Spark Your Creativity – Books on the Shelf

Are you looking for creative inspiration?

This is the first of three lessons that are designed to quickly spark your creativity.

During this 3 lesson progression, you are prompted to write, sketch, and create collages in order to ignite your inspirational muse.

The #SparkYourCreativtyChallenge is a permission slip for you to use your creative voice and make time and space for self expression.

If you are ready to accept this challenge,  this series of creative exercises will encourage you to pause and make time for a new creative thinking process. 

Are you ready to open up to an inspired experience, tap into your energy, and focus on creative thinking?

The goal is for you to feel encouraged to make time for your creative process everyday.

Books on the Shelf

A curious mind is a creative mind.

By participating in this challenge, you are opening up to new creative possibilities.

And by trusting as this process unfolds, you will see your ideas and the materials you work with in new ways.

Let’s begin.

Allow this exercise to inform you about the messages you are feeding  your mind.


1. Go to your bookshelf. Take 3 books off the shelf that inspire you. These can be any three books that inspire you; they don’t have to be art or design books. The idea is to pick 3 without being too conscious about your choices. This should be done fairly quickly.

Now, go to your piece of paper (or notebook, journal – whatever you prefer) and write down the titles and authors of these books.

2. Next, flip through the pages. See what images or written passages capture your attention. Are there highlighted or underlined sentences that catch your eye?

Write down a favorite quote from each book.

3. Make notes

What themes become evident in the 3 books you’ve selected?

What time periods are represented by either the narrative or publish date?

What color are these books? What images are on the covers?

What is there physical quality (large small, hard back, soft cover).

By revisiting some of your favorite books and answering questions about them, a thread will appear about what is important to you regarding your personal growth and your approach to your creative work.


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Faith in a Seed, by Henry David Thoreau has been on my bookshelf for decades. I gifted it to myself when I was in college on my 20th birthday and inscribed it: ‘It is now time to plant the seed of success’. I have always been a lover of nature and one of the quotes that resonates is

“Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”

I have been an art maker as long as I can remember, but it took much more time and education and mindset work to accept that I am an artist with valuable skills and lessons to share. I believe that art heals, and that art and design education is as vital to our culture and society as math and science.
In revisiting ‘Art Fundamentals‘ it is evident that we collectively have a need for art, or creative expression, in our lives. As an art educator, I believe it is important to understand the formal aspects of art in order to refine our individual means of expression.

“Subject, form, and content have always been the basic components of a work of art.”

In making creative works, we answer these questions:

What? – is expressed in subject. This can be realistic or abstract

How? – is expressed in form and refers to the organization or elements of the composition

Why? – is expressed in the content – the emotional or intellectual message. This is our statement, our expression, our mood.


I have always been intrigued by artworks made primarily by women. Although collage is typically celebrated as a twentieth century art form, educated women of the Victorian era played with pictures by pasting cut photographs on painted scenes, animal bodies, imaginary landscapes and changing the original meanings of the images. Women combined traditional arts of drawing and painting with the new art of photography. It was an aristocratic craft for sure – think about cutting up a photograph when the technology was a new medium.

“The handmade and the mechanical, personal and social, realistic and fictitious are mixed and stitched together to create photo collages that, with their multivalent and ambiguous meanings, can be read in different ways and at different levels.”


If you feel comfortable with sharing, I encourage you to create a post in the

Spark Your Creativity Challenge Facebook Group


How have the titles, topics, and themes of these books influenced your work?

How can you call on these written resources today to inspire your creative work going forward?

Create an Instagram post of your books and use the hashtag #SparkYourCreativityChallenge

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Keep your mind in a state of curiosity and think about the creative muse offered by the authors and books you’ve selected. These messages are presented in order for you to see how you can make creative connections with information that is readily available, and of interest, to you. 

Creativity is good for the heart, and it’s good for the soul.

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