I'm going to steal three keywords off the cover of one of my favorite magazines to illustrate today's post.
This is the cover of a blank journal (ISBN#9781593594930, published by Peter Pauper Press) with a detail from of one of Josephine Wall's paintings, The Spirit of Flight. It contains 192 ruled blank pages of acid-free/archival paper, and the binding lies flat when you open it. One of the prettiest blank books I've seen at the store.
I make most of my own journals, but every so often I'll pick up a ready-made that catches my eye. Beautiful cover art on a blank book may seem like a waste, but each time I see an image that inspires me, I usually need to write as soon as possible.
One of my favorite magazines, Art Scene International, has wall-to-wall ideas for characters, settings, scenes, etc. in every issue, with art from some of the hottest young artists from around the globe. Finding this magazine for me was like discovering Frank Frazetta all over again.
Reading fiction these days I recognize a lot of characters and ideas modeled on celebrities and television. There's nothing wrong with this, but I'd like to see more writers stretch their imaginations in other directions. Magazines like Art Scene are great alternative idea wells.
When I wanted to learn how to properly paint watercolors, I picked up an issue of Watercolor Artist to have a look-through and see if I could find any useful tips. While I will never get anywhere in the same solar system of ability that the contributors possess, I have learned a lot about technique as well as expression, meaning, reasons to paint and why people even bother with a medium that is so demanding, unpredictable and frustrating. I think the cover art of this issue pretty much answers that question (and also gives away where I stole the three keywords, too.)
Almost every writer I know does something creative that has no writing involved in it, such as painting, sewing, knitting, crafting, gardening, dancing, playing a musical instrument and so on. It's not a requirement that a writer have another creative hobby or sideline, but I think it helps. Maybe because writing is the only art that takes place inside the head where no one else can see it.
Inspiration, ideas and instruction should also be shared. In comments to this post name a source where you find one or more of the three i's (or if you're running low on all three, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Thursday, April 23, 2009. I'll draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner the brand-new unused blank journal, both magazines, and a surprise. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.