Sometimes it can be difficult coming up with ideas of what to draw or paint. While staring at that blank canvas or sketchbook page you may not be able to visualize what to create. Ideas for painting and drawing are everywhere. To help stimulate that creative spirit, I have brainstormed a list of cool ideas for filling that blank paper or canvas.
This list can be especially useful for daily painters and those who have artists’ block. You do not have to try everything, but scan through the list and exercises, and find ideas that you can personally relate to.
Please refer to our previous posts for more inspiration to stimulate your spirit of creativity.
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Ideas for Painting and Drawing to Help Stimulate Your Spirit of Creativity
Drawing and Painting PeoplePaint yourself in a mirror in various poses and with different facial expressions. Sketch people at the beach, people working, and in the park. Paint a young mother holding her baby, and an old couple walking along a trail.
There are all kinds of life situations involving people that can inspire artworks. Just look around yourself, and in your neighbourhood.
Try getting a model to pose for you, and either choose poses or get them to pick their own. If you have more than one model, get them to pose together, or include them in one painting in separate modelling sessions.
Paint and Draw AnimalsPets and animals in your area are great ideas for drawings and paintings. Paint your dog, cat, goldfish, hamster, etc. Also consider the wildlife where you live.
Specific wildlife such as whales, deer, wolves, snakes, giraffes, etc. say something about where you live. Insects such as dragonflies, butterflies, spiders, etc. also make beautiful paintings when painted on a large canvas.
Try to draw from life with these and do several preparatory sketches for paintings.
Sketching and Painting PlantsThere may be unique plants and botanicals to paint depending on where you live. Draw trees, small plants, flowers, grassy fields, etc. Look around you. Nature has a lot to offer for artists.
Check out Tina Marie’s beautiful flower photographs.
Draw and Paint Houses and BuildingsHouses, skyscrapers (check out Rob Heath’s art), cabins, tree houses, and more have inspired many artists.
Paint your own house or ask your neighbours if you can paint theirs. Scenes of old houses, factories, and cabins are popular with many people. This may seem like an overly used idea, but put your own unique spin on it by drawing it in your own style.
Images that Come to Mind When ReadingWhile reading the imagination runs wild. Picture scenes in your mind and try to paint them. Use reference photographs or models if you have to. Even consider doing a series of paintings based on a particular book.
Choose a random word from the dictionaryFlip through the pages of the dictionary, close your eyes, and point at a random word. What mental pictures come to mind from that particular word?
Draw several different images based on the word. If the word denotes a feeling, try to create an abstract drawing based on it. From this exercise, create a painting and name it according to the chosen word.
Objects Around the HouseThere may be several things around your house that can make great paintings. Juxtapositioning different objects together for a still life, such as a vase, a book, and an apple can make a unique scene with meaning.
Abstract IdeasThe great thing about abstract painting is that it is not always based on recognizable things. Color, form, composition, and medium can be the themes. This allows for all sorts of experimentation, and how we approach a blank canvas. You can work to fill the canvas as quickly as possible, or plan your composition beforehand. Abstract art is open to any technique. The possibilities are infinite!
DoodlingDoodle in your sketchbook or directly on your canvas. Doodles are representations of what we love to draw and paint the most. Get ideas from your doodles, or create a painting fully based on the doodle.
Use Reference PhotographsBuild a collection of your own photographs for inspiration, or browse through reference photos on the internet. Make sure they are free to use before creating, or you may run into legal trouble. Consider combining elements from several photographs as well.
Paint or Draw from MemoryThink of things, places, and experiences from your past and try to create paintings of them. Early childhood memories make great artworks, and often have a backstory that you can explain to others.
Use photographic reference where necessary but try to paint just as you remember.
Draw Blindfolded or with Your Eyes ClosedThis can be a great way to relinquish full control of the outcome. It may be surprising what an artist can come up with without looking at what they are doing. This allows artists to visualize ideas better, and express them without worrying about visual elements such as composition. After you take off your blindfold, you can work on the drawing some more, and even create a painting based on it.
Painting and Drawing Classes, Art Groups, and ExcursionsConsider taking an art class to help stimulate your spirit of creativity. Painting in a studio environment, and looking at the work of fellow students helps artists learn unique perspectives of looking at things. You can also go on painting excursions or take part in painting sessions with artist groups.
Gesture Sketches as Warm-UpsDoing a few gesture sketches to warm up for painting sessions can help to ease yourself into creating. Sketch yourself in a mirror or procure the help of a friend.
Time yourself for quick gestural sketches on a large sketchpad of 2 minutes each. This will loosen you up for painting, and clear your mind for creativity.
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Do you have any cool ideas of your own which can spark an artists’ creative spirit?