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Translating Inspiration: Uncanny Creativity 28

Sometimes we are so inspired by the work of others, yet we can’t quite capture what they’ve done into our own work. Making something new using inspiration can be a tricky business. Here are some tips to make it work

Think of your audience. How can you make something accessible for the audience that you tap into.

Copying or plagiarism? That is the dangerous ground that we all fear. We want people to see the genius of our influences. Yet don’t want to be derivative. Take part of the work, not the whole composition. Try just taking the color scheme, for example. Ask yourself what you like about it and what doesn’t work.

Play on different variations on the aspect you liked until you find something new. Remember your voice, review your work for trends. Imitate and then iterate. Look at inspiration in different mediums then you’re own. Think about the inspiration piece in terms of visual associations.  How does the subject matter relate to the style and elements. How can you use those types of relationships in your work.

Working with and against cliche. Is the intention of your work to be a commentary on a cliche. The point of inspirations is to unlock your own creativity in ways you haven’t before. Put away the inspiration once you have started and push it in new directions.

Uncanny Creativity is an art productivity podcast helping you to be more imaginative everyday. Hosted by Brian E. Young, a magazine art director and artist in Baltimore, Maryland.

If you have a design and creativity question I can help answer, send me your letters by e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.

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How to be More Creative Everyday: Uncanny Creativity 27

With a little imagination, you can make creative thinking a daily habit. I've talked about creative writing before, and beyond that we can just write out our thoughts. Keep a journal on your phone or on paper. Trying means occasionally failing. Notice your failures and practice being okay with it. It's no big deal. Fear of failure is something that prohibits all of us from failing. Look for inspirations from your heroes, admire their work and vicariously live with through them. This is a great opportunity to say dream! Find little new things you can do. Even just using new ... Read more

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How to Collaborate More Effectively: Uncanny Creativity 29

Teamwork isn't always easy. Yet, we work with others because we know the final product will benefit from everyone's unique expertise. We can't work it alone. As a designer, I'm better off with an editor, a project manager, client input, and any other feedback that is available. Those perspectives and skills just offer more than I could on my own. The first thing that I keep in mind when collaborating is to focus on giving constructive criticism. This means that I feel my input is helpful and positive. I try to exchange ideas without trying to change the other persons ... Read more

Uncanny Creativity is a podcast and blog with advice, tips and ideas about the creative process. Do you have a question our community can help answer? Record your audio or written question via this contact form. Email, write on Twitter @uncannycreative, or on our Facebook page.

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Brian E. Young

I'm a graphic designer (portfolio), classical pianist and artist in Baltimore, MD. I host the Uncanny Creativity Podcast helping to demystify the creative process and creator of, an online shop for apparel and games. Twitter: @sketchee

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