Inspiration for writing comes from everywhere. For me, sometimes it’s found in art. It can be through book illustration, or a visit to a gallery or a library (so much art at libraries), or using my own photographs. It can be through Pintrest (where many hours can be whiled away), or thumbing through art books. It won’t be surprising to you that I do love a good art book, or even an ancient scruffy art book or an anachronistic art history book from a charity shop that I can cut the pictures out of. Because Art.
Artists such as Robert Ingpen, (above) have illustrated memorable and remarkable books (Storm Boy for instance). Then there are the likes of John Howe and Alan Lee, who would be familiar names to anyone with more than a passing regard for JRR Tolkien’s books.
Art is also a resource. Which is why digital rights management free stuff is awesome. Here I’ve been using images from the British Library’s Flickr of 17th, 18th and 19th century book illustrations. They are free for anyone to ‘use, remix and repurpose’. My aim is to make myself snigger quietly re-captioning them. There are other places for images too, or at least for non-commercial uses. I noticed the Metropolitan Museum of Art released photos for such use and Project Gutenberg is worth a look too, although many texts have had their images removed. So you can go there for Leonardo Da Vinci’s notes, and the Met for his drawings.
Also worth a look is the Getty Museum site and I note the American Museum of Natural History has uploaded Darwin’s manuscripts. So much to look at. Ancient and new. I blame my Mum, with her craft books. Some of which I now have.
I would say, if you think you want to use something and you also want to make money from it, check out the copyright first. It’s all very well to be inspired, but at the very least creators want to be recognised.