DIY

The World As Inspiration: How to Find Ideas in Anything

I am going to start you guys off with two compelling quotes before I dive into this post. I believe it will help you find some of the coolest things to pull inspiration from as well as how to find inspiration in anything.

I am arming you with the latter first, so you’ll know how to make the most of mining the real gems:

I wouldn’t use a club personally, I find notebooks are far more efficient, which leads me to the next quote:

Your most important tool as are your sketchbooks and notebooks. You need to carry them on you everywhere you go. Why do you ask? Because the day you don’t, you’ll forget that wonderful idea or miss the chance to even have that idea in the first place. All around you and everywhere you go there are things to use, especially if you do it deliberately. Cameras can also be an asset.

Here is a little exercise I use to keep me sharp on creative ideas. It helps you develop ideas faster and look at things differently once you realize that everything has more potential than you would originally judge it to have.

  1. Look around you and pick something, anything! It could be a pillow, a plant,a book, a piece of carpet or…even a blank wall.
  2. Take that thing and start brainstorming ideas! There are different ways you can do this, and I suggest giving them all a go because the more angles you look at something the more idea starting points it will have but don’t forget to write them down. Take for instance the carpet.
  3. What is it’s actual use; when and why was it invented? What trends did it go through, where did it come from, what is it made of.

4. What could you use it for; A rug, you could hang it on the wall, on a table, A blanket.

  1. What particular elements of it could be used and how; the texture might make cool prints with paint onto paper, it’s tough and be good for solid sculptures, it insulates, it protects.
  2. What could you physically do to it? Burn it, roll yourself up in it, Paint it, cut it into shapes,
  3. Mixing these answers together is where the magic happens

It’s tough and insulates, you can cut it and paint it so you could make a Tepee.
You could roll yourself up in it, cover it in paint and roll across some paper while inside it.
You could make it into wall paper and paint prints onto it.
You could make a really durable pencil case with it.
You could work on a series of prints and designs of the life time of carpets (which I bet are full of cool patterns).

This list would grow really quickly, as will how you question the item, and the more you practice the better and faster you will get. And that’s just carpet, Imagine picking something you have a passion or deeper interest in. Just remember to practice on other items to though and you’ll think of things you never would have thought of before.

Not everyone wants to stay at home and search online for ideas, and although you can with all the following resources, to some degree, they will be more effective to check out in person. Some of these are continual, some are events and need to be marked in your calendar or Filofax.

Public Resource Centers


Not only does your local library stock many fantastic books to borrow, but they often hold events and clubs for all sorts of topics – from talks to challenges and competitions. This also goes for museums and art gallery’s, often which, include films and documentary’s being screened and fresh and changing exhibitions. These places also have information and public notice boards which can turn up some awesome stuff too.

Like here, in the space of 13 days there are 10 really cool things on and that is just the art gallery.

News and newspapers

In paying special attention to local papers and smaller news groups in the deeper internet I noticed the wealth of cool things sprouting out. Community projects, Local or weird artists, more events and silly little things that people do that turns heads. Keep an eye also on the public notices, they’re full of surprises. From corn field mazes you didn’t existed, to discovering extra little museums you didn’t even know you had. I found in just this weeks smaller paper at least 20 or so things that would be fun to work with.

I’ll also put radio stations in this section. There a range of talk radio stations that have fantastic content. One of which I listen to often is the “Dark Matter Radio” The have a range of shows, some better used for sparking your imagination than anything else but they do have great physic shows. When I say better used for imagination, many shows are conspiracy and paranormal based. But the content is fantastic! It can be a little like a radio version of ‘Fringe’ at times and some of it even has me fearing the black eyed children that may come knocking my door at night. Either way, have a Google search around at the many radio stations around the world!

Cool events, holidays and observances

Bubble-bath day anyone? What about beer can appreciation day? Peculiar People Day, Rubber Duckie Day, Felt Hat Day, Floral Design Day… The list is huge! That doesn’t include special event celebrations in your town or city. I just found out today I missed out on a free breakfast for bikers on a “bike to work” day I believe. In that alone I remembered I wanted to bike around my country with a sketchbook or two and document my journey. Events will be something you’ll have to Google yourself for your area but below are some websites listing observance by date. I like to use these as drawing prompts as well as project ideas.

holidayscalendar.com
Wiki un-offical obervances.
HolidayInsignts.com

Free courses and Education tools

That’s right free! and not just that, vast topic ranges and quality education! My favorites so far are Coursera which has courses from many prestigious university’s and TED, probably the most popular.
Coursera
TED
TED-X
edX
Alison.com
Open Culture
KHAN Academy
OEDb

Now I hope you can see that there is NO excuse to not find something with this list. There will be thousands and thousands of great courses to choose from. I don’t really do full courses personally, I just love the access to the lectures and podcasts.

Still have free time to sit and say “I don’t know what to do? I have no ideas or inspiration!”? I hope you can benefit and create much more easily after having read this post.

 

 

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