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Creativity never stops, even with summer fading into memory and fall approaching rapidly. While the weather is cooler it still doesn’t stop people from drawing inspiration from their daily lives. Whether you’re writing, sketching, or art journaling you can draw on your creativity at any moment. Many people have certain places where they are more creative than others, but sometimes you have those moments when you just draw a blank.
Well, what’s better than getting inspired from everything that is already around you? Based on my experiences, these are my top 5 areas for inspiration away from home:
Parks - Are you an outdoorsy type of person? Whether you flourish outside or need a little push, parks are a wonderful area to get inspired. People are constantly moving, you’re surrounded by nature, and the fresh air can all help to stir up some creative juices. Just take a few moments to capture snippets that you see because those snippets can develop into something more. The best part is you can always refer back to your observations for later use.
Malls/Restaurants - Do you enjoy a lot of active stimuli? Malls are great for that because you can observe a wide variety of people in a short amount of time. People are constantly walking by and engaging with friends or family. Take notice of the details of the situation as those people can be used as inspiration for your creativity. I put restaurants next to malls because they are in similar realms where you can observe several groups of people in a short amount of time. Whether you’re dining at a nice place or getting a quick lunch you can partially eavesdrop on conversations as something you hear could spark an idea.
Libraries - Besides the obvious (observing people around the library), you can read! Most people at the library probably already have their noses stuck in a book. When you’re out of creative juices, pull out a novel, magazine, or book that sounds interesting to you. Who knows, reading the literature and exploring it can lead to your own ideas. For those not in the mood to flip through a book, use a computer and just start browsing the web. The libraries where I live provide computers for research, you just need a library number which is free to obtain. (Computer availability may vary depending on your location.) If you’re still stuck you can always ask a librarian, they are always there to help you out.
Take a Walk - While you’re out and about shopping or getting some exercise, keep a piece of yourself alert to your local surroundings. If you’re taking a walk around your neighborhood you can let your mind wander or you might want to get to know the people who live near you. Your neighbors might have a quirk or a story that may inspire you. You might also gain a lifelong friend. If you live in a city, getting lost in it can be fun. You can observe the artistic architecture of various buildings or the meticulous landscapes surrounding them. Cities are usually bustling with activities, you just have to dive in and interact with them. Some of the greatest minds were inspired by their local surroundings.
Fairs/Museum - Another inspiring place where you are surrounded by many people or by culture are fairs or carnivals. You can observe people, enjoy the music/conversations, and eat good food – all wonderful inspirations! There is always something going on and it’s up to you to find out what it is and how you can use it for inspiration. Museums are wonderful to gain inspiration from because they contain works by some of the greatest creative minds. Surrounding yourself with their works can be an indirect way to get you to open your mind and allow it to imagine the impossibilities into possibilities.
Gathering inspiration from these places can be a cinch on good days. You might want to note that most of these places can get crowded. If you can’t handle large crowds you can always move to a more quiet area. You can find yourself a less traveled road for your observations if you’re a creative introvert who doesn’t enjoy large crowds or too much interaction.
I usually find an empty area or sit on a distant bench for observations. Of course, everyone has their own preferences and may dive into the experiences only to distance yourself later or vice versa. There is no wrong or right way to get inspired. As long as it works for you then you’re doing it right. Just don’t forget to take notes or you might forget! (You have a notebook or sketchbook on you, don’t you? If not go get one!) Now my friends, go forth and create!
Meet the Writer: Lis (Aisazia) Huey is a Notebook/Sketchbook/Comic/Manga lover. A swimmer and a dreamer. A story enthusiast with the dream of telling and sharing stories through art. She has been an avid fan of web comics, indie comics, and fantasy/sci fi novels since high school and since then has always wanted to create one of her own. She feels that everyone has at least one story to tell, but some may have more than one. She hopes to be able to share her hopefully fresh and original stories and entertain my audiences at the same time. To find more about Lis, find her at: aisazia.deviantart.com, twitter.com/aisazia, and etherealvoices.blogspot.com
Today, journals come in so many designs, materials, and sizes that there is something for everyone. Once you’ve found the one for you, however, you might find yourself with pen or pencil in hand, staring at the blank pages and thinking … now what? What do I write?
It’s happened to everyone at some point whether in personal or professional cases. That’s where we come in to help. Need inspiration of where to start? Use these ideas to jumpstart your pen across those white and empty pages:
Open up the cover, uncap the pen or sharpen the pencil and fill in that first page. A journal is yours to create—so start writing! What words are ready to go on your page? What moments do you want to capture? Use your journal and go!
Meet the Writer: Tamra Orr is a full time writer and has written more than 300 books for readers of all ages. She is also mom to four and writes an average of 50 letters or more a month.
1 –> A bit of neat history this week from Annie at Scribbling Glue about zip codes: The Life and Times of Mr. Zip (a.k.a. Zone Improvement Plan).
2 –> Over at the Good Pens blog, Seth interviews the pen guys from Baltz Fine Writing.
3 –> Misty, a.k.a. The Pen Thief, made some great points regarding whether or not the Post Office should cut Saturday’s service. It is a must-read for all snail mailers, mail artists, and writers alike.
4 –> This is Colossal shared the Alphabet Typography (pictured below) created by Yale graduates Caspar Lam and YuJune Park. “Alphabet Topography is a physical examination of letterforms as it relates to usage frequency.”
5 –> Laurie at Plannerisms gives some tips on how to create your own planner layout within a regular notebook.
6 –> FPGeeks went above and beyond at the 2012 LA Pen Show and photographed some lovely pens, plus they’ve got a couple of videos of the show you should check out too. Here is their Friday Recap, Saturday Recap, and Video Highlights.
7 –> We thought you’d get a kick out of Mary Katrantzou‘s latest fashion show for Fall 2012 where she uses images of pencils, typewriters, circular telephone dials, and more. (Originally seen on Honestly WTF blog.)
8 –> Blackwing wrote up a phenomenal post tracking the history of their Blackwing 602 pencil (h/t MLeddy at Orange Crate Art).
1 –> We’re still not sure what to think of this, but we had to share and ask your opinion on it. This story appeared on our Twitter feed and just begged to be clicked on: The world’s best pencil sharpener teaches his secrets … is this story for real?
2 –> Tiger Pens piqued our interest with their discovery of this pen/writing-inspired rest stop located in Iowa.
3 –> It is the week of love, so we’d be remiss to not mention several Valentine’s Day posts. The Pen Thief addresses the history of Valentine’s Day; Good Mail Day mentions a story about Valentine, Nebraska,; and Dana at Save Snail Mail reminds us the reality of love letters with her post on Virginia Woolf’s letters.
5 –> The Peaceable Writer posted an incredibly well-done and thorough review of multiple blue inks and finally narrowed down the choices … but you’ll have to check out the post to find out all the details!
6 –> Misty at the Pen Thief is hosting a contest for people who have always wanted to make their own stamp! The deadline is March 1st, so you have some time, but check out her blog for the full details.
7 –> Sheila at Does This Pen Make Me Look Fat is also hosting a random drawing for a Jinhao X750. Entries close at midnight on Saturday though so you’ll want to hurry!
8 –> The 365 Letters Blog did a great round-up of LOVE stamps, and informed us that on Valentine’s Day “fans of 19th century poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were given online access to a collection of 573 letters the two exchanged from 1845 to 1846.” Click through to read more.
1 –> Our Moleskine Haiku Contest ended yesterday and it’s been a BLAST going through the 100+ submissions! Thanks to everyone who participated! We are psyched to announce the winner Tuesday, February 7th and to share all the haiku love!
2 –> Troy [Penpalling-Dad] received a neat “Peek-a-boo” letter recently from Becky [Leaving a Paper Trail] – and while the envelope is interesting (and Becky shows you how to make it here), it’s even better to see bloggers connecting this way so we can sometimes see the path a letter takes!
3 –> The Celebrations at Home blog muses about the 12 paper trends they think we’ll see in 2012.
4 –> Demilked shared this beautiful Cut-Away Leaf Art by Lorenzo Duran. (It was made for an ad campaign by Legas Delaney for Plant for the Planet. The aim of the campaign was to show leaf’s ability to absorb CO2.)
5 –> The Telegraph (UK) introduced a series of art masterpieces created solely with marker pen on a whiteboard. See the artist, Bill Taylor of Durham, North Carolina, and his art in their slideshow here.
6 –> Read all about the rebirth of handwriting in J. Richard Gentry’s report in Psychology Today aptly titled “Handwriting—the Most Elegant Form of Communication.” Here’s just a taste: “E-mailers, text messengers, and skeptics be damned. Handwriting–American style–is born again. So say about one hundred and fifty teachers, administrators, psychologists, master penmen, and researchers from across the country who occupied the Newseum in Washington, DC for the 275th anniversary of John Hancock’s birth.”
7 –> Rhodia Drive set up a Superbowl bet for this Sunday. “Anybody who guesses the final score will get a new Webnotepad (flip top reporter style with dot grid) when they arrive from France!” (Enter your guess on Rhodia Drive’s blog post here.)
8 –> Demilked also shared an adorable set of pictures by Laurent Laveder called Moon Games (and while it has nothing to do with paper, it’s an incredibly fun set of art).
1 –> Julie [The-Gadgeteer] asks what format you use when starting a new journal – analog or digital – and she provides some great digital options for those not familiar with them
2 –> Reena Jana [on SmartPlanet] published a Q&A with Moleskine America President, Marco Beghin, and delves into the paper world and beyond.
4 –> Penned House has a great notebook hack post on how he turned a Moleskine into an iPhone case. Check it out here.
… This is completely random, but it’s cute, has a cat in it, and a ballpoint pen. … We got a little distracted.
5 –> Here are a couple neat posts on journaling this week. The first is from Journal Addict asking what your journal style is, which was discovered via a quick quiz on Journal Tips. Both great sites to follow for more on journaling.
7 –> We’ve been seeing Sharpie projects pop up everywhere lately. For example: 6 Ways To Create DIY Sharpie Wallpaper on Babble.com; DIY Sharpie Tote on Sharpie’s Blog; Sharpie Snow Leopard Ottoman by LittlePinkMonster. And of course, you can always do a quick Sharpie search on Skineart.com for some inspiration.
8 –> We’ve also got a couple of contests going on right now – not to be missed! First up is our Moleskine Love Haiku Contest where you could win a Moleskine prize pack, and secondly, our Love Letters & Leuchtturm Planners Contest where you could be 1 of 4 winners to receive a Leuchtturm Weekly Planner!
1 –> Laurie [Plannerisms] has a few lovely tips on how to use a monthly or weekly planner AND a daily planner at the same time.
2 –> Quo Vadis gives us a friendly reminder on New Year’s Resolutions and asks what yours are.
3 –> Misty [The Pen Thief] shared some great tidbits about Benjamin Franklin on his would-be birthday (which was Tuesday, Jan 17) that we had no clue about! Such as the fact that “he served as our nation’s first postmaster general in 1775!” Read her post for more neat information on Franklin. She also shared a neat post on the release of the Glacier National Park Stamp. If you are at all interested in stamps, you need to follow her blog for all the latest updates.
4 –> Andrea Joseph shared a lovely commissioned drawing of hers for a production of James and the Giant Peach that we are absolutely in love with! We remember that story from so many years ago .. and if you’ve never heard of Andrea before, you must check out her site for more incredible drawings & zines.
5 –> This is Colossal never fails in impressing us with their finds. First check out their post showcasing Molly Rausch‘s Beyond the Border postage stamp paintings; then see their Edible Gelatin Typography post by m-inspira; and last, but certainly not least, check out the beautiful post of Envelope Drawings by Mark Powell (one which is shown below).
6 –> Troy [Penpalling Dad] wrote a very sincere post about why he penpals. Great inspiration to get started on penpalling, plus links to many penpal bloggers as well.
7 –> We received a letter from Lucas [Lucas Writes] in response to our National Letter Writing Week shout-out, which was exciting! Thanks Lucas – you’ll get a response soon! Lucas also had a nice recap of his Letter Writing Week here.
8 –> We just had to include Margana [Inkophile] in today’s linky love, just for her headline: What Do Daleks, Goldfish And Rain Have In Common?
9 –> Millie [Ms. Logica] did a round-up of her 2012 Winter Pen Choices, which was curious as we had never considered different pens for different seasons. Do you swap out pens each season? If so, what do you base your decisions on? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section!