Searching for Inspiration

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Sometimes finding inspiration for a new creative project can be a task in itself. We have all been there – when your sat at your desk staring into the screen wishing your brain would just magically click and let you have an out-pouring of amazing ideas, but unfortunately inspiration just doesn’t work like that (unless your very lucky, or a wizard).

#1 / Step away from the desk

One of the best ways to find inspiration for projects is to actually get away from the space that you work in, get out of the familiar and see what happens. This can really help if your feeling stressed about your work, because you might just be going over the problem too much, when really all you need is to clear your head. This could start by simply taking a break and going for a walk. When I do this I always take my camera, its relaxing and when the mind is at rest new ideas can evolve and take shape.

#2 / Take a Walk 

You might already know what places inspire you. For me its parks and nature, so I know when I take a walk in an area like this I feel comfortable and can get some good shots to use in my work. However, the same could be said if you’re inspired by modern architecture or people – having a walk into the city centre armed with your camera could provide you with tons of things to inspire you.

If you wanted, another good idea for inspiration is to sit in a public place and draw what you see. You could do this in a cafe observing the people around you, watching their body language and facial expressions. (Don’t worry most people don’t even mind you drawing them! You never know this could even be a good way to publicise yourself as an artist in your local area).

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#3 / Reflection

After you have gathered some material and information, sit yourself down with a lovely cup of tea (or a hot beverage of your choice) and think about what you saw or if anything stood out to you. Write down your ideas and take a look through your images. If you really wanted you could even create a bit of a mood board or take to pinterest to start to plan ideas which could then turn into some good work.

Another thing you could do if your still feeling uninspired is look at your old work, you might find something that you used to enjoy drawing or crafting, and this could trigger a new idea. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Creating new work at the end of the day is meant to be fun! If your not feeling inspired, maybe try experimenting with new materials and mediums or try a new approach. Sometimes when your just doodling ideas or making messy art in a sketchbook, these things can lead to a good piece of inspiration and work.

#4 / Seek some feedback 

Always ask people what they think of your work, if your struggling to come up with new ideas getting other perspectives is a great way to figure out what is working and what isn’t. Theres lots of great ways to do this whether its just asking your close friends for advice or even putting your work out there to the wider world! (which can seem like the scariest thing but any feedback is good feedback and this allows you to focus on the things which you can work on).

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#5 / Knowledge is key 

It’s always important to gain more knowledge on a subject as this allows you to have a better understanding on a variety of topics, enabling you to think outside of the box. If you have an idea in mind – research this area in depth! Or if its a certain skill that you need to improve on in order to work on an idea then teach yourself more about it. One way of keeping inspired without even leaving the house is to look at blogs,websites and books. See what other designers/artists are doing. Some of my personal favourites include;

Its nice that / Creative Bloq /Creative Boom /Design Juices/Pikaland/Illustration Friday/A Beautiful Mess/graphiquefantastique

There isn’t a right and wrong answer to how you gather inspiration or where it comes from. The important thing is to not be too hard on yourself and to accept mistakes. Some of the best ideas simply come to us when we are playing around with new material, or even when we are just nodding off to sleep. Just remember that an idea can spark at any moment, all you have to do is jot it down and thats where it all begins.

My article was  originally featured  on Fashion Philosophy.

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Where I create

Trying to keep my desk nice and organised at the moment.

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My desk area

I really love looking at what designers and illustrators desk areas look like (I’m a bit nosy and plus it gives me tips for my own) and what tools they use to create their work. I thought I would do my own little feature on this for my blog. This is my desk area at the moment, after I’ve recently given it a bit of a spruce. I love busy patterns and anything thats a bit girly, as you can probably tell from the photograph. I’m also very happy with my recent purchase the cup you can see in this picture was only £1! When I’m working I always make sure I have plenty of cup of tea breaks so I can use all of my favourite mugs. I always have a box of tissues on my desk too as I always seem to have a runny nose!

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The journals I’ve purchased recently

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A bargain from Wilkinsons

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The inside back cover has a space for keep sakes

I’ve recently purchased some new journals to help me be a bit more organised. I love the colour of the pink journal above, the one below it I got from Wilkinson’s for £1.50, a bargain. It has a days of the week planner, an area for notes, shopping lists, to do lists and an area at the back for receipts and keep-sakes. I think it will be a nice addition to my desk, I’m also looking forward to planning my work in my organiser, so I know what I’m doing on each day, rather than having it spread around on bits of paper that I can never find.

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My favourite go to books.

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Good magazines for inspiration

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Mollie Makes and oh comely

My favourite magazines always offer lots of inspiration, I keep a stack of them in the shelves of my desk. I love to read oh comely when I’m having a break from doing my work, its full of really great articles and I always find myself becoming peaceful whenever I read it. Its a great stress-reliver. I think its great how each issue also has a different theme, they also have great illustrations in each issue often with many interviews as well. I also love to read Mollie Makes as it always offers a lot of inspiration and crafting ideas. Computer Arts is a very interesting read, it offers interviews, tutorials and self-help articles. Its great when they do issues such as the self-promotion one. Also on my shelves are my favourite go to books; Becoming a successful illustrator, Collage (illustration cut and paste) and The fundamentals of illustration. These provide helpful tips on how you should create your own process for working, how to generate ideas and everything else you might need to know on how to be an illustrator. The collage book is a really interesting book to look at too, collage is one of my favourite forms of illustrations and one that I use a lot myself, so this book is very handy.

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My box of cut-outs

Also stacked in the shelves of my desk are my box of paper-cut outs. This box has all the images that I have ever used in my set design illustrations. Including a pair of roller-skating legs … This is a box that I can come back to when-ever I need a certain image, for example some trees or a photograph of a bag. I would eventually like to expand this collection into different storage boxes with different labels for each thing Ive collected. But I think thats a big project for the future, for now I’m happy with my box.

I would love to see what your desks look like and what inspires you, leave me a comment below with a link to your work areas!