Don’t Just Look…Observe!

don't just lookWhen I was in college one of my illustration professors always talked about how as artists we should always be observing the world around us taking in every detail. “Observation is critical,” he would say! Somewhere out there are all sorts of interesting things to amuse and inspire us to create, but we need to find them first.

Now the key word here is OBSERVATION….”the act or process of observing something or someone carefully in order to gain information.”

To only “look” at something is to glance or gaze towards something or someone, but you are not scrutinizing or studying when you just look.

I suggest you start the quest for finding your inspiration by “observing” what you see outside your window, right in your own front yard. No looking or glancing, but really consider what you are surveying and paying careful attention.

Take a pencil or pen and draw what you see…is the window open? Is there a curtain and is it blowing toward you? What can you see outside the window frame? Are there trees and bushes, another house, a fence, perhaps a parked car or a kid’s bicycle? Do you see one of your neighbors walking his dog along with a newsboy delivering the paper or maybe an ice cream truck playing one of those continuous irritating songs?

Thus begins your careful observation process…this time while you are peering out the window really stop and take it all in. Observe it all very carefully, make notations, do a sketch…record what you see… No looking allowed…just consider everything you observe. You are actually training yourself to gain information from your observations which will eventually lead you to something that will inspire you.

I bet you money that you will start to notice things you never realized were there previously because chances are, you didn’t really observe at all…you just looked.