Generative sketching: from ideas to paintings


Artists have transformed ideas into works using different routes. Inspiration for ideas come from the external reality transformed by the artist personality (emotions, experiences, memories, thoughts, frames of mind). Sometimes, the artist uses no external reality and his/hers interior world is the source of artistic inspiration. Sketching has been used by artists to record inspiration and to test artistic parameters as composition or color. Often, the traditional sketching process begins with a more or less defined idea. Then, the artist tests, refines and selects what to paint (if painting is the mean of expression) using paper and traditional media (pencil, chalk, paint, etc.).Generative sketching or writing computer programs to generate images that will be used as painting input, allows me to modify this traditional cycle of idea-sketch-work and transform the route and the goals with a degree of freedom that greatly stimulates my creativity. Now, the “sketching” begins with a very abstract idea in mind. Once you get used to transform ideas into computer code, generative sketching allows the exploration of artistic alternatives and it produces inspirational feedback in a way that is radically different as the traditional sketching process. Then, the generative sketch can become the final work or it can “demand” the rendering of a picture using traditional media.Is it relevant to paint a generative image? well, it depends. I am interested in the concept of human control over the environment and the influence of randomness as well as the relationship man-technology. When I code a generative sketch, I introduce control (the sentences that govern the sketching action) and also a degree of randomness in the code. This is a machine control/randomness balance. Then, I select certain outputs (again, human control) and I paint a canvas using the selected generative images as an starting point, without the aim of exact reproduction. The act of painting is a struggle between control and randomness because, depending of the painting technique, paint behavior cannot be totally controlled by the painter. In this way, I explore a fascinating “dialogue” between control/randomness and machine/human interaction. It makes sense to me. I feel connected to artistic tradition but using the generative sketchbook process, I can create in a very contemporary and innovative way that deeply reflects the ideas I need to express.As an example of this process of generative sketching, here are several images chronologically ordered from the very first idea to a final painting.