As a jobbing creative, inspiration is one of your tools. It's not always easy to muster it up. When I worked in concept teams, I had a daily responsibility to generate ideas. Didn't matter if I was tired, had a touch of flu, or was suffering the next day from something self induced the night before. Client service would be in my concept room at 4pm and there had to be something fresh on the wall.
So how do you keep the wheel turning?
On the highest possible level, for me, it has been about living well. Making sure that I have a rich life, full of friends, rock gigs, burlesque shows, design exhibitions, foreign travel, online gaming and interactive theatre - because all of this stuff keeps the ideas flowing. It keeps the brain supple. Having fun is mental yoga that keeps me ready to deliver at work.
On a more practical daily level, it's so easy now to sign up to inspiration in your inbox. Buzzfeed. Itsnicethat. Cool Hunting. New Atlas for the Tech stuff. 'Click' on the BBC. Bored Panda. There is so much curated content that inspiration, in the moment, is never all that far away.
But this I love. Because it reminds me of the days before the internet, when I was a writer and poet, and I couldn't go digging on tumblr for stuff, I had to go out and capture inspiration from the world around me, like catching fireflies in a jar.
The Sketchbook Project, now resident at Brooklyn Art Gallery, catalogues people's sketchbooks, from all over the world. It pulls together analogue creativity, without rules, and lines them up in one incredible library of imagination. Seeing the ideas that people have produced immediately triggers off every creativity receptor in me, and starts me generating loads of ideas. If this had existed when I was working in NYC, I think I would have just set myself up in there to work every day, instead of the office.
Creativity is a wonderful muscle to flex, but like anything, it can be hard to keep that up when it becomes a daily demand. This fresh take on inspiration-gathering is enough to make anyone fall in love with being a jobbing creative all over again.
In less than a decade, the Sketchbook Project has been able to collect more than 30,000 sketchbooks offered up by individuals spanning 130 countries and six continents. This month, the Brooklyn-based organization releases the fruits of its labor in a 256-page tome dedicated to a crowd-sourced library of doodles, drawings, scribbles and scrawls. The Sketchbook Project began in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, before making New York City its permanent home three years later. Nestled in a storefront space in the neighborhood of Williamsburg, dubbed the Brooklyn Art Library, the locale plays home to the work of artists from Croatia, Argentina, South Africa, Japan and more.