Finding Creative Inspiration

Times are strange and though we may be inching back to normality, things will never be the same. We’ve been forced to redefine our lives, to question our values and think about what makes us truly happy. For some people that means pursuing projects they’ve previously procrastinated over or trying new activities or giving free rein to their creative side. But where do you start?

Last summer, our Creative Summer Challenge gave ideas and prompts for filling a sketchbook or to use as a springboard for developing ideas for art or craft projects and now seems a good time to revisit some of those challenges.

Read on if you’re sitting with a blank page but can’t make the first mark or you’re desperate to do something creative but need a bit of help with ideas.

SHARING

hands holding plate with cheese flan

One of the great things about being creative is sharing and it’s important that we maintain a link with friends and family even though we can’t meet up with them at the moment. Cook food to leave on neighbours’ doorsteps, mend clothes for others or make music for everyone in the street.

Collaborate with others to make art by working together on postcard size projects that can be posted backwards and forwards in a Letterbox Collaboration

Keep in touch with friends and family by writing them a letter. Create some mail art with these ideas for making and decorating envelopes, making fold & send letters, fabric postcards. Make someone’s day with a letter.

FIFTEEN MINUTE SKETCHES

watercolour illustrations on the farm

Stay still for fifteen minutes and sketch what’s around you, even if you think you can’t draw. The act of putting something onto paper makes you look properly, helps you memorise it and perhaps notice the unexpected. Use the prompts below if you’re unsure what to draw.

If you don’t have a sketchbook, make a simple concertina book with these instructions.

Look at colours and textures, light and shade, shapes and angles, size and surroundings. Use all your senses and immerse yourself. Make notes about details and your thoughts. Layer sketches one on top of another, make large sweeping drawings and small detailed ones. Draw in one continuous line. Draw without taking your eyes away from the subject and then try to draw from memory alone.

If you feel intimidated by a blank page, make some marks first. It’s surprising how freeing it can be.

KEEP A VISUAL JOURNAL

Spiral of stones in Kettles Yard, Cambridge

Use a visual journal to consolidate your creative endeavours, to plan and develop, to experiment and record, to inspire and improve. Don’t feel constrained by any preconceptions that it should be beautiful.

Use a scrapbook, a box of index cards, a sketchbook or a drawer. Make a collection of items that becomes a work of art in its own right.

Your journal could be a narrative e.g. of family life or living through lockdown. It can act as memory aid, a reference for study or become works of art in themselves. Use these ideas to start filling your visual journal.

PROMPTS

Sometimes we just need a word to start our creative journey. Interpret the prompt however you like. It might help to make a mind map to explore the possibilities and unravel your ideas to help you come up with a creative project that reflects the prompt.

RECYCLE AND REUSE

collage of apple blossom

Now that it’s not quite so easy to pop to the shops to get new supplies, we have to make the best of what we have.

Instead of sewing new clothes we might use fabric scraps to make patchwork or knit a rug from unravelled or leftover yarn. Old paintings and less than perfect prints can be collaged to make a new piece of art. It’s an ideal time to try out all those art supplies that have been saved for a special project. Use them now before they dry out or disintegrate.

Taking a creative approach to recycling can be liberating and satisfying.

SHAKE IT UP AND DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

under the tree canopy

In the challenge last summer, when we challenged you to “take a break from the norm” we had no idea what was around the corner. You may feel challenged enough by the current situation, but if not, there are plenty of ideas for looking at things in different ways, developing old ideas and trying different techniques.

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Download our free e-book if you’d like more prompts and strategies for creative inspiration.

Have fun being creative!

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