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Getting Inspiration for Your Drawings: 5 Tips I find helpful

Hey, fellow art enthusiasts! If you’ve been drawing for a while, you can probably relate to occasionally feeling uninspired, even when tackling your favorite subjects.

Personally, I love drawing faces, and I can’t imagine ever stopping because I’m super hooked. Still, I find myself from time to time scrolling through the endless stream of references on Pinterest and I can’t help thinking that it all seems a bit too repetitive and I yearn to draw something more exciting and creative.

So in this post, I’ll share 5 tips that I find most helpful in getting inspiration for my drawings and boosting my creative energy, particularly when I’m out of ideas and can’t afford to travel for inspiration because I’m too broke.

5. Steal Like an Artist.

Studying old masters and contemporary artists you like is a fun way to start drawing when you’re unsure what to draw. In the process, you get to learn new ways of approaching a drawing, ultimately leading you to explore new angles for your artwork.

I find it easier to integrate what I learn from studying other artists when I deliberately resist the urge to mindlessly copy their artworks (although that can be quite satisfying) and instead make an effort to understand their craft and appreciate the creative choices that they’ve made in the process.

4. Try a Different Palette.

Well, this might not seem too exciting for everyone, but if, like me, you have a strong preference for drawing with a certain color (I mostly draw with greys of graphite and the white of the paper), it can seem almost magical to switch the palette every once in a while.

The main idea is to get yourself to draw with something you’re not used to but at the same time find it appealing enough to leave your comfort zone and give it a try. If you’re used to drawing on white paper, maybe try drawing on toned paper. If you’re accustomed to drawing with graphite, consider switching to charcoal or colored pencils for a while. Maybe even consider drawing with something exotic like pan-pastels, watercolor, or gouache if that’s something you find interesting.

I am planning to attend a portrait sculpting workshop next month and I’m hoping it will give me some interesting ideas for drawing faces. 😊

3. Draw Something That Conveys Your Emotions.

Fear, joy, rage, love, disgust, pain—human emotions are primitive sources of inspiration for creativity. I believe some of the best works of art have been driven by what the artists felt in the moment, and that’s what I feel makes great art relatable to others.

Full disclosure: I haven’t gotten comfortable with the idea of exploring drawing as a way to convey my emotions yet, as I tend not to take my drawings ‘too seriously’. For some reason, I prefer to keep drawing separate from how I feel, but it is something I want to integrate more into my drawings going forward.

I think it takes a lot of courage to allow yourself to feel vulnerable when you try to draw something you feel on a more personal level so hats off to all the amazing artists out there who are able to reflect their emotions in their artworks.

2. Draw an Art Prompt.

If you’re bored drawing the same things repeatedly (I’m guilty of drawing pretty Pinterest girls all the time), it might be a good idea to participate in one of the dozens of art challenges out there and use their drawing prompts to inspire creative ideas.

It’s always exciting to see what other artists participating in the same art challenge come up with using the same drawing prompts, and it can lead to nice interactions with fellow artists and receive some feedback on your art.

Here are some of my favorite drawing challenges:

1. Pick a Fundamental Art Skill to Practice.

Irrespective of where you are in your art journey, sometimes, when you’re feeling a little creatively drained, it’s best to take a step back and revisit the basics.

No matter how many times you’ve done it before, practicing drawing fundamentals like anatomy and values not only helps you polish your technical skills but also inspires you by improving your confidence because by revisiting the basics you can gauge your art progress through it.

If you would like to share your tips for finding inspiration for drawing that works for you, please let us know in the comments below. Happy drawing! ✏️