When we were children, magic coursed through our veins and at any given moment, looking at any boring landscape, we could see dinosaurs and castles, and a story of wonders would begin to unfold. Now that we’re old enough to be on the Internet, however, some of that magic has left us. But it’s not hopeless! I still find inspiration using the following strategies.
After reading Michael Crichton’s Pirate Latitudes, I was inspired to create the above drawing. I did the one below while waiting for my family to finish eating at a diner. It’s done on the back of the kid’s menu: the waiter thought I was 12 or under, showing my true inner youth.
As I was sketching, and as the sketch grew and got more detailed, I was developing a story in my head. The pirate had come from Spain to set his flag in this foreign sand, but the mermaid was sacrificing herself to keep the land pure of pirates.
Don’t feel like creating your own art? Try admiring that of others. Whether it’s a perfect shot of Venice at Sunset or a digital painting of Celtic faerie, you can find something on Pinterest, the cream of the crop of pictures. I created a board for general story inspiration, as well as several for each of my individual stories. You can always make them secret if you don’t want people catching on to your ideas.
I like to listen to soundtracks to adventure movies while I write, especially “Pirates of the Caribbean.” My friend who also writes likes to listen to the soundtrack to “Steins;Gate,” an anime show. I created a playlist of songs I remembered from good days when I was productive or happy, and named it “Creativity Songs.” Sometimes I play this music while I’m writing or drawing. It helps the words and colors flow together better.
Not only is it good for your body, it can get some ideas flowing in your brain! I was walking home from the grocery store one evening when I got a great idea for a sequel to “The Red Siren.” I started walking faster so I could get home and jot it down. There’s a certain walk down a certain street in my neighborhood that always gets me thinking about fairies.
5) Watching Kids’ Movies
Animated movies make me happy. Moreover, they have helped me produce some of my best ideas. A few of my favorites are “Megamind,” “Wreck it Ralph,” and “Big Hero Six.”
6) Going to New Places
Whether it’s a vacation across the country, or a visit to a local park you haven’t been to, surrounding yourself with a new set of sights can be very refreshing. The brain can feel born anew, which leads to creativity. Here is the view from my hotel room in Las Vegas last summer, when I drew the pirate girl above: