Design Inspiration: Tips and Secrets from 11 Famous Digital Artists

We have been posting articles featuring incredible digital artists and their amazing pieces, very creative and full of details. Now, have you ever wondered or asked yourself about how the hell do they come up with those ideas? Because of that we decided to ask some of these guys what they do or where they go to find inspiration.

Also, as I will be speaking at the Front-end Design Conference next July, about design inspiration, I have no doubt that this article will be very useful for my presentation and of course will really give us some directions when it comes to inspiration.

Christopher Haines - http://www.neondreams.com.au

I have lots of books that i pick up and flick through when i hit a brick wall creatively. These may not be graphic design books either, they could be art books of the old masters of traditional art or just magazines. Also getting outside for some exercise can be very inspiring.

My creative process can differ from job to job, especially from personal work to commercial work. For a personal image i often see flashes of textures or colors that can shoot off into an idea for an experiment. With no plan or set path it can be very liberating to see where you end up.

For commercial work i often gather reference material and dump it into a folder. Using this with Adobe Bridge i can quickly scan for reference and inspiration. From then i create rough concepts and sketches of what i want things to look like. These become fleshed out, with details being added. Especially for illustration this can often be the most rewarding part.

Finally i like to leave the image overnight (if the deadline allows for this luxury). Fresh eyes can be invaluable to putting those final touches on an image.

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Erik Finsrud - www.thenorik.com

There is nothing more inspiring then a healthy breakfast, and a good dose of sunshine. For direct inspiration i usually flip on some psychedelic rock while i'm working, i'm really into this band Dungen from Sweden right now. I'll also stop at my neighborhood bookstore, i really like the scientific illustration, and old swiss design books.

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Eric Sin - www.projectsd.net

I'm inspired by people.

The interactions you make on a day to day basis when you meet others and talk with new interesting people for the first time, that's truly inspiring. Another huge inspiration is just, in a non-cheesy way, life. How you live and what you endure and see everyday puts a lot on you and it's just nice to take all that energy and vent it out on a white canvas.

My personal favourite feeling is when I crack open a book in a bookstore that has the artwork of old, renaissance artists, or even some with contemporary artists. Whatever I open, if something catches my eye, I try to remember the artist and the image name and I research up on it later, and it heavily influences the ideas that form in my head for a piece of artwork."

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Guilherme Marconi - http://www.marconi.nu/

Where does my inspiration come from? That is a question I very often ask myself and I haven't gotten a final answer yet. I think the main source of inspiration is my friends and my wife. She's psychologist and I can't deny it really have influence over my work. Of course quite a few of my artworks were produced after I watched and episode of my favorite tv series, or a movie, and simply a small talk with with friends. I believe that a lot of my inspiration comes from the moment I'm living and those very simple things in life, they can definitely inspire us to produce very elaborate pieces.

Also there are a lot of people that I admire and inspiring me a lot, guys such as Joshua Davis, that motivated me to create my own app "Action Script" that I used for my project called "My Schizophrenic Brain". Romer Brito, a brazilian painter, really inspired me on the usage of warm color. And, at last but in no means least, Adhemas Batista, who has always been one of greatest and most influential artist when it comes to vector aesthetics.

I used to say that I have been always seeing a series of images that only exist in my mind, little pieces, shatters, colors.... every thing comes to my mind every day. It is just closing my eyes, sometimes not even that, and I see those things coming together and forming images, the movements. I know that none of that is real until I make them come true. I don't know if that is inspiration or if I need to get some treatment urgently ;)

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

James White - http://signalnoise.com

"Inspiration is all around us, and it tends to come at the strangest of times. It might sound odd, but I discovered at a very early age that I get my best ideas in the shower for some reason :) Walking through the park near my home to visit the ducks is also a wonderful way to calm my mind and think more clearly. In terms of searching out inspirational material, I have massed a great number of art books over the years that sit on a shelf in my livingroom so it's easy to grab one and flop on the couch for a little while. Since I'm always on the lookout for retro inspiration, Youtube has proven itself as being the best place to look up network logo animations from the 1970s. I've spent countless hours looking at old NBC peacock animations and there seems to be more and more appearing each day. On top of all this, I spend a healthy amount of time sifting through Flickr, Behance and Ffffound for new and exciting art, along with my subscriptions to Computer Arts and IDN magazines."

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Jonathan Wong - artofwong.com

Inspiration to me, comes in all shapes and forms. Anything from listening to music, to having a conversation friends to just simply doing the most banal of things. It's weird like that because you never know when you may get a cool idea.

The creative process from there is just simply deciding what media to use, depending on the given idea..

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Mike Harrison - www.destill.net

I don't know where my inspiration comes from, it's usually a competely indirect reaction to something i've seen or heard, that will in turn influence me and my art somewhere along the creative process. One good place to reflect is when you're alone on a long journey listening to your favourite music, staring out the window, just thinking about stuff..

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Niklas Lundberg - www.diftype.com

I get inspired by the inspired and I get influenced by my impressions of everything.

Everywhere we go there is always something that can inspire us. I often carry around tons of ideas in my head, they are like dreams, you can't remember them all but if you focus hard on remembering them, they become more vivid.

i've begin to notice things that arent really there because I focus harder to remember them, I see abstract forms and shapes in everything. Architecture plays a big roll in where I get most of my inspiration from.

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Phil Dunne - www.lovetherobot.com

I'm inspired by many things, a person on the street, a fashion model, a new music video or another artist.

I like to get a permanent reminder of these inspirations, either it means buying a CD, a book or taking a photograph of it.

Right now, I'm really back into video games. I'm excited by character designs and art from old Capcom games like Street Fighter and Darkstalkers. I'm also really into YouTube too, you can find old music videos, films and tv shows that influenced me as a child to be creative. But a lot of the time, I find signs in my everyday life that inspire me. Like strange coincidences, what somebody says to me or odd happenings...you just never know what will hit you next.

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Raphaël Vicenzi - www.mydeadpony.com

Inspiration comes when I am becoming an empty vessel that can be filled with ideas and impressions that aren't mine.

I sometimes picture in my head hazy shapes, colours and forms that I try to transcribe the best as I can, sometimes words I write down will spark the process. I find many impressions in books, art, photography, positive disintegration and inner discomfort.

All the rest is trying to find an axis from which the rest can revolve around.

There would not be any purpose to what I am doing if I could not, in the end, share what I did with others.

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Richard Roberts - www.theotherstream.com

Personally i find inspiration everywhere. In art books, magazines, movies, music and nature. I have a white board above my workspace. Before i start a piece i think of basic words for concepts and ideas and then branch off from that. After that process is finished and i have a rough idea on what i want to do , i look for images and different way i can illustrate the idea. Some designers can design exactly the image they have in there head. That doesn't happen for me, i mean i will have a rough idea but for the most part when i go to design it the end result is a bit different, as i like to experiment and change directions of the work through the design process.

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Image selected for the arcile about design inspiration

Brought to you by