Get Inspired: Explore Your City | Rich Armstrong | Skillshare

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Get Inspired: Explore Your City

teacher avatar Rich Armstrong, Artist & Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Why a City?


    • 4.

      Why My City


    • 5.

      Oh The Places You’ll Go


    • 6.

      Make a Rough Plan


    • 7.

      Make. It. Happen


    • 8.

      Who to Bring


    • 9.

      What to Bring


    • 10.

      How to Get Inspired


    • 11.

      How to Explore


    • 12.

      Review Your Day


    • 13.

      Your Project


    • 14.



    • 15.

      Key Takeaways


    • 16.



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About This Class

We all want to produce better work. We want to create something meaningful. We want to make a difference. And we want to do this in a unique way and style. And for this we need inspiration. The better the inspiration, the better the work. But too often we go after inspiration that’s convenient rather than effective.

This class is about getting inspired in a deeper, truer, and more authentic way—by your city. In the real world. Where you can absorb the unique inspiration your city is offering you. You’ll learn why stepping outside and exploring your city inspire you, and lead to more meaningful and creative work. We’ll cover where to go, what to bring, who to bring, how to explore, and a bunch of other things.

Meet Your Teacher

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Rich Armstrong

Artist & Designer

Top Teacher

Hey! I'm Rich Armstrong, a vivid and imaginative artist with ADHD. My bold and colourful creations draw inspiration from childhood fantasies, igniting joy & passion in a uniquely authentic style.

I design, illustrate, animate, doodle, and code. I love it all. I studied multimedia design, then graphic design, and taught myself how to code. I've freelanced, worked for agencies and startups, run my own product design studio, written a published book, and became a full-time artist in 2021. Also, I can touch my nose with my tongue!

I’ve been creating all kinds of things for a long time. And I want to help you create, experiment, explore and succeed—in the most fun and a... See full profile

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1. Intro: Every artist and designer, no matter what field they're in, no matter who they are, wants to produce better work. They're looking for something to say or for a way to say it. They want their work to be unique and different. They want their work to mean something to someone. They want to say something in their way. I know this is true for you too. You want to produce better work. But all this doesn't magically arrive. Powerful, unique, expressive work doesn't appear out of nowhere. What we create is a product of what we consume, and absorb, and experience. Its a product of what we let in. No matter who you are and how creative you consider yourself to be, what and how you create comes from somewhere. It's a place where what you've experienced gets shaken and stirred together. I call it a well of inspiration. It's where ideas, dreams, and possibilities originate. It's where you find your style. It's where you find issues to speak out for. It's where your imagination draws from. The quality and depth of the inspiration in our worlds has a direct effect on what and how we create. But we saw them take action to deepen our wells and increase the quality of inspiration found in them. If you're wanting to get inspired with truer, deeper, more authentic stuff, it's time to put down your devices. If you want inspiration to lead to more powerful, and unique, and expressive work, it's time to step away from your desk. It's time to get outside. It's time to explore and experience your city in the real world with all your senses, with an open heart and a curious mind. My name is Rich Armstrong from TapTapKaboom, and I'm a compulsive creator and I'm constantly searching for authentic, high-quality inspiration. That's what this class is all about. You'll be following along and planning a day out in your city. A day that will inspire you in a deep, rich, and authentic way. During the class, we'll cover where to go, what to bring, who to bring, why your city is a treasure trove, and a whole bunch more. If you want truer, deeper, and better inspiration, get outside and explore your city. If you want hope and direction on how to do that best, then come take this class. 2. Welcome: Hey. Welcome to this class, I'm pumped you're here. My name is Rich Armstrong, I'm the founder of TapTapKaboom, where my mission is to help you develop your creative superpowers. I believe there are two big parts to being creative. The first part is inspiration, and the second part is actually doing the work. In this class, we'll be dealing with the inspiration part. Much of what I know about inspiration comes from my university years. My lecturers pushed me to explore the real world. They told me to collect and reference real things, and then they showed us how to do it by taking us into Downtown Durban. Now, Downtown Durban is a melting pot of African culture, cuisine, and fashion. Spending time exploring the inner city inspired me for weeks. It stimulated my mind, my taste buds, and my soul. During those university years, I did many things for the first time. I traveled in minibus taxis, I ate bunny chows, I got my hair put onto cornrows. I even dressed up as a municipal worker and painted messages all over the city. Exploring Durban transformed who I am and how I create. Once I left university, I kept on exploring my city, whether it was Durban in South Africa or Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I kept on letting my city inspire me. During this class, I want to inspire you to seek out inspiration in your city, and I want to show you how and why. When it comes to inspiration, we often do what's convenient rather than what's effective. Exploring my city is not convenient, but it inspires me more, and better, and deeper than anything else. I'm pretty sure exploring your city, will do the same for you. In the next lesson, we'll talk about creativity, inspiration, and why cities are amazing places to get inspired. I'll see you there. 3. Why a City?: In this lesson, we'll chat about creativity and inspiration, and then we'll cover why cities are amazing places to get inspired. Creativity works best when it has things to work with. It combines one thing with a bunch of other things to produce something different. It often shakes, and stirs, and tweaks a whole bunch of things to produce something new. I call the place where we keep all these things, The Well of Inspiration. When we create, we draw from it. What's really important is that we fill our wells up with a variety of high-quality inspiration. Think unique, interesting, beautiful, authentic stuff, and to do this, we've got to be intentional, because if we're not intentional we tend to fill up our wells with garbage. If you want to be more creative, fill your inspiration well up with better stuff, read better books, watch better movies and series, dig deeper, go beyond the surface level. Put yourself in stimulating situations, get outside, try new things, seek out experiences. Why? Because the quality of what you fill your well up with will inform the quality of what you produce. Good stuff in, good stuff out. You may be asking, "Why a city then, Rich? What's up with that?" Well, getting out into the real world kang pows most kinds of inspiration in the face, especially screen inspiration. Real life is this immersive experience that you can touch and feel, you're walking in and around the inspiration. It's full of movements, and sounds, and tastes, and engages all of our senses. It's not only what you can see. A city is an amplified version of this. It's richer, and more varied, and more stimulating than most other things. It's a buffet of high-quality inspiration. Close your eyes, and when I say these words, imagine what you see, taste, smell, and hear, and feel: people, fashion, expression, food, drinks, smells, cultures, religions, practices, books, transports, rest, hidden secrets, locals, animals, art. You can open your eyes if you want now. You can find all these things and what they evoke in a city. The reason I recommend exploring cities though is not only because they're highly inspiring, exploring your city is also restful, and here's why. You're telling your mind and body that you have the time to spend doing something unproductive. In my experience, my whole being responds really well to this combination. This combination of being outside, people, movement, exercise, and stimulation, my stress just, it disappears, and my brain comes alive with excitement, and energy, and ideas, and creativity. Abraham Lincoln said that if you gave him eight hours to chop down a tree, he'd spend the first hour sharpening his ax. Some versions of the quote even say up to six hours sharpening his ax. That's what taking time to explore and absorb inspiration is to me. It sharpens me, it fills my well up with a variety of high-quality inspiration, it makes me come alive, and then boom, instead of chopping for five days next week with a blunt ax, I'm chopping for four days with a super sharp one. Or instead of creating next week with nothing to draw from, I'm creating with tons to draw from. We've covered why cities are awesome for inspiration, in the next lesson, we're going to take it a step further. We'll go over why your city where you live has the most potential for high-grade inspiration. 4. Why My City: We've covered why cities are great for inspiration. Now you may be thinking, if we're after the good stuff, why not plan a trip to a city in some faraway place, in some faraway land like Paris, Berlin, Lagos, Mexico City, Lisbon, New York, or Prague. Well, you should, those places are impressive. But there's something about your city that's better than all the faraway places. In fact, your city is a treasure trove. Why? Because you get to build a deep personal, long-term relationship with it. The inspiration and energy you get from your city is deeper and more personal. It's cheaper and far easier to plan, especially if you're in the midst of a global pandemic. I was once sitting on a rooftop in Berlin talking to people from all around the world, and this lady from Paris who lives in Berlin, starts talking about how she misses Paris. But the thing is, she doesn't mention the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe, or the Seine. She misses the rush and crowds and surge of movements of Parisians running to catch their next train. Why? Because her relationship with her city is deeper, more nuanced and more personal. Paris is her Paris. Your city is not just another city, it's your city. You have a relationship with it. You can draw unique and personal inspiration from it. There's always more your city can offer you, so take the time to experience it. But the thing is, we get desensitized to the magic of our cities. We forget to observe, and listen, and absorb. We forget to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts. We forget to be open to inspiration. We're busy getting things done. We're on auto pilot, speeding onto the next thing, and the next, and the next. We forget how awesome our cities are. How I've gotten around this is by setting time aside to explore my city. But you could may be shaking your head saying something like this. You don't understand my city is boring, it sucks. Or maybe you've moved from an awesome city and now you are stuck in a boring one. Well, here's my answer to that. Every city is different. Every city is unique. So take a moment right now and write down what's unique or weird about your city. If you don't have an answer, don't worry. It's time to get out there and find out. It's time to start dating your city. No matter what city you live in or nearby, once you begin exploring it, you'll begin to find the secret places. You'll meet the locals and their dogs. You'll be able to experience new, unfamiliar things. With your city, you'll get to see the plants and the cracks of the pavement, and the brand new street art. You'll get to see a change and morph and grow and offer you new inspiring things. It will still be the same place that feels comfortable, relaxing, and familiar. The city you live in or the city you live nearby, will become your city. Or maybe it's already your city and you're itching to get out there and explore and absorb all it has to offer. In the lessons coming up, we're going to plan an inspiration day out in your city. We'll start with where to go in the next lesson. 5. Oh The Places You’ll Go: We've covered the wide part of a class and maybe you're planning to explore your city, but you may also have a bunch of questions like, where am I going? How should I do it? What do I bring? Who should I go with? In this lesson, we'll begin with the where part and cover the other questions in the rest of the class. To start off with, I want you to grab a pen and paper and take 15-20 minutes to make a list of the possible places to go. List all the cool, weird, amazing, and inspiring places in your city that you can think of. List the places that you've already been to and the ones that you haven't been to, and don't worry if you can't quite think of a place's name or if you don't have enough time to add all the places that you can think of, this list is your starting point. Once you've got your list, find each place on Google Maps, either on your phone or computer, and save it. In Google Maps, I primarily use the two built-in lists, favorites and want-to-go, but feel free to use a custom list if you want. The reason we list our places on paper first and then save them to Google Maps is because using paper is way quicker and you don't get distracted. But once your places are saved to Google Maps, it makes everything else way easier. You can see where things are, you can get directions, view opening hours, and see how close places are to each other. When a place pops into your mind or when someone tells you of a new place, you can quickly add it to your list on Google Maps. Using Google Maps is how I like to do things, but you should do what works best for you. If you want to keep a little black book of all the cool places or a big detailed spreadsheet or an app on the wall, then go for it. My only suggestion as a seasoned list keeper is to make the list accessible and easy to update. If you want to find all kinds of new and interesting places, ask other people what their favorite places are. This works really well with people who are different to you and especially well with people who you meet while exploring. But I would not spend too much time researching places to go. Instead, go find them in real life, it's way more satisfying and far more interesting. Now, if you're feeling stuck and you want a few hints of where to go, I've created a PDF that contains a list of the types of places you may want to visit. In the next lesson, we'll start planning our inspiration day. 6. Make a Rough Plan: Now that we've got a list of all possible places to go to, we need to make a rough plan of the places we're actually going to go to during our first inspiration day. But Rich, why do we need a plan? Well, we make plans so we can set expectations. We need a place to start, some direction, and we need to know what's possible and what's not. We don't have to stick to the plan, but we don't want to get irritated, frustrated, or feel like we're wasting time. But how do I make a plan and how do I choose where to go? These are good questions. In this lesson, I'll give you nine things to consider when making a plan of places to go to. Consideration number 1, set realistic expectations. The first thing to keep in mind is that you cannot go to all the places on your list in one day. It's not the point. The point is getting inspired and getting inspired on a regular basis. If you try see and do it all, you get drained instead of inspired and you probably never want to do it again. Keep your inspiration day to about three hours and plan to visit three or four places. After that, if your brain isn't buzzing too much and if your feet aren't too sore, you can choose to keep on going. Consideration number 2, this is your day. This day is for you. Your soul in your world of inspiration. You get to do what inspires you. You get to decide where to go, how long to stay, and when to go home. Don't worry about what other people think of the places you go to, find places that energize and inspire you. They can be new places or places you've been to before. There are no obligations here. If you're unsure of where to go, plan in one new place and three familiar places. Consideration number 3, the perfect day doesn't exist. Some inspiration days are awesome and some days are just not. Inspiration isn't always straightforward and it's often found in unexpected places, and sometimes you don't find it at all. What? Yeah, it's true. Take off any pressure you may feel to plan that perfect day. I once went to Photography Museum in Amsterdam because their previous exhibition was amazing. But on that day, the exhibition was terrible and not inspiring at all. Don't worry when this happens, it's not your fault. Consideration number 4, place proximity. When the places you want to go are close together, it's not a schlep to get from one place to the other. Sometimes I really want to go to just one place. I plan that in first and then see what else is around. It becomes my anchor for the day. This way, I don't have to think too much about getting from place to place. A little walk between places is just right. But on the other hand, long walks, public transport or a bike ride may inspire you a lot, so it's totally up to you. Consideration number 5, travel and transport. Think about how you're going to get around. I recommend walking as much as possible. You meet people and see the details this way. You can stop and pop into stores, you can take photos, you can see what's down in any way, you can use all your senses. But certain types of transport maybe inspiring for you. You can cycle, drive, use a segue, take public transport, or even have somebody drive you around. How you travel may also depend on how far away the next place is. Also, if you or someone you are exploring with has a disability, keep that in mind. Consideration number 6, eating and drinking. Don't forget about the fundamentals when you're planning your day. Food and drink is important. You can picnic in the park or eat on the go, or stop at a cafe or a restaurant. I love starting a day with a good coffee at a cafe and then ending with a beer or a meal. What I like doing is making at least one of my plan places a stop at a cafe, restaurant, or a bar. It gives me time to reflect, write and doodle. I'm telling you, exploring is way better when you're not walking around hungry. Consideration number 7, money. You don't have to spend money to have an inspiring day out. Go places and travel in ways that fit your budget. This day must inspire you and not stress you out. I started exploring my city when I was a student so it's totally possible to do it on a strict budget. Street food and sandwiches from home are great options. Consideration number 8, Beware of what's happening on the day when you plan to be out exploring. What day of the week is it going to be and what time of the day? What time of the year? Is it going to be hot or cold? Is it going to be raining? Is it in fact the King's birthday? Is there an international pandemic affecting everything? When you know these things, you can plan accordingly. Also, double-check opening times and where the toilets are. Why? Because you miss a lot when you need to pee, and walking for 30 minutes to your favorite bookstore, only to find out that it opens in two hours, is not ideal. I know from personal experience that some cities have a day where most of the shops are closed or closed until lunchtime. In Amsterdam, that's a Monday. Finally, consideration number 9, safety. Parts of cities can be unsafe or sketchy places to explore. You may want to avoid certain areas or avoid exploring at certain times of the day. You may also want to explore in a group or explore with someone who's comfortable and confident. In Durban, many of my friends got mugged and I was often told to put away my camera by the locals. But sometimes, being outside your comfort zone can be super inspiring. Leaving your valuable items at home and exploring in a large group may be a worthwhile tradeoff. A lot to consider there, I know. Let's recap quickly. Number 1, set realistic expectations. Keep it short and take it slow, and definitely do not do it all on one day. Number 2, this is your day. Make it all about what inspires you. Number 3, the perfect inspiration day does not exist, so don't pressure yourself into planning it. Number 4, place proximity. Together is normally better. Five, travel and transport, plan how you're going to get from place to place. Six, food and drink, plan it in. Seven, money. Plan stuff that fits your budget. Eight, be aware of what's happening on the day and plan accordingly, and number 9, stay safe and feel safe. A lot of these things will come naturally or feel quite obvious. But sometimes you get really excited and caught up in the moment or pressure ourselves into doing weird things. Once you have three or four places, write them down on a piece of paper or on a note on your phone, or add them to a separate list in Google Maps. To kick off your Scotia project, tell us what city you're going to be exploring and then tell us what your rough plan for the day looks like. In the next lesson, we'll cover making this day actually happen. 7. Make. It. Happen: We've got a rough plan of places to visit in our city. Now, we need to make this day happen. In this lesson, that's exactly what we're going to cover. The thought of an inspiring day out in your city may excite you, but to actually go and do it, wow, that is the hard part. You may be like, "Maybe I'll just stick to Pinterest." No, getting out there is well worth it. But how do we make it happen? The simplest way to do this is to open up your calendar and just pick a day, and then come rain or shine, you go out and explore your city on that day at that time. If you don't put it into your calendar, you'll never find the free time to do it. So choose a date and time right now, and then stick to it. Then decide on how you're going to get your starting point and who's looking after your kids and pets. Pause here, and lock in a day with yourself. Make it happen. Obviously, I cannot come knock on your door and kick your butt out the house to go explore. So set some reminders and tell some people of your plans. Now, you may be smiling at me thinking, "Who has the time to do something like this? I have a job and a family, and I'm really busy." Yes, I know, so am I. But remember the Abraham Lincoln story of sharpening your ax before cutting down a tree. You want to be your best in your relationships at home and at work. If you work for yourself, this may be even harder to do, because time is money, but it will be well worth it. Now, if you're like super-duper busy, try squeeze out just a little bit of time to explore your city, even if it's just for 45 minutes. If all you can do is exploring a Thursday evening while you're looking after your nephew, well, then do it. Exploring your city where and when you can, allows you to experience a variety of things. For example, in Amsterdam, many people don't have curtains. It's pretty weird. So if you go exploring in the evening, you get to peek inside people's homes. It's like walking through an Amsterdam and Terry's show room. Sure, it can be a little bit awkward when someone catches you peering into their home, but that's part of the fun. The thing is, I would never have experienced this if I didn't go exploring in the evening. If you work for someone, you may think that weekend days are your only option. Well, maybe, you could work remotely for the day, or you could call in sick, or you could honestly explain why you need a day off to get inspired. You could come in early and leave early, or you could just take some time off. You can also make it a team day off and take everybody exploring with you. I love watching how the team that made the movie, Up, went into the field to do research and get inspired. Getting out there with your whole team will boost creativity and morale. If locking a day into your calendar messed up the plans you made in the previous lesson, don't worry. Just revisit the previous lesson if you need to and plan and places that work with the time and day that you put into your calendar. You've got your day picked, you've got your places planned, and the next two lessons, we'll chat about what and who to bring. 8. Who to Bring: We've covered where to go and when to go, but what do you bring, and perhaps even more importantly, who do you bring? We'll cover the who in this lesson, and the what in the next lesson. When you're thinking of who to invite along and well, who not to, remember that this day you're planning is an inspiration day, it's meant to inspire you. It's not a date, it's not a catch-up, and it's not a family outing. So be clear with yourself and others what this day is. Seriously, you don't want to be aware of irritating, or frustrating others while you get inspired. People looking bored and tapping their feet, or rolling their eyes, is not good. You want the space to draw it all and capture the things that inspire you. Also, you don't want people waiting for you at some time and place because you got caught up being inspired. Because of all of this, I prefer exploring by myself. I find it difficult to immerse myself in my city when someone is waiting for me, and I can't stand waiting for other people when all I want to do is go check out a little gallery, or pop into a new bookstore. It kills the vibe very quickly. I know I sound selfish here, but seriously, this is a day for self. So that's my preference. But exploring by itself isn't everybody's idea of fun, nor is it the wisest thing to do in some cases. Some parts of cities can be unsafe or shady, especially if you're alone, and even more so if you're female. So teaming up in these cases makes sense, a lot of sense. But that doesn't mean you should take along the friend with the biggest muscles, no. You want an exploration match. Explore with people who get excited about the same stuff as you do. Someone you can be like, "Bro, look at this thing, how rad," and their response will be something like, "Oh dude, that is totally epic." If they're female, then, "Girl, look at this," and they'd be like, "Oh my goodness." If they are saying things that you didn't and showing them to you, and if you're both getting excited, it's a clue that it's a good match. If you're in a large group, split off into twos or threes, and meets at places along the way at set times. Otherwise, the day is a continual compromise for everyone. But even if you do travel in a herd, it can still be inspirational. Appointing a planner, or a leader will help you. Hot tip. If you're exploring with others, tell people about your secret plans and get them to tell you this, just so that everything's out in the open and so that you can accommodate everybody's wishes and plans as much as possible. Now, I know I said I like exploring alone, but spending time with other people can be amazingly inspiring. You can start the day having a coffee with someone and then head out on your own, or you could end the day by having a beer, or a burger with somebody else. You could chat about what you've seen and experienced. Sharing your experiences in this way with a real human, may be the kind of reflecting that you like to do. Ultimately, when it comes down to who you bring along with, you do what you feel comfortable and safe with, followed by what's best for your inspiration. In the next lesson, we'll chat about what to bring on your inspiration day. 9. What to Bring: We figured out who to bring or who to leave behind. Now in this lesson, we're going to cover what to bring when exploring our city. What you bring largely depends on who you are, what you like doing, and how you like exploring. It can change each time you go out or overtime. But what I found to be true over and over is that I don't use most of what I pack. So pack less, and if you missed something, bring it next time. Bear this in mind as I list ideas of things to bring. I'll cover necessities first and then get onto the optional stuff. Necessity number 1, comfy clothes. The first thing to bring or wear is comfy clothes, comfy shoes, comfy undies, and comfy everything. You don't want to call your day off because you've got a blister, you're uncomfortable, or because you're too hot or too cold. Necessity number 2, storage. You're going to want to bring something to put all your other things into; a backpack, a tote, or a big handbag. You may want to bring extra totes in case you find or purchase stuff along the way. Necessity number 3, snacks and drinks. Seriously, bring them along. A little chocolate or granola bars are great, and a small bottle of water helps keep you hydrated. If this is really not your vibe, at least remember to bring money, your card, or a phone, so you can buy stuff while you are out. Necessity number 4, situation-appropriate stuff. When you know what's happening on the day, you can bring appropriate stuff. Masks for corona, scarves, and gloves if it's cold, an umbrella or raincoat if it may rain, sunglasses, and a hat if it's sunny. If you're super white like me, then bring sun cream. Whipping out these kinds of things when the situation calls for it feels really good. Necessity number 5, time and money-saving cards. If you have travel cards, museum passes, and those kinds of things, bring them along. Anything that saves you time or money, it's great. If you can skip a queue or skip paying, it's worth it. So those are the necessities. What about the fun stuff? Here is a list of options. Maybe take one or two of them, but less is better most of the time. Optional item number 1, your phone. Having your phone in the optional list may surprise you, but it's really not a necessity. Ask yourself what's the main reason you'd like to take it, and if you could possibly leave it at home. I like taking mine because it contains so many things that I use on a day out. It means that I don't have to take a bunch of other things. I take say pictures, make notes, and get around easily on public transport. Optional item number 2, a book to read. You can read in the park while you're drinking coffee, while you're in the train. Actually, you can read almost anywhere. Reading a book in the city is a great way to replenish your energy, but I'd suggest not reading the whole time you're out. Also, because they can be heavy, a Kindle or a phone may be a better option. Optional item number 3, a notebook. For me, a blank online notebook is just the best. I can doodle in it, sketch in it, write in it, and get people's phone numbers and social accounts. I don't have to use my phone for all of that. It's also a really visual and tactile way to keep notes during the day. Optional item number 2, a map. A what? Seriously, you get to know your city better when you don't have to rely on your phone. It's a great way to meet people when you're turning it around and looking lost. Optional item number 5, a real camera. With a real camera, you set the tone and focus of the day. You're saying you're here to capture photos. Again, I really like my iPhone, but having a camera lets you avoid the distractions on your phone and the quality of images are probably better. But real cameras can be heavy. Optional item number 6, business cards. Although I don't see exploring my city as a networking opportunity, I always end up chatting to people and they always end up asking me what I do. Also, blank business cards are a lot of fun. You can riots and doodle on them, give them to people, or just leave them for others to find. Finally, optional item number 7, a sketch pad and utensils. You could bring pencils or paints. It's a great way to explore. Random people often stop by for a chat and to see what you're doing. This may be also a great way to travel together in a big painting heard. Now if this really excites you, you should definitely check out urban sketching. Of course, there may be tons of other things that you can think of bringing, but what I suggest is trying one or two things out at a time rather than carting everything around and then not using anything at all or trying to use everything that you brought. Then on the process, missing out on all the inspiration. When it comes to who and what to bring, the more you explore, the more you'll come to realize what works for you. In the next few lessons, we'll do a deep dive into how to explore to get the most inspiration out of each day. 10. How to Get Inspired: We've covered quite a lot in this class already. We've gone over places to go, making a plan, what to bring, scheduling the day into your calendar, and a few other things. Now we're going to cover what to do when you're actually out in your city exploring. In this lesson we'll chat through how to get inspired and what to do when inspiration appears. Inspiration comes in many flavors. It may spark ideas, kickoff projects and collaborations, or maybe lead to an intense interest in a topic. It may connect two dots on a current project, it may seep into your work later on, shaken, stirred, and mixed with all kinds of other inspiration. Or it may energize you and enable you to match on in your craft or passion project. As we chatted about earlier in the class, inspiration is the creative fuel from which we draw. But often things stand in the way of inspiration. Sometimes it's our phones, our thoughts, or some ideas that we can't get out of our heads. One of the most important things is to be fully present here in the moment so that you can absorb and experience everything fully. The first things we need to deal with are our devices. If you are on your phone more than anything else, you're going to miss out on a ton of stuff. You're only going to experience what's on your screen. If you do want to tell the world about where you are and how awesome your day is, do it in small amounts. The real life version is a bajillion times better than the version you share with everybody else. Switch your mindset to be in present, and then put your phone on, do not disturb mode or flight mode, or even turn it off. Remove badge notifications if you need to, move apps into folders or into your app library, or even delete them for the day. The same kind of rules apply for smartwatches and other devices. But even without devices taken care of, we still may not be able to be fully present. Why? Because our minds, they'll be crazy. My mind can be thinking of all kinds of things that make being here almost impossible. I'm often guilty of being here physically, but man, my mind can be somewhere totally different. What to do about this? Well, I write everything that's going on in my mind down on paper or on my phone, and I freeze up my mind to be present again. Making this a daily practice is also a great idea, but I'll leave that for a whole separate class. The big reason we want to be present is that we can bring all of us to this day arts. We don't want to just engage our eyes only, but rather all our senses. Why? Because inspiration can be found in unlikely places and in unexpected forms. It could be a plastic bag dancing in the wind or the soft velvety old-school seats in a vintage cinema. Or the autumn atmosphere with leaves turning orange and red. You'll know when something moves you or spark something inside of you. You may find some of the things I've just mentioned, idle or weird. You may find things that inspire you to be weird, and that's totally okay. I remember when a guest lecturer presented his collection of tombstone photographs. It was pretty weird, but he loved them, and the work his agency did was award winning. Don't worry, you'll judge yourself of what you get inspired by is weird or not cool or what everyone else finds inspiring. What inspires you may not inspire me or anyone else you know. That's because inspiration is personal and it can affect us and our work deeply. While you're exploring your city, be honest with yourself, acknowledge, absorb, and observe what's really inspiring you. Don't only go off to the obvious and easy inspiration. Just because you're a visual artist, it doesn't mean you have to go to a gallery to get inspired or just because you're in advertising, doesn't mean you have to look at magazines and billboards. Everything and anything can be inspiring. Absorb the atmosphere, let nourish your soul, engage all your senses. When you find something inspiring, ask yourself, why does this inspire me? What feelings come up when you hear that distinct sound? What do you think of when you smell that particular aroma? What images do you see when you feel that unusual texture? Not only does inspiration influence our work, but it gives us clues to who we really are. If you're exploring with somebody else, talk to them about what they find inspiring and why. This can be really revealing. It can be interesting and sometimes rarely inspiring in itself. Okay rich, but when I do get inspired, what should I do? How should I respond? Do I take photos, or write about it, or record a video or what? Well, this is totally up to you, but I think it depends what kind of inspiration it is. Some things are really difficult to capture or document. There are things like smells and the way someone is standing and looking at somebody else or how good that coffee tastes. I like letting these types of things seep in and nourish my soul. But other things are way more tangible. For example, checking out on the train station may have unlocked a UX solution on a current project, or single poster may have linked to styles of illustration I'm playing with. Or a coffee cup, they have sparked a new business idea. With things like this, I would suggest getting it out of your head as soon as possible. In these cases, I capture what inspired me, how it's inspired me, and why it inspired me. I writes about it, I take photos and videos, I make sure I remember, I make sure it's all out of my head before turning to the present. If the inspiration sparks more ideas off to that, I write them down again. I don't try to keep them in my head. This is so that I don't lose them because I hate losing ideas, and it's also so that I can be present again. Those are some practices to keep in mind when it comes to getting inspired. Now, if you're feeling stuck and you're wanting some inspiration ideas, I've created a PDF of things to look out for. In the next lesson, we're going to chat about how to explore. I'll see you there. 11. How to Explore: In this lesson I'll give you nine tips around how to explore. You can adopt them, tweak them, or try them out here and there. Tip number 1: Trust your intuition. So do you follow your plan or do you just wing it? When I'm fully present and way more aware and I trust my intuition a lot. If I see something that interests me, I go over to it. If I think an alley or road could be interesting, then I walk it. It's not aimless wandering, it's being guided by my sense of adventure. Most of the time I don't ditch my plans altogether, but I allow the sense of adventure to lead the way. I take new routes, I stop in places I've never been to. I say hello to strangers. In Amsterdam one day, I wanted to avoid the crowds. So I ducked into an arched alleyway and I found this quiet or oasis called the Begijnhof. There was literally no one around.It was so unexpected to find such a peaceful place in the midst of tourists, the Amsterdam. But that being said, I didn't stop at every single store and walked on every single alleyway, even if they all look super inviting. Don't feel pressured to do everything and let that inner voice of adventure guide me. A lot of the time I simply add something or add a place to my list of places to go on Google Maps. Occasionally though, trusting your intuition gets you lost, but don't be scared when this happens. It's often where inspiration is hiding. I found so many new places I wouldn't have seen while I've been lost; why? Because when you're lost, your eyes are open and searching and super aware and it's a new part of the city. If you think this really dangerous and scary, remember you can always use Google Maps to find your way out of there. If you do a ban in your plan altogether, that's totally okay. It's often when inspiration decides to show up. Whatever you do though, you make the choice. Remember that there is no perfect inspiration day. Don't fear missing out, which brings us onto tip number 2; be flexible. If your favorite coffee place is closed, it's okay. If you don't get to that last place on your list because you've found an amazing secondhand bookstore, it's okay. As whole idea of an inspiration day is based on serendipity. Think about one wall that you walk past. On one day, a street artist may have sprayed it up the night before. On another day, the mural has been painted over by a municipal worker and on yet another you meet the municipal worker and she tells you who's who and where their next mural is going to be painted. That'll be pretty cool. You don't know exactly what's going to happen or when it will happen. When it comes down to it, you don't know what a day holds. Tip number 3: Don't rush. Take it all slowly and patiently. Sometimes you need to look around, sometimes you need to ask questions, sometimes walking up the stairs to the next level is what it takes. Other times you just need to wait. I once went to this place called Electric Ladyland in Amsterdam. It sounded super exciting, but when I got there, it looked weird, small, and boring. I don't know what all the fuss was about. I almost walked out. But when the lights got turned off, then you could see all the amazing UV lights arts. A little bit of patience is all that was needed. Tip number 4: Vary it up. Walk, tram. Take bus. Sit. Stand and browse. Go inside. Get outside. Drink coffee. Have a snack. Watch the people. Say hello. When you mix things up, you get a variety of inspiration types and sources. You get the big picture and the details. You stimulate your brain and then give a time to reflect. It doesn't have to be go full-on, intense inspiration all the time. It's even okay to be a little bit bored at times. It allows the inspiring things to take root. Tip number 5: Be friendly. Why is this tibia? Because being friendly is nice and also people can be the most inspiring thing in a day. Their stories. What they're wearing. Their views. Their history. Ask how things work. Where they're from. What their favorite places are. Start a conversation. I met an artist who had lived in Amsterdam for 50 or 60 years. He told me how he had designed towers, put on light shows, and been involved in a bunch of different things across the city. He was a little bit crazy, but he was very inspiring. Tip number 6: Get out your comfort zone. Maybe speaking to people in slightly outside your comfort zone, but that's good. Getting out your comfort zone often leads to new things, new places, and new experiences. Getting out my comfort zone has given me amazing memories and stories. I've eaten very weird things, but discovered all kinds of new tastes. I've traveled in cars that did not seem road worthy, but I found myself filled with empathy and understanding for the people that use them on a daily basis. I've broken the law, but at the same time felt so empowered. I've also been in tons of uncomfortable and awkward situations too that didn't turn out so well. But that's what happens when you get out your comfort zone. Tip number 7: Buy less stuff. While you're exploring, you'll probably see tons of stuff you want to buy. Books, prints, magazines, ceramics, posters, clothing, couches but you cannot buy it all and carry it all with you. So I suggest buying one or two small things that you really like and then taking notes, photos, and business cards for the rest. Otherwise you may end up without any money or you get fed up from carrying all the heavy stuff or you may just call off today because you've had to orchestrate a delivery. Tip number 8: Collect cool stuff. Collecting stuff for me is different to buying stuff. I love collecting business cards, posters, stickies and anything else that's free. They're normally pretty light and pretty cool. I suggest collecting things that are weird, interesting, or quirky. You can stick them up inside your studio or put them in an inspiration box to look at later. But be careful, don't just collect any old thing. Make sure it inspires you and make sure that it's not too heavy. Finally, tip number 9: Know your limits. When you're out there you can be enjoying yourself a lot. But at some point your feet may get sore, your legs may get sore, or back. Or maybe you're getting angry or even worse, you get hungry. When this happens, take a break. It could be a short break where you snack on something or it could be a bit longer. You could do some doodling or read your book. Often all it takes is a few minutes of chilling and resting to get you back on your feet. But be honest with yourself, if you need to call it a day and sit down for that last beer or burger, then do it. Or if you actually just want to go home, then go home. You don't want your awesome day being tainted by your last few painful or hungry moments. Don't be scared of missing out. Don't think less of yourself if you don't stay out for as long as you hoped. There's plenty more time and plenty more days to explore your city. Now, I've given you some tips on how to explore, but ultimately, how you explore your city is up to you. This may change each time you go out and that's completely okay. Just make sure to put your inspiration first because it's your day for you, to get you inspired. In the next lesson, I'll go over what to do when your day is over. I know that burns, but this step is really important. 12. Review Your Day: We've gone from ideas, to places, to planning, to being out and exploring your city, and in this lesson, we're going to cover what to do when you get back from exploring your city. It's an important part of the inspiration process. Let's get into it. What I recommend doing in the week following your inspiration day is going through everything you collected, everything you captured, and everything you've purchased during your inspiration day. Help your brain process what it's been through, review and reflect on all that you experienced, reach your thoughts and feelings out. I read the notes I wrote and then I add to them, I look at the photos and videos, I delete the bad ones and I store the good ones, I go through each idea I jotted down, and either bin it or I flesh it out, I write about my experience. I print photos, I stick up things I found on my wall, I add places to my list on Google Maps, and I get in touch with the people I met. How you review and how you reflect on your inspiration day is totally up to you. You can journal, you can add things to a scrapbook, you can blog about it, or flog about it. This may be a really transparent way of acknowledging your influences and growing an audience. You can create sketches, drawings, and doodles. You can add photos to Google Photos and Pinterest. You can make notes on the places you went to. Or you can simply take a look through all that you captured, collected, and purchased. Don't let what you felt, and saw, and experienced with all your senses be forgotten. Makes sure that the good stuff stays in your wall of inspiration. Often seeing photos and notes will bring back a flood of memories, and feelings, and ideas, and because of this, especially if the process takes a long time, exploring your city for just one day, will fuel and inspire you for weeks. When you organize and categorize what you experience, you're curating your well of inspiration, you're making some things more important and you're making other things less important. This is part of where you get to throw out the bad stuff and cement the good stuff. Now, while you're doing this, you may feel inspired to get cracking on some new ideas, or to change direction in a current project, or to try something new altogether. If that's the case, fantastic. But don't worry if it takes time for what you found inspiring to show up in your work. Sometimes only once the inspiration from the day has been shaken, and mixed, and stirred with a bunch of other things, over time does it finally make an appearance in your work. Most of the time, your work doesn't look like any particular piece of inspiration, and that's great. Sometimes while you're reviewing and reflecting, you'll want to share what you found inspiring. Doing it now rather than while you're exploring is a much better idea. When you share stuff you like, you'll often find out who's similar to you by their positive responses. These people could be potential exploration buddies for the future. Also, remember, inspiration is personal; if somebody doesn't gasp and gush over what you found inspiring, that's okay, it doesn't diminish what you experienced and how it inspired you. Now, I wouldn't to leave reviewing and reflecting on your day for too long because then you may forget what your scribbles say or why a particular photo was really cool. I suggest doing it when it's all still fresh in your memory. But even if you don't review or reflect right away, getting out and exploring your city will still have had a massive influence on your mood and your inspiration levels. Perhaps when you do flip back in your notebook or browse your photos, you'll get inspired all over again. In the next lesson, we'll be going over what you'll be submitting for your class project. 13. Your Project: Okay, it's project time. If you haven't already, tell us what city you are going to explore and what your rough plan for the day looks like. Then once you've gone exploring, share some things that you found inspiring. You can share photos, stories, ideas, sketches, whatever, tell us why he found it inspiring and how it fits into your life and work. If you're feeling shy or embarrassed about sharing what inspires you, know that there's no pressure to share, you're not being graded on what you found inspiring. But if you do need a little bit of a nudge, I'm excited to see what you found inspiring and I'm pretty sure you'll inspire others to explore their cities by sharing your experiences. You may even find some kindred spirits, and people who live in your city right here on Skillshare. If you're sharing on social media and you want to get my attention, you can use the taptapkaboomstudent hashtag or you can mention me, I'm at taptapkaboom. In the next lesson, I'll cover a few variations to consider for a different kind of inspiration day. 14. Variations: If you found what we've covered in the class useful, but you're wondering whether you can vary your inspiration that up a bit, well, of course you can. Make it your own. Maybe you're looking for something that's more fast-paced or induces more adrenaline or something with less planning. In this lesson, I'll take you through five variations you can get ideas from, and there's a PDF with even more ideas. Variation number 1: all known or all unknown. You could only go to places you've been before or you could only go to places you've never been to. If you're going to places you've been to before, it's a lot more comfortable and you get to experience things at a deeper level. If you're going to new places, you'll be hit with fresh, new things all around. Both have their benefits. Variation number 2: plan the start and end only. If you plan a starting and an ending place only, it means you can get from A to B in a variety of ways. It becomes really flexible and it may appeal to you if you like less planning, and it's a great way for groups to explore the same area together, but not together. If you add a meeting time and make the endpoints, a bar or cafe, anyone who's early can sit down and grab something to eat and drink. Variation number 3: rely on your friends. If you're feeling brave and want some random places to go to, ask your friends where to go. You could ask three or four friends to recommend one place each and then go to each place in your day out. Or you could ask one friend for three places or ask your social media followers and then go to the first four places that come up. Variation number 4: takeaways only. If you're short on time or if you want to spend as much time outside, do takeaways only. Grab your coffee and go. Mind your food while you walk or check our food trucks, markets, and street food. Variation number 5: the inspiration blitz. If going fast is your idea of fun, you can plan to visit more places in the time that you have, or you can give yourself less time to visit the same amount of places. You could wear exercise clothes and take a run, you could travel super light, or you could even ride a bike. I once did an Amsterdam museum blitz with a friend. We tried to visit as many museums that our museum passes would allow In one day. I think we managed above 10. In each museum we found one interesting facts and remembered it. It was an epic day and one of my favorite memories. We were the last people to visit The Night Watch and the Rijksmuseum that day, and we've got a really nice selfie out of that moments. Doing an inspiration day, this way, gave me a great overview of Amsterdam and the places we went to. I've since been back to a few of them to check out at a slightly slower pace. The inspiration blitz is a great way to get inspired while exploring with somebody else. You both have a time limit and you both know you're on the clock. Those are some variation ideas. You can find these and a bunch more in the inspiration-day-variations PDF. In the next and final lesson, I'll cover a few key takeaways. 15. Key Takeaways: In this final lesson, I'll list a few key takeaways to help you remember what we've covered during the class. Takeaway number 1, when you create, you draw from your well of inspiration. Creativity needs to work with something. It combines things with other things in your well of inspiration to create new and different things. If you've got a well full of high-quality inspiration, it's more likely that what you create will be more expressive, more effective, and more meaningful. Takeaway number 2, getting out into the real world, Kung Pao screen inspiration in the face. Go get inspired, using all your senses. Takeaway number 3, cities are amazing places for being inspired. They're full of all kinds of things that engage all your senses. Your city in particular is a treasure trove of inspiration. Why? Because you can develop a long-term personal relationship with your city. Takeaway number 4, make a plan and schedule it into your calendar. But then while you're out, use your intuition and remember that there's no such thing as a perfect inspiration day. Takeaway number 5, be present. Don't let your devices distract you, don't let your thoughts distract you, and don't let your inspiration and ideas that pop up distract you. Capture them, write them down, and be present. Takeaway number 6, this is your day where it's your mission to fill up your well of inspiration. So bring things and people that help with that and if that means traveling alone, then do it. If it means taking a camera, then do it. If it means leaving your phone at home then do it, and if it means changing it up and making it fun then do it. Takeaway number 7, review your day, to what you experienced, document your feelings, ideas, and thoughts, and share them with others if it helps. Then allow your inspiration to seep into your work when it feels like it. This is often after it's been shaken and stirred with other sources of inspiration. That's it from me, Rich Armstrong. Thank you for taking this class. I hope you've learned a lot and I hope you feel inspired and empowered to get out there and explore your city. Now, it's up to you. Finally, I would greatly appreciate you leaving a review of this class. It means a lot to me and lets other students know if they should or shouldn't take the class. For more things to level up your creative superpowers, you can visit or check out my SkillShare page. Bye for now. 16. Bloopers: We tend to fill our wells up with blah, blah, blah. It is blah, blah, blah. For your inspiration. Come on. Inspiration, we're going to take it a step further. We're going to get blah, blah. What am I saying? I'm proud of my city. We forget to observe. Why can't I say that word properly? We forget to open our eyes and hearts and our hearts. I've got two hearts. We forget to observe. Come on. We forget to be open. What time of year? Number 1, see. Why can't I say see realistic expectations? Especially. Okay. Whoo, shoo, wow. That was a lot. Maybe you could. Make it happen. I would never have experienced it if I didn't go. I'm just going to say this is diff. I'm going to tell you what to bring now. I'm going to tell you what you want, what you really, really want. Because you got caught app expiring. Move it. Talk to them about what. This is honestly, and enable you to march on in your craft or your crook. As we've chatted about in earlier. Ask how things work, when they're from. When are you from? Variety of way. In a variety of way. If you've got a well of frula.