As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, many of us have experienced mounting pressure to be productive—to take advantage of the hours saved on travel and leisure to study more, work harder, and pursue personal projects. These pandemic goals can often feel difficult to achieve as remote classes have challenged us to adapt to new ways of learning and staying engaged. But what if instead of prioritizing productivity, we prioritized creativity?

Being creative requires reimagining what we are not supposed to focus on. By letting our minds wander, we can make sense of our thoughts and experiences in new ways. While the pandemic has limited the places we can visit, it has also created new opportunities for us to engage with people and ideas. Now is the time to start thinking outside the box.

We asked our illustrators to show us the unexpected sources of inspiration they have found during the pandemic. We hope these illustrations, developed from doodles sketched during Zoom classes, inspire you to do something creative for your next pandemic project too.

image01
I’ve been fleshing out my Pinterest lately and taking a lot of long walks.

- Aaron Jackson

image01
As a film major, I’ve had to watch a looooot of movies this semester. My eyes get worn out from all the screen time, but at the end of the day, I’m grateful to get to experience so many different worlds, so much art.

- Liza Evseeva

image01
Being at home all the time, I’ve come to find inspiration in the spaces around me and the view from my window. Despite online classes, I’ve enjoyed getting to know my classmates through their backgrounds, physical or virtual—little windows into their vibrant worlds.

- Yingjie Wang

image01
It has been hard to come by inspiration since everything has gone virtual, but Korean vocab words have given me an entertaining insight into a different culture.

- Natalie Tak

image01
I have really enjoyed my classes this year despite their online nature. Learning has always been a source of inspiration, and this piece is based on Dogū figurines from my Introduction to East Asian Civilizations: Japan class.

- Carlos Ochoa

image01
Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to experiment with and learn more about typography and graphic design, inside and outside of classes. These posters are a fun sampling from my ongoing exploration.

- Ray Banke

image01
I love drawing people and silly things. I think the doodles in this piece capture a glimpse of what my brain looks like during online classes.

- Sadia Sharif

image01
It has been more difficult than usual to find inspiration when most of my contact with the outside world has been with virtual floating heads. I have been trying to get outside more while the weather is good and to incorporate nature into my art.

- Julian Michaud

image01
My architect brain never shuts off when I travel to new places. Using Google Maps in my Introduction to the History of Architecture class, I still feel like I’m exploring the world!

- Tina Wang

image01
Doodling has always been a creative outlet for me: a way to refresh and focus, even amid what feels like endless burnout.

- Brenda Huang