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I bet every artist has had this happen:
Sometimes you just don’t know what to draw anymore.
This can be incredibly frustrating and make you want to quit.
What helps now? What can you do?
In this article I’ll teach you how you can easily find drawing inspiration and give you a list of eight cool ideas for times when you can’t think of things to draw.
Let’s get started!
1. How To Find Drawing Inspiration
Before I give you specific ideas for what you can draw, I want to show you how you can get inspired again.
It’s important to have some methods to fight art block for times when you don’t feel very creative.
There are actually quite a few things you can do to get inspired again.
1.1 Look At The Art Of Others
This is probably the most simple and intuitive thing to do.
Just look at the drawings and paintings of other artists.
Very often it’s all you need to do to get some new ideas and motivation.
There’s always someone with better art skills than you, someone to look up to, admire and emulate.
Aside from giving you a general surge of motivation and willingness to practice, it can also give you specific ideas for things to draw.
1.2 Go For A Walk
If looking at the art of other people isn’t enough to inspire you again, it might be time to unwind.
Do not think about drawing for a while. Set your mind free.
An easy way to do that is to just go outside and go for a walk.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”
There’s scientific evidence that going for a walk boosts creativity.
1.3 Read Something
Another way to get your mind off drawing is to read something.
And no, I don’t mean your Facebook feed.
Read a novel, a non-fiction book or a magazine.
The idea here is to get away from art for a while, but also to stimulate your brain in a different way.
Reading strengthens your brain in more than one way. It improves your knowledge, your vocabulary, your memory and your analytical thinking skills.
But most importantly:
It improves your imagination.
Why You Can’t Draw Anymore
1.4 Listen To Music
Music is another form of creative stimulation that, unlike drawing, isn’t visual.
It can really energize you and improve your mood.
Listen to music you know you enjoy – or even try out some new bands.
It can have similar benefits to going for a walk or reading something – and can in turn lead to more drawing ideas.
2. Ideas For When You Don’t Know What To Draw Anymore
The methods for finding inspiration that I mentioned above are fine and good.
But what if you got away from drawing and painting for a while just to find that you still don’t know what to draw after you return?
In this case, you might need more specific ideas for things to draw.
Creative ideas for thinking of things to draw.
These will help:
2.1 Redraw Old Drawings
You don’t even need new ideas to start drawing.
Just look through your old art. Is there anything you like? Where you just know that you could do a better job with today?
Now go and redraw it!
There are actually a lot of inspiring YouTube videos of artists redrawing their old art.
Just like this one:
2.2 Do Drawing Requests
Another thing to do if you don’t know what to draw is to ask other people.
If you just can’t think of things to draw… why not let other people decide?
Here are several ways you can draw what other people request:
- ask your followers on social media (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, …)
- go to a subreddit on Reddit like Draw For Me or ICanDrawThat
- ask people on an art website (DeviantArt, ArtStation, …)
- sign up on Fiverr and earn some money drawing other peoples characters
If you decide to take money for it, be aware of several pitfalls of doing art commissions that I’ve described in this video:
2.3 Use A Drawing Idea Generator
It might sound silly, but you can actually let an algorithm decide what you should draw.
I’ve tried out a few – with mixed results.
On ArtPrompts.org you can pick general categories of things to draw (character, object, environment, …).
As soon as you have chosen the category it basically spits out randomized drawing ideas like “Victorian-era werewolf hunter“, “A mysterious box partially uncovered in the dirt“ or “The final battle“.
The design of this generator is somewhat boring, but it can give you pretty useful ideas.
2.3.2 Quizony Drawing Idea Generator
The Quizony Drawing Idea Generator asks you a set of 29 very specific questions and then hands you one drawing idea.
The perfect drawing idea?
Well, mine was an eye. I didn’t really need this website for that. Thanks anyway, I guess.
CHECK OUT: What is a “good” drawing?
2.3.3 Alexander Lozada’s Random Drawing Idea Generator
This idea generator is pretty funny.
It combines a who with a what in a random way.
Some example results are “Nikola Tesla – with a bad haircut“ or “Batman – on the fashion runway“.
2.3.4 Drawfee Suggestion Generator
The Drawfee Suggestion Generator is the funniest of all generators I tested.
It just throws out random crazy drawing ideas like “A gooey girl squirrel contemplating their very existence“ or “An all-powerful samurai piloting a giant, cybernetic suit.“
Pretty cool, right?
2.4 Pick A List Of Drawing Ideas Online
If you still can’t think of things to draw, just go to google and type in “drawing ideas list“.
Yes, there are actually other people who have done the thinking for you already.
Just these three articles combined are 281 drawing ideas for you.
2.5 Draw What You Love
Just follow the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple and stupid):
Draw what you love.
Drawing and painting are supposed to be fun. So why not just draw things that are fun to you?
Like the Avengers (doesn’t everyone?)? Cool! Draw them.
Like basketball? Cool! Draw Michael Jordan.
Like exotic animals? Also cool! Draw a komodo dragon.
You see, that’s why you sometimes don’t like practicing:
Drawing bland anatomy studies isn’t always fun.
So make drawing fun by drawing what you actually like.
I do it, too. I mainly draw superheroes.
Furthermore, use the right medium for you, the one you have fun with.
Check out the mediums and art tools I use here.
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2.6 Draw What You Hate
Yes, drawing should be fun, but there also is value in drawing what you absolutely hate – instead of just drawing things you love.
Most of the time, you just hate to draw certain things because you are not good at it.
The only way to get better at it is to attack it head-on.
Focusing on your weak points is a surefire way to get better all around.
For example, a lot of people have trouble drawing hands. It’s a complex topic.
Think about it:
What if you got so good at drawing hands that you wouldn’t have to avoid drawing them all the time?
This can best be achieved by focusing on your weaknesses for some time – even if it means drawing what you hate.
My guide here can teach you how to draw anything you want.
2.7 Draw From Life
Drawing from life basically means drawing what’s in front of you.
Often, life drawing is associated with figure drawing classes where you draw a naked model.
If that’s not your thing, just take your sketchbook and draw whatever is in front of you.
- You could draw your apartment (bedroom, living room, kitchen, …) for some excellent practice of perspective drawing.
- You could draw people walking by in the park.
- You could draw the palm trees at a beach.
- You could draw a good old still life of some fruits.
And much more.
2.8 Do Drawing Challenges
Another interesting thing that can push you in new directions is doing drawing challenges.
There are several challenges that are or have been popular on YouTube and Instagram.
Here are some examples:
2.8.1 The One Line Art Challenge
The idea of this challenge is to draw a whole drawing in one continuous line.
Easy? Try it out for yourself.
Here’s an example:
Inktober is an art challenge created by artist Jake Parker.
It revolves around creating one ink drawing a day in the month of October.
Every year there’s a specific list of things to draw.
Here’s how it works:
If you’re reading this in any other month apart from October, no problem.
You can get every previous Inktober prompt here.
2.8.3 Different Art Style Challenge
The challenge here is to draw a character of your choice, preferably a popular one, in X different art styles.
2.8.4 100 Heads Challenge
Draw 100 heads in 10 days. Simple.
What About You?
What do you do, if you don’t have any ideas? How do you get inspired again?
Do you have any experience with some of the drawing ideas I mentioned?
Make sure to leave a comment below.