Spark your imagination with tips from Instagram’s most creative experts

Ever wanted to create some art or compose a photo but your inspiration tank is running on empty? It can be difficult to focus and think of great ideas while everything around you is distracting and you are struggling to gather your thoughts. This is commonly known as creative block and something everyone has experienced at some time.

Sparking your imagination takes the right inspiration and the right headspace before you can come up with amazing concepts and innovative executions. So how do we get from an empty tank to bursting with creative ideas? We’ve compiled some helpful tips as well as asked our favourite creative Instagrammers for their pro-tips

Surround yourself with sources of inspiration

In addition to your everyday life experience, your creative ideas are influenced by visual information that comes into your waking mind or subconscious. As Austin Kleon says in his book Steal like an artist “garbage in, garbage out”. The underlying message of this statement is that your mind can only work with what it is given. Fuel your creative thoughts and ideas by surround yourself with interesting people, places and things.

Art and other creative people are excellent sources of ideas, but there are many other areas and objects that will inspire you such as cinema, literature, dance, spectacular arts, cooking, history, sculpture, martial arts, media, illustration, animation, graphic novels, fashion, design and floristry. The possibilities are endless if you keep an open mind and search for inspiration in different places. 

Create a database of inspiration

Collect things that inspire you to compile an “inspiration database”. Take a folder or box where you can keep inspirational items such as books, postcards or clippings from magazines. Alternatively you can create an electronic version of it by adding a board to Pinterest or by collecting pictures in a folder on your phone or computer. I not only store images that inspire me, I also save the places, sources and names of people I want to deal with in the future. I return to this fund when I am experiencing a creative block or in order to create a mood board.

Record your dreams

In many ancient civilizations, dreams were considered a supernatural way of communication or an intervention of the divine, that could only be understood and explained by people gifted with special abilities.

You never know when you might dream up your next brilliant idea so keep a pen and notebook on your bedside table to record your dreams immediately after waking up. If you don’t have time to jot them down you can record voice notes on your mobile phone. When it becomes a habit, remembering dreams will become easier.

Play and talk with kids

Children are the most sincere and unique creatives. They share imaginative ideas freely and are not afraid of criticism. Ask your child how they would solve a problem you are trying to solve and you may find amazing, and amusing, solutions. Simply participating in a playful children's game can evoke creativity in its most pure form.

Keen for some creative fun with your little ones? Get some great ideas from our article: Playful Ideas for kids: How to turn creative family time into a flatlay photo

Let's learn from the best and find out how Instagram’s top content creators spark their imagination:

Joel Robison  @joelrobison

Joel Robison @joelrobison

 My imagination is truly running wild all the time. I have always been someone who spends a lot of time in my own head, visualizing and daydreaming and my imagination and my creativity comes from that time. I tend to allow my mind to wander as freely as possible, without limits and it helps my imagination grow and form ideas.
— Joel Robison
Alexandra Tealeaf  @alexandratealeaf

Alexandra Tealeaf @alexandratealeaf

Whenever you have an idea, write it down, take a photo of something inspiring, share your dreams with your pen and paper. They all matter. Keep learning, use Photoshop, YouTube, Skillshare or anything to help get you better in the field, you just need to take it step by step, and you can all create magic
— Alexandra Tealeaf

I have always been in awe of the magic that Walt Disney brought to people's lives in the simplest form. Through telling stories, bringing characters to life and creating worlds that people couldn’t ever have visioned. Then Harry Potter fell into my life, and the magical Wizarding world further fueled my desire for fantasy. I was told at school that I was too whimsical and my photography teacher told me I was too creative and I would never amass to anything being so different. 

I need to find old mystical places, places that I want to know it’s story, so that I can create a world of my own in that space. Over 5 years ago I moved to Orlando. Being on Disney’s doorstep and down the road from Hogwarts I started to explore my creativity and then got back into my photography via the theme parks. This is where my Instagram story started. 

When I moved home with no pre-made castles in sight, I felt like I couldn’t continue my social media presence and took a big big break. On New Year’s Eve 2018 I made a promise to myself I’d make friends in London to help me with my creativity and get back out shooting again. I did just that, and the network of amazing people I have here in the UK is now simply amazing. Through exploring in Photoshop, I was able to create my own magic. 

Whenever you have an idea, write it down, take a photo of something inspiring, share your dreams with your pen and paper. They all matter. Keep learning, use Photoshop, YouTube, Skillshare or anything to help get you better in the field, you just need to take it step by step, and you can all create magic

Bronte Huskinson  @frombeewithlove

Bronte Huskinson @frombeewithlove

There’s so many things that spark my imagination! At the minute it’s the clothes I wear and the location I’m in, I always think what type of vibe it creates and what the best pose would be. I also base my feed in different characters now, so channelling their personalities is always a really fun challenge. My imagination always gets sparked by the season I’m in too. I always feel most in my element when it’s autumn so my creativity really seems to flow then!
— Bronte Huskinson
Danielle Dean  @sienna.and.i

Danielle Dean @sienna.and.i

Having creative constraints. If I have all the time in the world to think of a photo idea, and I have no clear theme or concept then it’s just too much. Having a clear theme or concept really helps. Hence the reason most of my photos are always themed, fairground, Christmas, books and so on. And giving myself a deadline, other wise I constantly go back and forth with ideas
— Danielle Dean
Katy English  @misskatyenglish

Katy English @misskatyenglish

I spark my imagination with lots of things! Fairy tales, old art exhibitions, fantasy films... comics and hand-painted illustrations are a huge inspiration for me, and I love falling down a rabbit hole on Instagram and discovering random accounts that are totally different to mine. Word association games are also a fun way to spark unexpected ideas!
— Katy English