Artistic Inspiration: Finding Ways To Get Inspired

I don’t know about you, but for me one of the hardest parts about making art is getting started.

By the time I finish work for the day, deal with all of the typical household stuff and get settled in to paint, my brain is completely frazzled and I feel unimaginative and uninspired.

I think that’s a problem that a lot of artists struggle with. Today’s fast-paced, high-tech world zaps our creativity and drains our inspiration. When the time comes to make art, a blank canvas can seem like an insurmountable hurdle. It’s tempting to just call it a day and watch some TV rather than try to come up with an inspired idea.

I think the key to overcoming this challenge lies in making some minor (and sometimes major) changes in our day-to-day habits. At the same time, we need to find ways to refocus our attention on why we love making art in the first place.

Check out these simple tips for staying creative and inspired no matter what life throws your way:

Start a Sketchbook

For years, I have heard other artists rave about the benefits of having a sketchbook. I always thought it sounded like a great idea, but for some reason I never got around to doing it.

Brook's sketch bookA few weeks ago I was cleaning out a bookshelf and found a blank sketchbook that I had gotten as a gift but had never used. I decided to try to start sketching in it whenever I had some downtime.

Now that I’ve started, I find myself doodling in my sketchbook periodically throughout the day. I’m definitely not drawing any masterpieces, but that’s OK. There’s no pressure to create anything amazing. It’s just about having fun drawing.

Much to my surprise, I’ve actually come up with a couple of good ideas that I want to try to develop further. The next time I find myself feeling uninspired, it’ll be nice to have some creative ideas ready to go.

Take Lots of Photos

Carry a camera with you wherever you go. Throughout the day, keep you eyes peeled for interesting scenes, objects or textures that you can photograph. This is a great way to change the way you look at the world, allowing you to find inspiration in even the most mundane places.

Remember — You Don’t Have to Share Every Painting

Sometimes the thought of other people looking at your work can be really intimidating. What will people think? Will it be good enough? These kinds of thoughts can create a tremendous amount of pressure and can suffocate your creativity.

Do yourself a favor and forget about everyone else. Not every painting or drawing that you do is going to be amazing. Every artist has flops.

Remember — you don’t have to share every painting you ever make. Instead, choose your best pieces for your portfolio. As for your “bad” paintings…learn from them and use them as tools to help you be a better artist.

Spend Some Time Outdoors

Countless studies have shown that spending time outdoors away from technology inspires creativity. Don’t believe me? Check out this article.

Whenever you have a chance, unplug from your computer, tablet, smartphone or whatever other gadgets eat up your time and go for a walk outdoors. Take your sketchbook with you in case you find yourself feeling inspired. The more time you can spend outside each day, the more refreshed and inspired you will feel when it comes time to work on your art.

Don’t Wait for a Good Idea – Just Jump In

Instead of sitting around waiting for the perfect idea to miraculously fall in your lap, just start drawing or painting. Paint anything…no matter how silly it seems.

Draw whatever you see in front you. Set up still lifes with objects you have laying around your house. Draw a scene from your favorite book or poem. Try using an art idea generator to come up with some weird but fun ideas. Just do something. A lot of times you’ll find that the minute your brush or pencil touches the paper your creative juices start flowing and you start feeling inspired.

Think About Rearranging Your Schedule

Most people have a certain time of day when they feel most creative. Try to find a way to rearrange your schedule so you can work on your art during your peak creative hours. For example, if you feel most inspired in the mornings, try setting your alarm a couple of hours earlier. If you usually get your best ideas right before you go to bed, stay up a couple of hours later.

If your job interferes with your most creative time of day, figure out if there is a way to work around it. If possible, talk to your boss about coming in earlier or staying later, or see if you can trade shifts with another employee.

If you have other ideas for staying inspired I’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading! 🙂





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2 Comments

  1. Wow, everything you’ve written is so true. I’m glad I’m not the only artist who hasn’t just automatically kept a sketchbook and it’s encouraging to know you picked it up pretty easily – I’ve got quite a few gifts sitting on a shelf too. I’m definitely the pressure-prone artist that has trouble seeing my work through my eyes and not others. I’d also like to back up your ‘stay in tuned to nature’ advice. My art teacher (I’m an 18 yr old high school senior) has us taking walks and then interpreting them into artworks, journals, poems, etc every couple weeks.

  2. Beth,

    As a new “artist” ….I use that term very loosely…..I found the insperation issue to be my biggest deterent to getting something going when I sit down to paint. Thanks for the insights. Especially on the sketch book. A few night ago I was streaming Pandora….and trying to come up with an idea to paint. The album covers of each artist was coming across the screen with each new song. It occurred to me that I could try and sketch on my pad the covers….. in the time the song played! It was great fun trying to sketch the art of the album covers in those brief few moments. And great practice for my drawing with a few of the covers leading to ideas for my painting.

    Thanks again for the article.

    M

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