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Creative block happens to everyone. Even the most accomplished artists experience times when they can’t find ideas for things to draw. It’s easy to feel frustrated when you want to be creative but can’t seem to find a way to channel that energy onto your paper.
If you are feeling a lack of creativity, don’t worry! You can find new drawing ideas nearly everywhere. In this article, you’ll find several lists of things to draw, which can spark your imagination—even when you feel especially uninspired.
To help you develop more long-term inspiration, we’ve also included a variety of exercises that can help awaken your inner muse. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or professional artist, these practices will help you break out of your comfort zone and find fresh drawing ideas.
What Are Some Fun Things to Draw?
Sometimes, getting your pencil or pen moving is all you need to unlock your creativity. If you’re wondering, “What should I draw?” we have plenty of inspiration for you. Below, find a list of 40 simple things to draw that can either stand on their own or serve as a starting place for your next masterpiece.
- Small animals
- Cartoon characters
- Rain clouds
- Teddy bears
- Candy canes
- Your pet
- Architectural designs
- Electronic circuits
- Musical instruments
- Facial expressions
- Hand gestures
- 3D forms
- Footprints in the sand
- Van Gogh’s Starry Night
Sometimes, a list of easy drawing ideas isn’t enough to get you started. Or, maybe you’ve already made your way through the entire drawing ideas list and simply need more inspiration. If you’re at that point, there are several techniques and exercises that can help you figure out what to draw.
Just as no two artists are like, there’s no single, foolproof formula for finding new drawing ideas. However, below are a few simple, time-tested methods for jumpstarting your creativity when that blank white page looks particularly intimidating.
Doodle, Don’t Draw
Doodling is drawing in a non-intentional way, while your mind is occupied with other thoughts—so it’s a perfect activity to do while you’re watching TV, talking on the phone, or listening to a podcast. When it comes to doodling, there are no real guidelines for how to draw; simply put pen to paper, start moving your hand, and allow your subconscious to take over. Close your eyes to further disengage from intentional action, and then open your eyes to find shapes and patterns within your work. Add outlines to your shapes and gradually turn them into a cohesive drawing.
Easy drawings like this have a calming effect and can help you process and develop ideas. This is a quick and stress-free exercise for creating dynamic and interesting art. It also proves that you don’t have to start with a specific idea to create cool drawings that are uniquely your own.
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Change Your Perspective
Looking at an object from a new point of view can get anyone out of a rut. For this exercise, simply pick an everyday object—like a coffee mug, plant, or instrument. Then, change the way you’re looking at it. Zoom in on a tiny detail of the object. Turn your back and use a mirror to look at it in reverse. Grab a ladder or step stool to give yourself a bird’s-eye view, or juxtapose the object with a completely unrelated one to see it in a new context. Get creative in the way you look at things, and you’ll have a constant source of new cool things to draw.
Copy Your Favorite Artist
Most people are taught from a young age that copying the work of others is wrong. But as long as you don’t try to pass the work off as your own, mimicking a favorite artist’s work can serve as helpful inspiration for what to draw when you’re out of ideas. Pick one of your favorite pieces of art—or do a simple internet search to find a work of art that inspires you—and start drawing. Whether you try to imitate it stroke for stroke, or you create your own interpretation of the work, you’ll be able to harness the artist’s style and techniques to create amazing art of your own.
Use a Drawing Ideas Generator
Drawing prompts are another good way to get creative juices flowing. Search “art prompts” or “sketchbook prompts” and you’ll quickly find a drawing ideas generator that can supply a lifetime’s worth of inspiration. Some sites will allow you to choose options or categories to narrow down your prompts, like “creature,” “object” or “situation.” The prompt may range from something simple (like “dog”) to something complex and detailed (like “dog on a hiking trail, wearing a small pack for supplies”).
One unique take on drawing prompts, called Oblique Strategies, originated from musician/producer Brian Eno and visual artist Peter Schmidt in 1975. Oblique Strategies was originally published as a deck of cards in a black box. Each card contained what Eno describes as a “suggestion of a course of action to assist in creative situations.” Now, you can find websites that generate the suggestions at random. The phrases, which range from “Use an unacceptable color” to “Faced with a choice, do both” may seem both vague and specific—which can create very interesting drawing challenges.
For maximum creativity, remember there are no rules when using online prompts to generate drawing ideas—the whole point is to interpret these suggestions in whatever way you see fit and challenge yourself with new approaches to drawing.
Commit to a Drawing Challenge or Series
When you want to focus on your drawing pad, social media can seem like a distraction. But in fact, it can serve as an infinite source of inspiration. Search social media, and you’ll likely come across some interesting hashtags for drawing challenges or series that can provide ideas for fun things to draw. Try searching for a generic hashtag, like #sketchbookchallenge, or track down a specific challenge for the current month, like #doodlewashAugust2020, which outlines a drawing idea for each day of the month.
You could also generate your own hashtag and drawing series, like #mydreamroadtrip or #myfavoritethings. You’ll develop new ideas for easy things to draw, and other like-minded artists may join in as well.
Plus, these challenges can also prompt you to share your drawings with others, which can produce helpful tips, constructive criticism, and even more ideas for something to draw.
When you aren’t overflowing with ideas for fun things to draw, it can be easy to simply walk away and do something else. However, that’s not the best way to beat your creative block. Sometimes, just starting a drawing—whether you feel inspired or not—can be enough to spark your creativity and generate new ideas for things to draw.
If you aren’t feeling particularly motivated to keep drawing when the ideas are sparse, try the following exercises and methods.
Keep a Schedule for Drawing
Good work habits can yield surprising benefits. Many artists find it extremely useful to create and follow a regular schedule for drawing, even if that means spending just 10 minutes each day creating something new. For example, after years away from the drawing pad, entrepreneur Adam Padilla regained his artistic vision by publicly resolving to create one drawing each day for a year—and posting the results on Instagram. Through this seemingly rigid schedule, he was able to reignite his creative energy.
If you’re feeling depleted, set a goal and schedule for yourself. Whether it’s doodling for a half hour each morning or creating one finished drawing per week, setting aside a dedicated amount of time in your schedule can put you back on track—with plenty of ideas for things to draw.
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Try a New Medium or Tool
Many artists rely on a favored medium or tool as a conduit for creativity—from a particular brand of charcoal stick to a hard H-grade art pencil. But what if that’s exactly what’s holding you back? Trying a new, unfamiliar medium or tool may unlock a new perspective on both what to draw and how to draw it.
Borrow a child’s crayon, for example, or try an old toothbrush dipped in ink. If you primarily work in black and white, try dabbling in color. Once you start to get comfortable, switch to another new tool and make it work with what’s already on the page. You won’t be able to help but arrive at a fresh mindset and approach for drawing, and you’ll have new appreciation for your favorite medium as soon as you go back.
Use the Buddy System
Connecting with others—whether they’re like-minded artists, art enthusiasts, or simply supportive friends—can go a long way in keeping you accountable and motivated. For example, maybe you tell your best friend that you want to draw something every day, so he or she can check in regularly and ask about your progress.
Or, maybe you declare your goal publicly on social media. Knowing that others are expecting to see your drawings can help keep you motivated to keep producing artwork on a regular basis.
Coming up with ideas for things to draw can seem difficult at first. But when you take advantage of the drawing ideas list we’ve provided here, as well as the exercises to drive your creative process, you will have no trouble igniting your creativity and generating new ideas.
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