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Where To Find Creative Inspiration

Updated: Apr 2

How do you find creative inspiration? This blog post will tell you about where I find mine and how you can find yours.




Books are a huge source of inspiration to me. One of the books that most sticks in my mind is Losing Eden by Lucy Jones, which is a lively and well written look at what nature does for us. Also, one of my favourite books of all time: Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones, which contains a magic I hope to infuse in my own art.

A book cover that features two people looking at a spectacular castle surrounded by pastel coloured clouds and skies
The Cover of Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle


I am not a movie lover, but I had to mention this because one of my biggest inspirations is Studio Ghibli, I love the soft colours, the gentle viewing, the music that rises and falls always at the perfect moment. If I could create something that even remotely echoed Miyazaki's work, I would be proud.

A still that features Totoro sleeping in his underground den with Mae sleeping on his belly
A still from Studio Ghibli film My Neighbour Totoro


I struggle with this one because my biggest influences are contemporary, and I always end up comparing my work to them, which is a problem because comparison is the thief of joy, and creating artwork needs joy. Still, there are some artists who have had a profound impact on me: Helen Cann, Katie Scott, Jessica Roux, Sibylline Meynet. I'm a bit of a magpie other than that, taking shiny pieces of work as examples from different artists. For example, I recently found and loved Jörgen Hansson, whose piece The Swan III was the one that caught my eye, now that's in my head and I'm trying to work out how I can use negative space in a similar way.

A map of a civil society, which shows things like common land, wildflower meadows, market places, a wind farm, learning places etc all drawn in 3d in minute detail, filled with pale greens and yellows
A map by artist Helen Cann


If I'm feeling really lost, I go an have a walk in nature. That usually makes something kick in. A lot of my work is based around how nature makes me feel, or the colours I've found in nature. For example, I wanted my audience to feel like they could breathe in the fresh, crisp air of a sunny winter day, so I created this:

Four bare trees are set against a wintery blue sky. Your viewpoint is looking up through the middle of them, with the birds above you
A clear, wintery sky, one of my pieces (C) Howell Illustration


What do you love?

I recently did a Masterclass course with Neil Gaiman where he talks about finding inspiration even in things that don't necessarily relate to writing, like music. Ask yourself: what do you love? Then do that thing.

How do you want people to feel?

Start with how you want people to feel and work back. What would make you feel that way?

Create something

If you don't start, you stay still. Creativity begets creativity. Make something - anything. Copy another artist, copy me, knit something, bake something, play something. You will find once you start, more ideas emerge.

There are many different sources for inspiration, find what you love and make time to do it/read it/watch it/write it. The rest will follow.

Take a look at these other blogs for a more in depth discussion.

As always, thanks for reading.


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