Where Artists Get Ideas and Find Inspiration (Easy Guide)

Budding young artists often want to know – where do artists get their ideas and find inspiration?

While no two artists are the same, there are lots of universal techniques and methods that most artists use to gather ideas and garner inspiration.

Artists typically get their ideas and find inspiration by closely observing the workings of the world around them, including nature, business, politics, and religion. In addition, many creatives get inspired by viewing the work of artists they admire, plus visiting art museums, shows, and galleries.

Of course, what works for one artist may not work for the next. Therefore, it’s essential to keep an open mind and consider as many different techniques as one comfortably can when attempting to strike themselves with a lightning bolt of inspiration.

So, what are the most common methods artists use to get ideas and feel inspired? Let’s find out!

Where do artists get their ideas and inspiration?

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Where Do Artists Get Their Ideas And Find Inspiration?

From The World Around Them

Artists look at the world around them for inspiration all the time. Just taking a walk outside at dusk is a wonderful time to sketch a patch of trees at sunset.

Taking photos while visiting a new city is a great way to inspire a new piece! Observing the wildlife or people around us can also give creative inspiration for those of us that write, illustrate, sculpt or paint.

There are endless ways for artists to take a walk or a drive, allowing themselves to notice and study the beauty (or lack thereof) around them and turn this raw visual data into art.

From Other Artists Who Work Within Your Craft

A sculptor who is new to their craft can always benefit from making connections with other sculptors.

Even following a fellow artist or two on social media such as Instagram or Pinterest would be a great way to see what other creators are making!

Increasing one’s confidence in their craft by seeing other artists’ techniques and pieces is an excellent source of inspiration!

Just be careful – there is a difference between allowing a more seasoned artist’s piece to speak to you and inspire you and closely copying their artwork. Do not steal another creators’ idea!

Use their work to create a springboard for a new idea all your own.

By Visiting Museums, Art Shows, And Checking Out Galleries

Anyone who is a creator or visual artist should be, as much as possible, keeping up on the “pulse” of the artistic world.

The best way to do so is to visit galleries, museums, join groups on social media, and connect with other artists of the same craft.

By staying up to date on the trends of one’s craft, there is almost an endless supply of artistic inspiration to be had.

There are opportunities for collaboration, brainstorming, new relationships, and simply gaining more exposure in the community.

Just remember, collaboration is not the same thing as taking from other creators!

Additional Ways Artists Find Inspiration

These, however, are not the only ways an artist can find that creative spark. Here are several other thoughts for tapping into your creativity and finding inspiration.

Emotions Are Very Powerful And Natural Sources of Inspiration Too

Have you ever woken up from a nightmare and immediately felt the need to write it down?

Many artists call upon their own emotions for inspiration, and on the flip side, they use their art to process such emotions. So it’s a win, win!

Continuing with the nightmare example – there are so many paintings and books and songs inspired by just one nightmare.

Using your emotional response to something to spark creativity can lead to a particularly powerful piece of art.

Sometimes Art is Inspired by The Real World (Especially Politics)

Art has nearly endless purposes for humanity. One of these purposes is to express and emphasize whatever political landscape an artist wants or needs to explore.

Social scientists do this with political cartoons.  Performance artists do this with elaborate performance pieces.

Songwriters and musicians will often use music to express their personal opinions on political happenings and trends.

Looking at and trying to understand the political world around us is a wonderful source of inspiration for many artists.

New Ideas And Inspiration Gained by Practicing Your Craft

Practice makes perfect. The more practice an artist puts into their craft, the more excited and inspired they are going to be to take on newer and bigger projects.

Practicing is so important for so many reasons, but at its core, performing your craft over and over is a wonderful way to gain new ideas.

Imagine having your hands in your clay, sculpting, and being so in the zone that you suddenly have two or three more ideas for new projects! (Hopefully, you have a smartphone, and you can take notes hands-free!)

Find Inspiration After Major Life Events

Surviving a tough life event is never easy. Lots of artists will choose to process these events with their art.

While not the most ideal source of inspiration, most artists would argue that pieces they have created for the initial purpose of dealing with pain or sadness are pieces that stay amongst their personal favorites.

Using art to process emotion will not only likely provide enough inspiration for a unique and emotionally charged piece, but it will also be a very efficient way to process these negative emotions.

Revisiting these pieces can often be another source of inspiration. It can also be a healthy reminder of a time that seemed very difficult but one that we were ultimately able to overcome.

Get Inspired by The Holiday Season

Decorating for the holiday season is an exciting time for artists. This is a wonderful time to create new pieces within the holiday theme. There is often endless inspiration.

Taking a walk through a department or craft store with a seasonal section or visiting any public decorations set up for your neighborhood, town, or city can give you some creative juice to work with.

The holidays are a wonderful time to soak up lots of inspiration and start creating your own themed pieces.

Your Creative Brain is a Muscle

Being a creative individual and finding inspiration is like working out your muscles at the gym. The more you workout, the more your muscles begin to develop and respond to the training.

Inspiration and creativity work the same way. The more you consciously practice looking for inspiration, the easier it will become to find it as your creative mind becomes conditioned to being used in this way.

Related: Find more ways to jumpstart your creativity here

Find Inspiration by Working With a New Subject or Medium

Sometimes switching things up will help a creative person overcome artist’s block and find inspiration. Try working with different subject matter than you’re used to. An art challenge such as this will often shake things up.

Alternatively, try working with a different medium altogether. For instance, if you’re a painter or musician, try spending some time learning to sculpt.

A new creative process will often lead to a unique idea that you can bring back to your preferred medium.

Finding inspiration as an artist.


No matter what your particular artistic craft happens to be, inspiration can be found just about anywhere.

Remember to allow your ideas to come from moments of pain or discomfort.

Don’t be afraid to call upon moments of transition, trauma, or unease, and use your imagination to not only create a new piece but also work through some of those negative emotions.

Inspiration can be found even in spaces such as a political upheaval – visual art, music, and writing is often used to explain and make sense of these unexpected changes in our society. 

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