32 tips to get ideas to spend your free time

Inspiration: 32 tips to get ideas to spend your free time

This is a random list of all kind of things I occasionally do. If you feel stuck or just don’t have a lot of ideas at the moment to do in your free time, then it’s great to follow one of the suggestions. Get inspired:

  1. Is there anything you did in your childhood and stopped doing?
    For example coloring with crayons. Or use a soft pencil to color the edge of a piece of paper (torn or cut) and then smear it with your finger on another piece of paper. Or scratch on paper with a soft pencil while there is a penny underneath.
  2. Check out the pictures on Instagram
    Get inspired by the many photos you can find on Instagram. You can search for keywords by the hash tags that most people use.
  3. Look at shop windows
    What is the current fashion look? What resources have been used to decorate the shop and make it attractive? What materials are hip?
  4. Visit archives
    If you are looking for inspiration for a product, you can look for archives in design museums. Are you interested in old texts or letters than archives of newspapers or city archives are a treat. I spent quite some time in a regional archive to discover my family tree.
  5. schouwburgVisit the theater
    What do the decor and costumes look like? What has been used dramatically to make an often performed play or opera attractive or modern?
  6. Leaf through magazines
    If they are old magazines, you can tear out photos and try to combine them with new images. Make a collage.
  7. Do something you do not dare to do
  8. Dream
    They say you can’t thrust dreams. But they can be such a great inspiration for new ideas.
  9. Take pictures using a theme
    Just make photos of trees for a month. Or photograph only round shapes. Also try to find scenes in just one color (monochrome).
  10. Check what the color of the fashion season is
    Look at the trends. What’s hot. What’s not.
  11. Go to the movie
    One of my best recommendations is Bon Dieu. I have laughed until my face was hurting. Hilarious.
  12. Imitate
    Imitating has a negative meaning in our society, but in the time of the guilds an apprentice had to imitate the master to learn the craft.
  13. ideeen opdoenLook into a dictionary
    Open it at a random page. Or search for a specific word and see what terms are mentioned in the explanation and then look up those as well.
  14. Look at advertisements
    Promotional photos and commercials Have to pinpoint an idea in an extremely short period of time. How do they get their message across?
  15. Look at Pinterest
  16. Watch the empty space
    One of the exercises in model- or stilllife drawingclass is to focus on the negative space instead of on the subject.
  17. Listen to music
  18. Make a poem
    Use rhyme in the ordinary way. Or you can write the letters of your name in separate lines and take them as the first letter of a sentence.
  19. Make lists
  20. Model
    Give your own twist to an imitation
  21. Take a hot shower
    The best ideas come when you are relaxed and no longer consciously thinking about a problem. Eureka!
  22. inspiratie opdoenDo not just open your eyes, but also your other senses
    Or close your eyes and listen carefully. Only use your hands to ‘view’ an object. (It’s such a pity most museums forbid touching the statues!)
  23. Write with your left hand if you are right-handed and vice versa
    You literally use another part of your brain when you discard your own automatisms.
  24. Cut stamps of potatoes
  25. Speak a foreign language
  26. Draw
    Droodle, mindmapping, sketching, but also draw what you see in front of you are great sources of inspiration.
  27. Make things up that can not be
    Einstein has been able to develop the theory of relativity because he imagined that he traveled through space on a lightbeam.
  28. Walk
    Walking in the town the buildings and the crowds inspire. In nature the trees and the quiet are the sources.
  29. Sing
  30. Find an exhibition
    There are so many great museums that I always have a shortage of time. (Do you have my tips for a museum visit yet?)
  31. Find an object and make a lot of pictures of it
    Change the point of view. Go far away for an overview and get closer by to the details. Lie on your stomach or stand on the stairs.
  32. Zoek etymologische betekenissen op
    Of wat ook een geweldige manier is om los te komen: zoek woorden op in een andere taal en bekijk overeenkomsten met klanken of woorden in onze eigen taal.
    Find etymological meanings
    Or look up words in another language and examine similarities to sounds or words.

What do you do to get an stream of ideas flowing? Let me know in the commentbox below.

Even grown ups can play on the beach

Inspiration: Even grown ups can play on the beach

Isn’t it a pity that we tend to forget how to play? Years ago my former colleagues and I went to a beach house once a year. We were all creative souls and we gave ourselves assignments to develop our creative skills even further. There I discovered again what fun it is to play on the beach.

The focus of the assignments was different each year. It could be flying objects or playing with the sand. Or we went beach combing and made 3D collages out of the junk we found. And sometimes we would just draw, because we all loved to do that as well.

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso

What can you do on the beach?


I’ll give you some inspiration with a list and I hope you will add your tips in the comment box below. Because I am sure I forgot things. 🙂

  • build sandcastles
  • write in the sand with a sheel or a stick
  • go beach combing
  • take pictures of textures
  • draw what you see
  • go geo caching
  • record the sounds of the surf or the birds
  • invent water games
  • make sand sculptures
  • collect seashells
  • photograph the objects you see
  • make a message in a bottle

And yes, you can also sport, relax, read, swim and play beach volleyball. My objective here was to list activities which I think develop creativity. 🙂

Take lots and lots of pictures!

You might know I love taking pictures. Either with my DSLR camera or with my iPhone. I enjoy not just the moment itself, but also the sorting and criticizing afterward.

If you can’t draw after nature when you are actually there, because you master not yet the technique or because the weather conditions were not good, then a photograph is a handy tool.
Both taking pictures and drawing develop your sense of composition, color, and creativity in general.

taking pictures of sand dunes
drawing zand dunes

Our play on the beach in images

It goes without saying that you don’t have to play on the beach alone! It is a great activity to do together with you (grand)children, as I know from experience.

An advantage of the year we went beachcombing was we cleaned the beach. We threw all the stuff we hadn’t used in the bins.

A fantasy animal one of my colleagues made.

candle holders
Have you heard of the Memphis group? They inspired us enormously in our work as graphic designers and during the beach combing trip.

3d collage
This was so funny: I took this collage home, but what I had not noticed in the open air on the beach, became very soon apparent in the house. It smelled like dead fish!

My color box fell accidentally out of my hands, giving me unexpected inspiration to look for lines and composition.

Intermezzo, get inspiration from creativity

Intermezzo, get inspiration from creativity

Inspiration and creativity are must haves for me. Irregularly I make drawings, collages or mixed media in some kind of theme. It helps me keep my creative skills flowing. Here are a couple of examples:

An intermezzo is a short piece of music written to be played on its own or as part of a longer piece. For me it’s a welcome break in my daily activities.

What do you get your inspiration from? Tell me in the commentbox below.