Just as writers can get writer’s block, so can designers hit days when the muse is simply out to lunch. You look at the beads and wires and tools on the bench and…nothing. Nada. Zilch. You have not a single original idea. You pull out some beads and try some combinations, but everything looks dull, ordinary, and just plain ugly. Aaaarrgh!
That’s when I pull out my design book. I started it when I was majoring in art and taking classes in jewelry making, metal sculpture, and fabric design. I’d cut out any image I liked from a magazine, paste it to a sheet of paper, and put it in a three-ring binder. And when I’d get stuck for ideas I’d pull out the notebook, flip through, and let my eyes fill my mind with the colors and shapes.
For a lot of years – when I wasn’t designing – the binder sat on the bookshelf and gathered dust. But when I look at it now the colors and shapes are as bright and pleasing as when they were first assembled. And the ideas are still there!
These days I don’t buy as many magazines, but since I’ve started on Pinterest, now I have a new place to supplement the design book. Architecture, nature, even cats – they can all provide inspiration. But even with all the electronic possibilities, the old book stays on my worktable. There’s something special about the depth and richness of a printed page that pixels can’t replace.