Wed, 2nd Sep 2015

Have you suffered from designers block or looking for deeper inspiration?

creative inspirations

This post is aimed at designers/creatives and offers some thought provoking aspects with regards to drawing inspiration from just about anything and everything. For the non designer you are welcome to read it too, it's not a technical post and is more for fueling ideas or getting inspiration where you might not think it's possible to draw from.

Suffering From a lack of Inspiration or Just Want Inspiration Ideas?

We are all constantly learning new things everyday and design is no exception. It's a continually evolving topic and a passion which lots of people share. There is no right or wrong (unless you completely balls it up (and use default emboss effect heheh)).

Often designers suffer from inspiration blocks and it can take different triggers to snap out of that zone. You may just like to read up on different ideas which could make it a lightbulb moment and then you can carry on with your project or put ideas down on paper for another day.

I don't claim the idea below will pull you out of your design block but it's worth looking at, i.e. don't whinge or dismiss it without trying it first! ;) and it may help you. You also get a glimpse into my mind (warped? well you be the judge :) heheh.

The idea for this post is so you can visualise different aspects from pictures, photos or real life scenes/views. "Yea it's nothing new, this guy must have his head in the clouds?", I hear ya :). You may be pleasantly surprised by reading the below and use the ideas to create a masterpiece, so don't knock it till you've tried it :).

Fresh Eyes or just a different view or just plain wierd?

Today I'm going to talk about something different than the normal design blog post that helps me look at pretty much anything with or from different perspectives. It's more of an excercise of the mind really and I'm sure lots of designers do this without even thinking, but do they necessarily apply it?

Although this post only draws upon a basic view, there are lots of other ways it could be interpreted. Different designers will interpret the same thing in different ways, there are plenty of other designer blog posts which look at techniques and I will be looking at them in future posts. For now we will focus on drawing out those interpretations rather than focus on technical aspects.

Drawing From Past Experience (no pun intended, honest guv :) )

I remember from school how I loved to draw in technical drawing and in graphical communication. I obsessed over perspective drawing with 1 point, 2 point etc... To be able to visualise objects was a key part, irrespective of the technical aspects involved.

Having been a Joiner for 16 years the realisation of creating objects and visualising them only helped to strengthen my visual side and I'm sure you can all relate to this with something similar in your experiences. I can also visualise and hearealise (wow making up new words is cool lol) most music in Heavy Metal style too heheh, see I'm normal really ;) lol.

The original photograph below will give you an outline or rough idea on how shapes/colours could be incorporated into a new drawing/picture. We will borrow the concepts of the parts we are looking at and nothing else.

We are looking to pull out ideas from the existing photograph or picture whether or not they were perceived visualisations at the time of creation. Obviously using a different picture may well yield different results, whether or not they added in faces or variations of these on purpose or not. Some may think I'm nuts (and you probably are not too far off the mark heheh) but I think it's an important aspect that could be good for drawing inspiration from others' works without ripping it off.

I'm dead set against people ripping other people's works and this is not a post about ripping others content! It's about realising potential inspirations from others' works which will look nothing like the original. It is just an interpretation or visualisation of just a small part which is almost irrelevant to the original piece.

In this case we are looking at a photograph, so any thing you can draw out from this is 100% original. The photo represents a natural rock face but not only that, depending on the style of the designer those inspirations can be shown or portrayed in many different ways.

Visualising and Finding Inspiration

The photographs below give an idea of how I perceive different aspects which you could also draw upon to fuel other ideas for your own projects. You can borrow shapes or ideas from the original piece, but they might be things that you would not ordinarily see unless told they were there.

Faces - Seeing is believing

This is not a game, there are no winners or losers, different people will draw out or visualise different parts in different ways, some may not even get it at all.
Seriously though if you're struggling for inspiration, take 5 minutes out, get a cup of coffee or tea or whatever. Some photographs or pictures you look at may not have as much hidden nuggets and it should not be a quest to find or search the earth for a photo or picture so you can find inspiration. This is just one way you can look at things in a different light which may help you.

For this post I want you to visualise Photograph 1 and see if you can spot as many "Faces" as you can. You could draw up lots of different ideas depending on what you wanted to get out of the photo or fuel further ideas; but for the point of this post we will just look at faces. There will also be no looking to emotions or colours etc... plain simple, see if you can spot faces, they could be in many shapes or forms.

Why faces?

Humans have a fascination with faces that goes beyond words. A face is one of the main features which distinguishes who people are and is part of our main identity. We compare to cartoons, 3d models made out of plasticine, paper mache, plastic or even real people. For example caricature artists focus on facial features by exaggerating or amplifying particular parts of the face as the main attraction or likeness.

For photograph 1, these faces don't have to be full faces. They can be in any shape or form, side elevations, front view, perspective, partials (i.e. just an eye(s) or nose), cartoon faces, hazy faces, animals, let your imagination run wild in your vision.

Photo 1 - Rock Face - A Good Hard Look at The Question

creative-inspirations-from-design-and-visualisation Photo Credit - Free Blog Photos

STOP HERE - Seek and ye shall find

Look at the photograph above and then read the text below BEFORE looking at photograph 2

I want you to visualise this photo and look to see where you can see a face forming. In the second photo you will see some of the faces I have highlighted. You may have seen them too, but I want you to be able to pull out faces from this photograph on your own. There may be more faces others can see, faces which I have not highlighted or cannot see, or faces you may not have even thought of.

Photo 2 - Reveal Those Faces - The Answers


STOP HERE - Ahh Now I See!

As you can see from the above photograph, I have highlighted a few areas where you could draw out faces from. Whether or not this was a photograph or a picture this would almost never be the original artists intention or vision.
In the case of the photo above, those faces would simply have occurred naturally.

The examples pulled out from the photo are interpretations of the picture at this specific time. We could pull out other faces depending on mood or further study, the whole point is you are free to explore and stylise these faces in many different ways. You could create a cartoon or a more realistic look or even create a puppet or caricature out of them.

The idea with all of this is that you are able to pull out the ideas of the faces being there without it being shown to you. Of course we are all different and there may be some aspects which we look at differently and others may see different faces etc...

By looking at the picture in more detail, we can look at ways to work some of the shapes into a new project or save the ideas for a rainy day. We are also free to change or resize these shapes and incorporate your own style.

I'm sure you can see ways of using some of those faces in illustrations, pictures, cartoons, even 3d models. Too many people skim through lots of pictures/photos without looking deeper into them and may miss finding golden nuggets of inspiration.


Of course this is just one of many ways you could interpret a photo/picture and I will be drawing more from this idea with some future posts. There are lots of ways to get more out of the same photo/picture too which we will touch on later. For example, you can even turn this photo upside down or rotate it and find even more faces from the many nooks and crannies of the rocks.

I hope you all got something different out of this post and can take away some valuable aspects to help give you inspiration for your own works.

Please contribute to the discussion with your thoughts and comments. I would love to hear how you visualise things and also how you visualised some faces from the post images.

Do you visualise pictures like this? How do you draw inspiration from a picture or photograph?


Shamima Sultana
13th February 2010 at 5:43AM

great job....really great post indeed

16th February 2010 at 10:21AM

Thanks Shamima Reading back on this post made me laugh in a few places I can assure you I wasnt on anything lol Hope you got some takeaways fr[x]om the article though

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