Inspiration is something that you can actually control. Find your artistic inspiration and you’ll feel confident in creating artwork that resonates with you. Learn how to develop your inspiration and how to manage it consciously.
Think of a moment when you were so immersed in a certain activity and looked up and hours just flew away, but it only felt like a few minutes. That’s the inspiration!
Some people refer to it as the flow state, the creative wave, the positive vibes. Others call it the muse or even the divine spirit. Whatever the label is, inspiration it’s basically a state or an episode when the mind is quiet. The actions are clear, and everything happens like with no struggle at all. It feels like the ease, joy, and excitement of doing or creating something.
What if you could choose this state of creation? What if you could “hack” it and kick-in into it much more easily? And whenever you’d need?!
In this article, I want to share with you a couple of practices on how to find and maintain the inspiration state for a prolonged time. Once you’ll find your daily inspiration, you can then feel confident in creating artwork that resonates with you.
Behind the inspiration
When I talk about creating artwork from the inspiration I’m not thinking of some sort of supernatural voice letting you know exactly how to create a world masterpiece. I’m talking about your optimal state of creating something. Something that resonates entirely with you!
Inspiration should not feel at all like struggle or stress; it should feel like the ease, joy, relaxation, and excitement of creating. Inspiration gives you energy. That’s why inspiration is triggered by passion! Without passion, everything sucks: a job with no passion sucks, a relationship with no passion sucks, life with no passion sucks.
However, very often you may hear something like “follow your passion” rather than find your purpose!”. These two concepts are strongly linked and they only work together. It’s like a circle that grows in time. I call it the Eureka Circle. (1) You have a Passion – (2) which gives you a Purpose – (3) that Inspires you – (4) to Create – (5) your Own Idea.
This powerful loop it’s built up in time. It starts in small-size but with action, it keeps growing. The more you create, the more passionate you become, the stronger your purpose will be and ultimately, the more inspiration you’ll have. And it keeps going!
That’s why passion is the catalyst that sparks and, the purpose is the fuel we all need to create.
Dropping the misconceptions
If you want to feel inspired, you have to learn how to create and control this state through your own actions. That’s why the first thing is to just drop your old belief system.
Get rid of the wrong beliefs such as:
- Inspiration is the “happy accident”, is when people are being randomly struck by it because they’re just lucky.
- Inspiration only comes from a wholly unique idea, something no one has ever thought before.
- Inspiration is only for creative people, usually artists, musicians.
- Inspiration usually comes from a genius, a pro, an expert in a certain field.
Find your inspiration
Inspiration looks different for all of us because we are all different individuals! We have different natural states, therefore, we have different needs and different ways of expressing ourselves. Though we all have something in common, we can all explore, and create and, believe in personal ideas.
The daily habits are building and sustaining our daily mood of inspiration or the lack of it.
Remember, inspiration can come in different shapes and sizes, you just have to find whatever works best for you.
Because inspiration is something natural, it’s like common sense for us as humans, we can physically sense it in our minds and body. We can feel the energy. By no means am I referring to something like, grab an extra coffee or latte, with extra sugar to boost up your mood? I mean, the constructive manner that shapes you as an artist.
Here are a few pointers to help you find your inspiration.
Find your inspiration in your own environment
The environment may be your city or nature close by or, all the places while traveling. The key is to literally walk consciously in an environment that you’d normally go pass quickly without observing a thing. If you can tap into this state of relaxation you’ll start noticing things and your mind will basically get off from the autopilot routine mode. Your mind continuously learns and observes the details.
“I get inspiration from my everyday life.” – Hayao Miyazaki (film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, manga artist)
- Go for a walk and just let your mind wander naturally.
- Observe the things that you normally pass by like objects, people, birds, pets.
- Take photos of whatever looks beautiful to you, keep them for visual reference or a visual journal.
- Take your sketchbook with you and just doodle whatever looks interesting to you.
- Walk and listen to the sounds.
- Walk and listen to an audio-book or even your own favorite music.
Find your inspiration from other artists
Develop your own art-style and your artistic-individuality by learning from other artists. We have this wrong belief that an artist must come up with unique ideas. The fact is, learn from others, understand their message, concept, and process. There’s no shame in “recycling” any good idea. Connect with art communities and artists, surround yourself with inspiring people, in both real lives, and on social media.
“Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso (painter, sculptor, poet)
- Look for people/artists that share the same interests or skills as you.
- Look for people/artists that create work that inspires you.
- Listen to podcasts, watch talks, interviews or vlogs over the topics that inspire you.
- Create your personal visual library of artist’s work or just references (use for example Pinterst.com).
- Join art marketplaces and communities (for example Artstation.com).
Find your inspiration in possibilities
In order to grow as an artist, you must grow as a person. It only works this way. It means that you must have an open mind to new paths and possibilities. Possibilities are built from experiences and challenges that initially seem hard or just a long ride. Trying new things is the key to avoiding being stuck.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney (entrepreneur, film producer, animator, voice actor)
- Make a bucket list with things you would love to try in your lifetime.
- Learn something new which looks slightly away from your comfort zone but, yet connected.
- Teach something which you think are good at, use online platforms such as Udemy.com or Skillshare.com.
- Create and share free content, your own expression for the public such as artwork, blog post, a video, a drawing, a project.
It all turns to put-in constant action, don’t leave a great idea sketched in your mind, but keep moving it to experimentation and then into creation. Keep the flame burning until it gets transformed into a fire. Therefore only through action, you’ll build your inspiration.
- Change your environment. Spend more time with people who inspire you and let go of the ones who tire you.
- Do things differently. Step out of the routine, of any restrictive boxes and color outside the lines a bit more.
- Self-maintenance. There are 1440 minutes in a day, I suppose you can set aside 30-40 minutes for your dream only.
Through my interaction with students, I’ve seen how a little push of “confidence” plus, new “challenges” can encourage their personal expression. I heard them saying – “I feel inspired” or, “That’s inspiring to me” or “That’s my best work so far.”
I strongly believe that inspiration gets build up in time, through continuous practice and learning. But first, you need to create a work-base that you need to challenge it, that will get transformed into confidence.
By “work-base” I don’t mean literally doing nonstop artwork! I mean all kinds of exposures that you use in order to become a better artist such as experiment the same concept in different ways, learn new things, share your work in the art community, travel to new places, teaching other people.
And then in time, your work-based will build up a momentum that becomes your artistic wisdom.
The more you practice your artistic wisdom, the more experienced you become, the more inspired you’ll be in creating artwork that resonates with you.
So the message of this article is, have more experiences in life because your inspiration does exist somewhere there. You just have to find it and nurture it a little bit.
- Jason Silva – The Moment of “AHA”. A look at the creative process and the cathartic power of great art.
- Hayao Miyazaki – My Inspiration.
- Michael Gervais – The most optimal state for humans.
- Lory Deschene – 50 Ways to find inspiration.
- Sen. Calm down Mind – Letting go of the mindset of struggle.
- Frontiers in Human Neuroscience – The scientific study of inspiration in the creative process: challenges and opportunities.