Where Do You Look To Find Inspiration?

As an art minor in school, I took a nude drawing class senior year for three hours each Monday night. It was a whole lot of boobs, let me tell you right now. But every Monday at 9 PM I left that classroom absolutely inspired. I’d come home and complete all of my art homework for the week, then stay up until really weird hours just sketching and messing around with various mediums. Tuesday mornings often meant charcoal smudges across my forehead that went undetected until a roommate pointed it out.

Being in an environment that not only encouraged creativity but, in all realness, gave me a grade for it, pushed me to constantly be open to inspiration. I’d stare at people in the library and try to memorize the odd lines in their face — the shape of a unique nose, the way mouths parted just before saying something or the folds around everyone’s eyes when they smile. I’d watch ballet videos on YouTube to better understand the way bodies moved, and I’d force my friends to stand in odd poses (Ok now you two hug. Jess, can you stand on one leg, though? Mer, I need you to look more masculine).

Words inspire me too. Beautiful new words used in ways I’ve never heard before are exciting. They make me want to try a new style, take a risk, and sometimes delete everything I’ve ever written because if it’s not like this new way I’ve just “discovered” then it must be absolute garbage.

The thing with words is that they’re a bit more introspective than drawing, at least for me personally. If I’m writing something, I like to mull over sentences. I like to make sure that each line flows like the cliché of a river, babbling and bubbling over tiny pebbles until you reach the period and it’s a chance for you, the reader, to catch your internal breath and for me, the writer, to stop while I’m ahead.

Sometimes I write in a staccato beat. It’s on purpose. It’s bouncy. I’m usually making a lot of points. Good ones. Or at least I hope they’re good ones.

Both drawing and writing are visual. Concepts that once existed loosely in my mind become instantly tangible, and to that, mistakes immediately visible. You know what works, and what doesn’t, almost right away. And even when I’m sort of bored with the subject (we drew SO MANY TREES in art class) I know that I can still end up with a finished product that more than resembles — if not absolutely mimics — exactly what I intended to create in the first place…even if someone else doesn’t agree. And than in itself is inspiring.

Now what inspires you?


Image by Joe Fig, Jackson Pollock 1951, 2002. Interior view. Courtesy of Ronnie and John Shore.

  • EziE

    I drew a lot of continous-line hands in my one studio art class, but I got waaaaay better at drawing just from that one 3 hour course I took. I like looking at new images, clouds, star nebulas, thngs that make the world feel fantastic. I like the same kind of feeling in writing. I think that being able to feel moved by words is a gorgeous thing, and people who can do that to others are kind of like wizards. Corny as it is, writing is a kind of magic for me.

  • I have a thing about drawing, too … One of my hobbies is making silver jewelry from silver clay and so as not to waste any material (not cheap), I usually have a drawing ready, as an inspiration or even an exact image of what I want to achieve in the end. Now, the drawings … sometimes all I need is a moleskine, a lecture or ten on mathematics (we have this event called The long night of mathematics taking place once a year, it’s popular science, basically, so comprehensible and interesting and going on for 8 hours) and the need to scribble while listening. Mostly pendants I might make. Some time ago I was thinking there are infinite combinations of lines possible in this universe and I am just stealing a few, from time to time, to have some fun – part of it being the fact that I am not an artist of any kind, just a scribbler 🙂 and needn’t prove anything to anyone in this area … sometimes, that’s good.
    Especially when you find out you’ve screwed your economy exam, consisting mainly of maths 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      How cool!!!!

      • Thank you 🙂 – should you want to give it a try one day: it’s not rocket science (search term: Art Clay Silver) and can be very fulfilling, at least in winter. And btw: American artists are absolutely, totally the best! (Etsy …) 🙂 (been suffering quietly because I’d need to pay quite some toll if I bought everything I have fallen in love with so far)

  • Shawnee Rajala

    AMELIA I LOVE THIS. Either my creative nf writing professor reads TMR or this very (title) question is floating around the world today… We had to answer this in class today as another daily oral prompt. Driving inspires me as I often drive home two hours on a two-lane highway through the woods to visit my family. Being forced to sit in one seat and follow the lines on the road always makes my mind wander about. Having no plans and an afternoon/weekend free always lifts my spirits and brings about my creative side as well, writing letters or essays and creating pieces of art. Last semester I took my first drawing class and fell in love with it. Although I don’t draw as often as I did then or as much as I’d like to, I found myself seeing the world differently and still find so much inspiration from drawing (charcoal is my favorite). I am an art major/writing minor right now but actually I am almost positive that I will be switching them. The end.

  • i also write for a (partial) living, but writing in a chipper brand voice has sucked so much of my personal writing style out of me. it took wrenching and reading and thinking and having conversations with like-minded and unlike-minded people to rediscover who I was, in my purist form, in the most precise words, to deliver my thoughts succinctly. it’s exhausting but rewarding.

    for inspiration, I read. i try to read everything. i read the bullet-like, screen-play worthy voice of hemingway and then malala yousafzai’s autobiography who speaks so clearly in her iron grasp of english with a tint of foreign diction, or dramatic fiction voices of today – atkinson, flynn. good writing, i think, is like great art – you marvel at the technical skill behind it, and then you forget all that and just let it take you away the way it was meant to.

    words are magical – there’s a reason why books so often trump movies. they control all your senses and emotions; they’re dangerous, the way they conjure and provoke the imagination, and have such ability to sway interpretation depending on the intention of writer, the product of the text, and the reader’s biases.

    this post was art, btw. so much fun to read. it’s INSPIRATIONAL.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Thank you for such a lovely comment! (And I just made a note to buy her autobiography thanks to you.)

    • I love Hemingway’s writing style as well! It’s very straight-forward and natural, yet meaningful.

  • Quinn

    Get out your lactose pills, because it’s about to get cheesey up in here!
    To preface, I am from Toronto so this might be a little silly for those of you that grew up in the 212, but New York City is what motivates me. I’m still figuring it all out, I like a little bit of this and a little bit of that, yet no matter what those things are, NYC has something. Something for the fashionista in me, the engineer in my father, the sports fan in my brother, and the space for my runner mother. The thought of living in a city that has something that caters to each of my hobbies and passions is great. It is a place of earned success and getting the job done. Whenever I come back from a visit, my drive becomes more intense to get the grades that could potentially get me into NYU or The New School.

  • ThefashionSnob


  • A lot of Tumblr, Magazines, the Words people say, Outside, Mountains


  • My nieces and nephew. They can sit for HOURS coloring AMAZING things for their 5 year old selves. Their creativity is so awesome. 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      Isn’t that fascinating? Kids GET IT.

  • Lisa Thomson

    Writing and drawing are my two passions (well there’s a few other things…). I used to attend ‘life drawing’ classes regularly. Did you have any male models? It’s amazing how a model can help your work too. Just the way they move. Great post, I love your comparison on the two creative pursuits. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Amelia Diamond

      What does “life drawing” entail? I’ve never had a male model but would love to. My male drawings all come out slightly Disney-male-lead-cartoonish which is frustrating. (But like, Pixar, call me!)

      • Lisa Thomson

        Hi Amelia, 🙂 I’m sure your male nudes are fab! Life drawing refers to live models so it could be portraits as well as nudes. I guess it’s a nice way of saying nude drawing…haha.

  • Thery Barja

    I look for inspiration in cutesy Japanese Street Fashion and merge it with Rock music influenced style

  • Thery Barja

    and then at times when i feel nostalgic and whimsy, whether sad or happy o in love… i find inspiration from storybooks

  • Amelie J

    I’m a horse-back rider, so I love seeing the way riders and their horses make it to the top. It always inspires me to just keep going!

    The Neon Guava

    The Neon Guava