Alice Palace has been going now for nearly 11 years and the most common question I get asked is where do I find my inspiration – so I have been thinking of the answer, and have 11 yeeha’s to help…
1. Going horse riding is the best thing to help me with my creativity because it gets me outside – the fresh air always helps and my mind is free to wander. It’s about occupying one part of my brain, so the the other part is clear to be creative. It makes me feel happy and the more happy I am, the more creative ideas I have.
- So spend time doing the things you love most in life.
2. The same thing happens when I’m in the car driving by myself and listening/singing along to music. I find it’s a good time to tune out and spend some time inside my own head with my own thoughts. The same thing happens when I wash up – which is why we don’t have a dishwasher!
- So spend some time alone to daydream – your brain needs time for inactivity.
3. If I start work on any illustration idea, then more ideas will follow, and from those ideas there will be even more ideas – it’s just the way it works – but I need to get started in the first place. My main problem is not the lack of ideas, but making myself physically get started with them. Creativity is like a tap and needs to be used to keep it flowing.
- So do whatever you need to do to get started, draw up a timetable, make up some deadlines, pretend the Queen is over for a visit… and then start drawing.
4. I find I have to do every pointless job there is, before I can start my illustration work – but having a good tidy up of my work area does really help – and then I just have to be super strict. But if I’m having one of those days when the drawings just aren’t right, then I’ll do something completely different for a while as I know that on another day I will do the whole thing much quicker and better.
- So stop if your hearts not in it (and return to it later/the next day).
5. Spending time with inspiring and inquisitive people is great for my own inspiration – anyone that I look up to for whatever reason – can really help with my own ideas.
- So spend time with friends and family (and strangers) that make you tick.
6. I find that walking to work with the dogs is a great start to the day and I love taking photos along the way. I like to look at the world in detail – seeing everything that looks beautiful to me, seeing colours and shapes, changes in the day, that might otherwise be missed.
- So start the day well and you’re more likely to create.
7. Watching films and reading books also helps to feed my inspiration. I get a monthly magazine subscription to ‘Red’ which is not only a nice surprise every month, but also helps to keep me up to date with fashion, homes and trends. I like ‘The simple things’ magazine too.
- So ask all your inspiring people about their favourites, and make a list, and get watching/reading.
8. Exhibiting at shows really helps me to stay inspired as I see them as an opportunity to show off my illustrations & products, and to get feedback – without these dates in the diary it would be easy to float along without any set deadlines. It’s also a time when I see impressive work by other people, and that inspires me to come up with something equally impressive next time.
- So get yourself out there.
9. Keeping a notebook really helps me – as I seek inspiration from all sorts of sources and I can write down ideas/words and keep them all safe. I’m always on the lookout for the little everyday things, observing people, watching films, dreams I have, reading books, conversations I have, a sentence I read/hear. If I’m really stuck for ideas, then I can look through and see drawings, doodles, scribbles about the weather, the mood I am in, the last time I laughed etc.
- So keep a sketchbook/notebook.
10. It’s good for me to have a routine and I try to have set working hours. I have to be disciplined because there are so many distractions these days with email, mobile, twitter, facebook, instagram, pinterest etc – not to mention the everyday life stuff like cooking, cleaning, looking after the dogs and my small child. The other day one of my friends asked me how I make myself go to work everyday and I found it a hard question to answer on the spot, but after thinking about it, I realised that I must just be pretty disciplined, and enjoy my work! It doesn’t seem like an option to me to not go.
- It’s so easy to let your life get filled up with other stuff, so a routine is really important.
11. If I’m not enjoying an illustration I’m working on, then generally it doesn’t work as well and I need to find a different approach, or just start something new. The BIGGEST thing of all is to enjoy the creation and trust your instinct. I find that the illustrations that work best are the ones that I enjoy doing most.
- To be truly inspired you need to trust your instinct and enjoy what you are creating, and it will show.
Sally Payne is a freelance surface pattern designer and illustrator and she has been freelancing for over 10 years, focussing on the children’s market. She enjoys mixing up ideas with various media such as fabric, paper, collage and then scanning and finishing on screen.
Louise Wright’s work starts with a pencil and sketchbook, here ideas get doodled down and placement is played around with. Then she uses lovely pens to create a line drawing before scanning and adding colour digitally (sometimes her work is created completely by hand using inks, pencils and acrylic paints). Below are my three favourite cards – the rather plump birthday badger is most wonderful!
Rosie Harbottle is an illustrator based in Devon in the uk, and she has a BIG love of pattern, colour and type. She hand draws or paints everything before scanning and playing around with colour and composition to create beautiful artworks like the badger, bunny and owl below…
This is some VERY lovely work loaded with positivity by Miranda Skoczek – there’s beautiful painting, pouring, spraying, throwing, rubbing, stencilling, gathered imagery, experimenting, silhouettes, and big colour!