imagination, then try to look for other things that also contain those qualities. Eventually, try to make something that contains these qualities.

This might take a bit of research, but you’ll probably feel excited about doing the research (because, who doesn’t want to find more cool things?). But more importantly – whilst doing the research, you’ll probably begin to imagine what other things that contain these qualities look like. Needless to say, this feeling of anticipation (and all of the daydreams it provokes) are very good for your imagination.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Four Awesome Advantages Of Watching DVDs Whilst Making Art

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This probably isn’t for everyone, but I thought that I’d talk about something that I tend to do quite often when I’m making art. I am, of course, talking about watching DVDs in the background (usually whilst both listening via headphones and keeping the subtitles on, to avoid missing any of the dialogue).

Again, this isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer to work in absolute silence, some people just like to listen to music and some people actually prefer to have other people in the general vicinity when making art. For me, solitude and non-interactive background things (eg: TV shows, music etc..) seem to work best. But, different things work for different people.

Likewise, it’s only possible to do this if you make traditional (eg: completely non-digital) or semi-traditional art that mostly uses fairly portable materials.

For example, whilst I heavily edit/process most of my art on the computer after I’ve scanned it, the actual drawing (and painting, using watercolour pencils) usually takes place in a sketchbook that is resting on my knee whilst I’m watching DVDs on my computer.

But, what are the advantages of watching DVDs whilst making art?

1) Time limits: If you’re making art regularly, then it’s often good to set yourself time limits. If you can make a fairly decent painting or drawing within 1-2 hours, then this level of efficiency is probably going to help you out when you’re making more time-intensive things, like comics projects.

In addition to this, setting a time limit also means that you’ll quickly learn to actually finish most of the pieces of art that you start making. It stops you from turning into a perfectionist who never finishes anything.

And, if you’re watching TV shows (or possibly shorter films) on DVD whilst you’re making art, then it’s a lot easier to set a time limit. After all, you can tell yourself that you’re going to finish your artwork within the time it takes you to watch 1-2 episodes of a TV show, or one 90 minute film. This can also sometimes (but not always) help you to prevent yourself from binge-watching your DVDs too.

2) Physicality And Ritual: This might just be my traditionalist side, but there’s something good about the actual physicality of using a DVD (rather than just watching modern streaming video).

Since making semi-traditional art is often at least a slightly physical experience, it just feels right that the things in the background should also share this quality too. I mean, if computers could play VHS tapes, then this would be even better. But, they can’t, so DVDs are a good substitute.

In addition to this, actually getting the DVD out of it’s case and putting it in your computer can add an interesting element of ritual to the whole experience too. The only downside is the other ritual of replacing the DVD drive every couple of years….

Whilst every artist probably has their own “rituals” (and mine also include things like drawing guide lines on the sketchbook page I’ll be using etc..), these sorts of things can help you to get into the mood for creating things.

3) Purpose: One of the strange things that I noticed after I’d been painting or drawing whilst watching DVDs for a while is that, if I watch a DVD when I’m not painting something, I’ll sometimes feel like something’s missing. I’ll sometimes feel like I’m wasting my time.

In other words, making art whilst watching DVDs can turn what is typically a fairly passive and “lazy” experience into something that feels a lot more productive. Plus, the incentive of watching a DVD can help you to feel motivated to keep up your art practice on the days when you are feeling less enthusiastic.

4) Inspiration: Watching a DVD in the background whilst making art can help you to feel more inspired in at least a couple of different ways.

First of all, having a background distraction can be useful to take your mind off of any feelings of uninspiration for a few minutes. If you’re thinking about the story of the film or TV show you’re watching, then you’re less likely to be thinking things like “Oh god! What should I paint?!?!“, “I can’t think of anything!!” etc… And, as any creative person will tell you, these kinds of thoughts only make you feel more uninspired.

Whilst you shouldn’t procrastinate for too long (see #1 on this list), a small amount of distraction can sometimes help to shake you out of an uninspired mood.

Secondly, you can also take inspiration from the things that you’re watching too. Whilst you need to know how to take inspiration properly (and the difference between inspiration and plagiarism) before you do this, it can be surprisingly useful.

In general, I’ve found that TV shows will sometimes give you a general direction that you can take your art in. Whilst you’ll still obviously have to work out a lot for yourself, having some hint of which genre you can use takes some of the uncertainty out of planning a painting or drawing.

For example, here’s a preview of what my art looked like when I was watching a cyberpunk anime series called “Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex”:

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size painting will be posted here on the 15th July.

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size painting will be posted here on the 15th July.

And here’s a preview of what one of my paintings looked like when I watched season one of “Twin Peaks”, as you can see, it has more of a 1980s/90s kind of look – as well as some slight strangeness too.

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size painting will be posted here on the 13th August.

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size painting will be posted here on the 13th August.

So, watching DVDs whilst drawing or painting can help you try out different genres of art and, whilst it may not make you feel completely inspired, it will at least point you in a particular direction.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Determination And Inspiration – A Ramble

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Although this is an article about making art, I’m going to have to start by talking about playing computer games (again). As usual, there’s a good reason for this that I hope becomes obvious later. Likewise, although I’ve talked about all of the art-related stuff in this article before, it’s worth repeating (and not only because I seem to have mild writer’s block at the moment)

Even though I’m not sure when, if or even how much of it I’ll review in the future, I’ve been playing a set of “Doom II” levels called “Very Hard” recently.

As the name suggests, these levels have been designed to be as fiendishly difficult as possible. And, yet, a few hours before I wrote this article, I was able to beat the first level.

Sure, it took me something like 4-7 hours in total (and the many years of “Doom II” practice I’ve had before then). Sure, I probably saved more times in that one level than I’ve done in whole episodes of levels. Sure, I’d often have to re-play the same part of the level up to fifty times just in order to progress a little bit further. And I’d often end up in situations that looked like this:

This is a screenshot from "Very Hard". And, yes, this isn't even the largest group of monsters you'll encounter in this level...

This is a screenshot from “Very Hard”. And, yes, this isn’t even the largest group of monsters you’ll encounter in this level…

Finally, eventually, I finished the level. I literally had to come up with clever ways to use the “rules” of ‘Doom’ to my advantage more times than I can remember. My reaction to actually finishing this level was exactly the kind of elated reaction that you would expect after achieving something that looks impossible.

Pure bliss! Don't be fooled by the "20:14" time. This only covers the time I spent NOT being obliterated by monsters.

Pure bliss! Don’t be fooled by the “20:14” time. This only covers the time I spent NOT being obliterated by monsters.

So, what does any of this have to do with making art?

Well, it’s all to do with determination – something that I not only learnt from playing “Doom II” levels, but also from daily art practice. One of the great things about telling yourself that you will make a piece of art every day is that you actually have to make a piece of art every day. Whilst this might not sound too difficult, it also includes the days when you aren’t feeling inspired.

But, if there’s one thing that daily art practice teaches you, it’s that determination matters more than inspiration. If you make a piece of art every day, regardless of how good it is, you’ll quickly learn all sorts of sneaky ways to get around not feeling inspired.

You’ll learn that, with a bit of practice, still life paintings are a quick and almost inspiration-free way to make a day’s painting. You’ll learn that making new versions of your really old paintings or drawings can be a cool-looking way to get through an uninspired day. You’ll learn which types of art you can pretty much make in your sleep.

You’ll learn that, if something is out of copyright, then you can paint your own modified copy of it. You’ll learn how to take inspiration properly from things that are still in copyright. You’ll learn that even painting something totally random (if you’re feeling mildly uninspired) is better than painting nothing. Like this:

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size painting will appear here on the 7th August. As mildly uninspired paintings go, this is probably one of the better ones I've made.

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size painting will appear here on the 7th August. As mildly uninspired paintings go, this is probably one of the better ones I’ve made.

If you have determination, then a lack of inspiration won’t matter as much. Not only that, since you’re still making art when you aren’t feeling inspired, you may well find that inspiration will come a lot more often and a lot more easily.

Strange as it sounds, if being uninspired (or the possibility of totally and utterly failing at making a good painting or drawing) isn’t an huge problem to you, then you won’t feel uninspired anywhere near as often.

Not only that, if you doggedly insist on making a piece of art every day, then your art will improve significantly too. Yes, it might happen gradually. But, you’ll eventually get to the point where even your crappiest and most “uninspired” new painting looks better than your best and most inspired old painting.

So, yes, the kind of determination that you need to complete a “seemingly impossible” computer game level is exactly the kind of determination that you also need when you’re doing your art practice.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Three Totally Rad Things That Artists Can Learn From 1990s Computer Games

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Whilst procrastinating by playing “Doom II” WADs and watching video reviews of modern 1990s-style games on Youtube, I suddenly thought “It’s been a while since I last wrote a 1990s-themed article.” Since I didn’t have any better ideas, I decided to run with it.

So, here are a few of the interesting things that artists can learn from 1990s computer games:

1) High-contrast lighting: Due to the rapid development of game technology in the 1990s, one area that game developers focused on a lot was realistic lighting. Whether it was the gloomy corridors in 1993’s “Doom” or the glowing projectiles and ambient lighting in countless games from the late 1990s/very early 2000s, lighting was a big deal in old computer games.

And, because of this, they can teach us a lot about how to include interesting lighting in our artwork. For example, these games often included gloomier locations purely because it makes the lighting stand out more. The darker your locations are, the more interesting things you can do with the lighting. If you ever want to include cool-looking lighting in your art, this is something that is worth bearing in mind.

Likewise, the lighting in these games often followed relatively simple “rules”, which can be useful when you’re learning how to paint realistic lighting. In other words, either an area around the light would be lit up. Or, in more advanced games, the colour/brightness of anything near the light would be changed.

Studying these kind of things can help you include interesting lighting in your art, like this:

"9:34 PM" By C. A. Brown

“9:34 PM” By C. A. Brown

2) Visual storytelling: One cool thing about gaming in the 1990s was the fact that, in many games, the emphasis was firmly on the actual gameplay. These were games that were designed to be played, not watched.

As such, storytelling was something of a secondary consideration in many games from the 90s. Sometimes, you’d get some text about the game’s story in the manual, or you might get the occasional animated scene or in-game document. But, with the exception of “point and click” and role-playing games, most 1990s games didn’t really care that much about storytelling

And, yet, they often included more storytelling than you might think. It’s just that they were subtle about how they included it. Often, details about the game’s world or story would be shown through background objects, character actions/character design etc…. Rather than telling a story, they’d sometimes just show you a few things that hint at it and let you fill in the details yourself.

When you’re making art, you only have a single static image in which to tell a story. Likewise, your primary concern should be making cool-looking art – but this doesn’t mean that you can’t use the background details, character actions etc… to hint at a larger story – like this:

"Cafe Cyberpunk" By C. A. Brown

“Cafe Cyberpunk” By C. A. Brown

3) Humour: Finally, one thing that sets 1990s games apart from many modern games is the fact that they didn’t usually take themselves entirely seriously. There are too many examples to list here but, in everything from FPS games to “point and click” games, you could often find all sorts of subtle jokes scattered throughout a game.

This is one of the things that makes 1990s games such a joy to play – they know that they’re meant to be entertaining. They aren’t afraid to be slightly silly. And they’re a lot more enjoyable as a result.

So, don’t be afraid to add some subtle humour to some of your art. Yes, it doesn’t have to be laugh-out-loud funny, but adding a bit of visual humour, written humour etc… to some of your artwork can instantly make it more visually interesting (as well as rewarding people who want to take a closer look). Like this:

"Cyberpunkwharf" By C. A. Brown

“Cyberpunkwharf” By C. A. Brown

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

How To Take Artistic Inspiration From A Film (In Four Easy Steps)

Although I’ve talked more generally about how to take inspiration (and the difference between inspiration and plagiarism), I thought that I’d focus specifically on films in this article. Naturally, all of the stuff here can also be applied to TV shows too.

But, I thought that I’d talk about it after making a digitally-edited gothic sci-fi painting (which will be posted here in August) that was initially inspired by the bar scene from “Blade Runner“, but quickly turned into it’s own thing (as any inspired painting should). Here’s a reduced-size preview:

The full-size painting will be posted here on the 3rd August.

The full-size painting will be posted here on the 3rd August.

So, how do you take inspiration from a film?

1) Watch it: This step almost goes without saying, but get a DVD (or Blu-Ray) of the film and watch it.

Chances are, if it’s a film that you want to take inspiration from, then it’s one that you’ve already seen at least once. But, if you’ve only seen clips or trailers from it, then try to actually watch the whole film. If you’ve already seen it, try to rewatch as much of it as you can – paying close attention to how everything looks.

This will give you a sense of the atmosphere of the film and it will also help you to get into the mood for making original art inspired by it.

2) Freeze frames, screenshots and/or image searches: Once you’ve watched the film, then look at some still images from the film. This will allow you to study some of the general techniques and generic features of the film in greater detail.

The “generic elements” part is important! Although I’m not a copyright lawyer, it is a well-known principle that you cannot copyright an idea ( only highly specific expressions of an idea can be copyrighted). In other words, whilst the precise visual details of a single frame from a film can be copyrighted, the general idea behind that frame cannot.

For example, anyone can make a painting of “a rainy futuristic city, with tall angular buildings, neon lighting and flying cars“. This is an idea. Anyone can use it. However, if you then painted an exact copy of a frame from “Blade Runner” (or directly copied highly-distinctive details from the frame), then you would be breaking copyright rules. Why? Because that frame from “Blade Runner” is a highly-specific interpretation of the general idea of “a rainy futuristic city, with tall angular buildings, neon lighting and flying cars“.

So, take a close look at these pictures and see which colour combinations tend to be used often. Look at how the scenes are laid out (eg: camera angles etc..). Look at the general types of clothing (eg: formal, informal, old, new etc..) the characters are wearing. Look at the types of lighting that are used. I’m sure you get the idea….

Once you’ve studied at least several different images from the film in question, make a list of the generic elements that really appeal to you. Then move on to the next step.

3) Look for other inspirations: If you don’t have any other inspirations, then this is the time to find them. Look online for stills from other films in the same genre as the one that inspired you, read some comics, play some computer games, look online for types of art that interest you, or just watch another one of your favourite films.

The thing to remember about inspiration and originality is that the more different inspirations you have, the more original your artwork will look. If you just have one inspiration, then it is probably going to show. This isn’t a bad thing (provided you haven’t crossed the line into actual plagiarism), but it isn’t ideal either.

For example, in the preview I showed you earlier – although the initial inspiration was the bar scene from “Blade Runner”, I also took some inspiration from gothic fashion/traditional formal fashion (as opposed to the futuristic “film noir” fashion used in ‘Blade Runner’) for the clothing designs.

Likewise, although the idea of breaking up a scene into several parts by using pillars was inspired by the compositions used in parts of “Blade Runner”, the wall textures were probably at least partially inspired by the futuristic locations in the “Ghost In The Shell” anime franchise. Likewise, the picture is split up into two coffin-shaped areas – which, again, is more of a gothic horror kind of thing.

My approach to the lighting in this painting was mostly inspired by the orange lighting in the bar scene from “Blade Runner”, but my colour scheme (eg: orange/blue/green/purple) was probably more inspired by the one used in a set of “Doom II” levels called “Ancient Aliens“.

4) Use your imagination!: Once you’ve done all of your preliminary research and are starting to feel inspired, eject the DVD (or watch another one), close your internet browser and let your imagination take over. After all, whilst you now have a few general elements you can use, you are going to have to work out how to interpret them in your own unique way.

Although you will probably have at least one list of general elements, you now have to find a way to use those general elements to create something different from the film you took inspiration from. So, don’t look at anything from the film in question whilst drawing or painting. Don’t use any characters from it. Don’t copy any highly-specific details. Use your imagination!

Remember, inspiration taken from other things should only be used as a guide to help support your own imagination. It’ll give you a list of general things to use in your art, but you still have to find an interesting new (in the sense of not exactly identical to anything else) way of using them. It’ll allow you to produce art that is vaguely reminiscent of the thing that inspired you, but is also it’s own thing too.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Three Things To Do If You Keep Producing The Same Genre Of Art

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Well, at the time of writing, I seem to be going through a massive cyberpunk art phase. Although there have been a few cyberpunk paintings posted here this month, there will be loads in July and early August. Here’s a reduced-size preview of the digitally-edited painting that I made the day before I wrote this article:

The full-size painting will be posted here on the 2nd August.

The full-size painting will be posted here on the 2nd August.

Anyway, at the moment, I pretty much only seem to be able to make cyberpunk art. So, I thought that I’d talk about what to do if you seem to only be able to produce one type of art.

1) Run with it (it will probably change): If you find that you can only produce one genre of art when you make art then, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, go with it. Keep making that one genre of art. Why? Because you’re feeling inspired. Yes, it might be a limited form of inspiration- but it’s still inspiration. It is objectively better than not being able to come up with any good artistic ideas at all.

As limiting as it can sometimes feel, knowing that you can make a piece of art in one particular genre means that you can actually get on with making art. It means that you have to spend less time worrying about what you’re going to draw or paint next.

In other words, limited inspiration is better than no inspiration. So, keep going. Your first priority is staying inspired, so use the inspiration that you already have. If you keep making art, then other inspirations are going to show up after a while too.

In other words, if you keep making the same genre of art for long enough, then it will eventually start to seem a bit boring. It’ll start to seem stale. This is your imagination’s way of prompting you to start looking for other genres that fill you with the feelings of inspiration you felt for the genre you’ve been making a lot recently. Don’t worry though, if it’s your favourite genre, then there’s a good chance that you’ll end up returning to it again eventually anyway.

2) Look at why you’re only making art in one genre: If you’re just making art in one genre for longer than usual, then ask yourself why. Chances are, there are some very good reasons for it – and they probably aren’t bad ones.

For example, I’ve been making a lot of cyberpunk art for a number of reasons. First of all, because I think that it looks really cool. Secondly, the entirely fictional settings allow me a lot more freedom to create interesting backgrounds. Thirdly, it’s a genre which allows me to use some of my favourite types of lighting. Fourthly, it’s a genre where I can make hyper-detailed art when I feel like it and less detailed art when I don’t. Fifthly, it easily allows me to take inspiration from a lot of my favourite films and computer games. Sixthly, it allows me to make nostalgic art that is inspired by the 1990s.

Although knowing why you seem to be obsessed with making just one genre of art won’t directly help you to make other genres of art, it can at least make you feel better about making the art that you’re making repeatedly right now. Likewise, if you know the qualities that help you to feel motivated, then you can see if those qualities apply to any other genres of art too.

3) Small changes: If you’re mostly inspired by one genre, then see if there are subtle elements from other genres that you can add to your art. In other words, think of other genres that are either as cool as your current genre or only slightly less cool, then try to find ways to incorporate them into your current genre.

Not only will this still allow you to take inspiration from the genre you’re using at the moment, but it will also make your art look at least slightly different to the stuff you’ve been making recently, as well as allowing it to seem a bit more “original” too (yes, nothing can be “100% original”, but the more different inspirations you have, the more original your work will seem).

For example, in a couple of the cyberpunk paintings I’ve made, I’ve focused on adding gothic horror or adding more 1990s-style elements (this can be seen in the preview near the beginning of the article). They still look like cyberpunk paintings, but slightly different ones.

So, if you can’t change the entire genre, then just add a few small parts from other genres in order to keep things interesting.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂