Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dissecting Inspiration

Several people have commented recently about my ability to pull inspiration from places they would never have seen as inspirational. This got me thinking about how inspiration works for me and how I might share my process. Here goes.

When I look at a card for inspiration, my first instinct isn't to judge it. I don't think, "Oooo, I love this!" or "Ewww, yuck!"

I ask a much more neutral question: "What's going on here?"

If the inspiration piece is clean and simple, I generally focus on the layout. Is it something I've seen before? Does the artist make a "standard" layout look fresh? Where is my eye moving? Does the movement make sense? Is the color scheme successful? How do all the elements work together to create unity? This is what I did with yesterday's inspiration cards. Their artsy, textile style isn't at all mine, but the layout...where things are placed...is perfectly clean and simple. I lifted that and went to town with it, even varying the layout when the shape of my sentiment changed.

If an inspiration piece is not clean and simple, I look at the details. Is there some part of this complex design that would look good surrounded by white space? Is there a clever use of color, line, pattern, or balance that would work in a CAS environment? Did the artist use a technique or embellishment that looks really cool? Basically, I dissect the design and treat each part as potentially useful for me.

When you dissect a good design, no matter what style it reflects, you learn something you can apply to your own artistic expression. Today's card is a perfect example of borrowing only a part of a more complex inspiration piece. First, here's my card, which made me so very, very happy!

Isn't this fun?!?! I love the crisp, clean colors; the sparkle of the bright blue glitter paper; the placement of everything. It works wonderfully well, and I doubt I could ever have come up with the layout on my own.

When you see the inspiration for this, it might take you a minute to find exactly what I pulled out.

From The Stampers' Sampler magazine, Summer 2015

Talk about over-the-top layered and embellished! Linda Abadie's lush use of ribbon, hat pins, layers, chipboard, and color is absolutely gorgeous...and the exact opposite of clean and simple. This card would never fit in an envelope; putting it in one would, in fact, be a crime! With all that's going on, it's a perfect candidate for dissection. Take a look at this close-up, and you'll see exactly what I lifted from her design:

She used two glitter hearts to embellish a tag and placed the sentiment on a white panel across patterned paper so the hearts and red grid draw your eye to it. Brilliant! I pulled just this element off her card and created my snowflake card.

I generally think in threes, but two hearts (or snowflakes) work perfectly here. The background text is very linear, so I went with a nice, curvy "Joy" in the sentiment.

And the results are so very clean and simple!

This sort of inspiration makes my heart go pitter-patter. It stretches me and gives me new ideas, and then I can modify and adapt the design for my own purposes. I love finding a layout and then varying it to see what else I can milk out of the idea. Tomorrow's card will show how a single change in placement in this tag's design will affect how all the pieces need to fit together. Stay tuned!

stamps: background unknown, sentiment Papertrey Signature Christmas
ink: Memento Danube blue
paper: Papertrey white, Michael's blue glitter paper
accessories: snowflake punch (Martha Stewart), dimensionals, corner rounder


  1. very interesting to read how you get inspiration and will be trying out this. Your card has a crisp and frosty feel x

  2. I am loving your card and I love how you got your inspiration from the other card! I knew right away what inspiration you took from the other card. I am hoping your tips will help me out. lol Thanks for sharing them with us. Hugs, Brenda


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