Waking up and being inspired every day is not an ability everyone is blessed with. Well, I’m not anyway.

Knowing that a source of inspiration really could come from anything, or any place certainly helps the process of feeling inspired, and here I give you all my best tips, and share with you a new and lovely find.

1. Make it a habit Forming a habit of creating every day really will help to maintain that sense of feeling motivated to find something to draw. It doesn’t have to be a whole day, or even an hour, but doodling away while waiting for a meal to cook in the oven, when you’re on the phone to a friend, or even while watching TV, really will give you a sense of achievement.

A year in Sketchbooks

2. Be in Nature This for me is one of the most important places to find inspiration. Again, it doesn’t have to be a grand garden, park or wood, just a place where you can tune in to the natural world. Just listening to a single bird singing, watching a bee for a moment, or finding a beautiful leaf on an urban street is often all it takes to feel more grounded.

Leaf on a London street

3. The Net is not always the answer. Don’t go there as you’ll never get going. Hunting and hunting, and following links and opening loads of pages… You get the idea.

4. Enjoy yourself. Need an excuse to be a kid again, then here it is. Play with ideas. If you ever watch children to see how they discover stuff, they play about with it. Get the paints out, mix them about, make some charts, create some thumbnails, practice wet into wet and watch the colours run together. It’s fun.

Just for fun. Small thumbnail sketch of onions

5. Mistakes are good When you begin to get tense and stressed that something isn’t working, don’t worry about it, see it as a learning curve. If a painting goes wrong for me, (and they really do), I step away, have a cup of tea, head into the garden and just think a bit about how I could make it work. My dad often says about mistakes ‘… make a feature of it’. And he’s right you know. Now, only when a painting is truly beyond hope do I let it go.

6. Love is the key Not thinking about botanical art for a minute, what do you love? It might be baking, or reading, or needlepoint that makes you happy when you’re not painting. My first love was architecture, and this goes back to my very first apprenticeship as a technical draftsman at 16. Looking at structure, and detail in buildings, has helped to shape what I love to include in my botanical paintings now.

7 Check out some great art What paintings do you love? Which artists do you find the most interesting? Take a good look at the work you love and begin to dissect it into the bits you like. It might be the subject. Easy, so find something similar. It might be he light. A bit of playtime with the lights in your studio then. Or perhaps it’s the the scale. Time to be brave and go a bit bigger. It’s all there, and no-one is re-inventing the wheel.

8 Get out of your own way Too many times we let the fear win, and we don’t allow ourselves to move forward. In other words, no-one else is stopping us, it’s us stopping ourselves. Let it go. Let go of expectation, let go of thinking what other people will think. A great quote I love is ‘don’t judge your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20’.

9. Get a list going Here’s where I go back to school. To get kids to see their own potential I would get them to give themselves and each other ‘3 Stars and a Wish’. The three stars where the things they thought they did well in a piece of work. The wish was just one thing they think they could improve on. Without even thinking to hard, you are allowing yourself more praise than criticism.

10 Start the day with Gratitude Loads of people start the day with gratitude, and it’s a great way to get going on a positive note. Even successful people start their day with a little gratitude, and I think it’s a lot to do with feeling grounded. Here you can really get down to basics and feel blessed and grateful for the little things. There will always be big hurdles, but don’t sweat the small stuff.