How To Get Inspiration For Art

Need inspiration for art? I've gathered 5 inspiration tips that often help me when I feel like I'm suffering from creative block. I hope you find this helpful!

Thumbnail sketches are small sketches to test values and composition.

Thumbnail sketches are small sketches to test values and composition.

1. Draw small thumbnail sketches.

When I struggle to come up with a new idea for a painting, I start doodling little thumbnail sketches. Thumbnail sketches are little black and white pencil or ink sketches that you can easily test different ideas with. Do as many thumbnail sketches as you can, don't worry how the sketches look, and don't spend too much time on one sketch. I usually spend maximum 4 to 5 minutes on one sketch and then I move on to the next one. When you have a dozen of these small sketches done, chances are, one of the sketches might inspire you. I wrote a blog post just about doing thumbnail sketches, if you'd like to check that out! How To Draw Thumbnail Sketches


Keep your art books close to you at all times.

Keep your art books close to you at all times.

2. Take out your favourite art book.

I keep a stack of art books next to my drawing table at all times. It's very useful to look at the work of your favourite artists from time to time to get inspiration. Don't worry if you feel that if you take inspiration from someone, you will not develop your own style. Every artist takes inspiration from others, and that is a fantastic way to learn. I often do thumbnail sketches of paintings I admire, and I try to figure out what makes those paintings so amazing, and how could I develop my own skills by learning from these artists. I often look at artists like Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Ivan Bilibin, John Singer Sargent and Edmund Dulac.


Nature is a great place to get inspired.

Nature is a great place to get inspired.

3. Take a walk outside.

It's tempting to try to just sit at your drawing table and try to force out a new idea for a painting. But sometimes your brain needs a break. I've noticed that taking a walk outside is an amazing way to relax your brain and come up with new inspiring ideas for paintings. Often when you are doing something else and not sitting in front of your blank canvas, you come up with your most amazing creative ideas.


Do some inspiring reading.

Do some inspiring reading.

4. Pick a quote that inspires you.

Pick a quote that is important to you and inspires you. I often look at quotes from the 19th century poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. When you have picked your quote, try to think how that quote makes you feel, and how you could express that feeling to others through your painting.


5. Always Finish your painting

Work in progress photo of a portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Work in progress photo of a portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Not every drawing or painting you do has to be your best one. Sometimes I just start a new drawing even if I don't feel like I have an amazing idea. Even if it doesn't turn out perfect, it doesn't matter, I just continue on to the next painting. I also encourage you to always finish your paintings even though you are not entirely in love with it. I always finish my paintings before I move on to the next one. Because I know that by finishing a painting, I've learned some valuable new skills and the next painting will be better because I've evolved as an artist by doing the work.


 

Thank you for reading! What do you do when you need inspiration for new art? I'd love for you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

-Eeva