We all get that “writer’s block” feeling sometimes. It’s like no matter how hard you try, your big brain just won’t generate anything. Whether you’re actually writing, or drawing, knitting, painting, playing an instrument, sculpting, etc, feeling stuck can be extremely discouraging. It can be tough finding creative inspiration on you own, so I’ve invited photographer, artist, blogger Gemma Darr (https://www.gdarrcreative.com/) to give us some helpful tips!
Tips for Finding Creative Inspiration When You’re Stuck
Hello! Gemma Darr here, writing a guest post for Life Lived Curiously. I’m a photographer, graphic designer, and sometimes-blogger. Recently, following college graduation, I took the leap and made my long-time creative hobbies a full-time business. I’ve been doing portrait photography since the age of 15 and, during my college career, I discovered a passion for graphic design and illustration. Photography has paid my bills for the past 6 years, and more recently, I’ve started a secondary income creating custom illustrated portraits and running an illustration-based Etsy store.
I feel very blessed that “creating” is my job description. I’ve always had a passion for creativity but utilized it mostly for my hobbies when inspiration struck. However, now that it’s my job, I can’t wait for creative inspiration to come to me. I have to go out and find it or make it myself.
Being a part of the art community for the past few years, I’ve learned that finding inspiration is a very common struggle amongst artists and makers. I’ve gathered a bunch of tips and tricks for finding creative inspiration over the years, and I’m excited to share them with you. These aren’t medium specific. They’ve helped me when I’m illustrating, photographing, knitting, embroidering, collaging, etc… Whatever your artistic avenue, inspiration is a crucial part of making something meaningful.
So without further ado, my personal tips and tricks for finding creative inspiration!
My first order of business when finding creative inspiration is to browse Pinterest. (check out my profile here!) Pinterest is an amazing tool for inspiration. I have boards for just about everything. My biggest advice when it comes to searching Pinterest is to realize that inspiration can come from anything – you don’t need to look up “water illustration” if that’s what you are trying to create. I’ve found inspiration for illustrations from cool typography, photos, interesting textures, etc… If you do end up sourcing a lot of your inspiration from someone else’s work, remember to credit the artist and ask permission before sharing.
The very first time I went to a yoga class, we spent about 15 minutes in meditation at the end. I remember walking out of the studio feeling completely refreshed and amazed. I realized that prior to this, I don’t think I’d ever taken time to just be. It felt like I had a whole new tool to use for creativity. It let my racing thoughts slow and my mind felt clear. If there’s a time where I feel super distracted and I can’t focus my thoughts, I turn on my diffuser and spend 15 minutes in meditation. More often than not, I leave with a fresh mindset and a creative boost.
3.) Write Down Everything
During the times when I am having a burst of creativity, I pull out my sketchbook and write down whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I create rough thumbnail sketches, and other times it’s a jumble of words. Later, when I’m in a rut and need to create something, I revisit those ideas.
4.) Walk or Stretch
Just get physical. Now only is getting your blood flowing beneficial in general, but putting yourself in a different environment can give you the boost you might need.
5.) Switch Up Your Work Environment
Go to a coffee shop. Or the library. Or somewhere else where you can work surrounded by people. There are times when it’s good to work by yourself, and other times where it helps to switch up your environment. When I’m feeling antsy, I head to a coffee shop and observe my surroundings. You never know where you can find something to inspire you.
6.) Change Your Mindset
Whether it’s a photograph I’ve taken or an illustration of a scenario, I’ve found the pieces that show beauty in the ordinary are the ones that resonate the most with people. Learn to see ordinary things as extraordinary. One of my favorite art pieces right now is this embroidery by Twin Maple Blossoms. It’s just a shelf with a plant and a wall hanging – I have a very similar set up in my own room – but it’s so cute! She saw the beauty in the everyday and captured it.
You can find inspiration in any sort of book that you enjoy, but there are a few specifically geared toward creating art. Here are a couple of my favorite books that have helped spark my own creativity: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, Florals by Hand – or really any instructional art book that you enjoy, and #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso (cringey name, but interesting story!).
8.) Learn Your Hours
Over the years, I’ve learned that by the time the clock hits 6pm, I am good for nothing. I just can’t get things done in the evening. Find out what hours you work best in, and take advantage of that time. It’s when your creativity and productivity flow best.
I hope these tips help you to find that creative inspiration you’ve been searching for. Happy creating!
Check out some examples of Gemma’s photography and illustration work below! Inquire on her website for pricing and more information. Or, message/email me, and I would be glad to get you in touch with Gemma.