Stealing Inspiration From Your Friends

When the lovely Susanne wrote a guest post on my little art blog, she wrote about using your friends as motivation - as a cheerleader or someone to talk things through with, or someone you want to overtake in a private competition. But you see, dear reader, I think she left out an important option: You can steal inspiration from your friends.

Now, friendly stealing in art is not all that uncommon, there are countless examples. Mussorgsky visited an exhibition and turned the paintings into classical music. 'Moby Dick' is said to have been influenced by Shakespeare. 'The Lion King' stole from Shakespeare. 'West Side Story' stole from Shakespeare. But that is stealing (friendly re-purposing) of ideas. I'm talking about stealing inspiration.

You see, dear reader, I don’t lack ideas - I lack the motivation to get started. Once I doodled for five or ten or even thirty minutes, I can then keep going with bigger projects. This works much like responding to a prompt question, and then continuing to write. But I never know what to do in those first five minutes.

An oft-repeated advice is to do what you love. But looking at other people's art is not always helpful when trying to make art yourself. Then I reread the lovely guest post on my blog, and, being a procrastinator, I followed a link to this blog. And I realised: I love this blog! (This is a totally unbiased reader opinion I would have written (well, thought) even without being a guest author.)

The little stories from everyday life make me smile, and they put images in my head. And I want to be an illustrator, so I can indeed use something I love as inspiration - I can illustrate the images that the posts create in my head! These illustrations don't need to be massively detailed - I only do them for my own enjoyment, to get started, or, just this once, to accompany this post. But I can draw something that makes me smile and feel productive, which puts me in a better mood when I actually start on something big and detailed.

Your own inspiration doesn't need to be this blog, although I can highly recommend it. Find something that makes you smile - starting the big project happy is a huge bonus.

From my own experience, I can recommend music, books about photography, old maps, or even being in nature. My mum writes poetry sometimes, and from her experience I can add knitting, baths, drinking wine, and chatting on the phone for hours.

Whatever it may be, find something that gets you going for five minutes. The rest of the hours are easy to fill by comparison. (And remember, if you truly lack ideas, you can always steal from Shakespeare.)

Helping The Oceans One Step At A Time

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