Always Be Creating Part 1: Inspiration by Samwise Didier

Art Director, creator, illustrator, and now solo artist of his newest work The Last Winter, Sam Didier shares his thoughts about inspiration and creativity. Didier has worked on projects such as, World of Warcraft, Heroes of The Storm, and books like Grimbeard: Tales of the Last Dwarf, and now The Last Winter. With such a successful, and long career, Didier has mastered the art of creative flow. So, turn off the television, put away your phone, and listen up, because this award-winning, popular artist is spilling his ‘secret.’

Nearly every day, I’m asked about my inspiration, what do I do, how do I find it, and where does it come from, etc. Frustrated artists will tell me, “I sit in front of my sketchbook/laptop and stare at the blank page/monitor. Nothing comes to me.” After a few minutes, they get bored and move on to playing a game, or watching the latest X, Y, or Z on whichever device is closest. “I guess I just haven’t been inspired lately,” they’ll say.

(Artwork from The Last Winter)

People assume inspiration is this magical entity that visits artists and shows them the secrets of creation. THAT ALMOST NEVER HAPPENS. Go ahead, walk over to your workspace, open up a sketchpad or a word doc. and try to create the next big thing. I am not saying that it cannot happen, but it’s rare. Inspiration usually comes to us as a tiny idea, not a grand vision. Another misconception about inspiration is that you need to be at special places, viewing vast landscapes, or visiting ancient wonders to be inspired. Sure, those places can be inspirational, but don’t think that being somewhere out of the ordinary will offer up great ideas. Inspiration happens anywhere at anytime. Seriously! I bet some of the best ideas ever conceived have been in the bathroom. But why? Well, because the artist had some solid “alone” time with nothing but his thoughts (and current business) to think about. The only distraction might be the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, lying on the back of the toilet. Life today offers many more distractions than before. Now, if the artist is taking a short break, he usually isn’t thinking of his next great idea, he is texting this person, liking, friending, and re-tweeting on social media. He doesn’t stand a chance of exploring something, other than what is being shown to him on his little glowing distraction.

(Artwork from The Last Winter)

If you were to ask me where I find my greatest inspiration, I would answer: “utter solitude”. My ideas are born in and from solitude (and not just in the can). My inspiration comes to me during my morning drive to work. It is quiet, I can think and be alone with my ideas. I don’t listen music or books-on-tape. My only interruptions are the occasional a**hole who DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO MERGE! IT IS A LANE CHANGE, YA DUMMY, NOT A—, sorry about that, I got sidetracked.

Yep, solitude is the key for me. I can think about an idea and let it transform into more than just an idea. With time, it starts to become an image or a story, and, if it is good enough, it may become both. Then, by the time I get to work and go through a few meetings (which I always bring a sketchbook to, and encourage as well), I have thought about this idea for quite awhile. So when I finally sit down with my good friends, my trusty sketchpad and computer, I am ready to rock. These ideas, which at one time were just small brain farts in me ol’ noggin, are flowing. Rough ideas are committed to paper and pixel, and “inspiration” magically starts to happen. Now comes the best time in the world…

It is time to create.

ABC – Always Be Creating.

Samwise Didier