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How to Make an Inspiration Box (Plus, 3 Ways to Get Inspired!)

If you like art—as a professional, student, or teacher—your source of fresh ideas is somewhere out in the world. As Rumi said: “What you seek is seeking you.” It’s a matter of connecting.

So today I’d like to share three ways to find artistic inspiration, and give you an easy tool to capture those sources of inspiration to use later on.

1. Travel as much as you can

For many years, I was a regional sales rep and loved exploring my Northern California territory. It amazed me that I could see something “new” only to find, when I returned home, that the same item had been in my area all along.

Has that ever happened to you? I learned that traveling opened my eyes; it ignited my curiosity and I became more aware of new possibilities. Wanderlust is a good thing!

As you travel you’ll find interesting art in many convenient places, like airports. Just recently, I was between flights at the Seattle airport and looked up to view a stunning exhibit of I was dreaming of spirit animals by Cappy Thompson.


The bright, vitreous enamel and stained glass invited me to head over and take a closer look. Another photo I took is below, but you can view more here, too.


2. Collect postcard souvenirs of museum exhibits

Oftentimes, museum gift stores sell small, bound reproductions of the current show and this may be your only chance to get them. Here are a few booklets in my collection:


These miniature cards are helpful in choosing color palettes, learning about different artists’ styles, and studying layout and design. They can even be sent as postcards!

3. Follow Pantone

The worldwide authority on color, Pantone formulates and manufactures the ink colors used in commercial printing. They also produce wonderful design resources. I’m particularly fond of their latest 35 Inspirational Color Palettes—the colors and a visual theme are shown below.


You’ll find this guide (and more from Pantone) on Amazon.

Finally, designate a box to store your inspirations:

Any time a color, idea, paper, photo, or small object draws you in, add it to your inspiration box. You will learn a lot about your evolving style over the time it takes to put your box together.

We are all visually inspired, so take the lid off every now and then and dive in—ponder what you’ve gathered. It’s a fun and useful resource of pleasure—and it’s all yours!

You’ll find more great resources, reviews, and recent projects on my Facebook page. I hope you’ll stop by and be inspired!

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

As an art tutor (and artist) I know that self-doubt and confidence is one of the biggest things for artists to overcome. These doubts in the main come from feeling you have not met a standard that a) you've set for yourself or b) seen set by someone else.

So today I want to share how I deal with these issues. I hope they'll help you, too—either as an artist or simply as a human. . . read more

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