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ORANGE STAR BLOG

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WD40 and Duct tape

Inspiration is all around us

To keep your tank filled, surround yourself with interesting, positive, smart, inspiring people. Similarly, if you consume and surround yourself with good art, music, fiction, prose, or film, etc., I can’t imagine you’d ever run out of ideas.

It’s important to stay inspired. My job requires me to be creative on demand. With each new client project, I worry “What if I don’t have any good ideas? They are paying me to come up with something great. I have a DEADLINE.”

The blank page is paralyzing. Starting from nothing is daunting, so I use visual brainstorming. I gather things—bits and pieces, words, colors, textures, layouts, etc. I used to use books and magazines, where now I use Google images and my camera phone. Drop them onto the page and move them around until it starts coming together. Refine and step away repeatedly. It’s an iterative process that works well.

Austin Kleon is a big inspiration. If you haven’t read Steal Like an Artist yet, I highly recommend it. If you have, read it again. Most artists feel like we should be completely original and not derivative, yet everything throughout art history is derivative. We all have heroes and role models. The thing is not to plagiarize, but treat them as starting points. Learn what they did and how they did it. Find what inspired them and learn about that, too, and so on. What you absorb becomes part of you. Mix all of that in a blender, along with your individual skills, sensibilities, and life experience, and what comes out will be original. No two people will end up with the same result.

Life Happens

Reinvigorate yourself
This is an original blackout poem I created. Signed, limited edition prints are available.

Despite efforts to follow routines and stay inspired, there are still times when things get crazy busy and we feel stressed and on empty. It is not hard to recharge—usually a day of downtime is all it takes. I might read, or take a walk with the dogs to decompress. Quiet, empty headspace gets things flowing again. My ideas usually come while driving or walking, probably because I turn off the music and the phone to disconnect, leaving my mind free to wander.

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