That magical inspiration

The magical inspiration - how and how not to get inspired

I have been asked several times before: what are the things that inspire me during my painting process? If I were very honest and straightforward, I would say „the works of other illustrators and designers”, but of course, no artist says anything like this in case they are accused of stealing. It is just as well, since inspiration is something slightly more complicated than that, so today I’m going to ramble a bit about this subject.

According to definition Inspiration (from the Latin inspirare, meaning “to breathe into”) refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavour. (Source)

Now that the academic approach has been cleared, we can admit that the word ‘inspiration’ is one of today’s favourite and most over-used expressions. It is the kind of cliché, which makes my mind switch off at the first mention of it. Under the pre-text of ‘inspiration’ anything can be sold: a kitchy photo, a perfectly banal quote or even a collection of images. Needless to say, I have also jumped the band-wagon, I create inspirational posters, and what’s more, I titled an entire category on this blog ‘inspiration’ – but I’ll tell you a secret: my paintings are hardly ever inspired by such things.

The way it doesn’t work

Inspiration actually means something different for all of us: something might be inspiring for me, which is not inspiring for you. Therefore it follows logically, that what I’m saying here may not apply to you.

However, we all have that feeling in common when we are just uninspired, so we have to accept the painful fact that inspiration is not always at reach whenever we need it. So don’t expect magic to happen if you fill a tub with foamy hot water and recite ‘I’m getting inspired now’ (even though it sometimes helps).

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5 illustubers to follow

A couple of months ago Youtube has sucked me in so deeply that I was watching the screen day and night. Not that I hadn’t used this amazing platform before, but the time had finally come when I wasn’t looking for videos according to topic, but according to creators.

This is how I met the expression ‘illustuber’, which is quite simply an illustrator, who runs a youtube channel. These fantastic artists share their experiences, tell about both the bright and dark sides of their profession, show their favourite art supplies, or just chat about their pets. No surprise, I became quite addicted for a while. It is interesting that in many cases I am not drawn to the artist’s style so much as his/her professional knowledge, and I’m ever so grateful for the amount of information I learned from these guys.

I’m still in the process of exploring new faces but there are a few favourites, whose videos I always watch when they upload something. They are the ones I’m going to introduce today.

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October calendars

I won’t reveal a great secret in saying that autumn is my favourite season. There is nothing more wonderful than taking long walks among the flaming colours of nature – which I’m going to do the next couple of weeks so you might see a little less activity round the blog. However, if you are not that lucky, there’s still no reason to feel bad: I’ve painted a little October onto your screen in this month’s calendar. If you’d like to see this calendar in print, just sign up to the newsletter below, I’ll send you the printable version of these calendars at the beginning of every month.

hand-painted calendar for download 2017 October

I have made this calendar in several sizes so you can use it from different sized screens as well as a smart phone. I hope you enjoy this free download :)

Sizes: 1024×768 | 1280×720 | 1440×900 | 1920×1080 (latter for smart phone)

Natural paints – tea and coffee

Natural paints - tea and coffee

Those of you who have knocked over wine glasses or have dropped cherries on your white shirts will know from experience that nature has provided us with plenty of pigments. To put it more commonly, these things leave ugly marks on textile. And on paper…

I have long been toying with the idea of trying the different natural pigments that painters of the past used, or to learn what is the biology behind the Milk Maid, for example, but I haven’t had the opportunity to delve into this complicated subject yet. So for the moment, I stayed on safe grounds and decided to experiment with a cup of tea and coffee.

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Back to school – downloadable garden-themed planner

A day in the garden - downloadable planner pages

For stationery-geeks like me, the beginning of September is definitely cause for celebration: ‘back to school means’ that all shops are full of beautiful notebooks and planners. However, if you are so keen on stationery like me, you might be inclined to criticise each and every product: nothing is exactly the way you’d want it to be.

Obviously, the Filofax and bullet journal craze has not left me untouched, but in the end I decided I needed my time and creativity in other fields than decorating my planner. Nevertheless, I still love a beautiful planner, so I (too), have made my own.

Blogging, illustrating, even going to school can be tough while you do a full-time job, and it needs a lot of organization to avoid being overwhelmed. It often happens that I get last minute tasks or comissions, so I have to be flexible, while I don’t want to neglect priorities like this blog either.

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Book review – Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady

Book review - Nature notes of an Edwardian Lady

Edith Holden’s notes about nature have already come up last year as side-notes to my downloadable calendars. However, I thought that Nature Notes of an Edwardian Lady deserves an entire blogpost.

Apparently, it is a habit of mine to bump into beautiful works of British illustrators somewhere abroad (like I did with In and out of the garden). I came across this book in Sweden, more precisely, on the bookshelf of a friend I was visiting – and she was generous enough to give it to me (Thank you so much! <3).

Edith Holden documents her observations of 1906, and adds seasonal quotes and poems by well-known (and less well-known) poets as well as her own beautiful illustrations of birds, plants and forest animals. (Obviously I was drawn to this book, as I am rather responsive to literature as well as art…).

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September calendars

Well, my Dears, we have apparently survived this summer too. I suppose we will still get few more glimpses of summer heat here in Hungary, but the most difficult parts are now over. September is a wonderful month anyway, the sun still shines warmly, the days are still fairly long, and only a few leaves start turning yellow – just like on this downloadable calender. Download it, love it, and enjoy this fabulous month, that September is!

hand-painted calendar for download 2017 September

I have made this calendar in several sizes so you can use it from different sized screens as well as a smart phone. I hope you enjoy this free download :)

Sizes: 1024×768 | 1280×720 | 1440×900 | 1920×1080 (latter for smart phone)

Watercolour painting class – abstract galaxy

Abstract galaxy - a step by step watercolor tutorial

Up to this day I am not entirely sure whether this is an ‘abstract mountain resort’ or ‘spider’s web in front of a galaxy’, but we can agree on one fact: today we are doing a minimal style painting. You might have met this image before in my post about masking fluid, as this painting was my first attempt at using this fab (?) accessory – probably this is the reason why all the lines quiver. But with all this said, I really advise trying this material, and this is why I put together this little tutorial. So this is how you create the web in front of the galaxy (or whatever) painting:

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Repeat pattern challenge Vol. 2

Repeat pattern challenge in watercolours - join the free one-week art challenge with Imelda Green!

As we all know, setting aside only 15 minutes a day for creating is real nourishment for the soul. Not to mention that it will have a very good effect on your creativity if it becomes part of your daily routine. It’s pity that it doesn’t really work – not even for me, even though I use my brushes fairly often. Last year I made an attempt at painting every single day, and this year I did this one week long art challenge of repeat patterns again, coming up with super-exciting results.

How it works

Last year I only painted whatever came to my mind, the point was to get myself painting every single day. This year, however, I took the task more seriously and found a topic for every day to paint patterns. I like painting in small size, which is great help especially if I need to cover a piece paper in patterns each day, so as usual, I was working in A6 size. I couldn’t spare the same amount of time every single day, sometimes I had less energy to create, which is visible on the outcome, but after all I did manage to squeeze in some painting time day after day.

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