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How To Find Art Inspiration

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Hello everyone! (*・ω・)οΎ‰ As you have likely seen from my status updates, many contributions to the Drawing of the Day thread, and mentions of this elsewhere, I am an artist! I specialize in traditional mediums, specifically drawing (typically with ink) and mixed media, but have dabbled in pixel art as well. To create, one must have inspiration. Even if it is a simple idea, an idea is nonetheless often the starting point for a potential masterpiece. But how do you get ideas? Well, dear reader, today I will introduce you to some ways to find inspiration and come up with concepts to use in your artwork. This list will by no means be comprehensive, as different people are inspired by different things, but these will be some basics to get you started, as well as some processes that I sometimes go through.

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Firstly, never underestimate the power of your own surroundings. Choose an item in your room and try to incorporate it into your art somehow. It doesn't even have to be a large or particularly noteworthy item. Maybe that tiny hourglass on your desk, the fish tank on your bedside table or that candle holder with a particularly interesting shape. If your current situation isn't sparking your creativity, try changing it. Explore nature and draw something interesting that you see. Go to a public setting, like a bench in the city or a small local cafe. Try drawing the buildings or people you see.

Perhaps you could try getting inspired by a specific person. Who is someone you admire? Think about other artists whose work you enjoy. What do you like about their art style? Is it their use of color, maybe their interesting subject matter? Try to incorporate that into your own work.

Don't feel limited to looking for inspiration within your own medium either. Try something new, and as you adapt and learn, it may give you new ideas. You can also get inspired to work in your own chosen medium by looking at others. Just because you're a songwriter doesn't mean you can't take inspiration from movies, and someone who likes to draw can still get ideas from books. It doesn't have to be fanart or an exact replication of something, but something with a similar idea. For example, try drawing what a certain place in a book looks like in your head. Listen to your favorite song and see if any colors come to mind. Do you have any favorite lyrics?

This can work for human subjects as well. There is one method in particular of coming up with interesting human subjects that I use quite frequently. Firstly, find a character from something that you like, and consider which of their features stand out to you. These can be both physical design attributes and aspects of their personality. For the sake of this example, we will say that the character has an interesting head accessory and a strong interest in space. You want the character or design to be uniquely your own though, so you should change some of their most key features. Are they an older man with intricate and detailed clothing? Draw a young woman in a very simple outfit. But then, incorporate your previously mentioned favorite features into your own work. She could be surrounded by stars and planets and wearing something similar, or, if you want your work to take a turn for the strange, you could replace her head with that item entirely.

(The above method is actually how I came up with this drawing!)

You could also consider looking at art prompts or challenges to spark an idea. (I may post a list of art prompts/challenges to my blog in the future, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!) One might assume that a challenge would be limiting and restrict creativity. However, the effect can often be quite the opposite. While you may be limited in your choice of colors, mediums, etc for a challenge, you will have to think outside the box to create something within those limitations.

Still having trouble getting started? Don't think about it so much. Sometimes a blank page or canvas can be intimidating, so just throw something down. A line, a shape, a splatter of color, anything. Make a scribbly line and try to turn that into a creature or an object. Divide the page into sections and draw something in each section.

There are many different ways to spark creativity, and different methods work for different people. As such, I would recommend that you try several or all of these methods to find what's right for you. And now, you have some ways to get ideas for your next great art project. How do you find inspiration? Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments, or share how these tips work for you! Now go out and create a masterpiece!

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