Inspiration hits me at the kitchen sink. I’m not kidding. I can draw at my desk for hours – days, sometimes – and not create anything I like. In a fit of frustration, I do my dishes when suddenly, I’m struck by an idea that comes on so strongly that I rush to finish my dishes (I don’t like a dirty sink) before the idea leaves me.
I like to call this the “House Effect.” For those of you who’ve never watched the TV show “House,” Dr. House and his team struggle to diagnose patients suffering from unknown disorders or diseases. They rule pretty much everything out, run innumerable tests (oh, to have good health insurance again!), then almost give up when the patient is close to death. Fifty minutes into the show, because of something completely unrelated to medicine (a diagnosis was once triggered by the sight of a red thong), House correctly diagnoses the patient. At 55 minutes, the patient is cured.
Kind of like House (except in a less brilliant, less anti-social, slightly less atheistic and decidedly more sober way) some days I fumble around with ideas that won’t work and illustrations that aren’t right. I struggle to come up with something usable and come this close to ditching the project altogether when I leave my studio and clean my kitchen. And – poof! – the ideas come. Visions of the finished print flashes before me.
But constantly cleaning my kitchen won’t keep me in this state indefinitely. Instead, I have to draw and draw and draw and get nowhere first. I’m exorcising out the bad stuff. When it has all come out and I feel really stuck, I’m not really stuck. I’m blank. And then I wash my dishes. Clean slate. And then the ideas come.
Oh, to be able to be creative on demand. Then again, I’d probably have a really dirty kitchen.