How to Find Inspiration as an Artist

How to Find Inspiration as an Artist

Sometimes, as an artist, we can get in front of the canvas and then totally blank. 

Where did all that creativity and excitement to paint come from before? Because it’s totally evaporated now…

But never fear! That feeling of “blah-ness” doesn’t last forever, and there are a few things you can do to reinvigorate your creativity. 

In fact, I often think of creativity and inspiration kind of like a muscle. The more you work it out, the more it can do! 

That’s why I like to find inspiration everywhere around me — going on a walk in nature is a perfect way to spark an idea, or even just watering my indoor plants. 

I love traveling, so zipping off to another zip code can be just the ticket. Or taking some time and playing with my two cats gives me just the break I need to feel refreshed and inspired (plus, they are a huge source of inspiration themselves!).

Because I create a lot of commissioned work for clients, I often get specific requests for my artwork. But I try to make sure that I also make plenty of time to focus on what *I* want to paint and what *I’m* excited about in the moment. 

So if I get the urge to illustrate my cats (which I frequently do…), then I’ll go with the flow and do it! 

With those kind of sudden sparks of inspiration, I like to just focus on creating and not worry too much about what I’ll do with the art when it’s finished (sell it as a print? create a pattern? make some washi tape?). Those kind of questions can come later. At the beginning stage, just have faith that you’ll be able to use your art for any number of purposes once it’s done!

The main thing is to just have fun and let your imagination run wild. Don’t limit yourself to the possibilities!

Another great way to find inspiration is to commit to creating once every day for a whole month (or even a year if you’re feeling really ambitious!). 

I once challenged myself to paint every day for one year to get in a lot of practice. But thinking of something to paint every day is probably the hardest part. 

So, in order to give myself a bit of structure, I decided to dedicate a theme to each month. January became “sea creatures” month, March was “all things birds”, and September was “cities around the world”!

This gave me a game plan for each day, which allowed me to get into a rhythm and experiment with lots of art styles and mediums.

PRO TIP: decide how much time you’re willing to commit to creating your art each day so you don’t spend too long on it. I think a sweet spot is somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes!

At the end of the day, if you want to workout your inspiration muscle, the best way to do that is to consider how everything in your life can be used as inspiration, and then push yourself to make lots of art.

Plus, when you push yourself to make that much art, you end up with a pretty large body of work!

In fact, I ended up licensing a lot of that art I created from the daily challenge to home decor manufacturers. I hadn’t planned on that happening — it was just one of those happy accidents!