How Do I Find Inspiration

How Do I Find Inspiration

Posted by Robyn Wall on

The most integral piece of being creative. Without it, you are just left floundering around. Staring at a blank piece of paper. An empty screen. We’ve all experienced blocks. We all know how hopeless they can feel. You stare. At that blank canvas. And think,

This is it. I’ll never make another decent thing ever again.


What would the world be without it? Dull and lifeless, I tell you. Void of emotion and beauty.

Elizabeth Gilbert explained one of my favorite ways to imagine inspiration (or ideas) in her book Big Magic. “The only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human.” Because of this, I imagine inspiration as a small, floating, pulsing energy with its own predetermined identity.

Now, this is more for those one of a kind, extremely rare ideas that are so unique, no one has ever succeeded with it before. Our world has so few of them left. Either that, or we are so numb to them they have decided to stop working with us.

Typically, inspiration is borrowed, recycled, improved. There are so few truly original ideas these days. But that doesn’t mean that the inspiration is not still worth entertaining. Or that you can’t work your own unique magic with it.

So how do I find inspiration for my work?

I look to things that I love. Nature, femininity, the moon. Or to things that have had a lasting impact. Trauma. Mostly my own, but others as well. The balance of Life and Death. The beauty and essence of dying. At their core these things, both good and bad, are magic. In their own ways, at least.

I am inspired by magic.

These things, on their own, are inspirational. Yet, there are so many iterations of each.

To find inspiration within a subject, think about it often. Dissect it in your mind (or on paper, however you work best). Think of what it means to you. What it could mean to others. Imagine it in different forms. How do you want to present it to the world?

Let’s do this with the moon.

The most obvious thing to me is the moons' different phases. In what ways can these be represented on paper or described with words? At what time of the night do different phases appear in your mind's eye? Pure darkness? Dusk or dawn? Perhaps there are many stars surrounding the moon. Maybe it is cloudy and a wispy puff floats partially in front of it.

Think about it from a less literal mind set. The moon has long been aligned with rituals during different times of the year. What is the moon called during theses rituals? What is the meaning of those names and what does that time of year mean for the people who named it? How can you represent these meanings with your brush?

You can go even further and consider the moon from a metaphorical standpoint. How can you depict these metaphors? Can you come up with one of your own?

Does the moon hold special meaning to you? Is it a prominent figure in a memory you have? You can recreate that memory on paper. Bring it to life.

The moon is an inspiration to many, but the wonderful thing is that everyone will use their own magic to recreate it.

After I have a general idea of the inspiration for my project, I start by gathering reference photos. I love making Pinterest boards to collect my inspiration photos. Royalty free image sites, like Unsplash, are also a great place to gather images. But only to use as REFERENCE. It is unethical to copy another artist’s work unless it is purely for practice.

I like to gather many images for the same source of inspiration and then use them to draw from. Taking little pieces from lots of source images and adding my own details to make it unique.

Combining different inspiration can make some truly magical pieces. This is a concept I have been exploring more lately. I can’t wait to share them all with you!

Remember, inspiration can come from anywhere or whisper to you at any moment. So, keep your eyes peeled and your mind open.

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