As creatives, we are often moved by an inner pull to create art. I honestly can’t count the times when I’ve had an impulsive desire to paint or draw, yet when I sat down in front of the blank canvas or paper, not a single idea would flow from my head or hands. During times like those, I actively seek a source of creative inspiration. A spark that will ignite the flame. We all have our own ways of “priming the pump,” of the creative well. The important thing is that we find something that will quickly get us into that artistic zone.

Beg, Borrow or Steal

Sometimes you just aren’t feeling it. You have the urge to make something awesome but the ideas aren’t flowing. During those times, I have a few “go to” actions I use that almost always help me start producing art. My favorite one is visiting a local art museum or gallery. More often than not, just being around other artists’ work starts my creative juices flowing and it isn’t long before I’m ready to head home and start working on masterpieces of my own. It doesn’t even matter if the art I view is similar to my own style. Simply being in the presence of art will often be all I need for inspiration.

If I’m not able to leave my house for a gallery, there are so many alternatives, thanks to the Internet. I follow several other artists on my Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest accounts, so just logging on to those social media apps is like visiting several galleries in just a few minutes. My favorite thing about the Internet option is having the opportunity to see a wide variety of art styles by artists at different levels of talent and accomplishment. Not everything is highly polished or commercial and that in itself can be very motivating for me.

Personally, I don’t endorse copying other artwork. However, sometimes I can create an entire new piece of art based solely on another artist’s color palette. I may even see one line drawn or painted by another artist that opens up a new world of ideas in my own creative mind. Artists have been using other artist’s work for inspiration since the beginning of time and it’s a great way to get started.

Random Acts

Another method I use to get inspired is to do something completely random. I’ll use tools I’ve never used before. I’ll use an unfamiliar medium or one I’m usually not very good with. I’ll play around with a style that is very different from my own. It may be best to try these in a sketch book or art journal but it also can be fun just to force yourself to work on a canvas or expensive paper. Shut off the inner critic that says you aren’t going to make anything good and actually make something good! Once you finish, you may have to put it away for awhile and look at it later with fresh eyes to see its value but you’ll almost always surprise yourself with what you allowed to flow through you.

Getting creativity to flow is not always easy but finding the methods that get yours flowing is the important thing and what works for you can possibly help other artist as well. What are your own favorite sources that get your creativity flowing?