8 things I do for creative inspiration.


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8 things I do for creative inspiration.


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A while ago, a friend asked me about my cre­ative process for my art­work. I’ve been think­ing about it a lot, most­ly since I feel like I don’t real­ly have a process. I was able to iden­ti­fy 8 things I typ­i­cal­ly do to stay in shape cre­ative­ly, and I’m shar­ing them here with you now, in case you want to be like me! (Or, you know, some­thing.) Some of these over­lap with my design work as well, but this is pret­ty spe­cif­ic to my let­ter­ing and illus­tra­tion.

  1. Sketch sketch sketch sketch sketch. I car­ry a note­book and a vari­ety of pens & mark­ers with me at all times for when­ev­er I find a moment to draw. Sketch­ing gets ideas on paper, even “bad” ideas. Some­times bad ideas are spring­boards for good ideas.
  2. Devel­op a loose visu­al lan­guage. I sort of intu­it what let­ter­ing or medi­um lends itself to my sub­ject. Do I want tra­di­tion­al or sur­pris­ing? Clar­i­ty or clev­er­ness? Bold or del­i­cate?
  3. Start loose and tight­en up. Start real­ly loose­ly with pen­cil, then go over it again to firm up your lines, then go over it again with ink, then go over it again dig­i­tal­ly. It’s impor­tant to me to phys­i­cal­ly know my piece before I dig­i­tal­ly alter it. Speak­ing of which…
  4. Iter­ate iter­ate iter­ate. Do some ink-only sketch­es & prac­tices — I may come across a lay­out I hadn’t con­sid­ered while sketch­ing, some­thing that nat­u­ral­ly poured forth from my cho­sen medi­um. No bet­ter way to get my hands on a piece than to do so repeat­ed­ly.
  5. Grid it out. Whether using a base­line grid for a type-based lay­out, or a typ­i­cal odd col­umn grid, or some­thing more loose, a grid serves to hold a design togeth­er.
  6. Lists and clip files and pin­boards (oh my!). I save what catch­es my eye or ear. Illus­tra­tions that elic­it emo­tions I want to elic­it, quotes that I can see in my head let­tered out, words or phras­es that have mean­ing to me.
  7. Put it away. If I stare at some­thing too long, one of two things hap­pens: I fin­ish a half-assed piece that I think is great in the moment, or I ruin a piece that was done until I messed with it. Space and time gives new eyes and fresh per­spec­tive.
  8. Let your­self do what­ev­er you need to do. Say when. End­less­ly tweak. Give up. Start over (and over and over). Cre­ate the same thing in a thou­sand dif­fer­ent ways until you’re sick of it or in love with it.

There you have it: find­ing and mak­ing your own cre­ative inspi­ra­tion. Go forth and cre­ate!

Posted in Fat Girl,