When I don’t have my head buried in photoshop or Inkscape, designing something of my own, I can usually be found wandering around the internet searching for inspiration and boy is there a lot of it out there.
It doesn’t matter what style you are into or what medium, with a little bit of searching you are bound to find things that make you stop and stare. From photography to digital art, cartoons to graphic novels, illustrations, t-shirts, interior design, typography, manipulations, the talent out there is almost endless.
The internet is a fantastic tool to help you overcome artistic blocks or to give you that little something extra that can take your design from mediocre to MINDBLOWING! You never know when inspiration is going to hit but you have to train yourself to be ready for it. How many times have you seen something and thought ‘Now that is cool’ but not done anything about it because you don’t have time? Then a few days later you are sitting at your computer racking your brain, trying to start a new design or remember where you saw that picture that you thought was cool.
Bookmarks are a great feature of internet browsers that many people simply don’t use. I have my bookmarks open as a side bar in my browser, so that they are always at hand. Use folders to organise your bookmarks so that you can easily find what you are looking for. Maybe a folder for inspiration, another for tutorials, etc.
There are also some cool bookmarking sites like delicious, that will automatically organise and group your bookmarks and allow you to do all kinds of smashing things. For me the most important thing is to start using bookmarks and refer back to them. There is no point adding pages to your bookmarks and never going back to look at them. Also make sure that they are recognizable from their title. If you need to, change the title so that when you come to look for that great shot of a snowboarder that you bookmarked last week, you don’t have to trawl through all your titles to find it.
So how do you go about finding wonderful art on the internet without having to trawl through pages of rubbish? Search engines are one way of doing it. Just type in what you are looking for and let it work for you. Any search engine worth it’s salt will have an option to just show images or video and then all you have to do is scroll away until you find something cool.
The more keywords you use the more precise your results will be. For example A search for fish will give you just about any fish related picture that you can think of. Searching for red fish will narrow it down a little and hopefully stop that guy from Marillion clogging up your screen.
Another way, is to use inspiration sites like Abduzeedo or Smashing magazine. These blog style sites give regular inspirational pictures and articles. The great thing about sites like these is that apart from the fact that they do all the hard work for you, they will also throw out things that you would never have thought to look for in the first place and that is where the best inspiration comes from.
My last tip is to use a fantastic site called StumbleUpon. This site gives you a new website each time you click the stumble button.There is a thumbs up and a thumbs down button. Using these buttons and ‘stumbling’ sites that you like, allows the engine to learn what you like and what you don’t. So the more you use it the better it gets. It really is a great way to find things that you are interested in but would not normally come across. Be warned though, if you look at the clock and you find that you have been stumbling until 2 in the morning, it’s not my fault!
There are so many ways to find great art online and I have just scratched the surface but hopefully this will get you started and help to get those creative juices flowing. If you find anything groovy then feel free to share it with us all here.
Good luck and have fun!