7 Ways to Spark Your Creativity

I don't know about you but at the moment I am really struggling to keep my creativity flowing.

This whole Covid situation has been slowly wearing me down and I'm sure it's been a similar situation for you too.

If like me you're struggling to be creative, productive and just not feeling it, this could be the post for you.

I've had a few workshops running online which is great but I'm home and at a loose end a lot of the time. So you'd think with all the extra time at home, I would be filling the house with lots of new works and projects!!! But no! It's just not working out that way at all!!!

Some days I'm brimming with creative thoughts and ideas, then other days I just can't seem to get my act together and find it hard to put my thoughts/feelings/ideas down on paper.

It sounds a bit cheesey but I literally live and breathe arts & crafts. Even if I'm not creating, I'm usually thinking about project ideas - often when I should be doing something else!

But sometimes I get 'craft overload' (surely not, I hear you say?!). Often this happens when I've been extremely busy and have worn myself out! I get to the point where I just can't look objectively at anything and I have to take a break.

There have actually been times (admittedly few and far between) where I've wished I could just leave it all behind and simplify my life!!! Piling my stuff in the middle of the room and setting a match to it has crossed my mind but maybe that's a little bit too drastic!!!

So what do I do to get myself back in an inspired mood? Finding ways to get my creative juices flowing again is something I've had to learn over the years.

However, one thing I would really recommend is taking time - time to relax, time to think about other things, time to check in with family and friends. Taking time to do anything that recharges you and makes you feel refreshed is good advice for life in general but also works well for us creative types.

There are however, some relaxing activities that will help you use this downtime in a productive manner and give you food for thought for future art projects.


1 - Take a Note/Sketch Book With You Everywhere

The world around us is an endless source of inspiration so having a notebook in your back pocket gives you the opportunity to sketch or take notes of things that you come across.

I usually take one and a few pencils in my handbag just in case!

Any bit of downtime - a lunch break or waiting for an appointment for example - can be an opportunity to explore the environment you find yourself in.


2 - Use Your Phone As a Camera

A high percentage of people these days have smart phones but how many use the camera for more than selfies and photos of meals they've had?!

In conjunction with your sketch book, having the opportunity to take photos of things you come across gives you a photographic record that you can then incorporate into future work.

My camera reel is full of photos of flowers and trees and other interesting things like - a patch of rust on a pole, lichen on a roof tile and distressed old wood.

Here is an example of a fence I came across this week. I just love the way that the lichen has followed the tree rings in the wood.

These kind of photos can be incorporated into a multitude of different art & craft projects - from paintings and artwork to designs for embroidery and patchwork.


3 - Getting Out Into Nature

Nature has inspired the arts pretty much from the dawn of time so it stands to reason that exploring a woodland, picking sea shells on the beach etc will give you a sense of peace whilst giving you much inspiration to use at a later date.

One of the things I love about being alone with nature is that my brain has time to relax and I find myself pondering on all kinds

of things that I would have pushed out of my mind at a busier time.

Following these train of thoughts brings up questions and thoughts that I note down or dictate to an app on my phone for use at another time.


4 - Visit Museums and Art Galleries

Not so easy to do at the moment but visiting museums and seeing all the things artists and craftspeople have made over the centuries is of endless fascination to me.

There is always something to inspire and ponder on - whether it be the particular medium or technique that's been used or the subject matter whether that be something like a religious work of art or something more abstract.

Though we can't visit in person at this time, a lot of museums have their catalogue online and some have been actually running exhibitions via their website over the Covid period.

A few of my favourites are - The British Museum, The Ashmolean Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, Uffizi Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The Louvre


5 - Watch Creative TV Series or Documentaries

Whether it's a documentary series about a certain period of history or a series teaching you how to do various projects, there is so much inspiration to be got from these types of programs.

Whether it's Grayson Perry's very popular Art Club series over lockdown or his historical series Rites of Passage (one of my favourites!).

Or how about Kirstie Allsop's crafting shows such as Keep Crafting and Carry On or her Handmade Christmas series, there is plenty to inspire and try for yourself.

I also love historical TV series about different periods in art history and the artists that have inspired us throughout the centuries. You could check out series like, Great Artists by Tim Marlow or the plethora of series by Waldemar Januszczak.


6 - Leafing Through Art Books/Magazines

I have a confession to make - I am obsessed with art books! Every time I go to an exhibition I HAVE to get the book that accompanies it!

This means I have quite a lot of material to leaf through when I'm in the mood (and a very depleted bank balance!!!)

I also collect postcards from art galleries and museums that I visit. They are a cheaper way of keeping inspirational material to hand. I often frame them and keep them around the house or tape them up on the fridge so I can look at them when I want.

Obviously you don't have to be as obsessive as I am but leafing through inspirational books or magazines can be a really good way of using your down time refreshing your memory of beautiful ideas/techniques etc.


7 - Try Some Doodle Drawing

Doodle drawing may seem a rather childlike pursuit to some but it can be a really useful exercise.

Warm up exercises are an important way to build your skills and get yourself in a good place before starting on a piece of art.

Playing around with pattern and line with no plan or expectation can be a really useful way of keeping your hand in especially when you are feeling uninspired.

Just doing some colouring can be extremely relaxing and whilst doodling may seem a simple exercise you are playing with different colour combinations and patterns which at a later time could be incorporated into a body of work.

You can find out more about doodling and it's benefits via my Art Journalling for Wellbeing group.


So I hope this post has given you some ideas to think about and that you feel inspired to try out some of the suggestions I've given?

If you have any further ideas of inspirational things to try, I'm sure we would all love to hear about them. So feel free to comment on the post or via the Facebook or Instagram pages.

Have an inspired week everyone xx