Some artists prefer not to look at other art, as they’re afraid their own work will be subconsciously affected by what they see. While this works for some people, most of us need stimulation to keep our creative juices flowing. For that reason an image archive, or idea nursery, is a must for many artists.
Idea nurseries are compilations of images, text, and clippings that appeal to you. Spiral bound notebooks work best for me since the binding allows me to add paper without breaking the spine. Your clippings can be organized by color, theme, or just as you find things. I find that putting images together by color is most helpful to me because I usually know the basic color family I want to work in. Once that’s determined I can use my idea nursery for ideas on how to put colors together.
Don’t limit your images to your own art field. I’ve been inspired for a painting by the colors from a coffee advertisement, and once designed a Web site after being inspired by the colors used in the credits of a movie.
Don’t put any thought into why something is appealing, simply cut and paste and let things fall together as they will. I tend to be drawn to specific colors at different times. Having an archive of images on colors I’m less drawn to helps me to broaden my work to colors outside the “old faithful” colors.