Ryan_headshotby Ryan Sias

Tara asked me to talk about inspiration for the writer/illustrator.

As a writer/illustrator I need double inspiration. One inspiration for a great story and another inspiration for an exciting art style. I’m going to give you my tips for finding inspiration.

The number one trick for both is “LOOK.”

You need to look and observe everything, art, books, TV, movies, nature and family. Inspirational ideas are everywhere.

My favorite places to LOOK for writing ideas are:

1. Kids
They are full of original ideas, just hang out with a kid for a few hours and you’ll have like 20 story ideas. A few nights ago it was Halloween, and I saw millions of stories in the costumes. Each costume had a story, plus then the costumed character runs into other costumed characters for more stories.


2. Kids again!
They come up with the craziest ideas. Sit down and create a story with a child. It will be crazy, but the trick is to mold their ideas into things that are logical.

3. Go to the library or book store, sit down and read 20-30 books.
If you don’t have ideas at the end of that then you should look for another career. My trick for that is to take a character you invent and put them in the story you read. How would it be different? That will generate ideas instantly.

My favorite places to LOOK for art ideas:

1. Galleries/museums.
Fine art is about pushing boundaries of medium and ideas. Which is different than illustration, where it’s about legibility. So I go to galleries and LOOK at their ideas then try to add some of those qualities to my work.


2. Book store or library.
Just like my writing tip, sit down and go through 20-30 books, then take the visual ideas you like and put it into your art.

3. Internet.
Image searches or illustration web sited are FULL of ideas.

You can find inspiration anywhere—you just have to LOOK!

BONUS: Need more places to look? Sign up for my weekly creative projects email. It’s called Sias Studios (see Tara’s post about it here) and every week I email a free PDF that includes drawing lessons, writing prompts, and doodle pages. Use it as a springboard and have tons of new ideas!

Have fun!




Ryan has been making kids laugh and learn for over two decades. A 20-year animation, film and television veteran, he has directed videos for Barney and Chuck E. Cheese and his storyboarding credits include “Robots”, “Bowling for Columbine”, “Pinky Dinky Doo”, “Maya & Miguel” and “Sesame Street.”

As a successful children’s book creator and cartoonist, Ryan wrote and illustrated the picture book Zoe and Robot—Let’s Pretend and a board book focused on healthy eating habits for kids entitled Are You Eating Something Red?. His comics have appeared in Nickelodeon magazine and Mad magazine.

He is currently working on more books, developing animation projects and trying to figure out the perfect pancake recipe.

Visit him at RyanSias.com


zoeandrobotRyan is giving away an original ZOE and ROBOT drawing!

This prize will be given away at the conclusion of PiBoIdMo. You are eligible for this prize if:

  1. You have registered for PiBoIdMo.
  2. You have commented ONCE ONLY on today’s post.
  3. You have completed the PiBoIdMo challenge. (You will have to sign the PiBoIdMo Pledge at the end of the event.)

Good luck, everyone!