First off, let me be clear; I am a massive fan of inspiration.
There are many people out there, many creatives, who aren't fans of inspiration and instead try and find their way to express creativity. That's fine, and there are many times I never even look for or at inspiration when I create things.
But when you're just starting out or just learning to draw or illustrate, inspiration is crucial in developing your skills and your style overall.
An excellent way to help justify this is a lot of the old masters, all the way back to the Renaissance, used to find inspiration in the masters before them. Early on, they would study, copy, and create new drawings, paintings, and sculptures. These unique creations, even if they were created decades later, pulled inspiration from what they studied early on in their lives.
I have been growing my inspiration pool since I was in high school, just starting. I had a folder on my computer that eventually became a few thousand (unfiltered) images that inspired me at the time and helped me grow my creative instincts.
Since then, particularly in the last 3 or 4 years, I've been steadily growing a new library of inspiration. Currently, my library has over 10,000 pieces of inspiration, ranging from animation, branding, typography/lettering, sign painting, and of course, illustration (being the most significant chunk).
Where does my library of inspiration live? It lives exclusively on Pinterest, where anyone and everyone can come and check it out (and follow it). This allows me not to have to worry about all these fantastic images and gifs from taking up a ton of room on my Dropbox and makes it easy for me to access it no matter where I am.
Where do I pull these pieces of inspiration from? All over the place. My main go-to areas include Dribbble, Behance, and Instagram. Additionally, if I'm surfing the web and come across an illustration or a portfolio of an artist, I like I will spend a ton of time-saving all or most of the works of that artist on my inspiration boards.
Each day, I will jump on Dribbble, for instance, and save any Dribbble shots that jump out at me. These can be any shots from illustration, branding, lettering, animation, and even UI/UX, also though I don't work in that anymore. You can find inspiration in almost any form of art and design, also if its one you're not familiar with or not used to create.
As you read this, my Illustration Inspiration board currently has over 8,000 pins on it. Now with that many pins on there, I haven't even seen the beginning of the board in a couple of years. There are tons of pins there, but I do know that if I do keep scrolling through, I'm going to find some gems I forgot entirely about.
Anyone can grab a bunch of images and put them together and let them build up and sit. Its how you use those images to further your skillset that will help move the needle forward and make it all worth it.
But to hear how to do that, you'll have to wait till the follow-up blog post. (;