How to Get Ideas for Drawing: 31 Ways to Find Unique Ideas

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Perhaps you are an artist, art student, or creative person looking for fresh drawing ideas? Are you feeling stuck and uninspired and wondering how to get ideas for drawing?

It can feel challenging to get that creative spark going when it seems like all the good ideas have been used up or you’ve done them before!

But there are many ways that you can come up with unique drawings of your own. Follow these 31 tips and tricks for getting inspiration from everywhere around you so that your work becomes more exciting than ever before.

You will never run out of ideas of what to draw again 🙂

Table of Contents

  1. How to Get Ideas for Drawing: 31 Ways to Find Unique Ideas
    1. Look through Magazines.
    2. Doodle.
    3. Write down your feelings.
    4. Collect Images.
    5. Visit an Art Gallery.
    6. Explore Pinterest & Instagram for drawing inspiration.
    7. Sign up for an Online Course.
    8. Do a Brain Dump.
    9. Use Drawing Prompts. 
      1. Download my free Printable List of 100 Drawing Prompts here:
    10. Make an Art Idea Jar.
    11. Make an Art Inspiration Box.
    12. Look at Architecture.
    13. Go on a Nature Walk.
      1. These are just a few ideas to help you find drawing inspiration in nature:
    14. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane.
    15. Get Inspired by Music.
    16. Use a Story as Inspiration.
    17. Bought a New Toy? Let it Inspire You.
    18. Go on a Drawing Walk with Friends.
    19. Make a List of Things You Like.
    20. Start an Art Journal.
    21. Reflect on Your Day.
    22. Join a Drawing Group or Art Club.
      1. List of Forums Specializing in Drawing.
    23. Read Books About Drawing.
    24. Look at Sculptures.
    25. Do Something You’ve Never Done Before.
    26. Take Photos on Your Mobile Phone.
    27. Draw Your Dreams.
    28. Relax – Don’t Strive for Perfection.
    29. Start an Art Challenge.
    30. Set Aside Time to Draw and Experiment Every Day. 
    31. Take Pictures of Common Objects you Encounter on a Daily Basis. 
  2. Conclusion
how to get ideas for drawing pin

When it comes to how to get ideas for drawing – there are so many sources to tap into! 

Few people ever think about actually sitting down and considering all the different ways they can find inspiration.

Finding inspiration when you’re having an “artistic blank” can be difficult. In this article, I share 31 ideas for getting your creativity flowing again and allow you to keep drawing!

You CAN find good inspiration if you use your imagination and permit yourself to search for new ideas wherever you want. 

Don’t be afraid to look outside the box! 

Here are 31 ways to brainstorm unique drawing ideas.

How to Get Ideas for Drawing: 31 Ways to Find Unique Ideas

Look through Magazines.

Looking through magazines filled with beautiful images is a great way to spark new ideas for drawings.

As a creative person, I love to look at all kinds of magazines because they provide me with inspiration and the latest trends.

It can be helpful if the magazine you are looking at is targeted toward artists because it will be more visual with more high-quality large images for you to get inspired from!

[Related Article: Looking for Autumn Inspiration? 191 Fall Things to Draw]

Doodle.

doodle

There is no better way to get ideas for drawing than by simply doodling. Doodle on any paper you can find!

Doodle in the margins of a book while reading it or jot down random designs just for fun.

Doodles don’t have to be good – they are only practice for your brain and just a way to let your imagination go wild without pressure.

You might even want to keep a sketchbook specifically for doodles so that when you come across something interesting out in the world, it’s easy for you to whip out your old favorite pen and start drawing right then and there (and not lose any precious time!).

Master artists often start by doodling. You can learn a lot about drawing by just doodling and experimenting on the fly.

Doodles are great for getting ideas of what to draw!

Write down your feelings.

Use what you are feeling to inspire your drawings. Whether you feel happy, sad, confused, excited, depressed, or anxious, write it down and find an image that reflects that feeling.

It is also beneficial to write down your inner dialogue when you feel yourself struggling with how to get ideas for drawing.

For example, if you are feeling stuck on what to draw next, put it all out on paper (write everything that comes into your head about how you feel about getting stuck and what feels “stuck” inside of you).

[Related article: Looking For a Mixed Media Sketchbook? 16 Best Mixed Media Sketchbooks for Wet & Dry Media]

When I say “write everything,” I mean it! Don’t hold back – write long and ranty paragraphs, even until your hand gets tired or your brain stops working.

Preferably do this in a notebook so that once all of those thoughts have been released onto paper (and not just left running around in your head!), go back through it later and read it over.

[Related Article: Picture Love | A Collection of 30 Touching, Sweet, and Romantic Images About Love]

By putting your thoughts down on paper, you will have a record of how you felt at that time, and you can come back to the notebook for reference later on if you ever want to refer back to those feelings.

If nothing else, writing down your feelings is an excellent way to get them out of your system and help move past whatever frustrations or doubts may be causing creative block in the first place!

Use Your Feelings as Fuel for your Artwork.

Collect Images.

Collect images from the internet, magazines, or other papers and use them to inspire your drawings.

Put them into a file or a book and organize them by themes, colors, patterns, textures, or shapes.

When you are trying to get ideas for drawing, flip through these albums while looking at each image and see how they inspire you visually!

There is nothing like visiting an art gallery to get inspired and motivated to make art!

Art Galleries have so many different styles of artwork to look at that it’s easy for your imagination to take flight.

Choose an artwork that makes you feel strong emotion – anger, happiness, or even excitement. Creating a drawing of your own based on strong feelings is a recipe for a successful artwork.

Maybe the artwork will inspire you to do a drawing in that style, or perhaps it will help you channel what’s inside of you – all depending on how strong the reaction was!

Explore Pinterest & Instagram for drawing inspiration.

Pinterest is a great way to get ideas for drawing because you can search for almost anything and find examples of it. 

For example, if you are looking at images of flower drawings on Pinterest, you will see that there are thousands of examples of patterns and petals and colors and leaves – all of them created in different styles and techniques!

This gives you so many creative ideas from others to draw your own unique flower.

If you aren’t familiar with Instagram yet (you really should be!), it’s another place where people share pictures from their lives or create artwork that inspires other people.

If you see an image that someone has posted of a specific place or thing (like the ocean), and you want to draw Something similar, then all you need to do is search “ocean” on Instagram and scroll through all of the examples!

If you are looking for other sites to get artistic inspiration, check out art websites like Deviant Art, where people share their own work.

Sign up for an Online Course.

Various online courses teach how to draw in different ways.

Most of the time, these lessons teach techniques that will help you get ideas for drawing – like how to do shading or create a realistic image from imagination.

If you don’t feel like you have enough time but still want to learn some new things, I recommend checking out Skillshare.

Skillshare is an online community where people share their skills by teaching classes and workshops. These people usually take fascinating topics and break them down into smaller digestible chunks that everyone can understand!

All you need is 5 minutes a day and your own creativity – it’s a lot of fun!

Do a Brain Dump.

A great way to come up with easy drawing ideas is to do a brain dump.

A brain dump is basically a free-form way of writing down anything and everything that comes to mind. It may include words, phrases, or even images!

There are no limits to the things you can write down – but here are a few places to start:

– animals

– patterns (like those in nature)

– textures

Another tip for getting ideas for drawing is to use your non-dominant hand when doing a brain dump – it will help make your drawings and doodles unique! If you are right-handed, then try using your left and vice versa.

Use Drawing Prompts.

A drawing prompt is essentially a word, image, or sentence used to inspire your drawing!

It is handy to have a drawing prompt list from which to keep your ideas flowing – especially when you have artists’ block!

Download my free Printable List of 100 Drawing Prompts here:

100 drawing prompts

Make an Art Idea Jar.

art idea jar

On a large piece of colored paper, write down 100 drawing ideas. (You can use the words from my free printable Drawing Prompts List).

Cut them out, fold them in half and drop them into your glass jar.

Pull out a folded piece of paper from the jar whenever you need a fresh drawing idea!

Make an Art Inspiration Box.

art inspiration box filled with ephemera

Just like the name implies, an art inspiration box is a vessel that contains all of your creative thoughts and ideas. 

You can make one by putting together a range of materials and inspiring things such as the suggestions below:

  1. Cut out images from magazines
  2. Images printed off the web
  3. Old Photographs
  4. Polaroids
  5. Pages torn out from old encyclopedias
  6. Scraps of fabric or wool and string
  7. Things found outside (like pinecones if you live near trees) etc.
  8. Dried Tea Bags
  9. Till Slips
  10. Movie Tickets
  11. Maps
  12. Stickers
  13. Dried Flowers

Be creative with how you store it too. You can use an old shoebox or wooden box that has been painted nicely and decorated. It will be much more attractive than a plastic tub!

To remember which item went into the jar first, use some labeling system – this way, it’s easy to find when you need it!

Look at Architecture.

If you like things that are structured and symmetrical, then you’re going to love this idea of how to get ideas for drawing! 

Architecture can be exquisite because often it follows a particular pattern – in some ways, this makes it easier to re-create in your work.

Examine buildings like cathedrals where there’s lots of decoration on the walls, ornate windows as well as arches. 

Look at modern buildings crafted from glass and metal – they’re equally as interesting to draw.

Go on a Nature Walk.

Explore your parks, fields, or even back garden and breathe in the beauty of the natural surrounds.

If you don’t live near nature or have a garden at home, how about planning a small hike to get some inspiration?

These are just a few ideas to help you find drawing inspiration in nature:

  • Find natural patterns in the leaves and flowers (petals, veins, etc.).
  • Look for interesting shapes on stones and rocks.
  • Examine any insects that may cross your path.
  • Looking at colors in the sand.
  • Record the sounds that you hear. 
  • You can go on these types of outings with friends and family if you want!
  • Take a look around your neighborhood – there is so much to get inspiration from.
  • If, for some reason, nothing looks interesting, why not make your surroundings more fun by drawing something that isn’t there 🙂
how to get ideas for drawing pin

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane.

The best types of drawing ideas are the ones that make you smile or reflect fondly on certain people in your life.

This is why I suggest taking a walk down memory lane to see what comes up!

Maybe you have family photos from when you were young – take a look at how everyone was dressed and reflect on how things looked back then. 

Many cool things can be remembered from times long gone by. I often find that if I don’t know what to draw, then going through old photos works like a charm!

Get Inspired by Music.

Listen to your favorite music and get inspired. 

The tempo, rhythm, and lyrics can inspire you to draw something similar in style or something unrelated!

Enjoy the music for what it is, and let your imagination run wild.

You can also use music lyrics as inspiration for your drawing!

Use a Story as Inspiration.

Whether it’s an actual book, movie, or tv show, there are always stories where you can get inspired for drawing new artwork of the characters/scenes from it. 

This is great if you love drawing things from TV shows or movies because there are many different images you can recreate!

Bought a New Toy? Let it Inspire You.

If you’ve recently purchased Something like a camera or a tablet, use its features to help get ideas for sketching.

Try taking photos of things you see and then sketch them. Edit your photos on the device’s default editors or apps, and explore new compositions, textures, patterns, or interesting shapes.

This is a great way to get new ideas for your drawings because it’s different from just copying what you have seen before!

Go on a Drawing Walk with Friends.

If you are walking around with friends or at a park – then challenge them to see what they can come up with. 

Compete for who can find the most unusual subject matter to draw, or make it easier by letting each person just doodle!

Also, if there are lots of other people there, this is a great chance to show off your own artwork, so don’t forget to bring it along!

Make a List of Things You Like.

Nothing beats writing down things that inspire you whenever you get an idea!

Keep a small notebook handy to write down ideas or inspiration that comes to you throughout your day! (You can also use your mobile or in a small notebook that you can slip into your bag.)

An excellent way to start this list is by making yourself a list of things like colors, shapes, patterns, and textures that look cool when used together.

Start an Art Journal.

An art journal is a place to draw, write, collage, paint, and doodle all your thoughts and ideas.

It’s a safe place to draw and make art without feeling pressured to create Something for the world to see.

If you feel like you don’t have time to dedicate hours and hours to one piece of artwork, start an ongoing art journal. 

[Read my article on How to Start an Art Journal]

This means that your creative flow can easily continue by working on bite-sized chunks of achievable art.

Tip: if you are worried about making mistakes, remember that there is no wrong or right- so don’t worry and go crazy with your art ideas!

Reflect on Your Day.

Make a quick list of things you saw, heard, smelled, and felt during the day. 

When drawing something based on your day, try to think back to what was connected to each other.

For example, if you went for a walk around a park in the morning, maybe include some trees or bees.

Join a Drawing Group or Art Club.

A great way to meet other artists and get feedback is by joining an art club or group! There are also drawing groups on social networks to post your artwork and look at all other unique pieces people have created. 

Join a forum for creative types: I’ve put together a list of sites specializing in drawing forums, so be sure to check them out! 

List of Forums Specializing in Drawing.

https://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forum/explore-media/drawing-and-sketching/

https://www.deviantart.com/forum/

https://forums.artrage.com/index.php

https://www.reddit.com/r/learntodraw/

https://forum.drawmixpaint.com/categories/general

https://www.artistforum.com/forums/graphite-drawing.13/

https://www.sketchcrawl.com/forum/

http://www.thesketchingforum.org/forum3/

https://www.reddit.com/r/drawing/

how to get ideas for drawing pin

Read Books About Drawing.

If you like reading about how to draw better, then this is an excellent tip for inspiration!

Artbooks often showcase many different styles, techniques, tips, and tricks that can help anyone become more confident about their own drawings. 

When browsing through various art books, you find Something you love – then use it as inspiration for your own drawings!

Look at Sculptures.

If you can go to a museum or gallery, take a look around and see what sculptures inspire you! 

Try to focus on the drawing aspects of them, like how the artist drew something or how they created specific effects. 

This is a great way to get ideas for creating new pieces because instead of copying other people’s drawings, you can create your own with a twist on their sculptural style. 

Do Something You’ve Never Done Before.

Sometimes when doing things indifferently, we come up with better ideas – so why not start exploring new materials and techniques? 

For example, if you usually sketch out with pencils, try out drawing with markers instead.

Take Photos on Your Mobile Phone.

When you go on a trip or wherever- use your mobile phone to take lots of pictures of the things that you found exciting and sparked your imagination. 

Why not try drawing something from one of these photos? You can either draw the photo straight from your camera or mobile or print it out to look at it for reference whenever you need ideas. 

Draw Your Dreams.

If you remember the subject matter of your dreams when you wake up in the morning, why not try drawing? 

If you are like me and quickly forget what your dream was about, keep a dream art journal next to your bed and sketch out the dreams as you wake up!

There is a lot of interesting things going on in our dreams, and those images can be turned into a remarkable piece of artwork. 

Relax – Don’t Strive for Perfection.

When you are trying to think of drawing ideas, it’s easy to spend a lot of time and energy finding the PERFECT drawing idea.

Don’t go hunting for the perfect idea; start with something small! 

Also, don’t worry if your drawings are not technically perfect; that’s what makes them beautiful! 

Start an Art Challenge.

Art challenges are a fun way to help you draw every day while giving working towards a goal. 

You can try out the drawing-a-day Art Challenge, Inktober, or one of the other art challenges that take place throughout the year.

Have a look at my article on Art Challenges for this year!

Set Aside Time to Draw and Experiment Every Day.

If you remember that all artists spend a lot of time drawing, sketching, and experimenting, you will have more motivation to draw. The reason why pros can draw well is that they dedicate so much time to practicing their craft!

Draw from your photo collection instead of always going outside for reference. 

You can also try taking quick photos with your mobile phone or use pictures in magazines as a reference when needed. 

Take Pictures of Common Objects you Encounter on a Daily Basis.

Look at all the things surrounding us that we don’t think twice about- like boxes, trash cans, remote controls – so many options for inspiration! 

This is another way you can draw from your photo collection instead of going outside for reference.

how to get ideas for drawing pin

Conclusion

There are lots of ways to get inspired. You can find inspiration in the most unlikely places and people if you take a second to look for it.

If you are looking for how to get ideas for drawing, these 31 tips I’ve shared here should help you start thinking about some unconventional sources that may be able to provide your next creative spark!

What is one thing YOU do when looking for new ideas? Let me know! I would love to hear how these strategies have helped inspire YOUR work and see where else you might turn for more creativity-boosting advice or tools.

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