Visual Creativity

There are a wide range of creative techniques that involve the exclusive use of image and illustration to take advantage of different pathways in the brain with the potential to generate highly creative work.

This page presents a selection of these Visual Creative Techniques.

Visual Technique: Picture chains

Picture Chains begins, as with all creative thinking, with the specific idea. What problem are you trying to solve with the Picture Chains technique?

Use your mind’s eye to picture the creative starting point. Then envision the picture steps that move the visual narrative forward from that starting point.

The creative technique Picture Chains is the equivalent of the text-based Chains and Laddering creative techniques, but using the brain’s visual creative pathways.

Picture Chains can develop a creative work through mirroring the Laddering technique, beginning with a fixed starting point and building a picture scenario that climbs out of that starting point towards a (yet to crystallise) creative outcome.

Alternatively Picture Chains can mirror the Chains technique, visualising links between a series of specific images, and connecting these images together to form a creative skeleton around which a creative work can develop.

Visual Technique: Brain Sketching

The Brain Sketching Technique is a more free-flowing visual creative technique than Picture Chains.

Brain Sketching requires a pen or pencil and a large piece of white paper.

Use your mind’s eye to picture the creative starting point – or starting points. Then allow the mind’s eye to wander freely around this starting point and, as you do so, capture objects, images, impressions, happenings, feelings (etc).

Sketch your impressions of these objects (etc) on your sheet of paper each time an object enters your mind’s eye. The result will be a series of quick drawings that will begin to structure and form into a creative work.

Brain Sketching is an effective technique that can be made even more productive by giving your brain’s Default Mode Network time to assist. Leave your sketched impressions and return to them the next day. You will find that there will be further creative insight and opportunities that your Default Mode Network has discovered overnight.

Visual Technique: PicMix

The PicMix creative technique mirrors the Link-Ups and Hook-Ups text-based techniques, but uses linked or forced combinations of pictures to create new creative starting points that can be developed into creative work.

The pictures used in PicMix can be obtained from online libraries such as Getty Images or Shutter Stock or the online presence of museums or art galleries.

Identify two (or more) pictures that encompass the specific ideas (or starting point) you are working from. Combine these images in the mind’s eye. Then imagine possible developments that could occur as a result of the combination of these pictures.

The aim of the PicMix creative technique is to produce a visual creative break of stasis. It is the equivalent of the chemical reaction picture above. Two (or more) stable pictures are reacted together – in the vessel of the mind – leading to an unstable visual compound that gives off creative possibilities.

Imagine how this newly unstable pastiche could develop into a creative visual outcome. What are the individual steps that lead to this outcome?