Creativity isn’t about making something out of nothing.
It’s about combining existing ideas into fresh combinations. Taking inspiration from one source, borrowing from another creator, adding a new context, changing the mood, and flipping everything on its head. We need lots of different ingredients to make a tasty soup.
As developing artists, our job is to gather firewood from many sources until inspiration sparks a flame. We need to stay curious, open minded, and explore.
In her classic book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests we schedule weekly dates with our inner artist to search for new fodder for our work.
This idea changed my life.
I make it a habit to regularly make time to expose myself to new inspiration. I go to bookstores and spend an hour looking through the shelves. I visit museums and galleries several times a month. I spend 15 minutes a day looking at portfolios on Instagram and reels on Vimeo. I browse art supply stores, see plays, and watch independent films. I absorb furniture design, folk art, street art, fashion, hiphop, jazz, restaurants, shop windows. I rarely have a specific objective in mind, beyond searching for the magic of new and different ideas, of bold risk takers who will inspire me to take my own fresh paths.
Creativity requires constant feeding. Use every sliver of your free time to search the web for new ideas. Block out some time in your weekly calendar to discover fresh morsels and add them to your well of inspiration. It’s one habit guaranteed to keep ideas flowing and your sketchbook full.