02/10/2014 01:06 pm ET Updated Apr 12, 2014

Overcoming Creative Block and Finding Your Inspiration

"Today I see beauty everywhere I go, in every face I see, in every single soul, and sometimes even in myself."

-Kevyn Aucoin

Losing one's inspiration is a constant fear in an industry that is all about being fashion-forward and innovative. Makeup application is an art form that combines technical skills with imagination and creativity. Technical skills allow an individual to learn the fundamentals needed to refine their craft. I believe imagination and creativity are what allow an artist to become a master of their trade.

Creative block is something that many people experience -- artists, writers, composers, and musicians to name a few. No matter what your creative medium is, it is bound to find its way into your life at some point. When it creeps its way into my life, there are a few things that have helped me to get the creative juices flowing:


This might sound strange but I enjoy reading about the history of fashion and beauty. Did you know that the application of makeup as an expression of beauty and wealth can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians? The Egyptians were amongst the first to use minerals and other substances as cosmetics. Ancient sculptures and papyrus art feature Nefertiti wearing eyeliner and Cleopatra with a cat eye that is still created today. Learning about where makeup came from and how it has evolved over time helps trigger my imagination and inspire me to create new styles.

Exploring the great outdoors:

This past summer I took a trip to Colorado and saw some of the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer. A particular hike that stood out to me was the Mohawk Lake Trail in Breckenridge. It was a seven mile hike that featured waterfalls, historical ruins, and mountains that took my breath away. There is beauty all around us; we just have to take the time to appreciate it. The colors and textures found in nature offer an unparalleled beauty that has often helped me overcome creative blocks.

Creating an inspiration board:

An inspiration board is a collage of images, quotes, and affirmations that trigger positive emotions specific to the area you are trying to gain inspiration for. I have made a number of inspiration boards in my life. I like to include some of my favorite pieces of artwork, patterns from my favorite designers, different textures, and quotes like the one I shared with you at the beginning of this article. Creating an inspiration board helps me jump start my imagination and compartmentalize my thoughts when I feel my styles are getting stale. As a bonus, inspiration boards have proven to be useful tools when reviewing visual ideas with my clients.

Find inspiration in yourself:

I have no doubt that you have created something wonderful or been part of something magnificent in your lifetime. You most likely have photographs, letters, and accolades to prove it. Go on a self-indulgent, self-appreciation, mildly narcissistic journey. Dig into your past and take a few moments to appreciate yourself and all you have done that you are truly proud of. I document photographs of models I have worked on. I save all the thank you notes and wedding pictures I receive from brides. Sometimes I just need to take a step back and realize that it is in me to create -- it is in me to make people feel beautiful. The proof is there for all of us, we have created great things in the past and we will do it again in the future.