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Behind The Scenes

Finding Inspiration and Overcoming Creative Blocks

Before digging into this topic, I want to add a disclaimer. There is not a one size fits all approach when it comes to looking for and using inspiration. I am going to walk you through the way I work, but this won't necessarily work for everyone. Whilst some artists and creatives so work in an incredibly fluid and unstructured way, I think there is a general misconception that this is the norm. In reality, most creatives I know have a far more structured approach to how they find inspiration and their own ideas.

Whilst you absolutely don’t need to have a structured approach, the benefit is that when you don’t feel in the mood, you are struggling for ideas, or you want to shake up your work, then you have a method you can use. It helps take the fear out of the design process. It can be that you find an approach and an aesthetic that feels just right to you, and I don’t want this to come across that we all need to shake up our aesthetic or find new ideas. It's absolutely okay to explore the same ways of making work and aesthetic for years and really delve into that style.

However, across my work I tend to work in a whole range of different aesthetics and styles which means I am constantly exploring new inspiration sources to try and develop my work. This is something I find really exciting - I love the variety. But it's also critical for me in my business as I need to create different ranges which will appeal to different people, so this is why I have found my process for seeking inspiration. There are definite parts of my work which I know I want to go back to and spend more time developing (particularly the long landscape pieces as shown below). I dart around more than I potentially would like to. So my key point here is that this process isn’t necessarily one you’ll need to go through weekly, or monthly... it's more one which you can refer back to if you want to shake things up.

This detailed article is going to walk you through how I go about finding inspiration, places you can look for inspiration, how to use it, combine it and find your voice. This isn’t going to go into detail on how to create designs, but more is about the overall methodology I use right at the beginning of the design process.

1 | How to look at inspiration

Before we dig into places to look for inspiration, I just want to touch on how to look at inspiration. You should look in a very free manner - looking at anything you find satisfying, be it a particular shape, a little hint of a colour, a scale, a purpose, a story... Try be really open minded and don’t expect a piece to hit every single note when you first look at it. There can be a tendency to overthink things, to worry about what you "should like" vs what you actually like, or to immediately worry about how you will use the inspiration, running ahead of yourself. As you hunt for inspiration, just save anything which triggers some kind of reaction in you.

A cross section of some of my recently saved inspiration

2 | Where to avoid looking for inspiration

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