5 Great Sources Of Inspiration

This morning as I sat down to write the usual Monday list post, I immediately drew a blank. Normally, I would search around for some inspiration (and in reality, I should have it lined-up and ready to go) but unfortunately this morning, I was beaten by the clock and had to rush off to work.

Where does inspiration come from? Well, it can come from just about anywhere. It’s a topic I’ve covered before (not un-coincidentally after I drew a similar blank when attempting to write a post) so I won’t go into it again, but here are a few good sources that you can use when searching for inspiration.

1. The Great Outdoors

Not to be blatantly obvious, but a lot of what I write about is surprisingly enough, influenced by my surroundings. Seeing a sticker on a car or a T-shirt in a shop can turn on the lightbulb in the old noggin’. You’ll surprise yourself; I certainly have.

2. Blogs

I don’t think I can emphasise this one enough. You don’t have to follow a lot, but you should follow a few regular ones at least. There’s nothing worse than finding a great blog and to learnt that it’s only updated once a year, or even worse! Great blogs will do more than give you something to think about, they will cause you to build on the original topic, and hopefully come to some new and excting conclusions yourself. At the very least, they will give your mind a rest from thinking of something on its own.

3. Books

Books, books, books. Yes, if you aren’t a regular reader, you certainly are missing out. They don’t have to be boring books either. They can be fiction or fact. I prefer fact most of the time, but that’s just because I simply don’t have the time to read much anyways (although my claim to fame is reading all the Harry Potter books inΒ  days. Let’s jsut say I haven’t really put 18 hours a day into anything much since).

Books are much like blogs, but they tend to operate at a much slower pace, and they generally afford the mind more time to muse over ideas and thoughts. This can be good too, as you will tend to linger on what you read in a book for longer than you would a blog post.

4. TV

Yes, further down the list is the good ol’ tube. TV can be a good place for inspiration, but only if you vary things a bit. Sure, you could watch Nicktoons all the time, but you would be neglecting a whole host of others. The same could be said for Disney films. Yes, they’re all mostly excellent, but they do tend to stay within a fairly well-defined set of limits. Use TV for inspiration in small doses and you can get some god inpiration from it.

5. Education

Some may consider this a dirty word with no place in the arts, but truth be told, a little education here and there can do you wonders. I’m not strictly talking about formal education, but more the kind that teach specific skills and techniques. Things like photography, live-drawing, HTML, etc. All these are not absolutely necessary for your job or life in general, but they can help enhance it. Say you take a photography class, the practice and techniques you learn could come in handy in other areas, or you may learn about something that you previously did not. At the very least, you’ll mix with a group of people with similar interests to yourself, and that can only result in a cross-pollination of ideas.

 

How To Find Inspiration

Don’t ask me! Hahaha. No seriously, not today anyway, I’m coming up short!

While this morning might be a tough one for me to write a post, that’s just because I don’t have the time to spend hunting around for the necessary spark that will ignite the fire under my butt and get me to write something. The good news is, if you do have the time, inspiration can come from just about anywhere.

Thanks to the internet, there are literally millions of places you can go for inspiring ideas or topics without leaving your desk (or lap). I follow (literally) hundreds of blogs and they are always a source of thought. Be it straight out ideas or discussions on a topic that can lead me in another direction.

If you’re not too much into that, how about a book? If that doesn’t work, why not head to the mall, or down to the local park or whatever. I find that people watching can be a fascinating hobby. With so many people in the world, it can be fun to try and think up exciting stories for the stranger who walks past you (just don’t think aloud as they pass, they might start to form their own opinions).

Creativity is a skill that sometimes has to be honed. for me, I sometimes need to see what else is out there before I can get myself going, other times I already have something ready to go. You may have a totally different way of getting up and running and that’s fine, as long as you don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re doing good and you actually aren’t.

The point is, when people say they can’t find inspiration, that is often a way of saying that they haven’t really tried, or if they have, been looking in the wrong place. You can avoid this mistake by finding what it is that inspires you on a consistent basis and utilising it to the max.

Creator’s Block

We’re all familiar with writer’s block, that agonizing thing when it feels like you can write nothing. But what about creator’s block? I certainly got it today with this blog! This is the third attempt at a post and yet I am somehow getting it together piece by piece.

One thing I’ve learned from the readings and teachings of Mr. David Levy, is that opportunity is always knocking, even when you think it isn’t. Case in point, today’s post. I thought about recommending a book, commenting on cel-shaded animation, even about posting about the Fleischer Brothers move to Florida! Could I get past the first paragraph on any of them? Not a chance πŸ™

Yet here I am, posting about a subject that should have stopped me from writing about it in the first place!

What is it about creative block? Why is it that we feel we are simply unable to write or draw or paint or whatever it is we do? It’s a mystery to me, although I would like to blame the fact that is is still very early in the week and the joys of the weekend are still a long ways off.

Nevertheless, animators continue to amaze me in their prolific output. Of the many blogs I follow, there are naturally the few that update maybe only a few times a year, but others have new stuff up every week! Does this mean that the latter are better than the former? Nonsense, some of the slackers simply don’t have the time (or at least that’s the excuse the present whenever they post).

If you’re an animator working on a personal project, creator’s block can be your worst nightmare. Luckily, you can find inspiration from anywhere! Either on TV, radio, outside, your favourite movie, you name it. That’s what’s so nice about being in a creative industry, you can take inspiration from anywhere. Unlike myself, who is normally limited to the AASHTO Green Book, where the numbers are a bit more preceise.

My point is, creator’s block affects all of us at some point. We all hate it, but before you know it, an idea will pop into your head and away you go like it never even happened.

Hey look at that, I wrote an entire post after all those false starts πŸ™‚