Chasing an idea before it escapes

8:00 AM

A pattern of bird of paradise flowers and tropical leaves

When you are a creative person, you have those moments where nothing comes easy, and just creating something, anything, seems to be a challenge.
And then, you have those moments where all the ideas seem to come to you at once and if you don't give them your full attention, they leave as quick as they come. 

Ideas you see, are peculiar things, and as Melissa Gilbert explains in the book Big Magic (affiliate link), ideas are actually live spirits that roam the earth in search of a person that can help them materialise. Ideas need people to manifest in the physical realm and they need the right person to do so. 

If an idea can't grab a person's attention, or that person can't help the idea manifest just right, the ideas move on until they find a person that can. Melissa Gilbert explains that with the example of a book she started writing, set aside for a while  because her life got busy in other ways, and a few years later could not get back to it because the original idea had left, only to find Ann Patchett who ended up writing that story instead, not knowing that a few years earlier Melissa Gilbert tried first. 

This experience of wandering ideas is something all creatives, and scientists have had experience with. They often come very quickly. 
Some hang out long enough for the person to write it down, give it a thought and then get to it. This was the case with my "Groovy Rickshaw". Some come quick, and leave quickly too, so if you don't seize them immediately, chances are they will move on to find another creative soul to give them life. And some will like to visit many people all at once to see how many form they can take. Those are usually the ones that end up giving birth to a trend and it's probably why millennial pink came to be, and why right now people seem to have a thing for a mid-century modern revival or terrazzo tiles. 

The other day, I got one of those flash ideas coming, the kind you know deep down in your soul will leave in a blink if you don't act on it quick. 
I was browsing my feeds on Instagram when suddenly this image from Modcloth came : 


The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this picture was "Bird of paradise pattern" and an idea of how I wanted it to look like. 
I dropped my phone immediately and rushed to my iPad to draw all the elements in Procreate, one by one until I had all the assets I needed to build a pattern. It was like there was a fire inside me that needed to burn through and the urge to create only dimmed as I was drawing the last leaf asset. 

Then, I was satisfied and knew I could wait it until the next morning to assemble it all together with a fresh head. Clearly, this idea was also satisfied with that arrangement as it was getting late at night anyway, and past the point at which I could have squeezed any more useful creative juice out of my mind or body. 
But the next morning that was the first thought on my mind when I woke up at 5.30 am. As if that particular idea had been sitting on my night table the whole time to pounce on me the instant I was functional again.
You can't ignore an idea that nags that way, or else, you'd end with a bunch of assets that would never become a pattern.
I did what every creative knows they have to do in such cases : make myself a cup of tea, grabbed my iPad and laptop, transferred all the assets to said laptop to build the pattern in Photoshop until everything looked just right. Then the idea nagged a bit more because it also wanted a matching art print design that wasn't a pattern. Sir, yes sir! Your wish is my command! 

bird of paradise and tropical leaves on a wallpaper pattern

Fortunately, after I was done with that, this idea just let me have breakfast, and rest a little before it urged me to get it all up on Society6. All in all the inspiration came around 7.30pm, and I was done drawing it close to 9pm on the first day, and it was up and running in my shop before 10am the next morning. It's how quick and demanding some of these wandering ideas can be. 

Right now, tropical floral patterns are trending, so this one might also have been one of these ideas that has been visiting more than one creative to see how many form it could take. I have seen bird of paradise flowers pop all around my feeds in the past few days, which probably explain why the urge to create quickly came so strongly. The window this idea had for manifesting might be a short one and it wanted to go out with a bang. 

Some ideas are a bit more patient than this one really, but trust me, a neglected idea will just walk away at one point or another because they don't wait forever on just one person to give them a physical life. Such is the life of creative people, we are essentially mediums who act as a bridge between the bodiless realm of ideas and our physical reality. 

Right now it seems this idea in question also wanted a bit of blog attention too, and was kind enough to wait to be accommodated by my work and blog post schedule. 

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