It can be difficult to find art inspiration when you’re feeling unmotivated or stuck in a rut creatively. Here are some tips and tools to help spark your imagination.
Browsing Museums Online
Many major museums have digitized portions of their collections that are available to view online. Being able to see artwork from some of history’s greatest artists can provide fresh art inspiration. Some top museums to check include:
|National Gallery of Art
Being able to see the techniques, styles, subject matter and brushwork up close from the comfort of your home can get the creative juices flowing again. Screenshot or save any images that particularly spark your interest for future reference.
Following Artists on Social Media
Many established and up-and-coming artists utilize platforms like Instagram (see our suggestions to follow on Instagram), Facebook, YouTube and TikTok to not only showcase their work but provide a behind-the-scenes look at their process. Seeing the daily posts about an artist’s current works in progress or techniques they’re experimenting with can provide endless art inspiration. Don’t just follow popular artists in your chosen medium – broaden your scope to discover new styles, subjects and perspectives that may push you creatively in new directions.
Checking Out Art Community Forums and Challenges
Online art forums and communities like DeviantArt, ArtStation and Behance allow artists from around the world and at any skill level to connect, provide feedback and find art inspiration from one another. Many have daily or weekly prompt challenges that can get your creative juices flowing when you’re stuck for ideas. Simply following along and participating is a low-pressure way to spark something new. Some prompts even integrate trending hashtags on social media for extra contemporary flair.
As an example, a list of some recent weekly prompts on a popular art forum:
- Draw an animal interacting with a modern invention
- Illustrate a surreal landscape incorporating strange plantlife
- Portrait inspired by a famous work of art but in a different art style or medium
- A character from popular culture reimagined in a steampunk setting
Getting involved in online art communities is a great way to find fresh art inspiration while supporting your fellow creatives. It’s also a fabulous opportunity to expand your skills by practising new styles, subjects or techniques in response to fun, out-of-the-box prompts.
Gathering Inspiration from the Everyday
Some of the most evocative art inspiration can come from taking a closer look at the world around you. Observe everyday objects, landscapes, people, textures and scenes with an artist’s eye. Consider:
- The patterns, shapes and colors that catch your eye on packaging, clothing or architecture
- Interesting light and shadow effects you notice at different times of day
- Striking color combinations you spot in nature
- Emotive expressions or body language you observe while people watching
- Fun textures, surfaces and materials you encounter
Carry a small sketchbook or take photos on your phone to document anything you find particularly inspirational or that sparks potential subject matter. Revisiting these observational studies can provide excellent prompts and jumping-off points when seeking fresh art inspiration.
In summary, when you need a boost of art inspiration and motivation it’s helpful to explore the works of other artists both present and past. Browsing museum collections online, following artists on social media, participating in online art communities, and taking focused observations of the everyday world are all great tactics for stimulating your creativity and sparking new ideas. Remember that any type of engagement with art—whether viewing, making or discussing—can reignite your passion and fill your toolbox with amazing inspiration.