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Sat, Jan 5 2013 21:32:05 UTC

10 places where artists can find inspiration

Just like a book author staring at that first blank page, many artists often have to face the fact that inspiration doesn't always come easily. You end up staring at your screen or tablet, wondering when the ideas are going to come. Here are 10 ways for an artist to find inspiration so they can keep going.

1. Family and friends

This may not be a big revelation, but going to family or friends for inspiration is a very good start. Unfortunately a lot of artists omit this step for fear of what kind of critical reaction they may receive, especially if they are making art that goes against the social norm. It's no surprise that some of the biggest and most well known artists of the past were making works that went against what most others in their times were doing, and as such it would have been difficult to have others, even friends or family, go along with their choices of art style.

2. Your scrapbook

Most artists have ideas on a regular basis, but those ideas don't always pan out to a finished product. You may start on a project, only to realize it isn't turning out the way you want and then trash it. But instead of throwing those aborted works to the recycle bin, why not keep them around in a scrapbook? You never know when you may want to go back and view a previous idea from a new angle.

3. Other media types

If you're a digital painter, it's easy to go for inspiration sources that relate directly to painting. The same is true if you are a 3D artist, your sources of inspiration usually cover other 3D works. But it can be very useful to go outside of your field to find inspiration. Even something like a song or music can bring you the right inspiration to complete your drawing. A photograph or movie can also bring you some ideas, even if you're making something totally unrelated.

4. Going for a walk

Your studio, whether that's your personal bedroom or a professional working place, probably includes a lot of material you can draw on for inspiration. But sometimes that just isn't enough. Going out for a walk is always useful for many reasons. First, it can help clear your mind, then you don't know what you may see. Unlike your studio, which may not change very often, the outside world is always in movement, and can provide you with some inspiration.

5. Other artists

A lot of artists are reluctant to look at other works to draw inspiration from. The problem is that you don't want to be copying their ideas, you would prefer to come up with your own. But sometimes that just isn't happening. A lot of the most famous art works out there are actually new versions of old ideas. Improving on an existing concept is just as valid as creating one from scratch.

6. Experimenting

Sometimes when you're staring at that plain screen, you just need to start doing something, anything. If you use Adobe Photoshop, for example, there are a myriad of filters and functions available to you that you can start playing with and will give you many different results. Just trying some of these out may give you the inspiration you need to keep going.

7. Enter art challenges

Most artists prefer to come up with their own creative ideas, but sometimes it may be useful to let others decide. Many art sites offer challenges, where they give you the topic and you have to draw something following their request. It may be a way to get something done in a case where you have no idea of your own, and you can often win a prize if you do a good job.

8. Look to the past

Most eras of the past have been focused on a particular type of art. Whether we're talking about Ancient Greek or the Renaissance, it's easy to recognize pieces from those eras. While you may already have your own style, it can be useful to go back in history and try some of the styles that they were doing, just to see what kind of results you may get.

9. Nature

Looking out to nature for inspiration is an easy one, and certainly if you have a park, river or forest near your location, then you probably already used this resource to your advantage. But looking out to nature can mean more than just pretty landscapes. Go out to the mall, look at the various store signs, the fonts they use, the embossing style. Or check out the patterns used in clothing stores, or on fabric that is being sold. You can find inspiration in many different locations, even if you don't live near a picture-perfect landscape.

10. Inspiration web sites

Coming to TideArt is hopefully a good way to be inspired, but there are sites out there that focus on nothing but inspiration. For design, you can try out DesignZZZ, whereas for Photoshop users, you may already know the very popular Abduzeedo, a site dedicated to tutorials and inspiration.

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