“How do you learn magic?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I get while performing. Many people are genuinely curious about where I get my material from. As with many things, there is a long answer as well as a short one.

The short answer is: Books, DVDs and other resources that are available for purchase through various magic shops.

The longer and more accurate answer involves many factors. It’s true that I have a library of magic books and videos that I reference on a regular basis. I am constantly looking things up in books full of tricks and moves. Some books I’ve read once, others have marks, annotations and the bindings are broken. From these studies, I’ve learned the basics of sleight-of-hand and magic theory.

This can be likened to a musician practicing the scales and learning to play the classics. Without that foundation, they cannot begin to improvise and create. Many painters start by mimicking comic books. They learn the process, angles and rules first. Only after that knowledge has been internalized will they be able to develop their unique style. This same process is true in magic. We have classics, rules and masters to study.

The more important part of the formula is inspiration. Inspiration is a crazy little phenomenon. Sometimes it comes from big events in life, like hanging out with one of your idols or learning some new pieces of awesomeness that you’d never considered before. Witnessing a show or viewing a piece of art that shocks your brain into action. There is a distinct occurrence that triggers the inspiration.

Other times, inspiration hits in very small, almost insignificant events. A conversation with a child. Watching a spider do it’s thing. The color of the grass during a sunset. In these moments, mental sparks fly making your mind race. Suddenly, flashes of brilliant ideas pop in and out of your mind and you must write them down or you'll lose them. Capturing them accurately is almost impossible, but you do your best to scribble mad-sensical notes as fast as you can. When you finish, you sit back in your chair, exhausted.

After you catch your breath, you come back to your notes and attempt to organize. Mapping, listing, paraphrasing and ultimately deciphering the inspired message. Very careful not to miss anything, or misinterpret certain concepts. From these frantic notes, nuggets of brilliance are pulled out to be polished. They are not ready for the public yet as they are still in that raw form. In the cleaning process some of the notes will be discarded or filed for later. Ideally, the main concept can be extrapolated and acted upon. Depending on the idea, that polishing can be very quick or may take years. I have pieces of magic that I’ve been sitting on for 10 years which have never been performed.

This is the stuff of magic. Not just in my line of work, but in all areas of life. For me, this is where my style and material comes from. It’s based in the fundamental methods that have served magicians for centuries, but polished with my person touches.