Drawing ideas for creative inspiration

Drawing ideas for creative inspiration

If you’re struggling to come up with drawing ideas, you’re not alone. Many people deal with mental blocks, and these blocks can prevent us from practicing and improving a skill. I know the feeling; staring at a blank sketchpad with no idea what you’re going to draw can be really frustrating.

Here are a bunch of ideas and tools to help you pump out new, fun concepts for art in no time.

Drawing idea generator

All the drawing ideas on this site are plugged into an idea generator, powered by a simple button.

Just click the button to get a random drawing idea served up to you. There’s lots to choose from, so just keep trying again until you find something you’d like to draw!

The idea generator includes all the items so far from 1,000 easy things to draw, along with some other creative art ideas.

Every time I come up with new drawing ideas, they’ll be added to the pool of art prompts you can use as inspiration.

Here’s your drawing idea to try:

How to draw a human eye (examples and tutorials)

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Not interested in trying to draw that idea? No worries. You can try another one, or just continue below for some more ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

Having a few ideas in the queue for a new art piece can make the difference between improving your skill and neglecting to practice the craft. I love coming up with ideas—maybe even more than I like making the art. I try to explore as many ways as I can to help others come up with art ideas. The process of idea generation is fascinating to me.

To that end, I’ve created a lots of tips and starting points that you can use for getting your own art ideas. We’ll start with my personal favorite …

Tips on coming up with surreal drawing ideas

For something to be considered “surreal,” it needs to have a dreamlike quality to it. That’s a pretty open-ended definition, yet it still feels hard to define. In this article I lay out eight practical frameworks for generating surreal art ideas—many of which come from just looking around a room and using surroundings as inspiration.

See the tips on getting surreal ideas.

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A list of 1,000 easy things to draw

If you want a huge list of quick art ideas, here’s a place to start. I’ve generated a list of 1,000 simple objects—all of them relatively easy to draw, and am working through the list to provide example drawings of each idea. You can even submit your own drawings to get them featured.

See the list of 1,000 easy things to draw.

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Automatism: drawing whether or not you have ideas

Automatism is a style of surreal art where you try to bypass any kind of planning or conscious thought, and let your subconscious do all the work. It takes some practice, but it allows a very unique thing to happen: you can draw something unique at any time without coming up with ideas at all.

Here’s where to learn about automatism.

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A set of 10 creative drawing ideas

These drawing ideas are defined by setting limitations for the artist. Limitations give us problems to solve, which kickstarts the creative thought process.

These limitations help us avoid dealing with the intimidating blank space of infinite possibilities.  I like to imagine the act of setting limitations as building shelves to put ideas on.

The limitations function as a framework for the final art piece. In this list of creative drawing ideas, each one has two limitations. First, the medium(s) used to create the art piece have been narrowed down.  And secondly, the subject matter has been narrowed down.

Drawing idea 1: Colors, hands, and shadows

Drawing idea 1: Colors, hands, and shadows

The first of these drawing ideas sets you up with a light-on-dark medium, and challenges you to use colors in a way you might not be used to. The subject of this drawing is both challenging and versatile: a human hand.

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Drawing idea 2: Half of a face

Drawing idea 2: Half of a face

In this drawing challenge, you’ll use just a plain #2 pencil to depict something familiar: the face of someone you know. But there’s a catch: you can’t draw more than half of it. Which half? That’s entirely up to you.

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Drawing idea 3: Kitchen creatures

Drawing idea 3: Kitchen creatures

In this absurd drawing idea, you get to apply your imagination to random utensils, tools, or other objects from a kitchen. Your goal is to picture what those tools could look like as some kind of living creature. The art supply you’ll use: simply a ball point pen—or whatever kind of pen you have lying around.

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Drawing idea 4: Draw a plant with a plant

Drawing idea 4: Draw a plant with a plant

Since these ideas were originally set up as a monthly art challenge starting in January, the fourth idea lined up with springtime. Because of that, I picked a medium that forced people to go outside to find it. :) The art medium itself is a stick dipped in ink—and you’re supposed to use it to draw some kind of plant.

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Drawing idea 5: Draw food with food

Drawing idea 5: Draw food with food

With this goofy idea, you’re going to pick some type of food you have lying around. Then, you’ll use it to draw a picture of itself. There are all kinds of ways you could do this—using dry food to arrange it around on a counter, using sticky food on a plate, or painting on canvas or paper with sauces or juices.

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Drawing idea 6: Single line & drop shadow

Drawing idea 6: Single line & drop shadow

For this exercise you’ll look at a simple object like a pen cap, key, or piece of candy. And you’ll draw it with just one line. When it’s done, for an interesting effect, you will add a drop shadow with another color.

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Drawing idea 7: Greek or Roman statue portrait

Drawing idea 7: Greek or Roman statue portrait

You’ll reference an image of a Greek or Roman statue in this drawing exercise, using a simple ballpoint pen.

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Colorful alphabet creatures drawing idea

Drawing idea 8: Colorful alphabet creatures

In this fun drawing idea, you’ll pick a letter of the alphabet and reimagine it as a made-up creature.

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3 colors pastel drawing idea

Drawing idea 9: Shapes in the wrinkles

You’ll look at a wrinkled blanket, towel, or piece of clothing, and use oil pastels to depict the wrinkles.

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3 colors pastel drawing idea

Drawing idea 10: 3 colors exercise

You’ll take three brightly-colored oil pastels of different darknesses and try a unique approach to drawing a face.

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See the list of 1000 easy things to draw

Want to start with something easy? Go check out this list of 1,000 easy things to draw and pick one!

See them

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