When I lived in Italy some friends of mine (Matt, Morgan, and Arden) and I began a series of excruciating creative challenges. While working on a project we would institute severe time limitations on ourselves and create something as finished as possible within that time frame. For instance, while working on a project for Alessi we churned out a series of grueling 2-minute illustrations (these were compiled in the end and our boss, Omar the Crowbar, and the clients loved them). This is the kind of thing that working in a high-tech concrete underground bunker, in the middle of a vineyard, in northern Italy will inspire in a group of young men. Since then the challenge has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and flourished in the often hostile environment of the New World. For instance, my classes and I start almost every session with a set of timed exercises to get our creative juices flowing.
Here are the basic rules:
1. The exercise has to be timed (these days I generally go with 15 minutes)
2. Determine a medium/format for the final piece (Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, a drawing, a collage, etc.)
3. The exercise starts with a word or two (this can be a theme, a name, or nonsense connections like: cock-a-doodle pie)
The character below was birthed in this process. This was a challenge between me and Jordan the Bearded Yachtsman. We each gave the other a name and had to create a character in 15 minutes. The name Jordan the Bearded Yachtsman proffered was: Chauncey.
(Obviously I didn’t finish this entire piece in 15 minutes. I finished Chauncey (and his tortoise Phillip), and then went back and finished the rest later.)
This is the challenger.