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A how-to: Finding inspiration

I often get asked the question: How do you get inspired? Or how do you find inspiration for your drawings? I suppose to answer that, we first have to establish what we mean by inspiration. The way we see it is that inspiration is something that helps you generate ideas. Inspiration can come from everywhere and everything; from mundane to extravagant; from existing to imaginary.

What is an idea?

Inspiration is something that urges you to do something, to take action, and to create. So then you start to ask: what is an idea? We think we get stuck because of the pressure of trying to come up with an original idea, but originality as they say is non-existent, and that there is no such thing as an original idea.

Ideas come from fragments of our experiences, our interactions with people, the activities that we engage in, and the knowledge that we consume. And whether we know it or not, we take bits and pieces from existing ideas and combine them together to create something new that’s not necessarily original but it’s new because it’s us.

It’s putting our own twist, our own flavor, our interpretation and it becomes authentic and personal because it’s you.

Be open and ready for inspiration

Ideas come at the most random times so we tend to carry anything where I can write these ideas down. A notebook.

Sketchbook. Your phone. It also means to pay attention to things around you to mundane things. It also means to be curious and to try and see things from a different perspective because new knowledge or new discoveries can bring new ideas. Look at art made by others.

Go to museums or art exhibitions 

Read books by artists or of artists because this can influence your style, your process or the way you work, your techniques, and also maybe your artistic choices. But of course, you have to keep in mind not to compare yourself to these artists because then you can start to doubt yourself and that hinders your development.

Surround yourself with things you love

It could be a material object, a place, or a person.

It could be as simple as sticking images that you like on your wall. Or it could be collaborating with people to let ideas flow. It could be a special place you like to visit once in a while. 

Anything that makes you happy can inspire you. 

R. Laseur – Founder Flatline Agency

Engage in creative activities. It can be as simple as reading a book or watching a movie or going for a walk or singing. You don’t have to be drawing all the time, but doing things that spark your imagination or make you come to life; are things that keep the creativity flowing, which helps develop ideas. Try new things. As I said, new knowledge brings new ideas.

That goes the same for new experiences

It opens your eyes to all the things the world has to offer. Experiment with new materials, a new style, or a new technique. But of course, you also have to be open to failure and mistakes, and eventually, see these as a way for you to learn. Don’t force it. When an idea doesn’t come, perhaps it’s time for a break.

Get yourself away from the desk and from the sketchbook and do something else. You could be physically or mentally exhausted, therefore dedicate that time to take care of yourself because we function best in our best condition. And lastly, do what you want to do. You are the artist, the choice is yours.

You can try any of the things I’ve mentioned in this article, or you can try none at all.

Eventually, it comes down to each and every one of us because we’re all individuals and at the end of the day, it’s about figuring out for yourself what distracts you, what you love, what you’re obsessed with, what method works for you. All I can really say is it takes time to fully know all those things. It takes time to know what works for you and what doesn’t, so we just have to be patient and determined I suppose. This leads me to say that I know these are not the only ways to find inspiration.

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