What is the ‘artistic process’?

What is the ‘artistic process’?

Many models out there that address this question in terms of a visual model or recipe. Here’s some examples across various media and practice platforms

Submitted by: Becky Thornton


1. Organizing your ideas.
2. Plan how to carry them out.
3. Select the materials.
4. Arrange the parts.
5. Use line, shape, form, color, value, texture, and space.
6. Exhibit your work.


In evaluating all these various visual guides to process my key takeaway is the centrality of a sustained period of experimentation and using a set of critical questions to ask oneself in order to create ‘improvement’. If a question guides the practical experimentation and the book/image-based research, this then seems to me to be a good definition of practice-based research. There are as can be seen from the above there’s a plethora ‘models’ of the creative process out there – some models conflate general creativity with a linear set of process actions. The key terms for me are:




This process dovetails very neatly with a sprint which facilitates a cyclical process and where there is no end point. In other words, the artistic process is synonymous with perpetual LEARNING. So we’ve looked at ‘how to’ models, but what about theories of the artistic process in a more ruminatory, speculative, and philosophical sense?

I hope to find a more qualitative engagement with what the artistic process means here and collect together various fragments from reading around the subject.

A few citations demonstrate the use of verbs and adjectives in the quest to articulate what is a largely liminal, complex and fragile process – arguably lost in the ‘how to’ approach (which is undoubtedly useful if you are just wondering how to organise your time and effort).

‘Quietness facilitates the ability to think and process ideas’
‘Four artistic processes: creating, performing, responding and connecting’
‘a convergence, an interweaving together of beliefs, aesthetic sensibility, personal interactions, cooperation, and access to and expenditure of resources – specific to each entity, all supporting the creation of art and connecting it to the world around it’’