Draw or Paint Things in Your Daily Life
There are plenty of everyday things in daily life that artists can use as inspirations for artwork. Look around you. Maybe you have favorite objects that would make great drawings. Think about things where you work and where you like to go on time off work. Whether you watch TV, play video games, surf the internet, read books, etc, there should be inspiration there for artwork.
Your art is about YOU, so if its something you spend time at, it’s a worthy subject to paint.
Start a Challenging and Ambitious Project
Sometimes a very large ambitious painting that we can complete over a period of time can inspire us to create smaller artworks on the way. While working on it, several other ideas may come to mind. Have a sketchbook handy to sketch these. If you are feeling really inspired, put that large painting aside and work on something totally new.
Drawing or Painting Feelings, Moods, and Abstract Concepts
Create art based on moods and feelings of happiness, sadness, anger, remorse, love, hate, good, evil, and the like. Use your medium, color, and form to translate that mood or concept on the canvas.
The Places You Have Travelled
Create drawings and paintings of travelled places from memory, or refer to photographs you have taken on trips and excursions. These make awesome ideas for drawings and paintings. Let your mind wander back to memorable occasions on these trips. Use the canvas or paper to create a visual snap-shot of those events.
Paint or Draw Places, Objects, or People Most Important to You
The favorite places in your life, or the people you love the most should be something to stir that creative spirit. The places may be your backyard, cabin, your studio, or any other place you like to spend time. The people can be those in your family, and friends – spouse, kids, grand-parents, etc.
Get Away from Creating for Awhile
Sometimes, to get the creative juices flowing, and to come up with ideas, we have to do some other activity besides creating. In doing so, and having your mind occupied on something else, you may come up with inspirations for paintings and drawings.
Landscapes and Seascapes
Landscapes and seascapes have inspired artists for centuries. Look around you, where you live. Paint and draw the landscape and seascapes in your area.
Paint or Draw Images in Music Lyrics or Poetry
Read poetry and music lyrics and paint the ideas that come to mind. If drawing from a music lyric idea, bring your stereo into your studio and play the song while painting. Also, try the same with different types of music to come up with varied paintings.
Stories from Mythology, the Bible, and History
Stories play a pivotal role for many artists. Some artists come up with their own stories or produce artworks based on mythology, fables, the Bible, and stories from history. Rembrandt is one example. Many of his best paintings were of scenes depicting events in the Bible. He used his own imagination to envision biblical characters, almost if acting on a stage.
There are plenty of scenes in history that can inspire your imagination. If you do decide to paint something that is historical though, try to paint it in your own unique style. Also, refrain yourself from trying to search for other paintings of the same historical event, as this may probably affect how you achieve your own interpretation.
Look at Patterns in Daily Life
There are patterns all around us if we take the time to look at them. Plants have many distinct patterns that we can incorporate into our artworks. Look at patterns in furniture, floor tiles, city streets, buildings, and more. Look in biology books for patterns down to the cellular level, for plants and animals.
Draw and Paint Dreams
Many artists have been inspired by dreams while sleeping. Dreams link to the subconscious. Sometimes they do not make sense – other times they are quite bizarre. Trying to paint your dreams sometimes will help you realize why you dreamed it in the first place.
Look to Your Sketchbooks for Inspiration
Scan through your old sketchbooks and search for ideas you have not worked on. Pick one that attracts your attention and begin painting it. Sketchbooks for artists are meant to record ideas and inspirations, so it should be no problem becoming inspired by flipping through one.
Cars and Other Vehicles
Cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, helicopters, jets, and more can be cool subjects to paint. If you have a favorite car model, why not paint it.
Ask for Ideas Online
If you have a Facebook page or artist blog, ask your readers and fans for their input. Write a blog post asking for painting and drawing ideas. Consider letting them choose the subject of your next painting by offering a poll of different themes.
Painting or Drawing New Subjects you Have not Tried Before
Search for themes you have not explored. Try to be open to new areas even if you do not relate to it.
Copy the Work of a Painting Master
Historically, this is how many of the best painters learned how to paint. They tried to copy the artworks of famous artists who came before them. Go into a museum or art gallery and bring your sketchbook with you. You can also copy from reproductions in books and on the internet. Try to incorporate your own style into the painting to make it your own.
Turn each square into a picture.
“Draw the same object again and again and again...that's how I figured out hands.”
This phase is simple but it’s extremely important. On the surface it’s about loosening yourself up, which is part of it, but in truth it’s also a drill in it’s own right – a drill that’s so important and fundamental that it will improve every other skill you work on.
This is why it’s the first thing you do every day.
Warming up with simple shapes improves your stroke control, which will in turn make your work more fluid and energetic and will make your workflow much more efficient.
It also drills construction. You’ll find that the better you get with construction, the more you will internalize it. Eventually it will permeate everything you draw – naturally giving your drawings a feeling of weight, form and dimension.
Lastly, it gets you in the right mind-set before you begin the Study Phase. You’ll be primed to think in terms of stroke control and construction as you continue your study.
Here’s what you’ll want to focus on in the warm up:
Straight Lines and Ellipses
Keeping your hand controlled but relaxed, draw straight lines. It can help to draw two points first and then quickly “ghost” between them, moving the pencil above the paper to practice the stroke. Slowly bring your pencil closer to the paper until you set down the stroke. Once you’ve done some point to point lines, try some freehand lines. Check your lines with a ruler.
Once you’ve done some straight lines, try some free-hand ellipses. You can start with a full circle and slowly squash it with every subsequent ellipse. You may want to use an ellipse template, or create some ellipses in illustrator and print them out to use as reference. Draw a line through the major and minor axis (the line that divides the ellipse on it’s longest side and shortest side, respectively). Your ellipses should be symmetrical on both sides.
Practice drawing perspective grids freehand. Start with a horizon line. Mark a vanishing point and draw lines radiating out from it.
Three dimensional Shapes
Build simple three dimensional shapes out of lines and ellipses. You can lay them on to the perspective grid or they can be free floating.
Draw several points and connect them with freehand curves. Weave curved lines through the ellipses you’ve drawn.
Cover Your Bases
You can do a little of each of these in your warm up, or spend time with just one, but you’ll want to make sure that you cover each of these areas regularly. 5 to 10 minutes a day, should be plenty of time to get the job done.
WARNING: You will draw crap. That’s okay. Just make note of where you can improve, but don’t stress out about it.