Archive | November, 2015

How Artists Index Their Inspiration

9 Nov
stack of art sketchbooks

Stack of my sketchbooks.

open sketchbook

Pages from one of my sketchbooks.


I finished reading a craft article titled “Indexing Your Inspiration” which described the many ways crafters could invest in organizing their supplies and various examples of ideas for later use.  It seemed more of an advertisement pushing their system as the cure to lack of inspiration, not just another expensive organizational item.

I thought about how I store my inspirational ideas and how I retrieve them for paintings.  I do use photographs, taken by my husband, daughters, myself and others (with permission of course) but rarely print them out anymore.  Most of my pictures are on my computer these days – no more boxes of prints.  I don’t do much more than organize these pictures by year.

I also use my sketchbooks for inspiration.  I didn’t even realize how many I had until I started to pull them off my bookshelf.  The picture above only shows part of my collection.  About half of them are full.  Some contain pencil or ink sketches, some painted with watercolor or acrylic, used indoors or out.  I even use these books to make notes during a workshop, a demo or a presentation.  Drawing the speaker, the scene or room helps me remember the event.  It quickly brings me back to the instruction they were giving.

I don’t really have a formal index of my inspiration.  I’m not sure this would help me as many of my ideas remain in my head!  This would make an interesting subject at an art gathering.   I’d love to hear how other artists organize their inspiration.