“Where Do You Get Your Ideas?”

Have you ever wondered where an artist gets ideas from? I’m asked all the time where my designs, illustrations, paintings and sculpture come from. Well, here’s your answer!

The first spring blooms pop through the snow

The first spring blooms pop through the snow

The simple answer would be, The Dream World.

The more complex answer would be: dreams, flashes of insights, phrases I hear in conversation or on the radio or videos or other media; I might get a word or a concept as I’m reading  – my Dream pipes are always open, ready to flow ideas and information down to me.

Ideas always seem to come to me out of the blue   – popping into my mind all of a sudden. They can be just a glimmer of an idea that I’ll mull over and refine over a period of time, or they pop in fully formed, and all I have to do is just draw or write and *boom*, done.

You could call them visions, or Dreams – I get them both as I’m sleeping or fully awake, or as I’m daydreaming  –  something I was endlessly scolded for and told to stop doing when I was a kid.

If only I could have told my mean punishy teachers that I was going to be a professional artist and designer later on in my life, that I was practicing, and to leave me the heck alone!

Thing is, those Dreams keep me alive. I live for them. They’re why I’m here! If I stop being open to them, I die inside. I even tried not doing art for two years, just to see if it was truly ‘mine’ to do. What a dismal, dreary experience that was.

This page’s design: Lucky me! We don’t get any snow here in northern California’s mid-valley! I grew up back East in the 50s, when winter meant snow storms with 4 and 5 feet of snow, and 9-foot drifts – I’ve had enough snow to last me 10 lifetimes.

So I was surprised when I ‘saw’ this design, because it came though despite there not being a single crystally snow flake here, even in the dead of winter!

Never mind  –  my Dream world wanted me to draw spring blossoms climbing their way up through the snow.

And of course there had to be wee pink mousies dancing on the flowers under the lavender snow clouds. Well, OK, here ya go!

I think They just wanted me to have a design that would cheer me up, let me know the Long Cold Time was about over, because I was feeling so cold today. We may not get snow here, but we do get bothery cold, and I don’t do well with it.

Some people tell me my designs are ‘too busy’ or ‘too complex.’ I think most folks are just going too fast – you have to slow your mind down to really see what’s there in that square.

Here’s how to read them:

Do you see the red triangle on the image below? Just isolate that triangle on about any of my square designs, because that is the key of the design.

The key triangle of the design

The originals are drawn in either white or gold on black. I do that key triangle, and repeat it 7 more times within the square. The concept is really so simple!

Although certainly not easy  – some of these repetitive pattern designs take hours and hours to do.

After I clean up the design and make it the way I want it, I add color, and modify the design into as many as 30 variations.

They are then used for framed wall-hanging prints, and book illustrations; for printing on fabric and various products like mugs, tote bags and pillows, and for home decor such as shower curtains, table cloth, ceramic tiles, or even wall paper and wrapping paper. You should see them on tiles – so cool!

The products look like these:

This design is named Sewing Love into Every Stitch  –  it’s at my Redbubble store

I love seeing my art on stuff  –  it’s a dream come true for me. Long ago, before we had the amazing print-on-demand technology (like my Redbubble store!), there were no inexpensive ways to reproduce my art.

About the only ways were to either get horrid, cheap, black and white xerox copies, or to shell out for expensive color xerox copies, the quality of which left plenty to be desired.

I could get outrageously expensive reproductions done by manufacturers  –  but I had to get a minimum of 1000 pieces just to be able to make an order!

So I love it that now I can upload an image to Redbubble, and voila, there is my art on a multitude of products! I love that!

Want to see more designs?

I have tons of my designs on all kinds of products  – I invite you to check them out – here’s the link again to my Redbubble store.

You can just take a look, and only buy stuff if you want  –  I love going there, myself, just to gawk at all the cool stuff. I mean, think about it  –  if I bought everything I love there, my house would be so full I’d have to move out!

If you’d like to see other images not on Redbubble, you can jump on over to see more designs and art here on my instagram page.

If you see an image on insty that is not in my store that you really like and that you’d like a print of, just contact me and I’ll get it happening for you!


Thanks for reading! 

I hope you enjoyed my new snowy-spring design, getting a tiny bit of a look inside how I get ideas, and the how of what I do to get my art out to you!

INSPIRATION: Are you an artist? 

There are now plenty of good print-on-demand sites like Printful or Zazzle or Society6. Check them out  –  you could upload some images today and get a whole nother income stream happening for yourself. (Those are not affiliate links.)

INSPIRATION: Are you an author?

Think about this  – upload some good images of your book covers  for printing on print-on-demand products – people love to buy t-shirts, phone covers and other items with their favorite authors’ book covers, or the beautiful illustrations from their books! Betcha never thought of that!

(TIP: for good placement and crisp reproduction of your images on products, make sure the images you upload are at least 300 dpi, and measure a minimum of 7000 pixels on the long side.)


Image: Spring Pushes through the Snow
© Angela Treat Lyon 2024

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