Pinch of Inspiration

In discussions about creativity, inspiration comes up constantly. What inspires you? How do you best generate inspiration? How do you keep on being inspired, or should you even both to rely on inspiration?

Inspiration is interesting. Most, if not all, of us know that it means some sort of push or prod — sometimes a shove — towards doing something, whether that something is writing a poem or buying your wife flowers.

Lately, I’ve started to think about inspiration as being akin to a pinch. The interesting connotation there is that pinches are painful. They’re sharp and attention-grabbing.

Recently, my art instructor showed us this video while we were learning about gesture drawing and movement. It’s what prompted me to think about inspiration as a pinch.

That’s amazing work; it’s incredibly inspiring. I’d love to be able to make something like that.

But I can’t — the reason Woodward can is because he’s been at this for about as long I’ve been alive, if not longer.

That’s what makes inspiration a pinch, I think. Sometimes what inspires you stings a little, because you’re not at that level, and you won’t be at that level for a very long time; you might, depending on time and circumstance and the general unpredictability of the future, never be at that level. That’s what can give inspiration its bite. And so you have to get over it.

What? “Get over” inspiration? How post-midterm sleep deprived are you, Hollin?

Bear with me, because this is an idea I’m still developing and writing a note to myself to revisit. Feel free to argue with me, or just to give your input. But yes, I do think that, in a sense it is good to “get over” inspiration. (And the answer to the last question is: very.)

Woodward’s animation inspires me. But I’m not there. I can’t be there. For me, I get work down by getting over the overshoot of inspiration, I suppose is the best way of trying to phrase what I’m thinking. It’s resisting the overcharge. It’s moving away from the ideal and the vision and actually getting down to the nitty-gritty of working and learning and improving.

None of this may apply to you, and that’s okay. We all deal with inspiration differently, and that’s a great, wonderful thing.

As for a direct progress update for my learning project, I’ve still been backing away from a big, finalized project and working on the basics. I’ve gone super, super simple, trying to experiment with movement and action, and learning to capture something expressive in as small and simple of a space as possible.

Who knew that, as a senior, I’d find myself going back to the basics so much?

ilexblinkilexactilexact2All Rights Reserved H. Atterbury

Also, for Halloween I made a lizard:

All Rights Reserved H. Atterbury

What’s next?

I’m really enjoying learning and practicing pixel art. I’ve followed a lot of artists recently, some of whom are kind enough to show their process, which has been super helpful in developing my understanding.

I didn’t have time this week, but maybe next week (or maybe, more realistically, over Thanksgiving) I’ll find the time to make a step-by-step guide so that you guys can try this out too, if you’re so inclined.

Have a good week!

8 thoughts on “Pinch of Inspiration

  1. I like your pixel art. The jumping person is my favorite. Sometimes the little wins are the big ones. Once upon a time I had a really tough and scary pregnancy and then a premature and sick baby to show for it. When everyone was giving me platitudes a friend said to me, “you know sometimes it’s okay to just make it to the end of the day. Sometimes making it to the end of the day is winning big.” It was nice to know that starting small was okay too. Some of those inspirational things said to me the, all well-meaning, were just too much to live up to. Now 13 years later I see my strong girl the size of an adult and pure awesome, and I see those “inspirations” turned out to be true. But I got here by simply getting to the end of the day. Every pixel counts.


    1. Thanks — and thank you for sharing your story! Something frequently shared in my support network is the phrase “it’s okay if all you did today was survive.” Sometimes the best advice is the advice that meets you right where you’re at. Blessings be, to both you and your daughter! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your blog posts never disappoint! I love that you compare inspiration sometimes stinging because we are not at that level. I have never thought of it that way, but now I can relate it to so many aspects of my life.


    1. Thank you! There are so many elements surrounding creativity and inspiration; I don’t think I could ever get tired of talker (er..writing) about them. Artistic envy sucks, but it can be an incredible force of motivation rather than a source of despair. It’s all about mindset.


  3. I love your outlook on inspiration! You’re completely right! Inspiration is like a pinch. Something has to happen (the pinch) for you to react (product of inspiration). It takes time and a lot of it to accomplish your dreams. Dedication and persistence are key and your pinch has to be strong for you to keep pursuing your goals.


    1. Very true! A lot of times success is dependent on how much you really want something; all efforts require sacrifice but some sacrifices aren’t, in the grand scheme of things, always reasonable or acceptable at a given point in one’s life. Pinches come from all around us; we just have to decide what we’re going to allow move us and what we’re going to push through. Thanks for reading!


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