8 Helpful Tips For Finding Inspiration to Draw and Paint

By Milan Art Institute on May 31, 2021
8 Helpful Tips For Finding Inspiration to Draw and Paint

Photo caption: Finding artistic inspiration is an uphill battle, causing artists to spend too much time staring at the canvas and not enough time painting. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

Zap! You’ve been struck by inspirational lightning. Now you can paint. No one really believes that’s how to find inspiration to draw and paint, right?

OK, well sometimes you might be hit with a flash of inspiration, but generally it’s not so instantaneous. So, how can you find inspiration for your art and more importantly, how can you stay inspired?

This is a dilemma that all artists face at one time or another. In a recent podcast, Elli Milan, Dimitra Milan, and Jake Dunn discussed ways in which they have been inspired and how they stay inspired. 

Here are eight helpful tips you can keep in your artist’s toolbox for those days when the skies are a gorgeous blue and there’s not a lightning bolt in sight.

3 Tips for Finding Artistic Inspiration

Sometimes, it’s just good to have the right tools at the right time. This list is great to put in a place where you can grab it quickly for some inspiration. 

This is a living document—just a start. Keep the list growing as you learn about other things that keep YOU engaged and inspired.

  1. Do something new.
    If you’re wondering where to find artistic inspiration, you don’t have to look very far. You don’t even have to leave your hometown. For example, you can try out that new restaurant you’ve been hearing about. Visit that new park that just opened up. Go on a new adventure—doesn’t have to be wild and crazy, just new to you. Take in everything about your new adventure as if through the awestruck eyes of a child. Just enjoy the moment and experience the wonder and newness of it all.
  2. Scroll through Pinterest.
    Inspiration for artist’s block can be crushed just by being inspired by what others are doing. Make this a weekly habit (at least). Create an “Inspiration” board and keep it fresh and new with an abundance of ideas you can use. You may not create something exactly like someone else. However, it can ignite that right brain and fan the flames of your imagination.
  3. Embrace the nature around you.
    Take a walk in a nearby park. Summer is almost here. The trees are almost in full bloom. Be like the Impressionists and take in the varying shades of the lush green foliage and grasses. The flowers provide a kaleidoscope of color that simply brings joy to everyone’s heart. Take it all in and let your right brain bask in the earthy warmth of it all. (This is something Elli loves to do!)

But… finding things to inspire you isn’t necessarily the main problem. Learning how to stay inspired is the key!

5 Tips on Staying Inspired

During the discussion, Elli mentioned that most of the time, artists paint when they don’t feel like it and as they work the paint with the brush, their right brain kicks in and the creativity begins to flow. Elli and Dimitra shared some interesting things that help them not just get inspired, but stay inspired.

  • Keep your inspiration tank full. Just like you keep fuel in your car’s gas tank, you must keep your inspiration tank full. Whatever it is that inspires you, make time in your schedule to do that or see that. That’s where to find art inspiration. Maybe it’s walking or riding a horse (like Elli), maybe it’s doing something new (like Dimitra), or just taking a walk on the beach—whatever it is, make time in your schedule to do it and fill your tank.
  • Live holistically. Don’t compartmentalize your life. You’re not just an artist when you’re in the studio. You’re an artist when you’re doing dishes, doing the laundry, going to your 9-to-5 job—all day, every day, you’re an artist. 
    Elli shares an experience she had while sitting in her hair stylist’s chair. There was a video looping through various hairstyle models. As she watched the video, Elli pictured herself painting them. She thought about the colors she would use and how she’d paint the strands of curling or straight hair. Just because she was getting her hair done doesn’t mean she stopped being an artist.
    You’re an artist—every day, all day long!
  • Your normal, everyday life should flow into your paintings. Similar to not compartmentalizing your life and bringing your art into your everyday, your everyday should flow into your paintings. Your everyday life is who you are and part of what makes you unique. Let that flow through your hand and brush onto the canvas. Be authentically you—every day, all day long! As Pablo Picasso once said: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
  • Live out the snowball effect.  Just paint. Keep painting...and painting...and painting. As you consistently go into your studio and paint, creativity will begin flowing more naturally. As you let your everyday flow into your art, your inspiration will flow more and more. As you live as an artist in your whole life and not just the studio, you’ll experience inspiration every day. As you’re keeping your inspiration tank full, it will start overflowing rather than drying up from lack of use. 
    There’s a pattern here—can you see it? Staying inspired is a lifestyle, not just a moment in time!
  • Most of all, stay involved in a community of like-hearted people. Yes, we said like-hearted. Jake Dunn coined the phrase. Like-minded people don’t inspire each other. They just think alike. But like-hearted people have the same passion, the same driving force, the same dream—becoming a professional artist. You simply cannot help but be inspired when those around you are excited and focused on that same creative dream of being a world changer through the work of their hands—their art! 

Final Thoughts on Where to Find Art Inspiration

Finding artistic inspiration takes work. You can make it easier by creating your own inspiration list. A list detailing things and activities that inspire you personally. Staying inspired is a lifestyle. It’s something that has to become a part of your everyday life, something that you don’t put on like a painter’s apron.

But there’s one thing we didn’t touch on that Elli shared. That’s to watch out for the vampires—the things and/or people that detract you from becoming the professional artist you’ve dreamed of being. They can be internal (such as feelings of fear, shame, guilt, etc.) or external (like people that speak negative, dream-sucking words into your life). These things must be purged from your life.

If you’re looking for a great community of artists that will encourage you and teach you how to find artistic inspiration, then the Milan Art Community may be just what you need. This online community will connect you with artists from all over the world. You’ll also receive access to a vast amount of resources that will take your art to the next level. Try the Milan Art Community today!

More on How to Find Artistic Inspiration…

Becoming a Professional Artist: Tips for Keeping Your Art Studio Organized

How to Become a Professional Artist: Building Your Artist Mailing List

Becoming a Professional Artist: 10+ Marketing Tools You Must Have

Milan Art Institute
Milan Art Institute

Post a comment

Get latest articles directly in your inbox, stay up to date.