SConley's picture

Brainstormer Prompt Generator

Submitted by SConley on March 26, 2012 - 12:33pm

The original Brainstormer was created by concept artist Andrew Bosley while he was in art school at SJSU, studying visual development and illustration. As Andrew describes it, ”I was always trying to give myself little concept projects to keep myself sharp and thinking. So I created a list of objects, persons, things, etc. and a list of styles, adjectives, etc. These very large lists were in the back of my very first Moleskine (an address book used as a sketchbook). The idea was to combine an object or person with a style or adjective (ex. Byzantine submarine or subterranean factory) to create unique and interesting combinations to concept out and illustrate.”

Even in this crude form, the Brainstormer was a useful fuel for generating sketch concepts. But Andrew wanted something more sophisticed, more tactile. During a lull in freelance work, he designed an elegant and evocative cover for it and turned it into an actual, physical pinwheel. He also added the innermost wheel: “I wanted to add greater depth to the combinations”, Andrew recalls, “Sometimes I would want to create an actual illustration from the designs it inspired. But I needed a story if the illustration was going to be interesting. So this new ring of conflict was a way of adding context to the concepts that came from the Brainstormer.”

People loved spinning the wheels and generating ideas with the Brainstormer, and demanded a digital version. With the help of a good friend and co-worker, John Michel, the web version of the Brainstormer was created.


jonjessi's picture
jonjessi from the midwest is reading The Heroes December 19, 2012 - 10:16pm

This is amazing! Thank you for sharing this resource.

lesa's picture
lesa from California is reading Achieve in 5! February 7, 2013 - 11:47pm

Great information for creativity

StynReads's picture
StynReads from Texas is reading books as seen on her Goodreads - they change often. February 21, 2013 - 5:49am

I enjoy this. 

jomake's picture
jomake from Kansas is reading Saving Graces August 3, 2013 - 1:39pm

testing testing- just learning how all this works today I guess!!!

aaaahitsrach's picture
aaaahitsrach from Philadelphia by way of New Jersey is reading Beowulf August 20, 2013 - 2:35pm

Great idea!  Thank you. 

SatiricalKoala's picture
SatiricalKoala from Kansas City, Missouri is reading The Spy who came in from the cold by John LeCarre March 5, 2014 - 1:25am

Awesome, thank you!

lenor's picture
lenor from I'm here, in this world. is reading The glass menagerie August 9, 2014 - 7:55am

This method might seem compelling to many, at the first sight, but not me. It is known that in the crisis, the brain uman make precipitated decisions. It's like how do you grant a greater role than thought, study in the Act of creation.. But it's not beneficial for creation, for art. It's just something new! You can draw a few conclusions: Want to eliminate "wasted time" of all human actions. But "wasted time" does not exist! It's just a time of analysis and incubation.

Snarkastrix's picture
Snarkastrix from Portland is reading Worldbuilding; Chronology of Water; Art of Character January 10, 2015 - 10:15am

Bought it and all the add-ons. Fucking brilliant. Also so fun to play with. I know what I'll be delighting myself with the next time I'm drunk and writing.

L_Nixon's picture
L_Nixon from New York is reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut Jr July 23, 2015 - 8:21am

Awesome resource, i'm having lots of fun.

B.B.Blondie's picture
B.B.Blondie from California is reading I read to my kids right now. November 21, 2017 - 11:45pm

Thank you for the helpful information.

NicoBellFiction's picture
NicoBellFiction from America is reading The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene January 31, 2018 - 9:42pm

So much fun! Thanks for sharing!

tino8771's picture
tino8771 from Milwaukee is reading The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen December 19, 2018 - 9:12pm

Just spent the evening jamming on the web-based version. Got some creativity flowing, and even started what's shaping up to be a short story. Thanks for this!