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  • Writer's pictureAlex Rathbun

6 ways to find inspiration

There are two kinds of inspiration.

The first is the kind that comes to you. You experience something that captivates you. You are inspired and you cannot get this amazing thing out of your head. This kind of full-blown inspiration tends to lead to incredible art that flows naturally from your very being.

The second kind is sought after. It's when a project must be done and for whatever reason no creative juices are flowing so you need to seek out inspiration. Every creative person has experienced times of inspo drought, but in most cases, the work must continue. So rather than staring at your blank screen/canvas/instrument/paper, you must seek out inspiration.

No matter what kind of creative you are, I hope these 6 ways that I go about finding that second kind of inspiration will help you too:

1. Scroll through an online resource.

Some options:

  • Dribbble

  • Google images

  • instagram

  • Pinterest

  • Youtube - watch interesting tutorials or music videos

This is always my go-to for quick inspiration, especially if I already have some direction for what I'll be creating. For me, it's helpful to visually see a lot of things at once. I sit in front of my computer with a sketchbook and sketch anything that stands out to me that could be useful.

Find a way to find their work or get in their head.

  • See or hear their work in person if possible

  • Head to their digital portfolio or even their instagram or Dribbble account

  • Is there anything written about them? Articles or essays? Or have they written or published anything?

This may be someone who's work is closely related or similar to your work, OR it could be something totally different that somehow inspires you. For example, though I do visual art, sometimes for inspiration I'll head to the website or instagram of my favorite band. Or jewelry maker. Or flower shop. Inspiration can often come from anyone that you admire and respect.

3. Draw inspiration from yourself.

I like to look through my old artwork or photos I've taken or look waaaay back on my instagram feed. Often I'll have made something a long time ago that I've forgotten about and would now like to mimic or draw inspiration from.

4. Do something with your body.

5. Change your location.

This is a powerful source of inspiration for me, as long as I'm willing to dedicate a little time and get off the couch to be inspired. Some ideas:

  • Ride public transit and observe your surroundings

  • Go for a drive

  • Head to the coolest coffee shop you can think of

  • People watch in an interesting neighborhood (ahem, Wicker Park here in Chicago)

  • Get in nature

  • Go to an art or music store

  • Wander through a museum

If I'm really in a rut, the best thing I can do is take someone out for coffee and hear about them. Usually hearing someone else's story or experiences makes me very energized. Whether it's a friend, a mentor, a colleague, or even babysitting a child, being around others inspires me.

That's it from me! What is your go-to way to get inspired? Comment below!

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