Hello! So I’ve written a few posts already about finding inspiration, particularly from external sources. You already know how important it is to expose yourself to as much inspiration as you can, especially by surrounding yourself with the things that make you want to create. But sometimes you find yourself needing a different kind of inspiration, something a little more personal than looking to books, music, or TV, and something that doesn’t require a commute or even an admission fee. Today I thought I’d write about how to find drawing inspiration all by yourself, so you don’t need to rely on external resources.
If you’ve been lacking in the inspiration department lately, fret not! Everything you need is either in your head or in your sketchbook! 🙂
Look at Work You’re Proud Of
First of all, take a look through your sketchbook. There’s got to be something in there you’re proud of; not necessarily a whole page or drawing, but maybe just a small piece that you really like. Maybe it’s the way you drew a particular subject when you were trying out a new style, or maybe it’s a certain technique you were playing around with. Whatever the case, find something you’ve done that you’re proud of and create a re-imagined version of it.
Maybe you find that you really like how you did one part, but something else is off. Why not re-draw this? I bet you can do even better this time! You can use the same methods you did previously, or you can mix it up by drawing the same image using different tools, or in an altered style. Alternatively, you might draw inspiration from the style you used and apply it to a new subject. Perhaps you take the same idea and conjure up a brand new composition for it. There’s plenty to work with here!
Look at Work You’re NOT Proud Of
I hate to say it, but often it’s easier to find work we’re not proud of than work we are happy with. In this case, though, let’s use this as a strength! Look at something you did that you’re not fond of for whatever reason: maybe you still like the initial concept, but the final piece fell short. Or maybe you were experimenting with a new medium and it just didn’t work out.
Whatever the case, try to pinpoint even one problem that you can solve. Why not give this piece another shot at life? Re-draw it, fixing whatever problems you’ve identified; make a new and improved version! This can be really gratifying, especially if the piece had things you liked about it. If you can fix the parts that kept you from showing it off, you’ll end up with something you can be really proud of!
Not to mention identifying your mistakes and resolving problems are two of the best ways to improve your work. 😉
Think About Why You Started Drawing
Take a moment to reflect. What was it that made you want to draw in the first place? What’s your favourite part about making art? Maybe it’s the scratchy feel of a pencil dragging on textured paper. It could be the stark contrast of black India Ink on a bright white page. Or the feeling of potential when you open a brand new sketchbook to that promising first page.
Whatever it is, let that inspire you! Don’t think so much about what you want to draw; just draw it. Drawing can be meditative and even therapeutic. Just let the pen run on the page. Focus on the point of the pencil or the ink at the end of the pen and watch how it leaves marks on the page. For me, this is the magic that pulls me into it. Even something as simple as a line wouldn’t exist if you hadn’t put it there. We’re wizards, we are -wizards of creation! 😀
Use Your Favourite Tool(s)
This goes hand in hand with my previous tip, but if you have a favourite tool, use it! If you don’t have a favourite, find one! Test out all the materials you have on hand and compare them; see which you like best. When you take the time to really appreciate the tools you have at your disposal, creating art with them is a lot more meaningful and a lot more fun. I always get so excited to try out a new tool. I like to fill a few pages to see just what it can do, and then I try to utilize it in a way I think showcases its potential.
Draw Something for Someone You Love (Awww)
At times it may be easier to muster up an idea for someone else than for ourselves. This doesn’t have to be a little love note or doodle for that special someone; it can be as simple as drawing something from a grandparent’s garden, or maybe your friend or sibling’s favourite character from a video game or TV show.
It can be too easy to lose interest in ourselves, but often just the idea of creating something special for someone else is all we need to get our creative juices flowing again. If someone you know has a birthday or anniversary coming up, you might make a special framed piece to celebrate. And if you’re in a special occasion dry spell, why not give someone a just because present? An unexpected gift is extra special because the only reason for it is pure appreciation for the person. 🙂
Inspiration as a Mindset
You know how some days you feel on top of the world and it’s just really easy to create? And how other days you just want to lie in bed all day and do nothing? It’s funny how our same brain can alter our outlook so drastically, isn’t it?
At the end of the day, you can’t just sit and wait for inspiration to hit you. Inspiration isn’t some magical force that possesses you and makes you make great things. It’s a mindset, that’s all. When you let yourself into the right state of mind, you open yourself up to inspiration; you invite it in and let it flow through you. I know this sounds incredibly cheesy, but in my experience, it’s true.
I hear so often about people feeling unmotivated, or seeking inspiration -but I’ve found that I have the best results when I remember that all the inspiration I need is in my own head and I just need to let it out. The trick is getting into the right mindset.
There are a couple of ways I know of to get into this open mindset. The hardest part, on those days when you’re feeling like even sitting up is a huge effort, is just to get started. Once you’ve got a pen and paper in hand, you’re unstoppable. Assuming you’ve gotten this far, you have a couple of options for your next step: you can either do or think.
You can start doodling in hopes that you end up giving yourself an idea that propels you into that creative “zone” where you create your next brilliant piece. Or you can talk to yourself (in your head or aloud, I won’t judge) and convince yourself that there is inspiration all around you. I frankly find the first method easier, as often when I’m in a poor state of mind I already have a tendency to think negatively, and it can be hard to turn my thoughts around with internal monologues alone. Usually if I can just get a pen in hand, I can manage to scribble until I feel better; an idea comes and sets me off.
But if you’re the rational type, you may have more success with talking yourself into a better mood. The key is to get your brain to start showing you what’s so awesome about everything around you, and to get you thinking about ways you can incorporate this into your work.
Inspiration may seem like such a fleeting, mystical thing; but really, it’s not so evasive as you might think. Sometimes you find yourself surround by amazing things. But other times you just need to make your own inspiration.
That’s it for now! I hope you’ve found something useful here. What do you do when you’re stuck for inspiration? What drew (pun intended) you to art in the first place? Let me know in the comment section! Have a creative day! 🙂