My Virtual Studio: Creativity: Taking inspiration and running with it

While my studio tour was shot just before Christmas cards will begin to arrive (and I cleared them to prepare!), my shelves are typically full of inspiration from other people – I love getting cards in the mail! Who doesn’t?

I do display the cards I get, and change them out with the change of each season. They can be super inspiring, and when I get one, I look at it carefully to note what medium they used, how they applied it, did they use a cool technique, what colors did they use, what design elements create the focal point. Now don’t go worrying that I’m analyzing the cards you send; I’m not doing it as a critique! I’m learning.

I look at ads the same way. Book covers. Magazine spreads. Art shared on social media. I challenge myself not to replicate what I see, but to analyze what it is that I like – and focus on that. It helps me get the original project or inspiration out of my mind, and just moving into creating my own piece.

That’s what I encourage YOU to do. Instead of just attempting to replicate (which is certainly fine when learning!)….see how you can make it your own.

I hear from lots of artists and crafters that they just don’t know how to make it their own. They don’t know what “their own” even is. I get that! I spent a long time trying to figure out who I am as an artist, and it’s a daily journey. But to find yourself, you need to try letting go of the training wheels and fly. Not all the time – tell your self you can keep that piece secret. But stray from your inspiration piece. Change something about it. Just keep the one thing you liked – colors, layout, brushstroke, lighting, whatever that was.

To help you see how I think through inspiration and take just part of it, I’ve added a few videos with a little bit about how I got there – where the idea was in my brain before jumping into the project. Hope that helps!


“Wow look at the impact of a silhouette with a stunning background!” The painting I saw by an Indian artist on Facebook had a silhouetted figure; I don’t tend to buy silhouette stasmps since I’m a colorist, so I adapted an outline stamp and made it a silhouette, and loved the card:

“Oh look, there’s a color combo I had never thought of! Going to try that.” I saw an ad with pink, teal, and yellow together and I suddenly realized it was a primary combination, just adapted! That inspired this video, even though my card is nothing like what that ad was like.

In this project, I was inspired by a stamp set instead of a card – it made me decide to try making my own castle as a large piece instead of only a card in watercolor pencil.

I’ve taken classes from the amazing Jean Haines, but I don’t often use her techniques to create something on my own. So this was a challenge to myself to use what I learned from a class from her:

Join our creative community! Our Student Facebook Group is for all classes here …and while there are no finished projects in this class, you’re welcome to join the group and get an idea of what kind of beautiful works can be created from learnings in classes on this website!