Finding Ideas for Drawing

Once in a while, good ideas for drawing can be hard to come by. An empty canvas for hours is not a good sign of productivity. Don't worry though, here are some suggestions that I like to suggest to any artist looking for creative drawing ideas to get started.

All artists will encounter humps along the way where inspiration becomes scarce. Even when there are amazing work from other artists, the struggle to find creativity is always ongoing. A part of it is to do with confidence.

Not surprisingly, confidence comes from knowledge and the experience of doing something a lot. Rather than suggest a million different topics to get inspiration on, I will suggest something different and look at four distinct categories of art to help with being creative.

This advice is important: think of these categories as either potential road maps that anyone can progress into and master (on top of getting drawing ideas and inspirations from). It just offers a bit more flexibility until enough experience and confidence kicks in.

Ideas for drawing: abstract art

There are a lot of drawing ideas that can be derived from abstract drawings. The advantage of these types of drawings is that it relays on the mood rather than showing a clear subject. These are great for beginners to get that first step of confidence as a recognizable form is not needed.

That means technical issues like proper shading, perspectives, composition, etc. are rarely factored in. So long as this style of art teases your emotions: it will succeed.

abstract drawing ideas from

Some examples of abstracts are:

  • Creating patterns
  • Juxtaposing shapes
  • Optical illusions
  • Simple cartoons

However, just remember that these only deals with feelings. It is still important need to learn about basic drawing techniques to build a proper artistic foundation. That's why there is realism. Use it to increase one's drawing skills to become a versatile artist that people would want to commission.

Ideas for drawing: still realism

Taking a lesson from real life, the drawing ideas that come from inorganic objects allows one to start building the necessary skills for looking at how the physical world works. Why is this important? It's because the ultimate goal of an artist is to be able to create your own world.

How does a shadow get created? How does this object look from a distance? How do I create the textures on this object? These are just some of the questions that can be encountered. Inorganic objects allows one to study it for long periods of time.

still life drawing ideas from

Some examples of inorganic objects are:

  • Still-life
  • Architecture
  • Machinery
  • Nature and flora
  • Landscapes

Anyone can expand on each of these examples to find specific objects they are interested in drawing. Start with indoor stuff and then move to outdoor environments. There should never be a shortage of still subject to draw and learn from.

Ideas for drawing: dynamic realism

Once familiar with the basic art techniques studied from still forms, the next step would be to move into organic forms to learn all about dynamic movements. Ironically, this a subject a lot of beginners like to start first as they like to draw people and animals.

The answer to why is obvious: anything that moves is more interesting than something that does not move. Just imagine it: when looking for creative ideas for drawing, the first thing that pops into the mind are things that move. But where to start?

organic drawing ideas from

Some examples of subjects that have a lot of dynamic movement are:

  • People
  • Mammals
  • Birds
  • Insects
  • Marine life

A portrait drawing is a great way to start out. Even photos can be excellent references to understand organic form without the subject moving around. And then, once an understanding of the still organic subject is achieved, begin to disseminate how motion is created.

Ideas for drawing: the surreal

Having looked at abstract, stills, and dynamic forms, there are an unlimited number of drawing ideas once these bases have been covered. Everything that has been suggested in the other categories should help with preparing one's skills to the next level.

The knowledge obtained from perspective, lighting, and composition from real life studies should have prepared any artist well for looking at the surreal. Why is surreal and fictional art important? For one thing, creativity lends itself to new ideas.

surreal drawing ideas from

Gaming and movie companies love to have artists that are skillful enough to create unique environments. These environments should not exist, but could possibly exist at the same time (Art example courtesy of Anastasiya Markovich).

Here are some cool surreal drawing ideas to create a unique world or vision:

  • Fantasy
  • Science fiction
  • Fashion and culture
  • Mythical creatures and beasts
  • Mechanical creations

One world of caution though: while these seem like enticing ideas to try immediately, it’s not fun when struggling to even get the basic shapes and shading done correctly. I've always believe in creating a good artistic foundation alongside of getting good drawing ideas on (digital) paper.

There are just too many benefits to learning things correctly. Just be patient and persistence to always focus on core drawing mechanics while being creative. There are a lot of lessons on this site to help with that. Most important of all though, have fun doing it.