Where to look for creative inspiration online
The web has provided us with not only a way to produce more work, but to be inspired and see what’s possible as well.
Unfortunately it’s size alone makes finding creative inspiration difficult to do online. Which is why I occasionally like to compile lists like this one to direct those who need inspiration to some of the (arguably) best places out there.
For creatives who work primarily in digital mediums (but also in some “old school” ways like photography and print design), Behance is the place to look for inspiration. Browse design, music, video, photography, architecture, fashion, and a dozen other mediums to find work that is truly moving. An absolute go-to for inspiration any day of the week.
There’s a surprising amount of creativity floating around on the micro-bloggosphere that is Tumblr. Do a quick search for whatever it is you’re looking for (like fashion design, dance choreography, photography, etc.) and you’re going to find a big stream of things to sort through. Count on it.
Colossal is prime for looking at art, photography, video, and design inspiration. Any time I look at a random page from Colossal I end up finding something that really motivates and moves me. You will too (if art is your thing).
No, this isn’t a website all about the infamous chocolatey drink. It’s home to designer and creator Tina Roth Eisenberg. If you’re the crafty type who loves DIY projects for inspiration, Swissmiss is an amazing place to start looking.
That’s boom with seven ‘o’s, if you were wondering. For a few years now Booooooom has been the go to place for remarkably art, photography, and design inspiration. There’s always some collaborative effort going on too, so be sure to check out the latest projects from the community and get engaged for some quick go-to action and inspiration.
- Steven PressfieldStevenpressfield.com
Steven is the author of countless best-sellers, including The War of Art (which is a creative-must-read). Regularly Steven will write on his blog (or have a guest writer write) about writing, selling-out, and doing creative work. It’s a great resource for writers who are looking for some online inspiration.
A community bookmarking tool, Kippt is a great resource for finding amazing writing, design, innovation, business, and other places for inspiration. You’ll have to signup and do some digging (try exploring the “Find Friends” feature), but once you’re into the system you’re going to get a stream of regularly-updated content from people who love the same types of inspiration as you do, undoubtedly.
Favorite TED stories on creativity.
Creativity can be a viral thing.
It’s when you start to feel a little buzzing in your head after hearing the story of someone’s creative success. When you hear a new song or see a new work of art or when you’re in the room the moment someone encounters something truly creative. Simply encountering one story of creativity can spark a motivation in you, a result of our human desire to better our abilities.
Today let the creativity story others have to tell inspire you. Starting with this video from Elizabeth Gilbert on Your Elusive Creative Genius.
Then follow it up with some of my other favorite TED talks on creativity: Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity, The Fringe Benefits of Failure by J.K. Rowling, David Kelley on How to Build Your Creative Confidence, 4 Lessons in Creativity by Julie Berstein, and Do What You Love by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Finding inspiration in the tiniest of details
You’re looking for the next thing – the next line to your book or poem, the next clip for your video, the next word for a tweet, the next chord to a song – and nothing is coming to mind.
Creative block feels like a dead end, like there’s nowhere to go from here.
But what if, instead of stopping in our tracks when we reach the block, we focus on the details of what’s in front of us now? Magnify what it is we’re working on to see the details and expose them as the very thing that comes next.
Undoubtedly the best thing about magnification is that it’s nearly infinite.
Nathan Manire looked at the details of our skin, with the tiny dots of pigmentation, and zoomed in on them to create stunning dot portraits.
Then there’s photographer Ian Ruhter who looked at the relatively small size of today’s cameras and ended up turning a truck into a giant, mobile camera for producing large, wet plate photos while traveling.
Ian’s photos focus on the details, because of their large size and the difficulty in both capturing and printing them. The details are what matter to Ian and his team.
Or take artists Andy Miller & Andrew Neyer, who wanted to focus on the details of the tools used to create art rather than the art itself. So they created a great 24 ft mural in a studio and then invited people to color the mural themselves with 5 ft markers.
The result was that zooming in on the markers (and then zooming back out to make the magnified markers life-size) created a fun and inspirational piece of artwork. Watch the video to see how it all came together.
Whatever your work is: if you’re feeling stuck, look at the details. Zoom in and magnify them. Whatever you find there can help you to get unstuck and keep working. Go!
20 Quotes from Vincent Van Gogh
- “I’m drawing a great deal and think it’s getting better.”—Vincent van Gogh,Etten, November 3, 1881, to Theo van Gogh
- “I now consider myself to be at the beginning of the beginning of making something serious.”—Vincent van Gogh, Etten, on or about December 23, 1881, to Theo van Gogh
- “Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thought I say no—just let me be myself—and express rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, March 11, 1882, to Theo van Gogh
- “I’ll start with small things.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, August 5, 1882, to Theo van Gogh
- “As you can see, I am immersing myself in color—I’ve held back from that until now; and I don’t regret it.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, September 3, 1882, to Theo van Gogh
- “I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort—and disappointment and perseverance.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, September 9, 1882, to Theo van Gogh
- “I assure you that there’s a lot involved in compositions with figures. … It’s like weaving… you must control and keep an eye on several things at once.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, October 8, 1882, to Theo van Gogh
- “For the great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, Sunday, October 22, 1882, to Theo van Gogh
- “I’ve never felt a desire (and I don’t believe I ever shall) to bring the public to my work… a certain popularity seems to me the least desirable of things.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, on or about October 29, 1882, to Anthon van Rappard
- “Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would go for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, December 10, 1882, to Theo van Gogh
- “I haven’t got it yet, but I’m hunting it and fighting for it, I want something serious, something fresh—something with soul in it! Onward, onward.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, January 3, 1883, to Theo van Gogh
- “Drawing is the root of everything, and the time spent on that is actually all profit.”—Vincent van Gogh, The Hague, 3 June 3, 1883, to Theo van Gogh
- “… now I say it less in words and more silently in work.”—Vincent van Gogh,The Hague, on or about June 16, 1883, to Theo van Gogh
- “I’ve just kept on ceaselessly painting in order to learn painting.”—Vincent van Gogh, Nuenen, on or about November 17, 1885, to Theo van Gogh
- “The uglier, older, meaner, iller, poorer I get, the more I wish to take my revenge by doing brilliant color, well arranged, resplendent.”—Vincent van Gogh, Arles, September 9 and 14, 1888, to Willemien van Gogh
- “Ideas for work are coming to me in abundance…I’m going like a painting-locomotive.”—Vincent van Gogh, Arles, on or about September 11, 1888, to Theo van Gogh
- “I exaggerate, I sometimes make changes to the subject, but still I don’t invent the whole of the painting; on the contrary, I find it ready-made—but to be untangled— in the real world.”—Vincent van Gogh, Arles, on or about October 1888, to Emile Bernard
- “One can speak poetry just by arranging colors well, just as one can say comforting things in music.”—Vincent van Gogh, Arles, on or about November 12, 1888, to Willemien van Gogh
- “It is difficult to know oneself, but it isn’t easy to paint oneself either.”—Vincent van Gogh, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, September 5 and 6, 1889, to Theo van Gogh
- “One must spoil as many canvases as one succeeds with.” —Vincent van Gogh, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, November 26, 1889, to Theo van Gogh