Artists: Seven steps to become more creative and inspired

There are some artists whose work grabs you and instantly pulls you in. Their ideas are captivating, their techniques are groundbreaking and their creativity is literally spilling out all over the canvas. Those artists make me sick. (just kidding! haha 🙂 )

In all seriousness, though, some artists seem to have tapped into a creative well that just keeps on giving. Meanwhile, many of us are left on the outside wondering how we can capture some of that creativity and innovation in our own work. The truth is, we are all creative beings. We have unlimited ideas and artistic potential bubbling beneath the surface. We just need to figure out how to access that part of ourselves.

The following seven steps should help you get in touch with your creative mind so you can start creating amazing art that reflects your inner ideas and inspiration:

  1. Creativity requires risk. You can’t come up with a great idea unless you take chances and try new things. Challenge yourself to challenge yourself. I know that sounds silly, but the truth is you’ve got to push yourself to break through your own self-imposed boundaries and perceived limitations. For the next 30 days, try at least one thing each day that seems impossible or that scares you.
  2. Accept that you will fail. Motivational quotes about being willing to fail are so popular that they border on being cliché, but they are also full of truth. You aren’t going to succeed at everything you try. For every successful art piece you create, you’re going to have countless failures. The good news is you don’t have to keep anything you don’t like. Remember, no one ever has to see your unsuccessful pieces unless you choose to share them
  3. Photo by Jesse Wagstaff via Flickr Creative Commons
    Photo by Jesse Wagstaff via Flickr Creative Commons

    Get out of your bubble. If you do the same thing everyday — see the same people, hang out at the same places, watch the same TV shows, go to the same job and stare out the same window — it’s no wonder you aren’t bursting with creativity. If you want to have great ideas, you’ve got to break out of your routine. That doesn’t mean you have to hop a flight to Paris or sell everything you own and head out on a cross-country trek. Even small changes can have a big impact.

    For instance, if you normally paint in the evenings, try painting when you first get out of bed. Or, pack up your paintbrushes and head outdoors to try plein-air painting. Hit a local museum or tour some art galleries. Head to the park and spend an afternoon watching the clouds go by. Even just closing your eyes and imagining you are somewhere different can reset your mind and inspire creative ideas. Over the next month, find as many ways as possible to switch up your routine.

  4. Step outside. I’ve already written extensively about how spending time outdoors can boost creativity. The studies don’t lie…spending time in nature helps you tap into your creative spirit. This month, try to spend at least an hour outdoors each day. If you are struggling to find a way to fit it in, consider packing a brown-bag lunch and heading to a local park on your lunch hour, or stopping for a quick walk on a local nature trail on your way home from work. Check your city’s website to find conveniently located parks and recreation areas that you can use for a quick break from your everyday life.
  5. Put yourself on a technology fast. If possible, turn off your computer, TV and smartphone for several days. Cut your technology down the basics — a simple phone for emergencies…preferably a land line. Shut off your WiFi and disable texting on your phone to keep yourself from cheating. Live like it’s 1985. Spend the time you normally would have spent glued to the TV, texting or surfing creating art that you can be proud of.
  6. Take advantage of some of the many creativity tools that are available. Try an art idea generator to spark a creative drawing. Or, fill a jar with slips of paper with art ideas on them and keep it near your workspace. When you sit down to draw and can’t come up with an idea, pull out a slip of paper and get to work. Sometimes the simple act of starting is enough to get the wheels turn and spark a truly brilliant idea. Another fun idea is to pause the TV in the middle of an action show. Try to sketch or paint the resulting scene. It’s a great way to break out of your routine and can be just the catalyst you need to get your creative juices going.
  7. Don’t share your ideas too soon. Creative ideas are delicate. Judgmental words from a well-meaning friend, classmate or family member can crush your more “out there” ideas before they even get off the ground. We’ve all had it happen — you casually mention an idea for a new art project to a friend, they express doubt, and before you know it what seemed like a great idea suddenly seems impossible or silly. When you get a new idea for a creative project, protect it. Hold it close to you and nurture it, giving it time to grow and get legs before you present it to the world. Not everyone is going to share your vision. That’s what makes you an artist and an innovator. Provide a safe, judgment-free environment for yourself to cultivate new ideas and play around with new concepts.

It’s easy to fall into a rut with art. It’s only when we push ourselves that we grow and become better, more well-rounded artists. I hope you will implement some of these steps in your own life to boost your creativity and push your artistic boundaries. Thanks for reading!



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