As an artist, there is a unique excitement that comes from something as simple as a fresh sheet of paper, but that same clean canvas that’s begging you to fill it with colors and shapes can often turn into a murky nightmare, clouded in creative block. If you have ever found yourself frustrated by staring at a blank page, check out these five tips to find inspiration for your artwork.
NATURE & SURROUNDINGS
Sometimes, the best thing we can do is step away from the desk and take a walk. Not only is it important for mental and physical health, but taking breaks to wander outdoors can inspire and improve future artwork as well. Take time to really appreciate the colors and textures. What do your surroundings look like? Are there animals or insects? Clouds in the sky? Beyond the natural environment, are there structures, vehicles, or people present? Being a casual observer can often lead to unexpected sightings that may be just the inspiration you’ve been needing.
HOBBIES & INTERESTS
Often overlooked, a great source of subject matter can be your own hobbies and interests! Do you love dogs, cars, TV, aliens, or all of the above? Think about things that you enjoy interacting with or talking about in your daily life and how they can be transformed into creative material to fill your blank page. You don’t need to be literal, but sometimes just a reference or topic can be the catalyst to exaggerate and expand upon to complete your scene.
BOOKS & ARTICLES
When you are no longer drawing inspiration from your current hobbies and interests, it’s a great time to learn something new! Is there a topic or industry you’ve always wanted to research, but never took the time to read about it? Google and the internet provide a tremendous resource for instant access to almost anything you want to know. Maybe you’re more of the narrative type. Read a comic book, graphic novel, or fantasy short story to be whisked away to another artist’s world and gain inspiration in the form of images and words.
MUSIC & LYRICS
Subject matter, color choice, vibe, and flow of the art piece can all be influenced by listening to music. What are the lyrics talking about? How frantic or calm is the tempo? Which instruments are being used and what feelings do they evoke? It may seem counter-intuitive to use your ears instead of your eyes to visualize your artwork, but this can be a powerful creative tool and unique source of inspiration when it has run dry elsewhere.
DREAMS & FANTASIES
This is an interesting one that forces the artist to dive deep internally and be comfortable with exposing their sub-conscious. Think about dreams you may have had recently. Any interesting settings or scenarios? Do you fantasize about space ships, underwater worlds, anime romance, or monster-filled battle scenes? Reach into your creative library of child-like imagination to find your next great masterpiece!
The list above is not all-inclusive. Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere! It is important to step away from the blank page, take in fresh perspective, and have patience with the process. Open your eyes, ears, and mind to new sources of idea generation, and turn frustration into opportunities for exploration.