How to Come Up with Ideas for Your Art

I've compiled a list that I ask myself when I want to create a new series:

- What's trending these days? In politics, music, movies, fashion, culture...?

- Search specific hashtags on Instagram to get inspired by other artists who are making relevant art.

- Search hashtags that YOU like. For me, that's being outside in nature, drinking tea, and slow-living

- Actually get outside, whether in nature, in a museum, going out at night, and have life experiences. Inspiration usually comes at those moments.

- Watch your favorite movies and do a series of fan art, in your style

- Do the same thing with your favorite books. If these books haven't been made into movies yet, you can enjoy the challenge of dreaming up what the characters look like

- Have you moved a lot? Make a series of art depicting the places you've lived - whether your home, the climate, the landscape, or the culture

- Go back to the basics: figure drawing. Ask your friends to model (clothed or not!) and practice creating timeless charcoal, pencil, or oil art, exploring the beauty of the human body.

- Pick your favorite flowers and make art depicting at least 5

- Pick your favorite animal, and illustrate it doing different daily activities

- Get food-y with it: what's your favorite meal / drink? Pick a few and illustrate a recipe, showing the ingredients, label each item, and a beautiful piece of art showing the finished piece

- Choose a few emotions and depict them in an abstract way

- Try a totally different medium than you usually use (I use watercolor constantly, so I might try acrylic or oil)

- Illustrate your shoes

- Doing a series of self-portraits, maybe depicting your ideal self, your real self, yourself as your favorite animal

- Draw a series based on your favorite things as a kid. Mine was: Arthur (the TV show), Trix (cereal), Starburst (candy), Sonic the Hedgehog (video game), playing outside in the woods and building forts, making art and sewing...

- Make portraits of some prominent athletes / musicians / artists / celebrities

These are random ideas that might be good for sketchbooking purposes, or even as a small series upon which to build something larger and more concrete. Whatever your reason, let me know if you use the prompts, I would love to see what you come up with!

Marni Manning - Artist

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