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Where I find inspiration…

I draw inspiration from a wide range of sources. Recently, I’ve been appreciating the great images and designs in the following books. But before listing those, I have to say that my new Wacom pad is a powerful inspiration! It makes drawing and coloring so much easier, with my hands, that it just begs me to give form to more of what’s in my mind. Thank you, Wacom!

I got my Wacom Pad after working on a penguin poster (over 300 penguins!) . My right arm was so sore I had to eat with my left hand that night. It is wonderfully intuitive; I was able to start using it creatively immediately.

As you know I draw multicultural art. Design motifs and color palettes from all countries, peoples, and eras excite me, as do the continually surprising lines, color combinations, and patterns of nature herself. So I love books that reveal and explore what people and nature are doing and have done. Here are some of my favorites (in no particular order). If you love design and color the way I do, you can’t go wrong taking a long look at these.

World Designs

Molas: Folk Art of the Cuna Indians, by Ann Parker and Avon Neal

My main inspiration comes from the mola, a fabric panel made by the Kuna (spelled with C or K) women of Panama. This is the best book I’ve found for learning about Kuna culture and seeing the wide variety of mola styles.

The Grammar of Ornament,  by Owen Jones

This book is a compilation of images covering Oceania, Egypt, Persia, Greek, Pompeii, Rome, Byzantine, Arabian, Turkey, Moorish, Indian, Chinese, Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Italian. It is fascinating and a great jog for my creativity to see how design is so different across cultures and time.

World Textiles: A Visual Guide to Traditional Techniques, by John Gillow and Bryan Sentance

Phenomenal pictures of not only a variety of fabric styles but also the people who create them. By using primary textile categories of Loom and Non-loom, Painted and Printed, Dyes, Sewing, Embroidery, and Embellishment you can travel the world spotting similarities in technique and incredible variety in style.

Learn World Calligraphy: Discover African, Arabic, Chinese, Ethiopic, Greek, Hebrew, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Russian, Thai, Tibetan Calligraphy, and Beyond, by Margaret Shepherd

Wow, I love this book! It is so well laid out that each page brings to life the area being covered visually, culturally, through the work of traditional artists and clear explanations of technique.

Natural Inspiration – whenever I feel blocked I turn to the fantastical beauty of the world of nature. These books are incredible!!!!

The Smaller Majority, by Piotr Nasrecki

Close-up photographs of insects in action.

The Tree: Wonder of the Natural World, by Jenny Linford

Amazing how trees adapt to the environment – so much variety.

Schmetterlingshaus, by Pit Thul

I found this book when I visited the Butterfly House on the island of Mainau, Germany. His photographs show the life cycle of the butterfly and the gorgeous variety. The book is mentioned on his website. I’m not sure how to get your hands on one.

And of course, Field Guides. I like the National Audubon Society’s. The topics I particularly enjoy are:

African Wildlife


Fishes, Whales and Dolphins

Reptiles and Amphibians


Seashore Creatures

North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region

North American Wildflowers, Western Region

Tropical Marine Fishes