Skip to Content

6 Things To Draw When You’re Out of Ideas

As an aspiring concept artist, I admit to having had my fair share of instances when I have run out of ideas for drawing and can’t find the motivation to pick up the pencil.

Luckily, I frequently revisit a few things in my art journey that help me switch gears, relax, and push through the periods of art block so I can get back to drawing again. In this post, I share 6 of my favorite things to draw when I can’t think of any creative ideas.

1. Draw a character from a movie or a TV show that you have watched recently.

First up is drawing a character from a movie or TV show you recently watched. Sure, it might seem daunting to try and sketch the likeness of a famous actor or actress, but who says the drawing needs to be perfect?

When drawing someone from a movie or TV show, try to have fun with it and give your own spin on the character instead of investing too much of your time trying to capture the person’s exact likeness, as this can get a bit frustrating if you’re relatively new to drawing portraits.

One thing I like to do when drawing a character from a movie or TV show is to try and come up with my rendition of the character by referencing the visual clues and back story from the novel on which the film or show is based.

2. Draw something for a DIY project.

If you’re into DIY projects like knitting sweaters, home improvement projects, pottery, and even something like assembling a custom bicycle, combining your love for drawing with something you wish to make yourself can be a very rewarding experience.

Sketching concepts for a DIY project forces you to think differently about your drawing because it is intended to guide you in creating something with your hands instead of making art just for art’s sake.

And the joy of seeing your sketch come to life (perhaps after a few hiccups) is just something to be experienced if you have never done it before.

3. Doodle the different things you carry in your bag.

I got this idea from an art reel I watched on Instagram, and I love the low-pressure relaxing energy you feel when you doodle something ordinary like a pen or a book without trying to make it look like a masterpiece fit for the Louvre.

If you’re new to drawing, you can check out this excellent short course on how to learn to draw everyday objects by Mattias Adolfsson, an illustrator based in Sweden with a really cute art style.

4. Do a fashion sketch.

I find fashion drawings really relaxing. There is something about the pattern of folds stretching and twirling over the underlying form that is really satisfying to draw.

If, like me, you’re into drawing people but haven’t devoted much time learning how to draw clothes and drapery, doing fashion sketching can be a great way to study the design, construction, shapes, and texture of different clothes and level up your art skills quickly.

5. Do a drawing study of an artwork that you admire.

When I feel like my creative energy is running a little low, I find it refreshing to practice drawing based on my favorite artworks.

Besides the satisfaction of recreating a beautiful work of art in your style, it offers a great learning opportunity to study and experiment with what makes the artwork so attractive, such as the composition, techniques, and art materials.

6. Participate in an art challenge.

Participating in an art challenge can take away some of the pressure of coming up with your drawing ideas because, usually, art challenges are structured in a way that requires artists to follow a specific art prompt or theme.

Here are two of my favorite art challenges:

  1. Character Design Challenge

Character Design Challenge is a wonderful community of concept artists, illustrators, and art students like myself who want to learn to draw characters.

What’s excellent about CDC is that they publish a monthly theme for drawing characters along with a brief explaining the requirements and limitations of the challenge.

Following the drawing prompts submitted in the character design challenge is immensely liberating when I have trouble finding exciting ideas of my own. Participating in CDC also gives you a taste of working as a concept artist in the entertainment industry and is therefore highly recommended for aspiring concept artists wishing to build their art portfolio.

2. Inktober

What I love about Inktober is that it allows you to draw with inks and brushes, and this forces you to give up some control and embrace your artwork’s imperfections which can be difficult for many artists like myself who are used to drawing in a very controlled and tight manner using traditional dry drawing materials like graphite pencils.

The Inktober team always creates exciting art prompts that can be interpreted differently to suit your taste and art style. Traditionally, the Inktober challenge happens every year in October, and the official list of 31 prompts for the challenge (one for each day of October) is announced on their website in advance.

Recently, the Inktober team has also started doing a separate challenge with 52 prompts (Inktober52) that allows artists to draw once weekly for the entire year if you’re interested.

The best part of participating in art challenges is that you get to see how other artists approach their artworks, interact with them, and get feedback to improve your drawing skills as well.