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10 Ways to Stay Inspired on a Creative Course

27th April 2015 Posted by: Alyssa Gucci

It happens to the best of us. You’re working away on your latest project, sketching, making, designing, feeling productive and suddenly you hit a wall. You’re just not sure where to go next and aren’t feeling inspired by your current work. Creative courses are demanding and it’s hard to stay on top all of the time, but you’re not alone, and putting these tips to good use should help you keep inspired and keep the creative blocks at bay.

1. Be open minded

Inspiration can come from anywhere; try not to limit yourself by just looking on the internet. As easy and available as it is, it’s much more rewarding seeing things first hand. Go for a walk around your local city centre or park to get things started. Take pictures of as much as possible and see what inspiring things you found on your walk. It could be anything from an interesting bit of architecture to some great street style. Take it one step further and take a sketchbook with you and start drawing whatever you find inspiring. Doing quick sketches like this can be really helpful as you capture the most important information. Give it a go!

2. Walk away

Step away from the work and have a breather. Maybe even go for a walk and get some fresh air to clear your head and gain some perspective. Sometimes going away and coming back allows you to see what’s missing and lets you move on to the next step.

3. Be experimental

Don’t limit yourself by staying within a box. Push yourself and try things you normally wouldn’t do. Even if it feels strange, it might lead to an unexpected discovery! Take some time to work in a completely opposite way to what you are right now, and see what happens. Work with materials, colour, and scale as a starting point, for example if you normally work large scale, try restricting the size of your work and see what possibilities you come up with, or if you love using paint maybe challenge yourself to use pen and pencil for a while instead. Experimentation is key.

4. Go to a gallery or museum

The work of others can be really inspiring, so have a look at what’s on locally or plan a day trip to another city. London’s the obvious choice but there are many other cities with amazing cultural and art links, such as Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh to name a few. The Artfund is a really good website with a thorough list of current and ‘coming soon’ exhibitions all around the country so if you’re unsure definitely take a look there first.

5. Be broad with your research

Try not to be limited by your own practice. There’s a world of creativity out there to inspire you. Fashion, film, music, photography or graphics to name a few- look to something you normally wouldn’t and you might be surprised by how inspired you are.

6. Ask your peers

While your tutors are there to help, asking other people on your course that are in the same boat as you can be really helpful. Getting a pair of fresh eyes to look at your work can help you see it from a whole new perspective and consider things you might have been missing before. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

7. Figure out how you work best

Are you an early riser or do you work best at night? Do you find the peace and quiet of your university library motivating or would you rather work from home? Figure out what works best for you and stick with it, and plan your day accordingly. This should help you be more productive with your time and more motivated to work. Giving yourself structure and a routine will be the key to your success.

8. Have a night off

Similarly to point 2, allow yourself to have a night off a week and have some you-time. A night pampering, relaxing or spending time with friends doing things you love will help motivate you to start afresh the next day, and hopefully generate some fresh ideas.

9. Brainstorm

Start off with a random topic and write down as many words or ideas you associate with that topic as possible. Try again with something else, and then come back to your own project and list as much as you can. Hopefully thinking really deeply about the other subjects will have ignited your imagination within your own project.

10. Stay positive

Negativity will bring you down; try to stay positive and analyse why something isn’t working and what you can do to change it, rather than giving up or making excuses. As our elders would say, there’s no such word as can’t!

The main thing is to not give up no matter how tough you’re finding it, and remember that inspiration can be found anywhere. Keep going, keep working, surround yourself with things you love and you’ll reap the rewards. 


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