A few years back, the Tiger introduced me to this book titled, “Brick by Brick” by cartoonist Stephen McCranie. It was a comic about sustaining creativity as a creator / storyteller, where McCranie spoke of his journey as a developing artist. As someone who is still trying to run with things, this book gave me quite a few tips.
One of which is probably one of the most difficult, yet foundationally important step one can take:
FINDING YOUR ARTISTIC LINEAGE
Note: This is not going to be me telling you what you should do, I’ll just be offering my point of view through my own experience doing the same thing.
All creators are influenced by another party, be it a more established artist, works by a certain production company, or a story which touched them on a personal level. And these influences serve not only as foundation, but also sources of inspiration. When I learnt about this, I did my own searching and found an inkling of focus – wasn’t much but it was a good step.
This was how I did mine:
What do you like? Whose works do you follow?
It starts with us – why do we create? What do we create? And who inspired us? What I did was to write a list of people whose works inspired me. In my case, it was a lot of authors of works which I loved reading – Suzanne Collins, Gillian Flynn, Koushun Takami, Ransom Riggs.
From there, a quick search on Google and a bit of background knowledge helps. If you’ve read your favourite author or artist extensively, you’ll be able to get an inkling of where they get their influence from. Here’s a lineage I have as an example:
Ransom Riggs – influenced by -> Stephen King – influenced by -> Richard Matheson
After that, you can start exploring!
From a single author or artist, you now have a wider range of works to look at – more ideas, more inspiration.
It’s a simple step, but it has helped me put together To-Read Lists and opened my reading repertoire to more contexts and ideas (*cough*Atwood*cough*), many of them unexpected. Try it on your own and see where this takes you.
For more information on finding your artistic lineage, check out Brick by Brick by Stephen McCranie, or click here.