Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Creative inspiration, chocolate and art - by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Welcome to the fourth installment of the KidLitArtists series on inspiration! This time we have Debbie Ridpath Ohi here to talk about what inspires her.

Inspiration can seem like such a vague and ephemeral term, can't it? Sometimes the word can evoke images of angst-ridden, moody artists clad in black, smoking questionable substances as they stare at a blank canvas, praying to their Muse for a lightning bolt of creative genius.

And yet inspiration is such an important ingredient in our work. Without it, our images are flat and lifeless with listless lines and muddy colors...soulless.

You artists know what I'm talking about: we've all created work that, while technically adequate, are devoid of that essential spark that draws a viewer in so that they can't help but look and then look again.

Plus, at least for me, inspiration makes drawing FUN.

Everyone seeks inspiration in their own way. I may be inspired by Valrhona Gran Couva, for example, while another illustrator would be unmoved. Like Christina Forshay and Andrea Zuill, I'm inspired by music.

I loved Jessica Lanan's post about how camping trips helped her observe things like atmosphere, emotion and quality of light. And Andrea's advice to be aware of what helps you when you create.

As for my own sources of inspiration (I was just kidding about the chocolate, though I figure it can't hurt), I will focus on these:

1. Solitude. So often, it's too easy to be caught up in social media and networking and research and seeking out more and more stimuli. Over the years, however, I have found that my best ideas come when I am alone in a quiet space. To be inspired, you have to make room for the inspiration to come.

2. Creative people. In addition to regular periods of solitude, I find that I get super inspired by people with positive creative energy, who are motivated and passionate about their work. One place to find these people: SCBWI conferences.

I've only attended the annual conferences so far (though next year, I'm going to be on the faculty for the SCBWI Canada East Niagara event, yay!), But each time I have come away incredibly inspired and fired up about my works-in-progress.
In a few weeks, I'll be attending the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. Soooo looking forward to it, and hope to see some of you there!

Next up in the Inspiration blog post series: the inspirational Eliza Wheeler!


Debbie Ridpath Ohi - DebbieOhi.com

I'm Bored, a picture book written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie, launches Sept. 4, 2012 from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. Picture book creation process blogs: http://debbieohi.com/pbcreation

Exciting update: I'm Bored got a starred review in this week's issue of Publisher's Weekly!

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