Shawn Nesaw

Blank to Beautiful

Staring upon the blank pages of this sketchbook, I take pen in hand and force lines of ink to make visual sense.
After a few sketches only waste space on the page, I look deeper. Beyond the 60 lb sketchbook paper lies the ten ton beast. It’s CREATIVE BLOCK staring back at me, using this flat sketchbook as his window to laugh at my struggle.
We’re here at ground zero of conceptualization. I’m building a visual brand language from scratch. The client has offered little but a name and a phone number and it’s my job to foster the awesome. The transfer of ideas from my mind to this blank canvas isn’t always so seamless.
What can artists, designers, or writers do when faced with the inevitable CREATIVE BLOCK? How do we find the doors that lead through this blind struggle? When you can’t see the end of the road, the solution to the problem, the climax of the story, the punchline of a joke, it seems impossible to grasp everything in-between. But the journey itself ultimately becomes the meat of your work.
Now, slowly tracing his ugly and obvious features, I begin to determine what I DON’T want this final concept to be and I decide to fight the beast. I’m motivated to make it different, make it better, and beat that ugly creative block. The chip on my shoulder pours onto the page in swift angular strokes, carefully assembled to build something beautiful.
The drawings here, not always immediately relevant to the task, begin to create a path of visual style. Those styles, in their rawest of forms, are the foundations for which a brand might build it’s character. It’s here, at the tip of this pen, that a brand is born.
The confidence and persistence needed to overcome that ugly creative block isn’t always easy to find. It lies somewhere in your love of the process. It’s the techniques that you know inside-out but are simply catering to suit a particular problem or client. I must maintain my passion for the process to drown the creative block beneath a sea of inked ideas. Those ideas now in infancy, eventually become the refined concepts that represent a brand to the world. This is what makes the process worth every minute of potential struggle.