Finding & Using Inspiration | Part One


First off let me be perfectly clear, I am a huge fan of inspiration. 

There are many people out there, many creatives, who aren’t fans of inspiration and instead try and find their own way to express creativity. Thats fine, and there are many times I never even look for or at inspiration when I create things.

But when you’re just starting out or just learning to draw or illustrate, inspiration is crucial in developing your skills and your own style overall.

A good way to help justify this is a lot of the old masters, all the way back to the Renaissance used to find inspiration in the masters before them. Early on they would study, copy and create new drawings, paintings and sculptures. These new creations, even if they were created decades later, pulled inspiration from what they studied early on in their lives.

I have been, growing my inspiration pool since I was in high school, just starting out. I had a folder on my computer that eventually grew to a few thousand (unfiltered) images that inspired me at the time and helped me grow my creative instincts. 

Since then, particularly in the last 3 or 4 years, I’ve been steadily growing a new library of inspiration. Currently my library has over 10,000 pieces of inspiration, ranging from animation, branding, typography/lettering, sign painting and of course illustration (being the biggest chunk). 

Where does my library of inspiration live? It lives exclusively on Pinterest where anyone and everyone can come and check it out (and follow it). This allows me to not have to worry about all these amazing images and gifs from taking up a ton of room on my Dropbox and makes it easy for me to access it no matter where I am.

Where do I pull these pieces of inspiration from? All over the place. My main go to places include: Dribbble, Behance and Instagram. Additionally, if I’m surfing the web and come across an illustration or a portfolio of an artist I like I will spend a ton of time saving all or most of the works of that artist to my inspiration boards. 

Each and every day, I will jump on Dribbble for instance and save any and all Dribbble shots that jump out at me. These can be any type of shots from illustration, branding, lettering, animation and even UI/UX even though I don’t work in that anymore. You can find inspiration in almost any form of art and design, even if its one you’re not familiar with or not used to creating.

As you read this, my Illustration Inspiration board currently has over 8,000 pins on it. Now with that many pins on there, I haven’t even seen the beginning of the board in a couple of years. There’s tons of pins there, but I do know that if I do keep scrolling through, I’m going to find some gems I forgot completely about.

Anyone can just grab a bunch of images and put them together and let them build up and sit. Its how you use those images to further your own skill set that will help move the needle forward and make it all worth it.

But to hear how to do that, you’ll have to wait till the follow up blog post.

To Be Continued...