While there are undoubtedly artists out there who have a never-ending well of creative ideas and inspirations that never needs refuelling, the bigger majority of creative people do need that occasional burst of inspiration to keep creating.
If you are like me, you might have weeks full of ideas followed by some vast emptiness of “what should I draw next”.
While the reasons why there might be a lack of inspiration in the first place is a big topic and deserving of several other blog posts, there are some tools available to you here and now to find the inspiration to start creating today.
So let’s dive right into it.
My number one tool for when I am completely lacking any ideas of what to paint is Pinterest. After having used it for a while the algorithm already knows my interests and will serve me with some inspiring pictures of Viking costumes, beautiful landscapes or unique faces that will make sure to spark some new ideas in my head. Apart from being a great marketing tool, Pinterest also offers a great way to organise your ideas, inspirations and reference photos for later use. I use Pinterest regularly for fun, personal and professional work.
Books are another source of inspiration for me. As a huge fantasy genre fan, I am always on the lookout for new fantasy books. I prefer grimdark fantasy with detailed character descriptions such as written by the hands of Joe Abercrombie or Brandon Sanderson. There is something about visualising vast fantasy worlds that helps me get some ideas quickly.
As a portrait artist, I am always on the lookout for new faces. While Pinterest can be a good source, we inevitably end up painting the same people like the rest of the artists who happen to look for inspiration on Pinterest.
Buying reference packs from Gumroad is one option, meeting up with friends and shooting your own reference packs can also be a good option to get new fresh faces – and often times inspire new painting ideas.
What I also like to do is to browse Instagram and magazines – you will come across many interesting photographs that might serve as a reference for your next artwork. Just keep in mind copyright.
There is something about seeing other people flow in the moment that inspires me to create. I am talking about concerts and shows. While at the moment of writing this article we are in another lockdown due to Covid, soon I hope to be able to enjoy different venues and artists and come home full of Ideas.
Museums are another great source of knowledge and inspiration. When I’m really stuck, I love to go see how old masters solved certain painterly problems. But also contemporary and modern artist can open your eyes and mind to new ideas and fill you with some creative energy.