Simple Slideshow Warmup

I might be a hoarder…but I’ve found out how to use my digital hoard to my advantage!

Seriously, I hoard data, especially when it comes to art. I’ve had a folder of over 1,500 images sitting in my Google Drive for a decade that I keep adding and removing art from as my tastes change, but it has always served as a great source of inspiration.

And I use an open-source image viewer called ImageGlass for gesture drawing. That’s important, and I’ll talk about it in a minute.

So…here’s the thing — I’ve been doing almost daily warmup pages for a good bit, which is great for developing control over your tools, but I felt like I was developing control without developing my eye at the same rate, and I was trying to think of a way to “spice it up” a bit so I could develop more control WHILE developing my eye.

Enter: a folder full of art and ImageGlass.

I set up the slideshow timer for 3-5 minutes every day, drag the folder full of art into ImageGlass, and start up my slideshow while I’m sketching in the mornings. On random.

Then I draw whatever catches my eye in whatever piece of art I’m looking at until I have a sketchbook spread filled with doodles.

This is training me to observe and remember more of the art that I find inspiring or pleasing while I get my arm and hand warmed up for the day!

Plus, being able to combine pieces of a HUGE variety of art is letting me “remix” the ideas of the artists I love and create cool new ideas — sometimes.

I’ve managed to draw several original tattoo designs JUST as a result of this exercise.

Now…a disclaimer — some of these sketchbook pages REALLY suck.

As the first exercise I tackle in the day, I’m usually not in a flow state right away. My arm is stiff and I’m rubbing the exhaustion out of my eyes during this exercise more often than not.

But it’s the new thing that is helping me find flow and creativity quickly. I’m having ideas because of the randomness that I never would have had otherwise.

I’ll keep throwing more creative exercises your way! Stay tuned, and if you’re so inclined, I’d love to hear some of YOUR creative exercises in the comments. What do YOU do to generate ideas for your practice?

Josh Johnson

I'm a husband and a father to three beautiful kiddos. I'm obsessed with philosophy, creativity, learning, and teaching. I want to make the world a more beautiful place by teaching others to embrace creativity.

1 comment

  1. Love it! Ever since you introduced me to Imageglass I’ve been using it a ton. It’s by far the best image viewer on windows. The gesture practice is super helpful also. We can’t go to life drawing class every single day so this opens up so much more opportunities to continue learning and growing! Thanks for the video!

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