10 Exercises to Help you get Inspired with Your Artwork

Puppies in Jail by collage artist Megan Coyle

Inspiration can take work, just like being an artist takes work. As an artist, you need to consistently schedule the time to practice your craft. When it comes to inspiration, you need to be dedicated to discovering and exploring different ways that you can jumpstart your creativity.

I usually find that getting myself out of my comfort zone helps energize my mind and makes me ready to tackle new and exciting things. So if you’re having trouble getting inspired, here are a few ideas of things you can do:

1. Walk around your neighborhood and challenge yourself to take ten creatively cropped pictures

This will help you start thinking creatively about common, everyday things and settings by looking at them in a new light.

2. Make a claymation inspired by a dream you had

Working with clay and thinking creatively about illustrating different moments in time, even if they can seem silly and nonsensical like dreams, will help you find the art in moments.

The Ewok Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The Ewok Terrier” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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3. Play with your food

Find different and unique ways to rearrange the food on your plate. This can help you find the fun in everyday activities. And who knows, perhaps this could inspire a fun new series.

4. Find ten different items in your room and create characters inspired by them

This is another exercise in finding the art in common, ordinary things. Our lives can’t always be really exciting or inspiring, so it’s up to you to find that inspiration in what might otherwise be drab or dull.

5. Write a poem where the first line comes from the first thing that pops into your head

Brainstorming ideas can sometimes feel like a chore. Turning it into more of a game can help you find inspiration, and get into a brainstorming rhythm.

6. Take a series of photos to make a flipbook

It’s great to look at things you’re used to and might normally overlook in a new way. Making a flipbook can help you focus on making mundane actions interesting.

7. Make a collage entirely from cutting and layering text

This allows you to look at typography in a new way – by focusing more on the shape and color of text than the actual content.

Portrait of a Dog by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Malachi” Collage on paper. 9″x12″
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8. Make a painting without using a paintbrush

Again, this gets you thinking outside the box. Without a brush, what kind of shapes and strokes can you make with other objects or tools that are dipped in paint?

9. Find the music in normal sounds and dance to it

Avoid succumbing to the humdrum of routine and the ordinary, by training your ears and mind to find the music around you.

10. Pretend you are someone else – what kind of work would you make? Try it!

Learning to see things from someone else’s perspective is a useful skill to have. If you’re making art from someone else’s point of view, it could help you think more about the messaging behind your work.

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