3 Ways To Find Inspiration When Facing a Creative Block

Fashion illustrators, like any other artist can face creative road blocks and ruts so I thought I'd share my top three ways to find inspiration when faced with a creative block and the dreaded blank page.

(One of my Met sketches inspired by Guo Pei gown at "China: Through the Looking Glass") 
1. Go to a museum or gallery. Whether you have time for the whole museum or just one wing or exhibition, go. You never know how discovering a new artist or even seeing an old master will get your creative juices flowing. Bring a sketch pad, snap some photos (if that's allowed) or simply stroll the galleries and see what you find. I've been visiting the impressionist wing of The Met pretty religiously since I was about 14. I can’t visit the museum without popping in to see my old friends Monet, Cezanne, and van Gogh and without fail every visit I find a new gem. A new favorite painting, a new favorite spot that day, a new detail of a painting I never noticed before, or a combination of colors that strikes me that given day. If its photography that inspires you go see a fashion photography exhibit. If its vintage fashion, check out the Costume Institute. Or just gallery hop and see what you find and where the day takes you. A clear mind and an open afternoon is sometimes just what the doctor ordered sort of speak.

(92nd Street Y) 
2. Take a class. This is one that, similar to a museum is probably easier in a city but if you look I’m sure you can find one at your local collage, art shop, or community center. If you’ve been wanting to learn more about portrait drawing, figures, watercolors, or fashion illustration, there’s a class for it. And if committing to an entire class is too intimidating then you may want to consider a workshop which is usually only one or two days. In the past I taught a few fashion illustration classes but I’ve actually been thinking about offering a workshop in the new year. (Click here if you’d like to add your name to a waitlist for info when it’s available.) The older we get the more distance grows between us and our school days so it can feel slightly uncomfortable taking the plunge but it's so nice learn something new and immerse yourself in learning and expanding your mind and creativity. Its also nice to meet to new people with similar interests.

(Ralph Lauren "Aviator" collection sketches by Audrey Schilt) 
3. See a period movie. Once in a while epic period piece film comes along that makes its mark on pop culture. These type of films historically can also be quite inspirational to fashion design. Two examples that come to mind immediately, although I’m sure if I gave it some more thought I could write a blog post on this topic alone, is in 2005 when Ralph Lauren showed his Aviator collection inspired by seeing the film The Aviator. A second example that stands out in my fashion minded brain is in 1998 when the J. Peterman catalogue offered early 1900's beaded gowns inspired by Titanic. I vividly remember looking at those drawings (remember the catalogue was all sketches!) and wishing the replica of Roses dress was within my budget for a prom dress! Unfortunately it was not, at $2000 for the replica and $35,000 for the original my babysitting money certainly didn't cover that.

I hope these ideas of mine inspire you. And let me know in the comments if you have any tricks for a creative slump that have worked for you.

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