Art inspiration is everywhere, right? At least that’s what they say. But when you’re sitting down to make your own work, it can feel hard to know how to find inspiration for art.
Whether you’re looking for painting inspiration or photography ideas, here’s how to cultivate a steady stream of inspiration—and actually turn it into art.
How to Find Art Inspiration
Step 1: Look at a Lot of Art
The best way to get inspiration for art is to look at other art! Frequent museums and galleries, pack your social media feeds with artists, and fill your home with art books. Take the time to study pieces and notice what about them inspires you.
Step 2: Look Outside the Art World
The most unique creatives find ideas outside of their medium, too: A painter inspired by the fashion world, a sculptor intrigued by a building. Pay attention to anything that catches your eye, even if you don’t immediately know how it could integrate into your art.
Step 3: Collect Your Favorites in One Place
You want to be able to refer back to the things that inspire you, so take pictures, save scraps and sketches, and collect them all in one place. This could be a Pinterest board, a folder on your computer, or a giant inspiration wall!
What Do Artists Use for Inspiration?
Outside of looking at the work of other artists, here are four common sources of creative inspiration for artists (and classes that’ll help you incorporate them into your own creative process!)
Artists in all mediums pull inspiration from the marvels of Mother Nature. If you’re not sure how to find inspiration for art, start with a walk! Learn how to look around you in Sarah Rafferty’s class, Inspiration Boards: The Art of Finding Inspiration in the Natural World.
Processing your life experiences through art can be powerful. Learn more in abstract artist Amber Vittoria’s class, Acrylic Painting: Playing with Inspiration, Color, and Form.
3. Everyday Life
Plenty of artists get ideas for their art in their daily lives, from the shapes of buildings to the color of someone’s clothes. Get ideas for using this fodder in Eric Friedensohn’s class, Inspiration to Illustration: Creating Personal and Iconic Artwork.
4. Creative Prompts
Sometimes you just have to start making something to get inspired! If you’re feeling stuck, use creative prompts—like the ones in Marie-Noëlle Wurm’s class, Unleash Your Creativity: Draw Without Fear in 5 Simple Exercises—to get your juices flowing.
Find More Sources of Inspiration!
Inspiration for Creatives: Unleash Your Hidden Muse Anytime & Anywhere
Examples of Inspirational Art
Looking for how to get inspiration for art without leaving your couch? Here are some great places to browse art online:
- Art roundup articles: Here are some for painters, abstract artists, illustrators, and animators to get you started.
- Digital museum collections: You can also look up individual museums to find more extensive collections.
- Online artist portfolios: Sites like Behance and Dribbble make it easy to browse work from thousands of artists.
- Pinterest: Search for the style of art you’re looking for, or follow artists you admire for a steady stream of inspiration.
7 Inspirational Art Quotes
Still feeling stuck? Read below for thoughts from creatives on how to get inspiration for art, use your imagination, and turn your visions into reality.
- “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” – Salvador Dali
- “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
- “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “Find something you really love doing and mix it with something you really care about. That’s why I’ve had such longevity as an artist. I really, really care about ending violence against women, and I really, really love playing music. It’s super enjoyable!” – Kathleen Hanna
- “I paint as a way of looking for myself in the world.” – Amy Sherald
- “Anything I can not transform into something marvellous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.” – Anais Nin
Open Yourself Up to Inspiration!
Creative Mindfulness: Easy Exercises to Find Magic & Inspiration Everywhere