Updated: Jun 20, 2019

The importance of absorbing inspiration: creativity rehab...

Using magazines, mindfully curated instagram, art museums, coffee shops, coloring books, libraries, murals, cute outfits and enjoying ART just to feel good..


If we are constantly pulling from our creativity, of course we need to replenish it. Our minds need nurturing, and nourishing our artistic needs is part of that process. You can't draw from an empty cup they say, so incorporating practices to keep the creativity flowing both in and out is imperative to the process. Just like you gotta eat to exercise, you've gotta absorb color and inspiration to create.

It's really important to consume many assorted kinds of art and creativity, we are such multifaceted beings, and coincidentally, everything is art.

-Try to collect data for your inspiration everywhere : That tree at the park that curls so curiously, or any vibe that brings you smiles. Even just that flower!!

-FOOD. Cooking something you are proud of, filled with color and flavor. Or that adorable latte from the coffee shop that has a skull in the foam (PS Still not sure how they do that, but I'm impressed)

-The clothes you see - cute thrifted pieces or whole looks you admire. Haircuts. Accessory matching. Those ankle boots!

-Architecture and the power of some damn fine minimalistic interior design. Yeasss.

Just try to listen to what you are attracted to. So you like this coffee shop. Or this one smell in the kid's section of that feminist book store, Antigone.

In case no one ever told you, art doesn't have to make sense. And your attraction to certain elements doesn't need you to overthink why, just enjoy the fact that something has a special connection for you. I find it easier to create when I'm in the mood. (Ha! Deep thought Grace.) But getting to that mood is a mindful practice that takes time and effort. And anything that sparks joy inside you should be consulted - the right music playing, the right cup of tea or coffee next to you, the kind of pen you use. The time of day or night it is.



I want you to know that it's just as important to "waste time" and indulge in the process as it is to create work you want to represent you and what you are putting out into the world. Value and give yourself the space to enjoy something even if you don't have plans for it later - It's okay to have a hobby or a journal or some work you don't want to share with the world and its okay not to be making money at every possible opportunity.

It's important to remember WHY you are making things and hopefully its because you love to and making it provides satisfaction worth all the effort. In the words of John Lennon, (most possibly anyway)"A day spent wasting time, that you enjoyed, is not time wasted."

What I mean is try a WARM UP PROJECT!

It's important to remember that art is a PROCESS and not every sketch, doodle or design is a finished product. You aren't a factory. Sitting with an idea you have and putting it on a back burner might help it to age gracefully into a more cohesive idea as a whole - this often happens on a subconscious level - you gotta let it ruminate and percolate. For a long time that helped me with my poetry - I would have a theme or a thought I want to write about, but i'd try to hold it back in my mind for sometime. Slowly I start piecing together a phrase or a rhyme, which I repeat incessantly for a while - like the soundtrack of my mind and I'll let other surrounding sentences / stanzas / ongoing ideas breeze through like puzzle pieces, waiting for the right fit. Kind of like how you have the same conversation with somebody in your head when you are mentally preparing for a confrontation.. I mean who doesn't win imaginary arguments in the shower? It's like that, but hopefully slightly more productive.. When I feel I have a bunch of words I like that I want to keep together and am afraid of loosing the perfected order I've finally thought up, I jot it down. And it comes gushing out. I write everything out, rhyming word vomit, all the little bits and pieces and surrounding rivers and spiderweb ideas that "go" with the original thought. Editing comes later. It's not all dynamite, and it's often repetitive. But I feel I have more success with capturing the feeling I was trying to express after I think about it awhile, in different mindsets and moods I travel though over a few weeks, months, even years. And side advantage: It helps with the whole memorizing thing, if your poetry is more of a spoken word jam, cuz you've already spent so much time repeating it to yourself.

Here's a little example of a piece I wrote in my head, which took me like literally years. It sort of rhymes, which is really, really hard.

Come on, let's outrun the sun

hip hop it on the hilltops

and pop it just like pop-rocks.

That's it. Nothing ever came of it. It doesn't go anywhere, it's not a part of some bigger piece. But it brought me great peace to repeat these lines over and over and play with their order on long car rides. The first line was written somewhere in Mexico during the golden hour as I watched the sun set over the beach. And that memory is worth more than any finished piece of art I could ask for. Its from years and years ago, but it still just pops right up in my brain. Fascinating.

(I just love these simple gems I found in a reference book about rocks. Yum)


-ATMOSPHERE. Good music, makes the world go round. I find words super inspiring. But also good "lo-fi beats" once you wanna get focused.

(I recommend this playlist, by the lovely Yesika Salgado:

-OUTSIDE (My sister's garden - seriously every flower i've ever drawn is probably from her yard) Also, CACTUS. Literally, the desert is so prickly and bloomy and cloudy and awesome. Even the desert flora at a mini mall can be breathtaking. Snap a picture, use it later.

-PINK. (Or your favorite color, in other words) I have a whole collection on instagram of just things that are pink. Same goes for cactus. It's like vanilla porn. I soak it uppp)

-HARD COVER BOOKS. Having books as an artistic resource is incredibly helpful when you need to look at something. All great artists use a reference photo. Even if you are drawing some fictional fantasy thing that doesn't exist, if it has hands, look at a picture of hands! It will make the process a whooooole lot easier. Also, I think that looking at something for extended periods of time that aren't back-lit with some evil blue light helps keep the artistic juices flowing. ( Just saying. As I write staring at a glowing screen...)

-Steal like an artist. Just maybe, keep it private. One of my most favorite warm up projects is to draw in my journal, and often I draw something amazing I've seen somewhere else. I also love to copy down song lyrics and quotes and wise wisdom from the depths of the 'gram or something. I have absolutely no intention of ever selling these creations or copy cat images or ideas, it just brings me peace to physically write things out, as I love how a pen feels in my hand. It helps me get the juices flowing, and having "immediate" success by working with imagery I already enjoy is a good way to mentally prepare for the exploratory part that comes next, when I start drawing things i've never drawn before.

But, like in dancing, you throw better double pirouettes after you've turned a few times. Same with drawing. It just takes a minute to warm up those muscles and brain parts. Considering this while you prepare to work on something big can be extremely helpful to the process. For a long time I would make the same mistake - I'd be so excited to work on some idea I had, I'd jump right in and draw the hardest part first, and then be disappointed with my ability to execute it perfectly. Now I just doodle and mess around or do a background color or border first, and this helps me get my head right.

A colorful sketch, tissue paper flowers, and this adorable table arrangement = inspiration love


So social media. We all know it can be a demon or whatever, but it can also be a blessing. I don't even bother with the rest of the internet world, except instagram really. And the reason being is because it is beautiful images! Words! Magical creativity flowing abundantly by individuals all over the world who are like here, look at this beautiful thing I created. Soak it up. Share it. Spread it across your community. Which I think is SO cool.

I follow about 700 people, hashtags and obscure topics. My instagram is public, but when I created it (the second time, haha) I did not link it to my facecbook or my contacts or any of that shit. I don't think everyone I know IRL need to know what i'm researching. I'm using this tool to draw inspiration from people who share content that I find electrifying. My collections consist of DRAW THIS / PINK/ CACTUS/ JUST LAUGH/ HAUSS INSPO / DON'T FORGET / STYLISH. If it isn't beautiful or thought provoking or share my morals on issues I find imperative, I unfollow. I DO NOT look on the explore page. No. I find similar pages to follow through that thingy at the top that pops up after you follow somebody, with similar interests. And I always check out the content on a page before I start to follow. Make sure it's not a fluke, make sure something negative doesn't come out of it. And guess what! The whole instagram universe is brimming with beautiful like minded people who make gorgeous things all day long. I love to see that stuff. And it doesn't bother me that they don't follow back. I'm using the gram selfishly, privately, productively. Try it. It rocks.

Here's a list of instagram profiles I can't live without:

Local Goodies:





Incredible Artists:
















Word Geniuses


@badass_sab @yesikastarr @r.dhalwriter @rainbowsalt

(and generally anything from Button Poetry)

Generally Brilliant:





In fact just got follow everybody I follow: @gracielabobela


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