We’ve all experienced it, that artistic fervor when the ideas are flowing like water – you can’t crank the pieces out fast enough and are enjoying every minute of it.
Then, for whatever the reason may be – too many things piled on your plate, unrelated issues or problems distracting us, not enough time, feelings of self-doubt, etc.- we have times when we’re staring at a blank paper or canvas and nothing is flowing off the end of that pencil or paintbrush! A kind of artist’s block, if you will.
You may wonder if you’ve “lost the magic”. You tell yourself you just need to dive back in, keep trying but you procrastinate and do everything but sitting down to create art, fearing (either consciously or subconsciously) the same thing will happen when you try again. “Ugh”, you think, “when will it come back? Will it come back?”
Well, let not your artistic heart be troubled. I have created many tips for how to find inspiration for art. Read on to find your art muse. There are sure to be a few ideas that will help you get those creative juices flowing.
At Home or at the Studio
Look back on your early drawings or art work. You many be inspired to redo them or derive new ideas from them.
Likewise, look at your pieces to discover an idea for a “sister” painting to go with it or a series perhaps.
Dig out the photo albums or your online photo storage for your favorites.Really study them. Perhaps a place, object, person or facial expression could spark that artistic drive.
And remember, you don’t have to paint the whole picture. Reconfigure the composition, choose just a small piece of it to render or change up colors or objects in the picture. Take “artistic license”!
Watch Inline Art Tutorials
Art tutorials online, there are a gazillion! Sometimes that’s all you need to get the spark back is watch a fellow artist working.
I find it very inspirational to watch another artist at work. Whether it’s the seeing how they render the subject, techniques used, using a different medium than I’ve used, I find it all interesting and motivating.
There’s just something about watching someone else doing art, doing the very thing that you are passionate about that makes you want to pick up the pencil or paintbrush and have at it again!
One of the worst times to try to do art is when you’re stressed or rushed. Am I right? I have often heard, “I have to be in the mood to do art”. Well, my interpretation of that is we must relax before our imagination can be ignited.
Just start doodling. Put pencil to paper while relaxing with a cup/glass of ______(insert your favorite beverage). Don’t have a plan, just start doodling random patterns and shapes. This can be a great way to relax. And relaxation can lead to creativity.
Coloring is a great way to relax too. Yes, as an artist, I still do, on occasion, color just for the relaxation of it! 🙂
Really, anything you do to relax will help – meditation, reading, praying, exercising, yoga, going for a walk – you get the idea. The point is shake off that stress so you can begin to be in the right mindset to create.
Try Something New
Maybe you need a change of medium. I, for one, love colored pencils and watercolor pencils. Here are a couple of my pieces in colored pencil. If you would like more information on Basic Colored Pencil Techniques, click here. If you are curious about how to use Watercolor Pencils, click here.
Change the Scenery
Visit your local art museum – better yet, take a friend with you! He or she may give you ideas – two heads are better than one!
Why not go to your favorite art store? Just seeing all those new supplies is fun and can be inspirational!
Your local library (or even your own personal collection of art resources) would have, no doubt, a plethora of art instructional resources. Try some exercises in the books. You never know how you may embellish or completely change the exercise to your own impression of the subject or your own art style!
Go out for a walk! A simple breath of fresh air, taking in nature may be all you need. Bring your cell phone or a camera to take Photos of wild flowers or your garden flowers and don’t forget your sketchbook. If it is during Fall, well, need I say more? The colors alone may be inspirational as a few leaves you pick up off the ground may be as well!
Plein Air Paint or Draw
How about you just go in your back yard and paint or draw that tree you always see out your window? Try to look at it from an angle you don’t normally see. Just stare at it for a while taking in all the crevices and twists in the trunk and bark and all the different values and hues you see in the leaves. If it has lost it is leaves in Fall or Spring just before it starts to bud, notice all the different limbs and branches and all the minutae of details.
No back yard? No problem. Just step outside, take a deep breath and look around till something catches you eye. Then take a moment to really look at it and observe everything about it. Imagine how you would render the details.
Before long, the inspiration will come. That’s the time to grab your chair and supplies and have at it. There is just something very relaxing about spending time outdoors and doing art. Give this a try. It’s awesome!
Update Your Resume
This may seem unrelated to finding inspiration for art but it is important to have an art resume. People always want to know the artist’s background. And yours is obviously unique to you.
This exercise of summarizing your art history, seeing where you’ve been and how far you’ve come will bolster your self-confidence. And feeling good about what you’ve accomplished in art just may inspire you to get back to the easel or drawing board.
Start a Blog
If you already have a blog, you can talk about artist’s block and get ideas from other artists about what they do. Just having the company of other people going through this same problem can be very comforting which could lead to finding that motivation again.
If you don’t have a blog, you may want to start one. Writing about all your art experiences may help refresh some memories of a day of plein air painting or your favorite drawing. Once you start writing articles, this may motivate you by giving you ideas of other subjects to create. Or, others’ comments may also strike a chord and get you art motor running again.
Perhaps you have just been going at a frenetic pace and your well has run dry. Maybe you just need some time off. If you are working for yourself doing art as full-time work, you could be putting undo pressure on yourself to never stop. You feel you eat, breathe and sleep your business. Being in business for myself, I can definitely relate.
But I am here to suggest you may just need a breather. It’s OK – really – to just leave art for a couple of days (assuming you can swing it financially). Just decide you will not so much as even look at art in a magazine.
Just do something else totally unrelated. And make it fun. Go to a zoo in your area. Visit a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. If it is Spring/Summer, do some gardening. Go to a movie. Anything to get your mind off of art.
Then, come back refreshed, renewed and ready to go!
May You Be Inspired!
The funny thing about inspiration to create is that you never know when it will strike. Never fear, your next fantastic work of art may be closer than you think. In fact, it could be right around the corner!
I’m really hoping my recommendations for how to find inspiration for art will help you! Sometimes, you just have to step back, relax and let it come to you. I’m sure there are plenty of other ideas out there to find it as well. If you have any other ideas on this topic, I would love to hear them.
Feel free to comment below.
Keep the faith – and happy drawing/painting!