Liane’s Top Ten Sources for Gaining Quick Perspective

creative cultivationAugmenting my revision of the Idea Incubators, now its own publication-blog, I hope my personal spin on developing ideas helps you expand your own inspiration. The post on expanding horizons, “Idea Incubator 13: Expand Perception,” is one of my favorites. So here are my methods for keeping my batteries charged. These are also good for refining ideas to gain a little distance for fresh eyes:

glass collection1—Visit Lake Michigan. Gazing over the endless expanse of water, observing the color changes, watching weather patterns, tracking sailboats in the distance, all take my mind to another “channel.” It is the quickest way to gain perspective.

glass collection from Liane Sebastian2—Watch the Science Channel. The geology, astronomy, and anthropology documentaries never fail to jangle a current parallel. Fascinated by ancient history—especially visually—the fascination with symbolism and patterns deepens. Technology is enabling us to know history with greater depth and reveals the origins of intentions and explorations.

glass collection from Liane Sebastian3—Read. In my weekly trip to the library, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. My own library is overflowing in ten book cases, they stack in my living room and cascade off my desk. I read about four at once, usually about business, marketing, or psychology. Then there’s infinite articles, blogs, books, etc. online–OI!

glass collection from Liane Sebastian4—See shows. Perhaps the greatest advantage of being in Chicago is the proximity to events. Without having to travel far, there are more shows, exhibits, and events than I could ever attend, even if I cloned myself! Whenever I need a jolt of another viewpoint, there are dozens of options to escape into. Additionally, more and more I frequent the virtual equivalents.

5—Study history. Whether in books, documentaries, or site visits, other time periods and how lifestyles have changed always has origins for great ideas. Every artist borrows from the past. To build upon it with new combinations is energizing.

glass collection from Liane Sebastian6—Contribute to causes. Because much of my professional focus has been on nonprofit initiatives, I embrace their causes. A focused mission inspires both ideas and generosity. To create images that express social change, cultural development, or community care are all in need of strong communications. Collaboration can result in concepts that bring out innovation in all contributors.

7—Address aggravations. Using myself for inspiriation, observing what annoys, angers, or outrages is endlessly motivating. Finding solutions for what is wrong with the world is probably creativity’s number one source.

glass collection from Liane Sebastian8—Garden. Blessed with a green thumb, tending indoor and outdoor plants provides a microcosm of drama, success, failure, and adventure. I use them in my illustrations and design, such as the Women who Win at Work category of this blog and the book of the same name.

glass collection from Liane Sebastian9—Listen to music. Mood controlling, many painters are known for using music to propel their expression (Picasso and Pollock, most notably). I use jazz for drawing, classical for writing, and rock for production.


glass collection from Liane Sebastian10—Visit with friends.
Most of my friends aren’t graphic designers. Some are in related businesses. So little inspires me more than reacting to what others are doing, getting feedback on my ideas, and most importantly, the gift of reality-check.

glass collection from Liane Sebastian11 (bonus)—Show and Tell. I never got over grade school! This was my favorite part, becoming more sophisticated with college art school critiques and now with creative client presentations. I love to show work to those I respect who know nothing about the project and prod them for honest feedback. Seeing my work through others’ eyes as a test before taking an idea too far has saved me from myself!

Hopefully these ideas help you form a Creative Mind—one you can sustain and grow. But the ideas and the development are only half the job of creative realization. Next comes the task of keeping a momentum and enhancing direction with a continual flow of complimentary ideas or new ways to execute.

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer

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