Some Tired Ramblings About Hidden Inspirations And Creativity

Although I’ve written about ”hidden” inspirations (eg: forgotten things that have shaped or influenced your art style, writing style etc..) before, I thought that I’d revisit the topic again since I found another one. In short, after having a random conversation about television regions with someone, I happened to stumble across a mention of an old mid-late 1990s TV show called “It’s A Mystery” online and was suddenly swamped by a flood of childhood nostalgia.

“It’s A Mystery” was an early-mid afternoon TV show on ITV that investigated accounts of strange and bizarre events (eg: ghost sightings, UFO sightings etc..). It was the sort of intriguingly weird program that could only exist before smartphone cameras became ubiquitous, back when mystery and rumour could still still exist within the world. It was kind of like “The X-Files“, but aimed at a younger audience. And, when I was a lot younger, this show both fascinated and scared the hell out of me at least a few times.

So, filled with nostalgia about something I’d almost forgotten about, I decided to look on Youtube for clips of it. When I watched one and eventually stopped laughing at the gloriously terrible acting in the show’s reconstructions of strange events, I suddenly noticed something very surprising about the design of the show’s main studio. It featured bold, contrasting colours (eg: bold green, orange and blue question marks placed on a dark background, a checkerboard floor etc…).

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you can probably see where I’m going with this. One of the central features of my art style is high-contrast lighting/colours (eg: Tenebrism, chiaroscuro, bright colours against dark backgrounds etc..) and I also like to include checkerboard patterns when I’m in a bit of a gothic mood too. Here are a few examples:

“Video 1985” By C. A. Brown

“Above” By C. A. Brown

“Diner Scene” By C. A. Brown

Of course, if you’d asked me what inspired these elements of my art style before I rediscovered “It’s A Mystery”, I’d have reeled off a long list of things like the movie “Blade Runner“, old 1980s horror novel covers, old heavy metal album covers/T-shirts, these “Doom II” levels, an old computer game called “American McGee’s Alice” etc… And all of these things did play a major role in the development of my art style. Yet, I’d seen an example of this type of high-contrast lighting and checkerboard patterns years before I found any of those things… And I’d almost forgotten about it.

So, yes, hidden inspirations are absolutely fascinating things and they can often be an explanation for all sorts of interesting quirks, themes, stylistic elements etc… in the things that you create. In short, if something turns up in your art or writing and you can’t quite explain why it’s there or why you think that it’s interesting, cool etc… then a hidden, almost-forgotten inspiration possibly has something to do with it.

But, why? At a guess, it is probably because a lot of hidden inspirations will usually tend to be from the earlier parts of your life, mostly because you probably weren’t looking at the world from the perspective of an artist or a writer back then. You probably weren’t trying to learn more about art or writing from the things you watched/read/played/ listened to for fun back then. They were just enjoyable distractions.

So, you absorbed them without really studying them consciously and they either helped to shape your artistic/literary sensibilities or lingered at the back of your memory for some reason or another. They became part of your personal definition of “good writing”, “cool art” etc….

However, one of the interesting things about hidden inspirations is that they only seem obvious in retrospect. In other words, they are something that you’ll only discover by accident.

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Sorry for such a short and rambling article (I was fairly tired when I wrote it), but I hope that it was interesting 🙂

Why Writers Need To Read Multiple Genres Of Fiction

Although I’ve talked about why it’s important to read more than one genre of fiction before, I ended up thinking about it again whilst watching a music video. It was a video for a modern heavy metal song called “Afterlife” by Metalite and I noticed that, like with another modern metal band called Rage Of Light, the song contained elements from the trance/electronica genres.

Surprisingly, this really works. Both genres of music are fairly energetic, not to mention that the “colder” sound of the synthesizers goes really well with the “warmer” sound of the guitars. Yet, this awesome innovation couldn’t have happened if the musicians had only listened to nothing but heavy metal music. But, what does any of this have to do with writing?

First of all, I should probably repeat the old advice about reading and writing. In other words, if you’re writing fiction, then you also need to read it regularly too. Not only will this give you direct experience of being a reader, which will help you to see your own fiction from your reader’s perspective (eg: things like pacing, flow etc..) but it will also teach you all sorts of techniques that you probably won’t find in a writing guide. It’ll show you what does and doesn’t “work” in stories (yes, even terrible novels can be educational) and it just generally makes you a better writer.

But, what does this have to do with reading several genres of fiction? After all, if reading regularly makes you a better writer, then why shouldn’t you just read your favourite genre of books?

If you only read one genre of fiction, then the fiction you write will be limited to everything that has already been done in that genre. All of the writing techniques you use will be ones that you’ve seen in a limited number of novels. The type of plot that you will write won’t be too different to the general story types in that genre. Your characters will be similar to other characters in the genre. Your story might still end up being really good, but it won’t be the kind of outstanding, memorable thing that will end up inspiring other writers.

On the other hand, if you read several genres of fiction, then you’ll be exposed to a much wider variety of characters, you’ll see writing techniques that you haven’t encountered before and you’ll spot things that you really love and think “how can I add this to my favourite genre?“. In short, you’ll have a much wider range of inspirations and experiences to draw from when you are writing your story. And, this will result in a more interesting, original and compelling story.

But, how does this work in practice?

To give you an example, take a look at a zombie novel from 2009 called “Patient Zero” by Jonathan Maberry. Although this novel contains all of the stuff you’d expect to see in a zombie novel, one interesting change is that it is written and structured like a mainstream thriller novel. Even the main character is a bit more like someone you’d see in a novel by Lee Child, Clive Cussler, Matthew Reilly etc… than the typical “ordinary person” main character you’d usually find in a zombie novel.

Although this experiment doesn’t work perfectly (since the thriller elements reduce the horror slightly), it makes for a really interesting and memorable novel. It also allows the story to have a slightly more innovative plot too. Instead of the usual story about people trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse, this novel is a much more fast-paced story about a secret team of elite soldiers trying to stop bio-terrorists from causing a zombie apocalypse. It’s a small change, but it is the sort of thing that you probably wouldn’t think of if you only read zombie fiction.

To give you another example, take a look at P. N. Elrod’s 1990 novel “Bloodlist“. This is a hardboiled “noir” crime story set in 1930s Chicago, but with an interesting twist. The main character is a recently-turned vampire.

This automatically makes it more interesting than both the average vampire novel and the average hardboiled crime novel. After all, not only has the main character got to deal with being a vampire, but he’s also got to investigate a series of mysteries (starting with finding out who murdered him when he was human). It is the kind of creative idea that Elrod could only have because she’s read stuff in both of these two genres.

So, if you are writing fiction, then remember to read more than one genre of fiction. It will result in much better and more interesting stories.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Awesome Art Can Lurk In Unlikely Places – A Ramble

Well, although this is an article about art, I’m going to have to start by talking about a TV show for a bit. This is mostly because, after discovering a random “funny moments” clip on Youtube, I ended up watching a DVD of a modern version of “Scooby Doo”. In addition to the humour, this was mostly because this cartoon series is a surprisingly good work of visual art. Here are a couple of examples to show you what I mean:

This is a screenshot from season one (2010-11) of “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” that includes dramatic high-contrast lighting, clever use of silhouettes and a brilliant purple/orange colour scheme.

This is another screenshot from season one, which includes an ominous red/blue colour scheme (with a reassuring hint of orange/yellow), some hints of high-contrast lighting and hints of 1960s-style watercolour artwork too.

This is a cartoon series that includes bold high-contrast lighting, a really interesting 1960s-inspired modern art style, well-chosen colour schemes, some really dramatic compositions and a whole host of other amazing artistic stuff that you wouldn’t traditionally expect to see in a Saturday morning cartoon. And, of course, this made me think about finding awesome artwork in unlikely places.

The most inspirational artwork isn’t usually found hidden away in art galleries. Instead, it is usually “hiding in plain sight” in all sorts of places that you wouldn’t expect.

For example, one of the major elements of my own art style (eg: high-contrast lighting) was mostly inspired by all of the old second-hand 1980s/90s horror novel covers I saw when I was a teenager and the cover art for all of the amazing old heavy metal albums I found back then.

Likewise, as I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times before, many of the best examples of dramatic composition, clever use of perspective, clever lighting etc… that I’ve found have been in the old “survival horror” computer/video games that I played during my youth:

This is a screenshot from the 2000 PC port of “Resident Evil 3” (1999). Notice how the “camera” not only lurks far away from the player’s character in order to create a feeling of both insignificance and of being watched, but also how the game designers use lighting to draw the player’s attention to where they are supposed to go next.

So, what was the point out all of this?

Well, it is that amazing art is all around us if we are willing to look. On any given day, you’ll probably see more pieces of art than you even consciously notice, and many of these are a lot more sophisticated than you might initially think – if you’re actually willing to look at them.

Not only can all of this amazing “hidden” artwork have an influence on our art styles without us even consciously noticing, but it is also the perfect riposte to people who think that art is a “pretentious” or “irrelevant” thing.

The fact is that the world looks the way that it does because of artists. Art is the background to all of our lives in ways that we may not even consciously notice. And, what this often means is that some of the coolest and most dramatic works of art can be quite literally “hiding in plain sight”.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Creativity, Subcultures And Fandoms – A Ramble

Although this is an article about making art, writing fiction etc… I’m going to have to start by talking about music and fashion/clothing for a while. As usual, there’s a good reason for this that I hope becomes obvious later. But, if you don’t have time for this, then just skip the next five paragraphs or so.

A while before I wrote this article, I ended up reading some online articles about something that I’d seen a few times at concerts/festivals but didn’t know the exact word for. I am, of course, talking about heavy metal “battle jackets”/”battle vests”, which are covered in band patches. No two are the same, and each one is a reflection of the wearer’s musical tastes.

Even though this made me curious enough to make a fan art painting of what my ideal battle vest would probably look like, it also made me think about my relationship with the heavy metal subculture too. But, first, here’s a preview of the fan art painting I mentioned:

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size painting will be posted here on the 12th October.

Although I had a lot of fun making this painting, I suddenly found myself wondering if a battle vest was “too metal” for me. I mean, I wouldn’t think twice about wearing an Iron Maiden/Judas Priest/Cradle Of Filth etc.. T-shirt, but a battle vest seemed like a totally different thing.

Even though heavy metal is one of my favourite genres of music (and has been for over fifteen years), I felt strangely uneasy about the idea of ever making or wearing something that distinctively showed me to be the most absolutely dedicated of metalheads.

Why? Because metal is one of several genres that I absolutely love. I’m also a fan of songs by several punk bands, several gothic rock bands, a couple of electronic musicians, a couple of rappers, an indie band or two, a few acoustic musicians and even (dare I say it?) a few pop musicians. In other words – if I like a song, musician or band, then I like it. If the music is good enough, genre doesn’t matter.

But what does any of this have to do with creativity?

Simply put, having a wider range of interests (simply by following your own instincts about whether something is good or not) is essential for both creativity and originality. If you only take inspiration from things in one particular genre, then your creative works won’t be as distinctive as the things that you really love. Why? Because true originality comes from taking inspiration from lots of different things.

Following your own instincts about what you enjoy, rather than rigidly sticking to just one genre, also means that you have to think more critically about your own sensibilities. In other words, you have to look at what all of your favourite things have in common. Once you’ve learnt this, you can use this knowledge to improve your own creative works and make them distinctively “yours”.

To use an artistic example that I’ve used many times before, almost all of my paintings from the past couple of years feature high-contrast lighting and/or chiaroscuro lighting. My usual rule is that at least 30-50% of the surface area of each painting should be covered with black paint. It results in art that looks like this:

“The Lost Room” By C. A. Brown

“Launch” By C. A. Brown

But, how did I learn this rule? Simply put, I noticed that a lot of things that I thought were cool followed it.

These included things as diverse as heavy metal album covers, various computer and video games, old horror novel covers, the film noir and cyberpunk genres, 1980s/90s films (in several genres), historical paintings, various comics etc.. So, looking at a range of different “cool” things can help you to refine your own style and make your creative works more original.

To use a musical example, one of the qualities that I love in music is lyrical sophistication (eg: clever rhymes, good metaphors, interesting vocabulary, humour etc..).

This is why I really love various songs by Cradle Of Filth (heavy metal), Tinie Tempah (rap), Suzanne Vega (acoustic) and Bad Religion (punk). All of these musicians share this one quality, even though their music sounds extremely different. So, if I ever had the musical skill to write a song, then it would probably include this quality.

As cool as subcultures are and as cool as it might be to just focus on one genre, don’t let this restrict you! Following your own instincts and understanding your own sensibilities is much more important for your creativity than fitting into any one subculture, genre or fandom.

Of course, because the universe loves irony, one of the main themes in many subcultures is rebelling against conformity. Seriously, it’s something that metalheads, punks, goths, retro/indie gamers, hipsters, horror movie fans etc… all have in common. So, try to actually take it seriously.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Four Tips For Finding Creative Inspirations On A Low Budget

If you’re an artist or a writer, then it’s important to have lots of inspirations (but, be sure that you know how to take inspiration properly). But, of course, being “well-read” when it comes to books, art, games, comics, films etc.. generally tends to be a bit on the expensive side of things.

So, I thought that I’d offer a few tips on how to find inspirations relatively cheaply. Since I want to write a general guide, I won’t be mentioning specific shops or specific commercial media. But, I’ll link to free media – like in my articles about free cyberpunk inspirations and free pirate-themed inspirations.

1) It’s an attitude: There’s a certain mindset that you have to have when it comes to finding entertaining creative inspirations on a low budget.

For starters, you have to know yourself reasonably well. Having a good understanding of the types of thing that you really like (and which really inspire you) can be incredibly useful for the simple reason that you’ll be able to spot cheap things (that you’ve never heard of) that might fit into this category. This focus on self-knowledge also provides something of a bulwark against things like marketing hype etc… for newer and more expensive things too.

Secondly, you have to be somewhat patient too. We live in a culture where there’s a lot of emphasis on having the “latest” things, just because they’re new. Often, slightly older stuff is just as good or better – plus, it’s cheaper. Yes, getting used to this time gap can take a while, but it is a really good attitude to take. Plus, it also means that you’ll be a lot more selective on the few occasions that you actually buy “new” stuff too.

Thirdly, you have to be a little bit open-minded too. Often, things that are cheap may not be the things you are initially looking for. But thinking more abut price can be a great chance to discover books, films, TV shows, games etc… that you’ve never heard of before. Plus, since they cost less, there’s more incentive to try new things (rather than going for the “safe bet”) too. But, as I mentioned earlier, be sure that you have a very good understanding of your tastes and sensibilities.

2) Public domain stuff: Although copyright limits vary from country to country, it is a general principle of copyright law that once a certain number of years have passed after the death of a writer, artist etc… then the copyright on their works expires. As such, these works can legally be freely distributed on the internet, read, downloaded, borrowed from etc…

Although this time gap is fairly long (eg: in the UK and mainland Europe, it’s 70 years post-mortem. The rules are different in the US though) you’d be surprised at how many interesting copyright-free historical paintings and novels can be found on sites like Project Gutenberg (for novels) and Wikimedia Commons (which also contains lots of more modern images that have been released under various Creative Commons licences too).

3) Second-hand books/DVDs and libraries: This is kind of obvious, but libraries, second-hand books & DVDs etc.. are often your best bet when it comes to being “well-read” on the cheap.

In addition to this, there’s a certain amount of chance and randomness too. Whether you’re searching library shelves or looking at second-hand shops and/or websites that sell second-hand stuff, they will often contain things that you’ve never heard of before. And, since it’s cheaper, you can often afford to take a chance on new things too. So, this can often help you to find new creative inspirations that you’ve even never thought of before. It also means that you have to focus more on quality (and your own tastes) than on what is “popular” at the moment too.

If you don’t mind a little bit of a time gap between the things you read/watch/listen to and current culture, then things like libraries, second-hand shops etc… can often be your best bet when it comes to being “well-read” on the cheap.

Plus, buying second-hand encourages you to be a lot more selective with any “new” full-price purchases that you make too. Then again, one cool thing about Blu-Ray discs appearing is that the price of new DVDs has dropped somewhat within the past few years (eg: they’re mostly about £10 these days. Which is still a little pricey, but better than – say- ten years ago).

4) Games And Gaming: One of the largest costs associated with gaming is the actual hardware itself. Trying to keep up to date with modern gaming is an endless and expensive task. But, as flashy and cool as modern gaming culture and marketing can often seem, you don’t need an ultra-fast system or the latest games to be a gamer or to be inspired by gaming.

Seriously, there’s a lot to be said for ultra low-spec retro/indie computer gaming when it comes to creative inspiration. Not only can you play these games on much cheaper/older computers, but they are often better (or as good) than everything I’ve seen about modern large-budget games. Seriously, fun is timeless!

Older games (from the 1990s and early-mid 2000s) often had to be creative with the limitations of the hardware of the time, which often means that they leave more to the imagination. Likewise, modern low-spec 2D indie games will often also have to be creative within budget limitations too. In addition to this, many older games usually inspired more modern games (and will often have more fan-made stuff on the internet too).

The best way to buy commercial games of this type is via legitimate direct download sites, for the simple reason that the games will often be updated to run on slightly more recent (but still old/ low-spec) hardware. Most of these sites will often have sales every week or at certain times of the year, which can often be worth watching.

In addition to this, if you’re willing to look, you can also find a lot of games on the internet that can legally be downloaded and/or played for free. But, be sure to look for non-commercial games that have been made by hobbyists or for former commercial games that were later officially released as freeware. Conversely, be very, very wary of modern “free to play” games that contain microtransactions.

Some examples of proper (microtransaction-free) freeware games, in various genres, include “The Last Night“, “Hacx 1.2“, “Harmony“, “Beneath A Steel Sky“, “Tyrian 2000“, “Treasure Adventure Game“, “Freedoom“, “Rosemary“, “SuperTux“, “Hurrican“, “SkyRoads” , “Flight Of The Amazon Queen“, “Open Arena” and “DreamWeb“. So, yes, there’s no shortage of proper free games out there.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Even More Thoughts About “Obvious” Early Creative Inspirations – A Ramble

Since I seem to be going through more of a nostalgic phase than usual at the moment, I thought that I’d talk about early creative influences again.

This is because it’s always absolutely fascinating when a major influence on your art, fiction etc… has been staring you in the face for literally more than a decade…. but you somehow don’t realise it until ages later.

But, why does this happen? I’ll start by giving a (long-winded) example from my own experiences and then I’ll look at the reasons why these types of inspirations and influences aren’t always immediately noticeable.

I’ve already talked a couple of times about how things like heavy metal album covers, old horror novel covers and various T-shirts have influenced my approach to lighting in most of my art from the past few years.

If you’ve never seen any of my art before, I generally tend to follow the rule of “30-50% of the total surface area of each picture must be covered with black paint“. This results in high-contrast chiaroscuro lighting that looks a bit like this upcoming painting of mine:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 16th July.

But, although I know about this already, I had two experiences within the past few weeks that reminded me of just how much of this style of lighting I’d been exposed to throughout my life.

The first was when I went through a phase of watching and/or re-watching lots of films from the 1990s for a series of reviews that appeared here recently – almost all of them included at least a few examples of this style of lighting:

This is a screenshot from “House On Haunted Hill” (1999), a horror movie I first watched when I was a teenager and re-watched recently for a review.

This is a screenshot from “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” (1990), another old favourite that I rewatched and reviewed recently.

The second was when I once again rediscovered a brilliant computer game I first played during my childhood called “Quake“.

This is a game I seem to have discovered (and then almost completely forgotten about) several times during my life. And, of course, this style of gloomy lighting is a central part of what makes the game so distinctive and atmospheric:

This is a screenshot from a set of fan-made levels for “Quake” (1996) called ‘Dimensions Of The Past’ (2016) that I’m playing at the moment.

Following on from this, during another moment of gaming nostalgia the day before I wrote this article, I decided to order a second-hand copy of the full PC version of “Silent Hill 3” (since my PS2 doesn’t work any more, and I’ve had a demo of the PC version for a few years).

This was a game that I first played when I was about sixteen and it holds a lot of nostalgic memories for me. But, when I thought about the game a bit more, I remembered that it too contained this style of gloomy lighting:

This is a screenshot from the demo version of the PC version of “Silent Hill 3” (2003). Again, it contains lots of gloomy high-contrast lighting.

I could go on for a while, but the fact is that I’ve been exposed to this style of lighting so many times in so many things that I consider to be “cool” that it really shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s become part of my art style. Yet, it’s always a bit of a surprise when I realise that another thing I enjoyed when I was younger contains this style of lighting. But, why?

Simply put, although it’s really easy to spot something that looks visually appealing, a narrative voice that you really like etc… It’s a little bit more difficult to work out the precise technical reasons why you really like it.

These reasons are important because, although you don’t need technical definitions for something to unconsciously influence your creative works (eg: when novice writers try to imitate the style of their favourite authors), you do need them if you want to be influenced or inspired in a more conscious and sophisticated way.

The best way to spot influences more easily is through study and comparison. If you gain a better understanding of things like artistic techniques, literary techniques etc… then you’ll be able to work out how the people who made your favourite things were able to make them so cool. Learning a bit about the technical side of art, writing etc.. also means that you’ll be able to spot things that you might not have consciously noticed (or known how to talk about) before.

Likewise, reading lots of reviews and/or watching in-depth reviews of things like games and films on sites like Youtube can also help you to get into the mindset of thinking about things critically. Usually, a good critic will explain the reasons why something does or doesn’t work – and being exposed to lots of these types of reviews will help you to get into this mindset too.

In addition to this, if you compare a lot of your favourite creative works, then you’ll probably start to notice similarities. The similarities might not be immediately obvious, but they will probably be there. As soon as you work out what these things have in common with each other, then your own creative works (which have probably been unconsciously influenced by your favourite things) will also start to make a lot more sense too.

Finally, the important thing to remember is that when we are first exposed to a lot of our most important early creative influences, we’re usually too young to really think about them in technical or critical terms.

In other words, we watch, read or play something that is cool enough to make us think “I want to make things like this“. But, we don’t know exactly what makes these things cool. Yes, we might have a general sense or a vague idea, but we won’t usually have a precise technical definition at the time. So, this is why discovering “obvious” influences years afterwards can be such a surprising thing.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Why Inspiration Works In “Strange” Ways

A while before I wrote this article, I happened to read this list of “unexpected” inspirations behind various films but, rather than finding it strange or bizarre, my reaction was more along the lines of ‘it’s a bit of an over-simplification, but that’s how inspiration works‘.

The first thing to remember about inspiration is that it shouldn’t involve directly copying other things. After all, inspiration and plagiarism are two different things. So, taking inspiration usually involves taking the underlying elements, themes etc… of something and using them in a totally different way. So, when done well, inspired creative works should look at least slightly different to the things that inspired them.

The second thing to remember is that creative people rarely just have one inspiration. In order to create interesting and original works, you need to have as many different inspirations as possible. The more inspirations you have, the less obvious any one inspiration is and the more chance there is of your inspirations interacting and merging with each other in interesting ways.

The third thing to remember is that inspiration is a highly personal and unique thing. Two artists, writers, directors etc… might be inspired by the same thing, but will take inspiration from different parts of it due to their own preferences, sensibilities and interests. As such, it is very difficult to tell exactly how someone will be inspired by something.

The fourth thing to remember is that creative people are often on the lookout for inspirations. As such, it is possible to discover inspirations in all sorts of unexpected places.

For example, the use of colour in most of my art was inspired by a set of fan-made “Doom II” levels, of all things. The process of finding new inspirations is part research, part vigilance and part luck/serendipity. So, this is why creative people can sometimes have “strange” or “random” inspirations.

The fifth thing to remember is that inspiration and fandom generally go hand in hand. Most of the time, people are only inspired by things that they really like in some way or another. And, since creative people are… well… people, they don’t fit into neat boxes and categories. In other words, they often have a wide range of interests and fascinations. As such, “strange” inspirations are often just inspirations based on something that you might not expect the artist, writer etc.. in question to be interested in.

The sixth thing to remember is that inspirations can often be an offshoot from daydreams. For example, at least two of the inspirations on the list I linked to at the beginning of the article came about because a director saw or experienced something and then started daydreaming about applying the “mechanics” of it to some other situation or circumstance. As such, inspiration can often be a way to connect two seemingly unrelated things in the way that only daydreams can.

The seventh thing to remember is that inspiration can be a very subtle thing. Sometimes, someone might not be inspired by any of the obvious visual or narrative features of something, but by the “atmosphere” or “mood” that this thing evokes in them. This means that an inspiration may not be immediately obvious at first glance, since it is based on something that can’t be “seen” directly.

The eighth thing to remember is that what a creative person does with an inspiration is often more important than the inspiration itself. In other words, inspirations can be used in unusual or unexpected ways and still be really effective. This, of course, can sometimes make it difficult to spot what has inspired someone.

The ninth thing to remember is the whole subject of common inspirations. It’s possible for two things to either be inspired by the same thing or for someone to be inspired by something that is inspired by something else. As such, an artist’s or writer’s inspirations might not be what you might think.

For example, if one artist takes inspiration from the lighting used in 1980s horror novel covers, another artist takes inspiration from “film noir” movies and another artist takes inspiration from the lighting used in Caravaggio paintings, then the lighting in all four pictures will look similar because all of these inspirations use some type of chiaroscuro lighting.

The final thing to remember is that inspiration isn’t an exact science. Like dreaming or daydreaming, it can often follow it’s own unique logic. As such, trying to apply logical rules to it won’t work all of the time.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂