staying creative : where i find my inspiration | how do i log it?

Without warning I spring on you a new series about staying Creative. It will be a mix of blogging art and general creativity. Inspiration can come in many different forms and at any time. Its harnessing those ideas, images and thoughts you have to create some amazing potentially life changing work.

I find my inspiration via many different forms, and its very different for everyone. I thought I would share with you the places I find inspiration and where I store it.

Sketchbooks and Note writing

Believe it or not the best way I log/record things that inspires me, is keeping notes and writing all my ideas down. Even though I am severely dyslexic doesn’t hinder me in anyway I can easily read my writing and my spelling mistakes, its quite good means no one can steal my ideas if they get their hands on it! Along with my writing I keep little doodles down the side, Notebooks and sketchbooks are vital for me remember all the thoughts, I carry them with me probably everywhere I go and I often keep them by my bed, you never know when a thought, image might pop in your head. You can see some of my other sketchbook work here, quote sketch, and illustrated days in my sketchbook. Sketchbooks can be places to store drawings you have been inspired by. I always find other peoples sketchbooks inspiring, I have always loved reading The street sketcbook series.

I am a list writer, brainstormer and target maker, so to keep my inspiration fresh I add constant lists to my notebooks, I work back through my list and most of the time its a rambling word that triggers an idea or a new collection. Say its creating a new valentines collection, then work back, what triggers in your head when you think of Valentines, “hearts” “colours” “love” keep making your list, and from these key words you can create something, but remember to look back at your inspiration board or scrapbook “who inspires me?” “what colours inspire me?” you can use these elements to create a rounded collection.

I don’t think I have ever created a fully rounded collection, inspiration and thoughts change and move, so your next collection will be different with different influences and likes. That is the art of staying inspired and being creative your tastes and work are allowed to change.  You are only as good as your last work, your last blog post…its a constant cycle of wanting to make yourself and work better. You can keep the same likes, same artists and same places you like to visit, you may see something different every time.


One of my favorite places to find inspiration is often on days out, especially when I wander around London or visit the sea side. Another great place when I need inspiration are the wonderful Art Galleries, that you can find dotted about London. I often spend hours staring at the art work and drawing in my little sketchbooks. Its such a calming place, to surround your self with such talented artists and art work can spark new ideas. I spent five hours wandering around the turner in the light of Claude Exhibition, when we were only allowed 30 minute slots, a man working there noticed how much I adored the work that he kindly let me stay longer, Turner is one of my favorite artists, I always feel truly humbled by his work and the kindness of the man that worked in the gallery, gave me enough time to turn the jealousy of not being as good as Turner into a spark of “I could try” and inspiration seeped through every vein at the moment. So I took that inspiration and used the colours turner painted with and created a more subtle pallet for some of my paintings. I truly love walking the streets of Oxford and taking in all the architecture and walking the busy streets being surrounded by people.


Its not only images or the typical visual things I find inspiring, I
love to read, I read as much as I can and I try to read everything and
anything I can get my hands on. Reading is Knowledge and Knowledge is
power. Nothing like having someone elses words spark beautiful, vivid
images in your head. I am currently reading Harry Potter for the first time, and I love it, I avoided them when growing up because my dyslexia made me fearful of failing, but I powered through. I learned to highlight, underline and mark each sentence, paragraph and page I deem as important. Do this, it will always help you, I have also read a couple of books at least 4 times to take it all in. 

Don’t limit yourself E.V.E.R

Inspiration is limitless and the ways to process it are also limitless (google, artists sketchbooks I dare you!) I
think that’s the key to staying inspired is… you. You create your own boundaries and limitations.  Don’t force
inspiration, don’t force creating work from something that doesn’t make
your eyes light up and your heart beat a little faster. Don’t limit yourself, I personally love Graffiti, you wouldn’t really think it, if you looked at my work, you let all the things you see influence you. I’m not really a fan of of some surrealist work but I can find goodness and inspiration in the work, like Frida Khalo her work is one of my biggest influences and has been since I was a teenager so don’t ever dismiss something without actually knowing what you are dismissing.

Can films be just as inspiring?

The answer to this question is…Yes! I once watched the film Frida, and I was inspired for days and days. It attacked all senses and thats what inspiring films can do. Another series I love to watch when I feel lacking in inspiration is Desperate Romantics ( not in anyway historically accurate) I love the costumes, images and it lifts my spirits. i watch it with a sketchbook in hand and William Morris character is the best, i have no doubt he was just as eccentric. . Stick a good documentary on, I watched an amazing one with Jack Vettriano on bbc Iplayer recently about what do artists do everyday?….insightful and inspiring.

Harnessing online resources

Online is a great creative resource for inspiration, but sometimes I can find it overwhelming (I will be blogging about this more in depth another time) that’s my personal thought. So knowing exactly what you are looking for can be a benefit, using key words is a good way to do this. I love going on Design*Sponge and using the search option on the blog.

The internet is a wonderful hub of knowledge that you can harness and keep. I personally use Pinterest (my Pinterest is available at ella masters) and Tumblr ( ella masters on Tumblr) to keep inspiring pictures at hand when I am lacking in new ideas. It can be easily organized into sections that are simple and effortlessly accessible.

Whats also great is the never ending amount of blogs that are out there, I personally struggle to remember where I put everything so I have been known to print off my favorite images and collect them in scrapbooks so I can have them physically. One of my absolute favorites has to be without a doubt Miss Moss, a wonderful mix of fashion, art and Graphics. It is a great resource for seeing new work.


Your blog can be a great place to store your inspiration. In February 2011 there were 156 million blogs in existence, now if that isn’t a never ending resource I don’t know what is? An online resource that is updated daily? If I could do back to when I was 16 doing my Art GCSE, I would truly of been in my element, Use it!

You can use your blog as an inspiration for others, a place to collect your thoughts and what inspires you. You can create virtual mood boards to share with your readers, I love Emma Dime’s real life mood boards the colours and textures are amazing. You could always use the space above your desk, near your bed to create your own mood board. i use to do this when I had my studio when I was at Falmouth University.

Remember before Pinterest existed?

I think I can just about remember?! haha Back when Pinterest didn’t exist, I used to collect up old cuttings and create scrapbooks, I have blogged in the past about this, here in 2011. I also shared a little bit about how I stay creative using a scrapbook. I have had scrapbooks since I was a little kid, I would collect up images from Newspapers and magazines that I thought were pretty, its one of my favorite was to collect up images and ideas I like.

Always look at the world with glittering eyes!

I try my best to look at the world with a creative eye, even if I am in a super bad mood, I still try my best to look at everything and take everything in, “ooh that would make a good painting”  ” say that again that would make a good quote poster” like I said before inspiration can come from anywhere so keep your eyes open.

But i’m not an artist?

If you aren’t an artist, designer or illustrator this can feed into any area of your life be it cooking, dressing or working, staying creative in any aspect of your life is important.



Street sketchbook | The fault in our stars | Turner Brief Lives  | Just being Audrey | My Heart Wanders | the perks of being a wallflower | Submarine | Rookie Yearbook 1+2 | WonderWalls | Kinfolk | Lizzie Siddal :Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite super model |  Principles of Uncertainty 

Sketchbooks | notebooks I use :

Moleskin sketchbook | fabriano sketchook | Moleskin Notebook | Diary | Paperchase Scrapbook |

Films  | Documentaries | Videos :

Frida | A picture of Britain | Desperate Romantics shortened into 8 minutes | whats eating Gilbert Grape? | Amelie | Submarine | Oliver Jeffers Offset video | Maira Kalman Video | Amy Tan where does creativity hide? |


Design*Sponge | Kinfolk | Miss moss | Tumblr | Pinterest | Rachel Kahoo blog | and a crazy amount of blogs

Next weeks topic in the series of staying creative is “Working through a creative block”  I hope you find something that sparks a thought. Enjoy!



  1. January 5, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    I absolutely love this post! I just went to a Jack Vettriano exhibition in Glasgow yesterday and drew so much inspiration from it I'm not entirely sure I can contain it. Tumblr is typically my main source of inspiration though, if I could print out every single picture I've ever reblogged I would be the happiest person alive.

  2. January 5, 2014 / 5:01 pm

    I absolutely love this post! I always find it interesting to see how other people "collect" their creativity! I would stay that I pretty much do every technique that you've list above, yet I still always feel as though I'm not being as creative as I should be! (Oh the worries of a creative mind!) For me lately I've been trying to get back to life before Pinterest … in other words I'm actually creating moodboards in my scrapbook again! (I'm still addicted to Pinterest though, ha!) I completely understand what you mean about feeling overwhelmed when searching online, I honestly I feel this all the time! I think that it's because the possibilities are endless, and whilst that may seem like a good thing it can be sometimes be paralysing. I'm definitely looking forward to next weeks post now! x

  3. January 5, 2014 / 5:07 pm

    I adore art galleries and whenever I am feeling low or uninspired I head over to one, my favourite being the Tate, it just picks me up and reminds me that there is so much more to life.

    This is really helpful post, I look forward to next weeks post!

  4. January 5, 2014 / 8:45 pm

    This is such a helpful post Ella, I'm having a real inspiration crisis at the moment (I'm a writer not an artist but the issue is very much the same!) I love your advice about getting out, looking at galleries and visiting places. I need to keep in mind that inspiration doesn't always come from agonizing at a desk over a blank piece of paper.

    Bella . BELLAETC

  5. January 5, 2014 / 11:55 pm

    This is such a fantastic idea for a new blog series! I'm totally with you on many of these things, particular my obsession with notebooks, moleskins + lists of all sorts. And this tip is the BEST: "Always look at the world with glittering eyes!" … I could not agree with you more. Rock on, girl! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. January 6, 2014 / 1:18 am

    Perfect timing for your blog post. I am trying to harness some of my inspirations into journals and sketchbooks. I like to watch dvds while I am making my jewelry, so I'm happy to hear about Desperate Romantics. Those are some of my favorite artists. I'll have to get a copy. Thanks for the recommendation.

  7. January 6, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    this is such a great post! i do similar things as you to harness an inspiration for my full time art business. looking forward to the more posts in this new series

    Katrina Sophia Blog

  8. January 7, 2014 / 10:45 pm

    This post is perfection x

  9. January 8, 2014 / 12:47 am

    Lovely post! I'd be interested in what other blogs you read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for Something?