6 Tips on How to Never Run Out of Ideas

Sometimes It Takes Creativity To Stay Creative

To never run out of ideas would be like gold for any artist. But it’s tough sometimes. I’ve been there. But I also found that a lot of it was me being lazy. I am literally surrounded by a gazillion things each and every day. And I can’t find one single thing to draw? How can I hope to be a professional artist if I can’t find something to be the subject of a quick doodle?

Staying creative is a challenge. So what can you do when ideas run out?

Don’t feel too badly. It happens to the best of the best. But what happens when it does? Do you just give in and not create? It’s tempting. Laziness being what it is naturally shies away from hard work. And creativity is exactly that. Hard work.

When the idea well runs dry, what do you do? Inactivity is never the solution!

In the previous post, I discussed the challenge of doing one drawing a day for an entire year. It’s a challenge that I completed successfully in 2014. Sound like a huge commitment? It is. But it is an accomplishment that I am proud of. That’s 365 drawings! How the heck did I not run out of ideas? Well, as promised, here are six tips on how to never run out of ideas…

  1. Create an Idea Generator. The basic premise is simple. Three jars. One for characters. One for situations. And the last for optional conditions. Fill each jar with strips of paper on which you’ve written those three things. All the characters go in the first jar. All of the situations in the second jar, etc. When you’re out of ideas, pull a strip from the first and second jar. The third jar is optional, but it’s always more fun. To read more about the Idea Generator and for a free download of starter strips to make your own jars, click here.
  2. A to Z. This one is also relatively simple and requires no preparation at all. All you have to do is pick a word(s) that starts with each letter of the alphabet and draw it. So on day one, pick words that start with A, on day two words that start with B, etc.
  3. Themes. For this one, you’ll need to decide on a theme. Let’s say your theme is your morning commute (if you’re on public transportation, of course). You can even decide on time frames. So for example, you’ll draw what you see on your morning commute for one month. Next month decide on a new theme. Rainy weather, animals, cityscapes, etc. Your choices are endless.
  4. Change of Scenery. It’s easy to become blind to the things you see at home even though your house is full of perfectly suitable things to draw. If that’s the case, it’s time to get out. Go to a coffee shop or the park. Zoos are always fun. Museums are fantastic for subject matter, especially natural history museums. They have sections for dinosaurs, animals, insects, ancient arts, etc. You could literally spend a month there and not run out of things to draw!
  5. Reinvent Characters. There are oodles of characters from comics, movies, and literature. Now it’s up to you to redraw them by putting your own flair into them. You could also draw them as their polar opposites. Superman vs Bizarro, for example. The Justice League has met up with their dark alternates many times. Challenge yourself by seeing what you can do.
  6. 100’s. Pick a subject, any subject. Let’s say robots. Design the robot’s face and then design 100 different bodies for him. Maybe you’ve decided on an awkward, nerdy kid as your subject. Draw him in 100 different scenarios. 100 sound like a daunting number to you? Start off with 50, or even 25. I’m willing to bet you’ll be able to hit 25 without too much trouble. But if it’s difficult, hit 25 and change subjects and do 25 of that one.

So there you have it! 6 tips on how to never run out of ideas. Hopefully with these suggestions your road to creativity will be smooth sailing. Sometimes it takes a little creativity to fuel your creativity.

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Freelance copywriter who is passionate about art and fitness. Check out my art blog at mnatiodesigns.com/blog/ or follow me @mnaito_fineart .