Getting Unstuck

As a designer, I need fuel. Creative fuel. When my tank is empty and I've hit a block, the paint doesn't flow as easily and I know I need a spark to reignite my creativity. That's when I go to my three favorite ways to get inspired:

  • Taking a walk around town or in nature.
  • Perusing a library or used bookstore for great art book finds.
  • Visiting a museum—preferably alone and very early in the morning.

When I take walks, I love to bring a camera with me. It encourages me to not only see things differently, but to look for things. I will come home with photos of the day and see what I can make with them. Sometimes I'll make a collage of images to create a mood board (or a blog post). Other times I will use the photos and manipulate them to create a pattern. Even just the act of walking, and getting fresh air will clear my head and wipe the slate clean.

Books are another fantastic source of inspiration. You don't have to spend a lot of money on them either. I often make trips to used book stores or the public library and sit on the floor flipping through art reference books—not just on textiles and pattern—but illustration, photography and art. They just open up my mind to different ideas and ways of looking at things. Sometimes I will even snap a picture from the book to remind myself of a color palette, or jot down the name of a designer to investigate further online.

My all-time favorite way to get inspired is to go to a museum. The earlier the better, the fewer crowds the better. I recall a time I went to the Legion of Honor in San Francisco on a Tuesday morning at 9:00AM, and I was the first one in. The hair on my arms kinda stood up. It was the quietest, loveliest experience and just made me feel all kinds of creative! 

Removing myself from my workspace is really the key. No matter what I choose to do, I trust that the creativity will come back. I have learned not to panic and accept it as part of the process. I allow myself the time to recharge and it always pays off. Plus, it's pretty fun. 

How do you recharge?

©Katja Ollendorff
©Katja Ollendorff
©katja ollendorff