I remember every detail about my first day as an Art Teacher (I was nineteen).
My first lesson was called Self-Portrait. We didn't have lots of materials to work with so I had to come out with some practical idea. I told my students (ages twelve to thirteen) that we were visiting a special place where they were going to find all the materials that they needed for making a self-portrait. So we made a trip to some huge pile of trash close to the school. The idea was for each one of them to find an unexpected object that they felt some kind of connection with and then somehow during the weekend they had to make their self-portrait out of that object.
The results were amazing. One of the most remarkable self-portraits came out from this quiet girl. When it was her turn to explain her self-portrait she gave me a book and she said: that's me and what I found in the trash pile is inside the book. So after turning the pages I found this beautiful dry leaf. She said something like: I am like that dry leaf because at first you don't notice me but if you turn the pages you will see that I exist.
This illustration that you see here with the girl was inspired by my memory of this student.
I think that inspiration is everywhere and it is connected to curiosity. When we plant the seed of curiosity many ideas will come to us. Ideas are infinite and they reproduce fast as long as we keep feeding them. And in order to feed them we have to be curious, we have to notice the world around us. That's one of the best lessons that I learned from my students. They taught me how to see "dry leafs hidden in books" :)