Is a feeling when you're staring on a white sheet of paper and have a huge desire to draw but you absolutely have no idea What to draw - is familiar for you? In this article I will share with you my 6 tips on how to come up with ideas for your artworks.
1. Look around
Before opening a Pinterest app in search of inspiration - try to have a look inside of yourself. What do you remember from your childhood? Which moments and emotions do you remember from this time? Where are you now? What about nature in your country? What are you dealing with right now? What do you love? Maybe you love drinking matcha tea, or enjoying the forest's silence? Keep asking questions. Bear all these things in mind when creating your art. Try to analyze different aspects of your life, your emotions. Maybe there are some situations in the world that make you sad or happy. All these things and feelings can be used as inspiration for your works. There are also many various ways to express your love for different things through art. My favorite way is humanization. A 'Kintsugi' is a great example of how artists get inspiration for beautiful artworks from the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold alloy, depicting It as a human. Creativity starts when we look at familiar things from another perspective. Good ideas aren’t as far as we think. All we need is to notice these small things and to give them a new life and identity.
2. Think about the idea
The key point in getting ideas for your art is to abide in continual reflection on the potential idea. It is very similar to the process when you’re trying to remember something really hard but you can’t describe the process how exactly you’re doing it. It’s like tuning your mind on a specific wave and leaving it in the background while doing your daily stuff. Even if you don’t have any distinct idea in your head yet, you will start to perceive the world and your inner voice more attentively. And if there appears even a tiny and almost transparent idea - you will be ready to catch it by the tail. If you already have a concept but you don’t see any details - try to leave it in your head for some time and think about it as long as you need until one day you see the details more clearly.
3. Movies and books
Remember your favorite movies and books. Think about the atmosphere you love in these pieces. For example, Harry Potter series and horror/mysterious stories were always a huge inspiration for me. Owls, feathers, books, animals, stars, old houses, emotions. I’m obsessed with mystery. And you can find a lot of themes there to embody them through your art.
4. Experimenting with photo references
Try to pose for the camera and see if you will get some ideas in the process. Use reference photos that you have saved a long time ago from Pinterest or an online clothing shop. Maybe the model’s pose or facial expression or even a haircut will inspire you for new artwork. Think about how you can use it. Maybe you will come up with a concept of a whole story from this photo reference. Usually, I don’t know how this experiment going to end and If I will come up with something valuable. But mostly It ends up with a new concept that I’m really happy with.
5. Search for inspiration online
Besides using Pinterest and google in search of pictures that will inspire you to create something new, you can also pay your attention to other content like videos about animals, nature, etc. Sometimes you can use screenshots from videos as references or the video itself may inspire you for some ideas. Once I saw a video about an elephant-painter on Facebook, that immediately makes me think about the cruel ways that the trainer probably had been using to teach the elephant to paint just to make money on people, who think it’s adorable. Then my Illustration with a girl protecting an elephant was born.
6. Mythology and symbols
It can be very fascinating and interesting to use myths and legends of different countries as inspiration for Illustrations. Try to explore the mythology of your country or any country you like. For example, I’m in love with Dragan Bibin's Serbian Mythology painting series and these paintings are huge inspirations for my own artworks.
Using symbols for your Illustrations is a great idea as well. I love to fill my artworks with hidden symbols and It’s important for me to add objects and things that have a meaning. Feathers, shells, birds, moths, etc. - all these things have their symbolic meaning that can differ for every country or nation. You can have your own meaning for different things that will make the artwork more deep and valuable.
Also, you can find ideas not only on Earth. There are plenty of various legends about constellations and stars. One of my paintings "Cetus" was inspired by a constellation legend. Other paintings have their own meaning that is hidden in symbols, shapes, and emotions. The interesting thing is that sometimes people can see their own meaning in your paintings. And this is priceless when you know that your art can evoke other people’s emotions.
It were my 6 tips about how to come up with ideas for your artworks. They help me when I have hard uninspiring times and I always find them useful. Hope these tips will be helpful for you too!