Encouraging inspiration to strike
Inspiration can come to you in many ways, sometimes in the middle of the night when you suddenly awake, reach for the notepad you keep by the bed for these very moments – or from something you see or overhear in the street…or it doesn’t come to you at all.
It is likely that every creative person has experienced both of a wealth and a dearth of ideas, so here’s a few things that we like to do to try and get some inspiration when it is proving illusive.
First stop, Pinterest…
But NOT for the thing you are trying to design, e.g if you are trying to design a necklace, don’t search for necklaces (as you might end up inadvertently copying somebody else’s design) – but try one or all of the following searches:
- Patterns (you can be general or specific, depending on the colours or materials you have available)
- Photography (again, general or specific, eg. Photos of trees)
- Colours – sometimes just searching a specific colour or colours can trigger design ideas
Visit a library, museum or art gallery…
Any of these three places are a fantastic source of inspiration because you can do the following in them:
- Just sit in one of these places, which are usually quiet and let your imagination drift
- Actively watch the other people (you never know, the angle at which someone holds their arm, hand or head might just be the exact thing you have been looking for)
- Look at the books, objects or paintings – (again be careful not to look at similar things to what you are designing).
When looking, ask yourself the following questions:
- What one word springs to mind when you first look at this item?
- What jewellery does this item make me feel like wearing?
- Do I like the use of colours?
- Are there any interesting textures?
- If this item was in my house, which room would I put it in?
- Would I give this item as a gift to someone? If so, who and why?
- Can you see any shapes or patterns in this item?
- If you had to give this item a name or title, what would it be?
- Is this item light or heavy?
- If this item had a volume, would it be loud or quiet?
Write down the first 10 words that you think of…
- This can be quite fun and make you realise or formulate ideas that have been buzzing around in your head, but not quite formed yet
- You can then move onto being more specific with your 10 words, e.g the first 10 colours, or textures, or types of pattern (e.g herringbone, checked), places you’d like to visit.
Choose two or three shapes…
- Then using only your chosen shapes, start to draw them in the following ways:
- Set a timer for 1/2/3/5/10 minutes
- Keep your pencil/pen on the paper for the entirety of the allocated time and repeatedly draw these shapes, so you will end up with a connected mass of shapes
- Keep your pencil/pen on the paper for the allocated time – but don’t look at what you are drawing
- Create a repeating pattern using these shapes – e.g circle, square, triangle
- Try using your non-dominant hand to draw these shapes – try both looking at what you are drawing and not looking
- Set a timer for 1/2/3/5/10 minutes
The most important thing when trying out these ideas is to not limit yourself or stop because you think they aren’t ‘good’ or ‘interesting’ – keep all of your sketches, drawings, doodles, ideas and lists because although they might not give you inspiration today, but they might tomorrow or in 2 years when you know you’ve thought about something before, but can’t quite remember…
As a little experiment – I typed ‘Inspiration’ into Pinterest and these are the first five images that appeared…what do they make you think of?
Remember to look not just at the words/image – but the patterns, colours and other thing within the image, e.g the circles of the little girl’s wings, or the pattern of the yellow boarder.
Tell us what they made you think of and showus your resulting creations in the comments below.