As an artist, I see ideas everywhere. I’m constantly getting inspiration and motivation from the world around me. Anything from a cloud to a food label to a YouTube ad can be the source for a project I might want to bring into fruition. Because the muse is unpredictable (and ideas evaporate quickly), I try to always be prepared to capture them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that allow me to keep track of the ideas, concepts and notes that often turn into personal projects or show up in client work.
Tools of the Trade
Over the next few months, I’ll share some of the favorite tools, software and apps that make my job easier. Some of them may be familiar to you. Others may be new tools that could be beneficial in your business as well.
When it comes to developing ideas and capturing concepts, these are my five go-to tools:
- The Notes app on my phone is perfect for quickly jotting down the gist of an idea. I can easily capture a few sentences or bullet points for later reference. If I’m driving, I’ll use the voice Memos app. Both are free.
- My trusty sketchpad is never far from my side. This is the case for a lot of artists who want to quickly (or sometimes not so quickly) sketch out concepts, drawings or doodles. Plenty of my sketchbook musings have become professional projects; others are just fun Instagram posts. Fun fact: 99% of my sketches never leave the sketchbook.
- Drawing tools are also essential. For this task, I love using mechanical pencils, brush pens, felt-tipped ink pens, liquid gel pens, any kind of pen. If you’re really into pens too, check out Jetpens.com. For adding color, I’ll use Prismacolor colored pencils and Tombow markers.
- Google Docs is where I house more complete notes or sketches. When a concept graduates to the next level in the process, it moves there. By using cloud-based Google Docs, I can easily access my documents from any device or share them with a client or colleague for feedback.
- The camera on my iPhone. It’s never been easier to snap a quick photo of an eye-catching landscape, interesting pattern, or other novel design. I use my camera A LOT to grab ideas. And speaking of screens, I also take tons of screen captures on my phone or computer to capture interesting stuff. The hard part is keeping it all organized!
Those are just some of my tools of the trade. But they may be the most important ones. You never know when a quick note or a simple photo will turn into the next big idea.
When it comes to capturing fleeting bursts of inspiration, what are your favorite tools? Are you strictly analog or digital? Do you prefer a blend of old-school pen and paper combined with new-age technology? I’d love to hear your system for recording for ideas and inspiration when creativity hits.
Have a great week,