How Do You Get Inspired as an Artist?

The ability to draw, paint, and create is a wonderful talent. As an artist, you are able to visualize with your mind’s eye what you want your art to look like. You are able to lay that image down on paper, canvas, or even through a lens. But not all artists have an easy time deciding what they want to create. It can be quite difficult to come up with an original idea plus the right means to execute it. So what do artists do? They seek out sources that inspire them.

Someone once said that you cannot create art in a vacuum. You need outside influences to help trigger the process. The Greeks had the Muses, spirits and goddesses, who inspired the creation of the arts. Monet had his haystacks. Every artist, great and small needs inspiration and every artist is inspired by different things. But where do you look? How do you get inspired as an artist?

Ways to Feed Your Creativity – Daily Inspiration

If you are seeking ideas for your next masterpiece, here are some ways to feed your creativity.

Finding Inspiration in Real Life


The real world is always a great source of inspiration. There is so much variety and so much going on that it never gets boring. You can always find something new. The great Impressionists of the late nineteenth century found the city of Paris to be their primary source. If you are into people, city scenes, or landscapes, you can only get ideas by going out and observing these things. You cannot create it if you have never seen it. Go sit and watch people on the street. Check out some buildings or beautiful vistas. Take a camera along and you can capture these moments to take back to the studio.

Getting Inspired by Emotions

Some artists get inspired by their emotions. This is evidenced by Picasso’s ‘blue period’ where he was depressed and did a series of paintings done all in dark and somber blue tones. Emotions can give ideas and help shape the overall mood of a piece of artwork. If you are happy, you might be inspired to do something in bright and lively colors. Anger can lead to dark and menacing art pieces. If you are seeking ideas for your next piece, then use your emotions to guide you and find ways to convey that to something visual.


Dreams are another great source of inspiration for artists. As we sleep, our subconscious is free to wander around and indulge in some of its own creativity. Dreams have been an inspiration for art for centuries. Dreams have been referenced as far back as the stories of Gilgamesh and the Iliad. They have helped to create entire art movements such as Symbolism and Expressionism. Salvador Dali was influenced by dreams. Since we often forget what we dream, a good habit for artists is to sleep with a pen and pad of paper next to the bed. If you wake up from a particularly inspiring dream, write it down before you forget it.


Not all sources of inspiration are visual. Music can inspire an artist just as easily as a picture. Music creates a mood and is closely tied with using emotions in art. Just about all artists have a stereo of some mind in their studio to listen to music. When you are searching for idea for your next piece, put on some music that you like that is appropriate for getting in the right frame of mind.

Consult Other Artists

Hanging out with and talking shop with other artists is a good method of bouncing some ideas back and forth. Not every artist thinks alike, after all. It is highly likely that one of your peers may have a different idea than you. Many artists are very supportive of others in their community and are more than happy to give (and receive) advice. Go to gallery openings and talk with other artists. Hang out in their studio and see what they have been working on. There are also online art communities where you can chat or post topics in forums. These sites can be tremendously useful to an artist, especially if they do not live near an art community.

Movies and Books

Media in its different forms can be just as inspirational as real life. Often artist get ideas for a new piece by watching movies or reading books. Subject matter can vary widely and it really depends on the interests of the artist. You might be inspired by a work of pure fiction or you might like historical or biographical material. Whatever your interest, there is a movie or book out there that can provide inspiration. Check out the local bookstore of movie rental place for some ideas.

Look At Other Works

One of the biggest sources of inspiration for artists is the works by other artists. Many artists trying to find a new idea will look at samples and portfolios of others to see how they approached an idea. You can do this by going to a gallery and looking at the pieces of art being displayed. There are galleries with everything from the works by the old masters to modern and contemporary artists. In other words, there is something for everyone. You can even go online and look at images from private collections, individual galleries, or public museums.

Do Something New

Another way to find inspiration is to try to do something new and different. If you have been working in the same style or the same subject matter for awhile, change it up. Copy someone else’s style or just go in the opposite direction from what you normally do. If you mostly draw, try painting. If you paint, try sculpture. Switch out realism for impressionism and vice versa. By trying something new, it can make you think in a different direction.

Carry A Sketchbook or a Camera

You never know when inspiration may strike. You may discover something by accident one day or pass something on the street. An image may just pop into your head. If you do not have a means of capturing that moment, you may lose it. Try to carry a pocket-sized sketchbook with you so you can sit down and draw what inspires you at that moment. You could also carry a camera with you and just take a quick snapshot.

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