Although this is an article about finding artistic inspiration (and creative inspiration in general), I’m going to have to start by talking about my own artistic uninspiration and how I was able to find some level of inspiration again. As usual, there’s a reason why I’m mentioning this stuff. But, if you aren’t interested in reading that part of this article, then just skip the next four paragraphs or so.
In the days before writing this article, I’d been feeling artistically uninspired. Most of the paintings that I was preparing for mid-January were uninspired, minimalist things. My mood and attitude when making them was a world apart from the mood that I am in when making larger creative projects.
Whilst trying to think of an idea for today’s article, I ended up procrastinating and playing some fan-made levels for a computer game called “Blood” that I’d been playing a lot recently. It was then that I remembered that “Blood” was one of several inspirations behind an interactive story I wrote last Halloween.
Although the project was quite a challenge at the time, it was one of those inspired projects that “almost made itself”. Suddenly, I started looking back on this project with rose-tinted spectacles and began to wish that I could make it again. Then my mind turned to some of the art that I was making around that time, and how it seemed a lot more “inspired” and “meaningful” than any of the art I’d prepared for mid-January.
Back then, I was making art series more regularly. These were often themed around things that had inspired me. I made a series of paintings including things I considered “awesome”. I made at least one series of cyberpunk-themed paintings. I made one or two series of horror-themed paintings.
I was inspired by things in these genres and I found a way to use that inspiration to make original art that felt “relevant” to me.
Remembering more inspired times can be a very useful tool in becoming inspired again for at least two reasons.
The first reason is that remembering a number of more inspired times can help you to work out what those times had in common. Generally speaking, although the reasons why you may have been inspired during several different times will be slightly different, there will often be similarities.
For example, many of my own “inspired” times were when I was either highly inspired by something (eg: a genre, a particular creative work) and wanted to create things that were influenced by it or evocative of it in some subtle way.
Likewise, whenever I’ve made comics projects about special occasions that I like, I’ve been more inspired. I mean, this year’s Halloween comic was one of those projects that “made itself”. I could go on, but there are a number of common factors between the times that I have felt more inspired.
Of course, your own reasons for why a particular time in your life was “more inspirational” than the present day will differ, but you can work out those reasons by studying the times when you felt more inspired.
The second reason is you can take a more direct route by trying to create something similar to the things that you created during these “inspired” times. For example, a while before writing this article, I thought about making another “awesome stuff” art series, since I remembered how fun the first series was to make.
This is a bit of a tricky thing to get right though. If you are going to re-tread old ground, then you need to do it using at least vaguely new ideas. You need to look at the core idea of what made your original project so great and then try to do something subtly different with that idea. Or, at the very least, you should try to continue what you’ve already made (eg: make your new project more of a sequel than a remake).
If you look at your memories of being inspired with these two things (analysis and re-working) in mind, then you’ll also hopefully also avoid the pitfall of feeling melancholy about the present day or feeling that the past was a better time where you made better things. If you start thinking things like that, you’ll just end up feeling more uninspired.
So, remember to analyse why you were inspired and remember to find interesting ways to create similar (but different) things to the things you made when you were inspired.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂