Once in a while, I get into an art block where it's not that I don't want to draw, it's because I don't know what I want to draw.
When I do think of an idea, it seems like something I've drawn before, or it's the same few things I always gravitate towards drawing. So in this post, I want to share where I go for new inspiration to drag myself out of that block!
A quick question I want to ask you first:
Think back to the last vacation you took - how did you feel when you got home?
You probably felt refreshed and relaxed. If you're an artist too, you felt inspired to weave in those experiences you had from your travels into your work! When I came home from my last big vacation, I felt so motivated and pumped to start vomiting all these great new ideas I got when I was traveling, into my art.
Why did you feel so inspired after traveling? It's because you experienced new things. You were exposed to things that you would never have come across in your everyday life, so it's like learning something new, and learning that it exists.
Most of us don't have the time or the monies to take vacations whenever we need some inspiration in our lives, so for me, the next best thing is looking new stuff on the internet!
4 places to go to for inspiration
Pinterest calls itself a visual discovery engine, and that's pretty much what it is. As you search for keywords and save images (save a pin), Pinterest will use that information and show you more of what you searched for.
Recently I search for a lot of food, menu layouts, and storefront designs so my landing page is filled with that - it's very easy to create different boards and organize it for art references.
What it's great for: Seeing multiple examples of something (for example, different kitchen looks, or different ways to draw cats)
2. Art prompts or drawing challenges
The main idea around art prompts and drawing challenges is to get people to draw consistently over some time, and based on a specific list of topics (prompts). One of the more popular prompts you might have heard of is #inktober, but these challenges take place all year round, and there are a million different topics and themes to them - you just need to find what interests you most!
I've personally joined in on #inktober, #adventureapril, and #mermay challenges on Instagram. It was great at pushing me to draw things that I normally wouldn't, and because the prompts are usually just one word, there's no right or wrong way of interpreting what it means. The "what" in your drawing is already chosen for you, so it can help you focus more on what kind of story you want to tell instead.
What it's great for: Building a habit to draw regularly, and challenging you to draw things that may be out of your comfort zone.
Muzli is a browser plug-in that transforms your default new browser tabs into a curated feed of design inspiration. It showcases innovative and creative work, tools, and resources that people are creating in all creative fields.
You can customize the type of content that Muzli pushes to you, but I found the beauty of Muzli was that it shows designs from places that I never would have looked for inspiration in!
I learned about some great tools from it and recently decided to pick up 3d modeling in Blender because I was curious about how an image was created from my feed.
What it's great for: Exposing you to what beautiful design looks like across a wide variety of industries, and keeping up-to-date with current design trends.
4. Get reactions on your work
You should draw what you enjoy, but when you're creating something other people will buy and own themselves, you need to make sure that the idea comes across clearly and that it speaks to the audience. When I come up with a new idea, I tend to get attached to it before I talk it out with someone else. Sharing your ideas with others helps you see it from a different perspective other than your own.
Being able to take in feedback and applying it to improve your work is an amazing skill that's useful in all parts of life. Something that I'm still working on is not taking criticism as personal attacks and treat all feedback as advice or learning moments to improve from.
Even if all someone says is, "your art sucks," you can:
- Learn and practise how to handle these types of comments
- Learn to control how much you let it affect you
- Learn how to ask and push for more constructive feedback
So there you have it!
Hope you took away something new or useful from my ramblings, and if you ever slip into an art block of your own, you'll know how to jump right out of it!