Inspiration is a hard thing to nail down for artists. That's because each individual artist finds inspiration in something that's as unique as their art style. What inspires one artist will not inspire another. What's more, for a lot of artists, the inspiration behind one project is not the inspiration of their next. Veteran artists understand that inspiration is ever-changing and unregulated. This is a good thing!
Sometimes, though, inspiration can be lacking. Even the best of artists suffer from artists' block. What can be done when this happens? Sometimes it's best to step away from art for a little bit to come back refreshed. Sometimes you need to find a different inspiration to rediscover a muse.
Whether you are a beginning artist in search of where to go, or a practiced artist in need of some new ideas, here are some places to find inspiration for your next art project.
Look at Other Artwork
Checking in on other artists and seeing what they're producing can be a font of inspiration. You don't have to know these artists personally either. Art museums and galleries are great places to browse fine art. Other great places to check out art are art books and online portfolios. Once you start seeking out art to look at, you'll start seeing it all over, from the gallery at your local coffee shop to murals on the sides of buildings.
Sketch Your Daily Life
A lot of artists find inspiration in their daily lives. And it's true, that life itself is amazing and worth capturing. Watching people and capturing their essence in a sketch is a great way to practice and find inspiration for your next piece. It's also useful to capture things that might be otherwise overlooked by others, such as a table centerpiece or a corner of your home that you don't look at very often.
Spend Time in Nature
Drawing inspiration from nature is a centuries-old technique that continues to this day because it works. Nature by itself contains patterns and shapes that we may call unusual, but they happen independently from human logic or efficiency. The way the wind carves a sand dune, the way leaves grow on a plant, the way snow sticks to the branches of a tree—every facet of the natural world is ready to be explored in art. Artists, writers, sculptors and more have ventured into the natural environment for introspection, creative inspiration, and so much more.
Consume Art from Other Media
Inspiration is not gotten from a bubble. Other types of art media—such as movies, music, and novels—feed inspiration for art. Don't feel limited in what you can consume either. Something as simple as the shape of a building can be inspirational.
Get Involved in Art Communities
Outside of finding inspiration, joining a community of other artists is one of the most rewarding experiences an artist can do. Within a community, you can engage with peers, talk about current trends, and (you guessed it) get inspired to work on your own art. If you are persuing art as a career, communities are a great way to network for gallery space or more exposure.
Collect a List of Prompts
Whenever you head out into the world, it's prudent to write down your inspirations and ideas in a place you can consult later, such as a notes application on your mobile phone or a notebook you carry. The purpose of this list is to consult it before starting a new project, or if you don't know what to create next.
Not all lists have to be created by you. Some artists share prompt lists online, such as the Inktober challenge that happens every October. You are free to use these prompt lists as inspiration for your own art, even outside of the challenges the prompt lists are created for.
Inspiration comes in all sorts of forms. Knowing what inspires you the most is part of what makes an artist. Now that you know where to find inspiration, go forth and be inspired!
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Featured image: Photo by Sema Martin on Unsplash