Imagine, Inspire, Curate: Part 3 Curating Your Inspiration Library

Curating Your Inspiration Library

"First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination." -Napoleon Hill

Finally, we have all of this inspiration flooding into our brains.  That is fantastic! Unfortunately, memory is a fickle thing, so we have to find ways to bookmark, save, organize, and store all of those marvelous musings.

Offline Tools

  1. Journal: The classic tool for writing words. Pen may be required.
  2. Sketchbook: The classic tool for drawing pictures. Pencil may be required.
  3. Moodboards: Boards, like a storyboard, used more for the purpose of capturing feel.  Images that invoke certain emotions, colors, textures, and more are organized on the board as guidance for visual work.  They can easily be modified for other purposes.
  4. Walls: This is like moodboards, only requires wall space.  Alas, my current apartment has little available wall space, but during my Serious Game Design program at Michigan State, I covered my walls in sketches, photos, inspirations, concept art, and more to fuel my projects.
  5. Scrap Paper: Make sure your pen is handy.  I use scrap paper and sticky notes a lot, but usually have to move the "inspiration" to a more secure location, like a notebook or digital archive.  These are just way to easy to misplace when I actually need to reference them.
  6. Audio Tapes: These are great for people who get inspired while moving around! Other devices for dictation, such as those available on mobile devices and your computer, are similar solutions.  I don't use them yet, but know others who value them as a way to make sure ideas are not lost. Just stay out of Watergate.
  7. Photography: I think I annoy my friends with this method.  I am constantly stopping for potential reference photos when even the most minute of details catches my attention. You don't want to see my iPhoto Library.  Or do you?

Web Tools

  1. Evernote: A popular browser based tool for collecting content and taking notes. I can't provide much more information than that, as it is not a service I use.  However, there are many who prefer it over Pinterest and Springpad. There are also mobile versions, which is helpful.
  2. Pinterest: Pinterest allows you to pin images to boards and repin socially. It is a nice tool for quick curation.  It is also mobile. As it is social, it is also a great place to find new inspiration.
  3. Springpad: This is like Pinterest, only uses notebooks instead of pin.  It has a "Spring it" button you can add (like Pin It).  However, where it differs from Pinterest is that you can display content in your notebooks in three ways, one of which is a "mood board" like organization.  As it is social, it is also a great place to find new inspiration. Like Pinterest, there is a mobile version.
  4. A digital mood board space that allows you to embed and write notes on a variety of media, as well as use arrows and other effects to map and connect them. This is currently in beta and may eventually be a paid service, but I am a bit fond of it. This web app doesn't currently have a mobile version.
  5. Popplet: Not to be confused with delicious Popplers, Popplet is similar to but focuses more on a kind of mind-mapping of different content. This web app has a long load time and is not available mobile.
  6. Tumblr: Tumblr is great for artists and writers that don't need a lot of organization, provided they have a stream of content to go back to.  As it is social, it is also a great place to find new inspiration. A plus, Tumblr is easy to access on mobile devices.

Of course there are many more.  Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments!

Next Steps

So you have a childlike mindset, know how to go on a variety of inspiration adventures, and plan to curate those ideas so you don't lose them.  What's next?  Well, that is where the adventure of comicking continues.  From here you can brainstorm, draft, sketch, refine ideas, thumbnail, sketch, revise, and of course, add new inspiration at any time.

Have a grand journey into your imagination. And remember what Carl Sagan wrote:

"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere."