Products and Design

People, Process, Pinterest — and Other Places to Find Design Inspiration

We first met as art students, both of us ex-painters who turned to 3D as our new primary medium. But TheLaserGirls are a textbook example of how opposites attract. And it was fascinating to see how two people using the same tools but completely different workflows arrive at their final pieces.

One big difference between us is our sources of inspiration, which affect not only what we make, but how we make it. Here’s where we draw inspiration, and we hope to inspire you to find ways to catalogue and organize ideas for your own projects.

Some of Sarah’s “fashionable” Pinterest boards!

Sarah Finds Inspiration IRL

I try to get out and see as much as I can. While I rely on Pinterest, Google Drive, and other digital forums to build my library, you still can’t beat seeing things in their natural habitat, up close under a microscope, or staged in a beautifully lit room in the presence of others. Go to your local museums. See the new exhibits. Visit your local parks, go window shopping, and check out that lecture at your local library.

When it comes to 3D modeling and printing, design and function are more important than you might expect. Whatever you make will eventually leave digital space and enter our world, where it must weather the laws of physics. Seeing things in person, touching them, and really getting to know them will not only provide you with new inspiration but also show how you can go about making.

A piece of TheLaserGirls’ library

Another great resource is the art book, which Dhemerae really got me into. As a New Yorker living in a tiny apartment, I have to edit my belongings. So, while my collection of books may be small, they collect work and subjects that make up the foundation of my inspirations, the motifs I love to use, and the pieces or images that I cherish most.  

A snippet of Dhemerae’s ROBOTS! Pinterest board

Dhemerae Watches Propmakers and Process

Much of my inspiration comes from processes and watching how people make things. I find it exciting to see how others solve a specific construction problem, and the scaffolding around those decisions. This directly explains my love of DIY videos. Shows like Robot Wars and MythBusters inspired me to tinker from a young age. They provided engaging documentation of process on both macro and micro levels. From prop makers’ work logs to digital speed-sculpting, I can always learn something new and get inspired by others.

I also look to toy and figure designers as a source. Creating beautiful toys and figures is an under-recognized art, and they are imaginative, whimsical, sculptural, and mechanical. These pieces heavily inspire my 3D work.

Resources

We all have our own means of unlocking what inspires us, so don’t be hard on yourself! Your inspiration is yours and what you do with it is yours, so don’t get too bogged down in every who, what, when, where, and how. Just make, trust your tangents, and let you surprise you!

Below is a list of our favorite online resources to utilize. We encourage you to check them out:

 

We consistently catalog all our resources, images, text documents, notes, and drawings across both our computers and sketchbooks. For specific projects, we like to create a single document or “mood board” to see everything we have pulled together in one place. This helps focus our ideas and further understand the threads connecting the story.

 

We cannot stress enough the importance of a sketchbook (physical or digital). You don’t have to be an artist or “good” at drawing to sketch! Expressing your thoughts on paper or on screen can help you understand them and process them in a different way.

Find communities that have similar interests, and contribute to those, whether online or in person. Forums, blogs, and Meetups are also great places to learn, sometimes from people who work in the very industry your project involves. Learn from the experiences and mistakes of others instead of repeating them on your own. Whether it’s cosplay or miniatures or replicas, find a positive community of like-minded people, ask questions, and show your work to them. Don’t be passive, for your contributions can play a role in inspiring others.

We find that our projects have been guided immensely by speaking to other people who have similar experience with the process. Without the incredible makers of the Replica Prop Forum who share their work and beautifully document it, Dhemerae would not have reached her desired accuracy for her Ellen Ripley flamethrower.

We hopes this helps, and let us know about your inspiration go-tos in the comments!

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