InspirationTips & Techniques

Inspiration Gathering Challenge

Yesterday, I went to the store with my 5 year old daughter to buy dog food. We had some time to kill, so after choosing a cute dog toy and loading the over-priced dog food in the cart, we meandered around the store. As we walked around, I found myself pausing and taking mental notes for future creative projects. 

I must admit it made me laugh. Only an artist looks at the candy aisle and sees color combinations to try out later, right? Then, I began to hunt for inspiration with more intention. My shopping trip turned into a fun scavenger hunt for ideas to incorporate in my art.

Here are some of the items I found inspiring and how I might use them:

Item 1: Godiva Chocolate Box

I’m not the hugest fan of pink. In fact, I didn’t even find out if I was having a boy or girl with any of my pregnancies because I was terrified at the thought of being inundated with Pepto Bismol pink baby items. But this Godiva box doesn’t offend me in the least. I like the 2-3 toned pink with the pop of gold. I also love some of the patterns in the quilted design. I can absolutely use one of those symbols in my next mark making endeavor.

Item 2: An Apron

The print on this apron jumped out at me as I was perusing the Easter store display. I love the graphic botanicals and the symmetry. I also like the teal, mustard, green color combo. I can see taking the style of the rabbits and applying it to one of my birds.  So many possibilities and ideas to ponder.

Item 3: Dish Towels

Again, I don’t love light pastel pink. On the other hand, the saturated pink with the navy blue and the turquoise-y green — I can work with those colors for sure. I also like the design elements of stripes leading into the scalloped edge. I think I will incorporate a scalloped edge in my next art journal spread.

Item 4: A Greeting Card

This card is actually a confirmation card, but I’m not inspired by the typography. I like the cloud treatment and some of the details in the bird. Faux stitching could be a fun element to include in my next bird. Why not take it a step further and use real stitching? I’ll pull the sewing machine out. Also, the card had a radial pattern in the background with some subtle texture in it. I like that.

Item 5: A Vera Bradley Bag

Again, I find myself drawn to the saturated colors. I love the red in addition to the teal, green, and mustard. I also don’t hate the harlequin pattern stitched on the top.

Item 6: A Scarf

Similar to some of the other items, I feel inspired by the geometric pattern, the monochromatic color scheme, and the pop of gold. 

Creating a Reference Library

Ultimately, finding inspiration will not do any good if I don’t refer back to it.  I did not buy any of the items pictured. I merely snapped a quick picture in the store with my cell phone to use an an inspiration journal of sorts later. So that I don’t have to scroll through a billion pictures on my phone, I plan to create a separate photo album for logging my real world inspiration from now on.

“Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.”
— Pablo Picasso

I think the practice is definitely worth continuing. Unexpectedly, I learned some things about my style based on the similarities of the items that jumped out at me in the store. Also, I recognized that mustard yellow is trending hard so I bought 2 yellow shirts 🙂

What do you think? Do you accept the challenge? The next time you go shopping, I challenge you to truly look around and see if you can find 5 sources of inspiration.

Tags: Art Journal, color schema, ideas, mark making, patterns

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • I love that you share your artistic passion with your daughter! She’s sure to love colors and find inspiration everywhere because of the memories she’s making with you. Your supermarket scavenger hunt sounds so fun! Plus, keeping a 5yo entertained and excited (while having a teaching moment!) is something I’m sure we can all respect.

  • Great article! I love to go to the fabric store to see all the new color combos, new prints, etc. So, I will accept your challenge to find new quilt color combos in every day items.

  • This was a very helpful read! I am always interested in ways to help “jump start” my creativity. Looking around can certainly help me avoid getting “stuck” in my own head looking for ideas.

  • I love this blog. I think we would get along well. I need to actually make a folder for inspiration like you suggested. I am the kind of person who keeps everything cause it could be a craft later lol. Thanks for sharing.


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