How to Keep a Stockpile of Creative Resources
Earlier this week I wrote about how building your arsenal of creative resources can inspire creativity and provide a well of creative insight to draw upon. If you don’t have a stockpile yet, here’s how you can begin to build your own:
- Take stock. First, you need to know what you have and what you’re missing. Do you have lots of fabrics and papers, or not many at all? Do you have a variety of colors, or are most of theme in the same color scheme? Do you have real fiber brushes but no synthetic? Wide sponges but not narrow ones? Are all of your props modern, vintage, girly, rustic? Look for trends and loopholes.
- Organize by category. As an artist, my stockpile contains far more than just paints and brushes. I also have inks, pencils, markers, fabrics, papers, film, yarn, twine, glassware, vintage knick knacks, et cetera et al. Keeping my arsenal of resources organized is key to being able to use them effectively. I’ll be writing on this in more detail for a Weekend Project post. However, the best place to begin is to organize what you have by category.
- Identify what you need. As an artist, there are certain supplies you need to do your work well. Look at your stockpile and identify what is missing. Also, make note of what you use most and run out of fastest.
- Plan purchases ahead of time. There are many great ways to get good deals on premium quality supplies like paints, brushes, and canvases. Dick Blick
is one of my favorite online options, but you can also utilize in-store discount coupons, free shipping offers, etc. The key is to snagging these great deals is to plan ahead of time. By identifying what you need, you can make purchases when discounts are at a premium.
- Subscribe to creative magazines. There is so much art and creativity going on in the world, and subscribing to magazines who keep a tap on all of the very best work can provide a consistent stream of inspiration. There are many fashion, photography, design, architecture, decor, techy, and crafty magazines available on the market in both print and digital versions. I personally subscribe to the print versions of Dwell and HOW Design – partly because I am still one of those people that prefers print over digital, and partly because I love having a tangible object on hand that I can refer to later. The physical interaction of tagging and earmarking pages adds to the creative experience for me.
- Build your library. Books are a more permanent resource than magazines, but share a similar purpose. I love works like Post Secret, and I am really looking forward to receiving Marc Johns’ book of art titled Serious Drawings. Post Secret makes me want to play with collage in my art, while Serious Drawings makes me want to learn to use ink and watercolor. My husband refers to photography books and magazines for ideas about lighting setup and scene design.
- Keep it fun – Go treasure hunting! I’ve written about my treasure hunting escapades with my husband before, but I can’t emphasize it enough. The best, most creative finds are often those that are hidden, that unless you’re paying attention, you might easily miss. My favorite places to go treasure hunting are antique shops – I find vintage fabrics and the most unique props. However, visiting a new fabric shop, specialty art supply store, photo gallery, or museum can be a great source of inspiration as well as resources. Be spontaneous, and you’ll be surprised at the creative inspiration waiting for you around the corner.
If you’ve been building your stockpile for a while and have tips to share, please post them in the comments!