I have designed and built numerous of my own original illusions. If you wish to build or design one that's been done before, the best thing to do is by a book of illusion plans and then modify it to what you need.
However, if you want to design and create your OWN illusions, there is a method to the madness. First, decide on what it is that you want to accomplish...What illusion are you wanting to do? Then design a way to do it....Realistically and practically. I have a graph notebook that I sketch all my ideas in. A rough concept of what I want to do. Then I think of ways that I can accomplish them and draw it out to scale.
Last, I design the graphics for the illusion. Is it going to be painted, Black Art, what colors do I want to use, do I want to go with a specific theme with this illusion...which is based on HOW this illusion is going to be presented.
Excellent advice! That's exactly what I do too. I also have a notebook with me that I'm scribbling down. Usually after watching a show I'll try to modify the ideas and come up with my own methods. Studying other illusionists shows and determining their methods are a great to create your own methods. Just don't be a copycat.
Also, more praise for Andrew Mayne! His cheap illusions are amazing just because they're cheap. Not everyone can relate to a shiny nice painted pine crate that you put on your head and twist with a big shoulder crank and spin your neck around... but with a cardboard box... how many people have never seen a cardboard box? His illusions are easy for the audience to relate to, and cheap and easy to build
wow I have to stop ranting in my posts -_-
haha good luck with your illusions!