Inspiration for Artists: 5 Tips for Finding Your Creative Groove

Uncategorized Dec 14, 2020

Photo caption: Having some painting ideas flowing in your head is one way to combat artist block. Photo courtesy of Dimitra Milan.

For many artists, inspiration can strike at any time: on the road to an appointment, in line at the grocery store, in bed at 2:00 a.m. It can also be taken away at any time. That’s why finding, or better said, creating sources of inspiration for artists can be so important. 

Here’s what we mean. Unaddressed artist’s block can feel debilitating. Knowing that it happens to most artists at some time or another and finding ways to combat it before it happens is the key to moving through it. 

Here are five of our favorite ways to find some inspiration as an artist when the creative well seems to have run dry.

1. Set a Schedule

Inspiration for artists sometimes comes not because we waited until it showed up, but rather, because we chased after it. We tell our students in the Mastery Program to set a schedule to paint each week, to treat it like a job. In this case, inspiration comes from just showing up and from always having something to paint.

If you have trouble with the latter suggestion, you may want to keep a stockpile of images that speak to you.These are images that can come from photographic sources  or from ideas that you’ve developed in your sketchbook

Keeping a store of images on hand gives you some ready-made materials to draw from when you need a bit of burst of artistic inspiration to get yourself started once again. You can catalogue these images according to subject matter, world cultures, different styles or design, or you can mix and match ideas to shake things up a bit. 

2. Keep Your Artist Studio/ Space Set Up & Ready to Go

The more effort it takes to start a painting or drawing, the more likely it will be that your art efforts will get put to the side. When you already don’t feel like painting, it can feel really inconvenient to have to set up an easel, organize your paints and find a suitable canvas. 

If you’re worried that you don’t have enough space for a studio, you may want to check out our suggestions for making your own art studio, no matter how much space you have. 

Or you may find inspiration in seeing how two of our Mastery Program graduates, Jodee Huish and Esther Franchuk set up their studios. 

Video caption: Take a look at Mastery Program graduate Jodee Huish’s studio.


Video caption: Here is Mastery Program graduate and MAI art mentor Esther Franchuk’s studio.

3. Turn to the Old Masters

Sometimes, the best inspiration for a painting comes from the past. Recently, the Milan Art Institute’s Art Club 👉

held a contest that asked participants to create a piece of art that was inspired by the work of an Old Master. Maybe you’d like to offer your take on one of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings or perhaps, one of John Singer Sargent’s paintings. 

4. Set a Daily Minimum

Sometimes, artistic inspiration comes in small doses that eventually, turn into great flows of creative work. In light of that, we highly recommend that you develop a habit of making art every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day. 

This works for a couple of reasons. First, it helps you set a habit. Once you have the habit ingrained in you, it’s easier to follow through. It’ll just be a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast.

Second, you may find that once you start painting or drawing, your 15-minute session could turn into longer and longer sessions. Most professional artists work 40 hours a week. You can build into longer painting sessions by starting with some shorter ones.

5. Do Something Fun

Inspiration for artists who only work on class assignments and commission work can begin to wane at times. It’s not that artists don’t love these projects. It’s just that having to do something can take all the fun out of it, even for something like art creation.

That’s why it’s important to do some fun art activities occasionally. That might mean creating a piece for an art challenge, trying some new art supplies, like creating an art journal or creating some fanart of your favorite movie or book characters. These types of projects inspire you and work out your creative muscles at the same time.

Final Words on Inspiration for Artists

Finding sources of inspiration for your next works of art is an important step to take if you want to prevent artist’s block and to continue to create meaningful artwork for yourself and your collectors. Having some go-to solutions that will help you get over the creative hump allows you to feel empowered and gets you back at your easel again.

Here Are Some More Articles to Get Your Inspiration On!

My Mastery Program Journey: One Student’s Vlog of His Experience  

A Case for Urban Sketching: Why Draw in the Age of Photography?  

The Top 10 Virtual Museum Tours for Fall of 2020 

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