Exploring is the process of developing a raw idea into a full vision. What is this vision, and why do you need it?
Perhaps the best description of vision comes from none other than one of the greatest masters of art in human history – Michelangelo Buonarroti. This is what he said:
In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.
In other words, vision is not just an idea or a general direction, but something much more profound: an exciting and detailed mental experience of your finished work. It provides both the drive and the roadmap for your creative quest. That makes it a critical factor of any creative success – or failure.
What Michelangelo neglects to mention, however, is to me even more important. He forgets to add that a wholesome and detailed vision doesn’t usually appear instantly and out of thin air. More often than not, it takes some brainstorming and exploring to form a solid vision. Michelangelo himself was well aware of that, as can be seen in his many study sketches.
The bottom line of all this is that any meaningful, long term creative effort has two parts. The first part is all about creating an exciting and solid vision. The second is all about getting as close as possible to that vision.