Life-Cycle of an Idea

by Vivian Liebenson
One morning about a week ago I was extremely stressed out – and had been for a couple of weeks. To the point of needing to start taking beta-blockers because my heart-rate was galloping every time I got upset. 
So in an effort to find stress relief I started researching art retreats and yoga retreats and dreamed of how nice it would be to have the time and money to attend one. As I was reading about all the amazing art experiences out there, I got really excited about the idea of trying to create the atmosphere of a retreat for myself. 
I decided the place to start was here on this fallow blog – I could set up exercises for myself to create art and talk about it here. I became so inspired that ideas just came tumbling out onto my sketchbook page. I couldn’t concentrate on my work, my heart was racing (apparently beta-blockers aren’t just for stress situations) and I made tons of plans.
Of course, this was all terribly short-lived. As you can see in my illustration, around 4:15pm the real-world came crashing through the front door (literally – my 9 year old son and his friend home from day camp) and my stress levels returned to their previous mid-morning levels.
However, it was not all bad. I created this illustration and in doing so found a process I really enjoyed. I started by doing a small rough sketch, followed by what I thought was going to be the finished drawing. But, as a web and graphic designer I’m sometimes more comfortable on the computer where control-z can save my commitment-phobe butt and I can play with more colors than my current selection of markers. 
So I outlined the drawing in fine black marker, erased my pencil lines and scanned the whole thing.
Next I used Photoshop to isolate and move around the pieces I liked, colored in the drawings with transparency settings (multiply), and added the arrows and text.
I feel like it ended up with a nice hand-drawn, quasi-retro feel, but more polished than I could have achieved just by doing it as a sketch on paper (at least in the few hours I allotted to do it in anyway.)
Finally, my stress and anxiety is paying off.

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