How to take inspiration “out of nowhere”
Stock illustrator Olga Zakharova shared on her blog several techniques that help her create without stopping, as well as constantly draw inspiration from “nowhere”.
Before answering, I will tell you a short (hmm, not so much) background 🙂 Once upon a time, when I entered the Faculty of Journalism, all applicants had to collect five publications in the real – that is, officially registered – media. It was very difficult for us, pupils of 10-11 grades, to do this – go find a publication that is ready not only to accept a teenager who is completely unable to do anything, but also to allow him to write / shoot something that gets on the air (or in a newspaper) … But I was lucky – somehow with an excursion I got to the editor of Moskovsky Komsomolets. And this editor said: come up with a couple of themes, write a couple of notes, we will publish something, no problem.
It would seem – here it is, the chance! Not just publications, but publications in a publication, the name of which the receiving committee at least once heard (as opposed to some “Mitino’s bulletin”). Do you think I wrote these notes? 🙂 Of course not. But, gentlemen, you would know how much I thought about them! I watched the news, tried to invent a news story, composed some ridiculous stories from the series “The 30 most stupid discoveries of this year,” even for some reason came up with the idea of writing an obituary to Yeltsin (who was still quite alive and cheerful then). I had a ton of ideas. But none of them have been implemented.
Because I was waiting – guess what? – inspiration. So, I thought, my inspiration would fly on golden wings, shower me with magic dust, I would feel it right away – how I sit down to write, and how I will write, and everyone will say “what a great girl this is!”. In the meantime, there is no inspiration – why waste time, well, all the same, nothing will work out. Or it will not turn out the way you want.
White page cannot exit
When I came to work for a daily newspaper, I became convinced that the importance of inspiration in creativity is greatly exaggerated. I had to write every day, almost always the materials were handed in minutes after the end of the matches, I just had to come to terms with the fact that the deadline must be observed – and that’s it. As they said in the editorial office, the white page cannot come out.
It turned out that the main thing is to call the state of the thread. Well, that is, I now understand that it is called that, but then I just disconnected from all fears, tried not to think that someone would read it (believe it or not – all the journalists I know don’t really like to see someone then reads their notes), concentrated on the deadline – and forward.
A flow is a state of complete absorption in action. Every person has experienced this state at least once – when you are maximally concentrated, effective, immersed in yourself, but at the same time clearly understand what you are doing. Time flies by quickly, and the outside world seems to turn off – you stop hearing colleagues talking to your neighbors, for example. Much more and more abruptly about this is written in the book by Mihai Csikszentmihalyi “Stream”.
Writing texts and drawing pictures are very similar in the sense that both need inspiration. But what you really need is a flow state. For me, inspiration and flow are not synonyms, because inspiration, in my understanding, is something ephemeral and extremely rare, a kind of mix of the right mood, the right amount of energy, sleepiness, understanding of your goal and some other ingredients. the name of which is even difficult to find. This is something that rarely happens, not on a schedule, and not very controllable.
While the state of the flow is a completely controllable thing. It can be called as needed and used as long as needed. It is not strongly associated with mood (although, of course, after a good sleep and with a fresh mind it is much easier to tune in than after a two-hour sleep on some sofa). It is generally not connected with anything at all, only with your desire to create it)
Set tasks to be solved
I think the best way to achieve flow state is to clearly understand why you need to do what you are going to do, and why you need to do it now. Take responsibility – in the end, you chose to draw pictures, so you need it for some reason, then some part of you wants it.
An important condition: the chosen task must be feasible for you. It should not be too simple and boring (otherwise it’s not a flow, but rather an automatic work), but it should not be fantastic. Evaluate your strength realistically – just as you would hardly plan to master a marathon after the first run of five kilometers, you should not try to draw ten pictures a day if it takes ten hours for one.
Drawing many birds at once is a difficult task. If you break it down into stages – making a list of birds, finding references, drawing a sketch one at a time, and only then sketching in a vector – it will be much easier.
When the task is selected, you need to create a background from the silence. Turn off music, TV, TV shows, social networks, push-up notifications. Focus on a specific task at a specific time. For example, draw a sketch for one set of pictures in three hours.
When you learn to catch this flow state, it will be easier. It will be possible to leave the music in the background, and the series will not be critical (just when you are in the stream, you do not hear them :)).
You can wash the dishes and water the flowers later 🙂
In the beginning, the main thing is to refrain from being distracted by something. Taking responsibility (even when it comes to taking responsibility for drawing a sketch in three hours) is scary. And the brain, out of habit, will definitely try to throw some great ideas – for example, check your mail. Well, or pay the rent. Remove the bath – otherwise no one has cleaned the mixer for a long time. Go for groceries. And yes, water the plants. Oh, and you also need to call, find out how the first teacher is doing … The main thing is not to give in.
If nothing is being drawn, just sit in silence, with prepared tools, without being distracted by anything else. Nine times out of ten, after five minutes of sitting like this, you still start drawing something. And then the same flow will begin, because to start is always the most terrible thing. If you honestly were not distracted, and miracles do not happen, perhaps the task is chosen too gigantic, try to divide it into smaller pieces. Conventionally – not “put the product on the Creative Market”, but “create the main preview”, and then “write a description” and so on.
And, answering the question in the title, you don’t need to take inspiration anywhere. Let it float out there somewhere and come down to you on special occasions, giving magical ideas and a special mood. And for your day-to-day work, use controlled flow state. Life will become easier, and there will be more drawn pictures 🙂
Cover photo: ShutterStock