Between the internet and libraries, we all have access to the ultimate world of images. The only down-side is that it's easy to get swept away in a flood of inspiration and beautiful stories. Instead, I think everyone should use their own internal resource which can prove to be far more powerful.
As I fawn over Miyazaki, Bouguereau, Mozart and Edgar Allen Poe, I try and figure out "How could such amazing worlds come from the mind?" I've spent a lot of time analyzing these musicians, writers and artists and what attracts me to them is the fact that they are world builders. They are creators, but they are also grounded in their own world. I learned while I was at Penn that all works of fiction must have some ties to reality; this is evident in Miyazaki's movies because they combine realism and imagination in appropriate parts. A good combo is half real/half ideal.
So today, after I put my oil paint brushes down from working on a commission, I sat with my watercolors and used my imagination.
I engaged the switch between passive fan who absorbs images--to an active creator to depict a little girl tumbling in the grass. As far as a little about technique--I like using a basic palette of watercolor because it dries quickly and the color doesn't get in the way. I have my yellows, reds, blues greens and blacks ready to go to create grass, sky, a stone well, a tree or anything that I wish. I know it's a life-long pursuit to create my own world, but it's something that I know I can do...(with lots of practice).
Post Scriptum-- I need to thank the writer, Professor and friend who opened my eyes to many of the concepts that I discuss regularly-- Melissa Jensen. I was lucky enough to be able to take Melissa's class on writing for children and fairy-tale writing that she taught while she was at Penn.