Inspiration comes at different times and in different ways. It can slowly form from a number of sources or it can hit you suddenly all at once. But what if you are experiencing an artist block? Even the best of us will hit a wall when it comes to being productive in the studio. I find a lot of places I tend to struggle in is when I have certain guidelines to follow for a client. Many of my best pieces seem to just appear in my mind at the most random of times. Other times, I may need to borrow from many different visual aspects to form a coherent piece. With both of these ways, an idea may also need to be reworked in order to get to the finished design but we really want to examine how to get the initial inspiration sparked to get the ball rolling in creating art.
Study Art And Art History
One place to find inspiration is from other artists’ previous works. I do not recommend nor do I ever condone stealing ideas from other artists but I do believe in taking inspiration from art and making something new that is completely your own. Studying the masters and art movements from over the centuries is a great way to learn about art history, culture, technique, color, depth, design, and so many other things. Take many ideas from numerous sources, study their styles but when you begin to create, try to translate what inspired you about that painting into your own work. Visit a museum and let your senses take it all in. This idea is not just limited to the masters though. You can also seek out inspiration by visiting a local art gallery or a convention where contemporary artists frequent. Modern artists actually give me more inspiration in my current works than the masters because it correlates with my current style. Older, more serious works of mine heavily relied on some of my all time favorite masters such as Van Gogh, Monet, Mucha, Da Vinci, and Klimt.
Seek Out Alternate Sources Of Entertainment
When we step away from a project that is going no where, it may be time to seek out other visual stimuli. I find that browsing the web, watching tv or reading is a great way to lose myself in someone else’s creative universe and it provides a great source of research. When you let your mind wander, it just may stumble upon a great idea. Some of my best works may come from when I sit in front of the television with my sketchbook in my lap. Once an idea sparks, I get to work, generally leaving whatever was on the tv to fade off into the background while I get my ideas down on paper.
Go Back To Nature
I don’t know about you, but when I am out in nature away from noise and distractions, I find a calm peace come over me. It is natural to feel a sense of happiness when we find ourselves standing in a beautiful place far from the busy city, away from all distractions. Nature is so full of beauty and wonder, it would be hard not to find your inspiration here. If you cannot get out of town to experience a secluded place, visit a park or nearby nature trail, maybe even the zoo. Sit next to a pond or try to spend a day at the beach. Anywhere you can be away from the distractions of technology and just be in the moment but don’t forget to bring a travel sketchbook with you just in case you get an idea.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Because I am an artist that creates a variety of art content for this website, I am used to stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to trying different things. With that being said, I am not always the most successful with the outcome, but with each new style or art product I try, I take away something from the project that I can apply into my art later on. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new is a great way to break old habits and help you to see things in a completely new way. If you are used to drawing, try painting. If you are a painter, try sculpting. You never know, you may end up liking this new medium even more than what you are used to.
Go Back To Your Throwbacks
I keep all of my sketchbooks. And when I say that, I literally have boxes and boxes of sketchbooks and about 3 large portfolios stuffed with my art that dates all the way back to when I was in high school. I have held onto these for many reasons, one being that I can see my growth as an artist. Another reason is so that I can revisit old works and see if there was some idea that never quite came together then, but now I was able to execute it successfully. I still have no regrets about the stack of boxes that take up part of my studio closet because as soon as I were to decide to throw them out, I would instantly regret it.
Find Something That Works And Stick To It
One thing I am guilty of is skipping from one project to another. Whether I abandon a project due to loss of interest, the project isn’t coming together or that a new idea has consumed me, I tend bounce around. This does not always mean total success of every project nor does it mean that they all will be completed, but I find that skipping around pulls me from creating things that compliment one another. So to get to my point for those who lack inspiration instead of too much, do what you know that already works by creating a series of pieces that all share a similar theme and style. This is a great way to keep your inspiration flowing. Pay homage to your favorite movie characters by creating more than one piece or paint one landscape across three panels creating a tryptic. Many artists create a series around a central theme for their solo gallery shows. Working in a series can stretch one idea to the limits.
Speak To Other Artists
Artists need other artists to relate to. Seek out artistic companionship because, let’s be honest, a lot of people who are not creative just don’t get us. Instead of stifling your creative conversations and ideas, find other artists to talk to. Not only do they enjoy hearing your ideas, but they also get it, they can envision it and they can sometimes offer some pretty good advice when you get stuck on a project. Ask other artists what they do for inspiration. Ask them what they are currently working on. The exchange of ideas will open up your mind to so many more concepts!
We all have different methods of finding our inspiration but if you needed inspiration on where to find your inspiration, well I hope I was able to help. Ha! There are so many more ways to become inspired to create, this is just a small list of examples. Experiencing life as a creative person means that even in the most mundane of activities, a brilliant idea may strike out of nowhere. Just remember to always keep a sketchbook or piece of paper and pencil close by so you can jot down that idea or you just may lose it forever.