Saturday 4 February 2012

Inspiration – The Debate

Everyone talks about inspiration – where theirs comes from, what they use to get inspired, whether it’s an overused term or an undervalued part of life, where it touches borders with copyright infringement and stealing…
… but as far as I’m concerned, human consciousness is one huge living entity anyway. It always has been. It just takes, now and again, one individual in the right place at the right time to stand up and put an amazing idea out there, and then other ideas will spark off of that one and other people will have their own ideas and… so on.

Everything we put out there – whether it be our skills, our talent, or even our personality or our words – is an amalgamated, processed version of everything we’ve ever put in. We absorb information (read inspiration), then we recycle it; or, maybe a better word is upcyle.

In the past this process has gone rather slowly. It went quite slowly for quite a long time, in fact; only in the last 200 years has it sped up. And the acceleration is exponential – now, with the web at our fingertips (and probably soon to be linked directly to our brains), the sharing, processing and reusing of ideas has exploded into a constantly moving, ever-evolving quasi sentient thing where if you sit still for one minute you get left behind. Lawmakers can’t keep up with it, that’s for sure. Intellectual property law has been acknowledged for centuries, albeit unnamed, but only became commonplace a few decades ago, and it and its counterparts haven’t moved fast enough to be effective in providing a good set of reactions to the changing environment.

So where do we turn for inspiration? I talked in my guest post here about turning more and more to sketches… although even this is a foggy area: with so many sketches from different sources each week, and a limited canvas, it’s inevitable that overlaps occur. What do we do, then? Should we be concerned?

I think, at least in the online scrapbooking community, that old rules should still apply and be applied: do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Or, an it harm none, do thy will. It’s common decency, and common sense. Even though when I look around I think I see mostly people who do not live by the same values as me, I’m somehow still convinced that people willing to be part of a community act in that community with these values in mind. There are always exceptions, of course. But those people, I just keep away from.

So, again, where do we turn for inspiration? If we become too scared of breaking the rules, however fuzzy they are, that we can’t move, there’s no point in continuing. Stasis is… inhuman.

This week, Natalie of Punky Scraps picked out an image for us to be inspired by. I had a ball – in fact, such a good time making a layout from this image that I will return to it again and again as I begin to incorporate some of its elements into my own style. And it made me realise: since she’s been running Punky Scraps, Nat has always offered an inspiration image every month. They’re much more than a colour palette, more than a theme or a style. I don’t know where she gets them, but they really work for me.

big, bold and bright - I love it!
printed rainbows - thanks, Sass!
hand-drawn rainbows - thanks, Copic!

loving shadows and shading here

And so, I’ve learned something. We’ve all been told to always look outside of the box. But I’ve actually only just come to understand what this means. Like when you look up into the night sky, and you have to not look directly at a cluster of stars in order to see them all; like doing those magic eye posters; like trying to remember something so hard and then it comes to you when you're in the middle of something else entirely; well, this is the same sort of thing. So, to answer my persistent question of where we can turn for inspiration, I will say, for now, that not going in search of it is the best course of action. Just keep all of your channels open, and it will find a way in.


  1. I agree - everything in life inspires us (whether we realize it or not). I create in order to share and inspire others, not to get recognition or reimbursement. At the same time, I am always concious of giving those that inspire me their dues. Everyone loves a good pat on the back for everything they put into their creations.

  2. Thought provoking indeed. It's a great layout, very intense, and lots and lots of stuff going on.

  3. Very inspiring thoughts Cheryl! This page is beyond amazing! I love your interpretation of the inspiration picture!

  4. A thoughtful, thought provoking post. "Do as you would be done by," my dad always said - sounds like you were brought up the same way I was :)

  5. I just love your layout!!! So cool, fun, funky and interesting! Lots of things going on and lots of colour! That layout is certainly an out of the box creation! :)

  6. Very interesting thoughts on a very hot topic right now. I love your layout, I most especially love how you took elements from the inspiration picture!

  7. I love these bright colors on your layout, gorgeous! This is a very interesting post, I've always bounced between searching for inspiration and letting it find me or "stumbling" upon it. The internet is good for so many things and the other side of that coin is being so "overwhelmed" by inspiration that you get nothing created. lol

  8. Cheryl I love the randomness, the kaleidoscope of color and the inspiration! Channels open...

  9. I agree with Maggi. I'm constantly having to shut off all input in order to create. I get overwhelmed so so easily! When I go to Pinterest I see colors, techniques, ideas, patterns,- it's incredibly hard to process it all. Then there's the awful sneaking sensation that "I'm not good enough! Look at that! amazing! I would NEVER think of that!". That is a mojo KILLER.
    I find that the more info I access, the less actual work I make.
    I agree on the whole "copyright" thing as well. I don't have a copy right sign on my blog because I am sharing for a reason. I actually don't even expect acknowledgement- although I must admit it makes me jump for joy when I get it every once in a while. :)
    I'm not sure how this magnanimous POV will change as I develop as an artist but I guess I would flip out if I developed a great idea or style and someone else took it and had financial success with it.
    I would FIGHT this though because that would be coming from a place of insecurity and scarcity. A great creative mind has more than 1 good idea. Perhaps there may only be 1 great idea per lifetime but I'm not a pessimist. I'm not a half glass full kinda person. I'm a the glass is ALWAYS full person- air is an element too and just as vital for life as water.