When I was in art school I started keeping scrapbooks of things I came across that I liked. I’d save illustrations by artists I admired, napkins from bars, old magazine covers that I found in flea markets, packaging, lettering, anything that caught my eye that I thought I could use for some future assignment. I’d glue them or tape them into these over-sized sketchbooks and whenever I had a project that I was stuck on for ideas, I’d flip through these books, looking for inspiration or something I could steal. These books were different from a scrap file that was full of reference photos that seemed useful, these were books that were a pleasure to look through, pages that could spark ideas. Every illustrator has their collections of things they like and use in their work. Internet image-search has seemed to replace this accumulation of printed ephemera for young artists today. When I give assignments to my students at Art Center that require historic research many of the same images show up, time and again. Keeping a physical record of my interests and inspirations helped me form an identity for my work, and I recommend that young artists who are finding their style of image-making try keeping a scrapbook like these.
I made a Tumblr of some of the pieces from the books, you can check it out here.