Friday, 5 August 2011

Illustration 101: Inspiration

This weeks topic Jo and Erica talk about artistic inspiration.

It can be extremely frustrating when your mind goes blank and you can't think of anything creative. We've all been there at some point!
Inspiration comes from anything and anywhere, it's an internal process. From quotes, to books it plays a key part to those initial stages of developing an idea.

Jo: I've had those 'bad' days when I procrastinate because I can't think of anything to do! Also I tend to waste time on the Internet because there's a lack of motivation but more importantly, I need inspiration!
Now that I'm a graduate I need to find my own work and develop self-defined projects. This really helps as it keeps me busy and it also expands my online portfolio.

My main interests are animals, of course, wild life, music, films, travels, places around London... basically the list goes on. I find that so as long as I continue to look for new sources of inspiration it'll always keep my work fresh.
If it's a tricky theme which totally baffles me I'll do some research and develop some thumbnails. And I tend to try new things out as well, if I don't like it so be it at least I've given it a go. So at the moment I love cutting up triangle bits, making messy collages and playing around with it in Photoshop. If it looks good to me then I'm happy with it!

When there's a creative blockage the best thing to do is to either go out and draw or simply take some time out. Make yourself a cup of tea and read a book, do something different for half an hour. Everyone needs a tea break!

Erica: I take inspiration from a variety of things, but most of all I take it from experience. I firmly believe in empiricism but I am also a post-structuralist/post-modernist. Much of the way that I approach the world, and my work, is taken from ques in these philosophies. If I explain I'll talk way too long. But basically, I take in everything and break it down, and see how it applies to me and my experience. From there I I try to figure out how it would be for someone else. The journey or attempts to bridge that gap is what inspires me the most. It's a place to learn and grow and you find new and really beautiful things. Removing yourself from your own existence and forcing your way into the role of another allows you to see things that you may not have encountered if you never left the safety zone of self.
I also find inspiration in fear, the things that I am afraid of. Approaching those topics through art to me is safe and private. It allows me the time and the patience I wouldn't otherwise have to really explore specific fears as well as fear as a much broader concept and the feelings that come from that sort of exploration really inspire me.
From a purely visual sense I enjoy form and math. I like seeing something intangible and foreign to me (math) and trying to turn it into something more palpable (form). I am still struggling with this in my work but the game is very exciting. I love colors, but I sometimes struggle between my desire for muted palates and my tendency to go with much brighter ones.
If you really get stuck for inspiration I recommend going to a bookstore. Look at some literature, the titles of books, the colors and the covers. I also sit and flip through magazines and a bunch of the books in the arts section. I always look at the books that are really different from work I actually do. I think those are the most inspiring because they can give you ideas or challenges that you can go take back into your own work. And who knows what might come from that sort of experimentation. You could find a completely new outlook on an old subject matter that revives it and your love for it again. I also try to avoid photography when I am really stuck, it distracts me too much. I want to see the imagination of the world not reality seen through a lens when I am in a creative block (don't take me wrong I adore photography but sometimes it hurts more than it helps).
Music is also really great for inspiration. I will probably go deaf by the time I'm thirty because I blare it all the time. I just love the way it feels. How can you not be inspired by the creation of people so talented and passionate about something that they are willing to put it out on the line like that, and for it to be so incredibly beautiful. Sound is amazing and constantly impressive.

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