Do you sometimes sit down to draw or paint something and find you can’t work out an exciting new approach to it? You know you don’t want to do it the same way as last time or like someone else has done it, but you can’t seem to come up with anything original today. This is where the Inspiration Book comes in.
What do I need and how does it work?
First, take some scissors, a glue stick, a pen and a nice big blank book. This can be a traditional child’s scrapbook or a large (say A3 size) cheap sketchbook, or you may be happier with a ring binder or a file box or even a computer folder – you will see as I explain it which format is best for you. The important thing is that you can both store and access the contents of it very quickly, because you are going to start picking up information for it EVERYWHERE from now on.
What information? Where? Why? What for?
Every time you are reading a magazine, newspaper or a book, you are bombarded with images, quotes and ideas, and now and again something will resonate with you for no particular reason or for a very particular reason indeed. Each time this happens – and don’t go SEARCHING for it: this is a “Right Brain” activity and should be intuitive and spontaneous – put a big cross or a post-it note by it. Now, or later when you have time, cut it out, photocopy or photograph it, and stick it in the book with a quick note beside it to say what attracted you to it: composition, colour, subject matter, format, “exact colour for the road”, “good idea for my bird painting” – just a word or two will do as you don’t want to waste your valuable time making this into a work of art or an essay. (It’s a good idea to have a glue stick, a pair of scissors and a pen in the same place you keep your book so that the process is even quicker. Sometimes you will not have to write anything.
Here are a few pages from my own Inspiration Book to show you what I mean:
The main thing is to shove all these ideas quickly in one place in random order – no careful filing and cataloguing! - so that you can spend a happy dreamy time looking through the book any time you need inspiration, from your own idea-sparker bank. You may come up with a whole new original way of approaching something. I recently did a flower painting using a composition idea from a photo of a row of Muslim girls learning to read.
Happy days with your imagination, and keep drawing!