Thursday, April 16, 2015

taking creative notes

Back when I worked in an office, I had very little time in my 8 hour work day to fit in my creative projects. Ironically it was during this period in my life that I had some of my best ideas and was really inspired. There was something about having limited time that really made me productive. Despite my schedule, I would challenge myself to still do SOMETHING- ANYTHING creative throughout that 8 hour work day to capture my ideas. 

My brain was always looking at everyday things in my daily routine as inspiration. I would carry a journal or notepad with me, a few pens and pencils and a little set of watercolors, Throughout the day I would take 5 minutes to take some creative notes, document ideas and do really fast simple sketches.

It was during this time that I developed a quick process of dissecting and documenting my ideas and inspiration. Instead of spending hours and hours of time (that I didn't have) on my drawings and paintings, I would take notes. Sometimes this process was simply journaling the things that caught my eye, colors combos, shapes or ideas that were sparked. Other times I would quickly and expressively sketch what I saw. I would then use these notes as a place to begin when I had the time create. 

These days I have a lot more time and a creative business where I have to stay fresh and inspired. This "creative note taking" process is something that I depend on in my routine and it is actually how I begin most of my drawings, paintings and projects. You might be surprised to see many of my sketchbook pages filled with messy notes, sloppy drawings and all kinds of scribbles of color! 

Here is what my process looks like:

1. I typically start with identifying something that inspires me- it could be anything from objects to colors to shapes, texture or pattern.

2. Next, I take notes- sometimes I simply journal and free write about what I am doing, while other times I will write down descriptions of the weather, the sky, the tide, treasures that I found. I've discovered that taking notes is a really quick way to capture my ideas, my inspiration and is a really helpful reference when I have more time to create.

3. Next I sketch shapes, patterns or designs VERY quickly. They don't look very pretty or anything like a finished project BUT this process allows me to capture the essence and vibe of my inspiration. This process has come in handy for me now because I am always on the go and juggling a million things and I don't always have lots of time (or want to take lots of time) to sit somewhere and sketch for hours. Instead I take a little bit of time to quickly capture ideas.

4. I look for details or things that catch my eye or spark ideas and just try to get them down on paper. I literally "dissect" my inspiration and try to get anything and everything down on paper that I can- you never know if you will remember a good idea or have the same moment of inspiration.


Use a journal sketchbook to record your visual findings.

The key to this process is to work quickly and expressively without the worry or pressure for things to look perfect.
Challenge yourself to reflect on why things catch you eye and write it down. Ask yourself questions like: How does a color make you feel? What makes you notice certain things? What catches your eye? What draws you in?

Try to find unique and interesting patterns in your everyday world. In my experience you can always find great pattern in nature.

Add color to your pages with easy to access tools and materials.

Collage paper, swatches of color or things that you find (photos, paint, scraps of paper, paint chips, pressed leaves and flowers) onto your pages.

Not sure where to begin when looking for inspiration? Start with the everyday things in your life! Clothing in your closet, landscaping in the yard, home decor, your meals or anything that is a part of your everyday life can be inspiring.

Reference these pages when working on your creative projects.


Mary W said...

You have such a creative side and action is its best friend! Maybe the real secret is to act on an idea no matter how tiny that action is and that exercise strengthens the creative part. Best of all, you share with everyone. Thank you.

Haley said...

Why have I never thought of this before?! I'm always jotting notes down on post-its or texting myself some kind of detail. While my inspiration isn't always relayed correctly to my future-self, I find an interesting way to interpret those texts to make something else. I find it hardest to relay certain color combos, so I'll definitely have to get a small journal and some colorful medium to work on this.

Alyse Neibaur said...

Your blog is one of my favorites. You make me want to finally be more proactive about my creativity and incorporate it into my daily life. I love this post, thank you always for sharing what you do and how you do it. You're a huge inspiration.

Stephanie said...

Great post! I have a full time "real" job and this is a super helpful way to capture ideas.

Christine said...

Thank you thank you thank you!!! I so needed to hear this. You are such a constant inspiration to me. ☺️


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