Drawing can be a fun activity, but sometimes it's hard to get started. If you're confused about what to draw, start with some prompts and other clues. You can also look for inspiration in the art world and other areas that interest you. Getting used to drawing regularly can also keep creativity flowing.
Method 1 of 3: Looking for Hints
Step 1. Use an idea angler
There are several websites that have a list of idea pitchers that will give you an assignment or subject to draw on. You can find the site by doing a quick search on the internet. You can also follow some of the ideas that are available on social media, such as Art Assignment Bot (@artassignbot) on Twitter or Drawing-Prompts on Tumblr. Common idea anglers include:
- “Draw a flock of birds congregating in a club”
- “Draw something that scares you, but in a funny way”
- “Draw a restaurant you wouldn't go to”
- “Draw an emcee for a fictitious game show”
Step 2. Draw something from your favorite category, but in a new way
You may feel bored if you draw something over and over again. If you like images from a certain category, such as natural landscapes or imaginary landscapes, you can still do it, but do it with a new perspective. For example, if you like drawing people, you can draw someone:
- The ones you know well instead of strangers you've never seen.
- As you would normally do, but make one of the hands very large.
- Imagined as a superhero, but impossible.
- As you imagine 50 years from now.
Step 3. Set boundaries or parameters for your image
Sometimes the question “What should I draw?” so vast that you find it difficult. If you force yourself to think “inside the box” you might actually be able to break through to create something interesting. Set some rules and start drawing following those rules.
- For example, you can draw the same object 20 times, but make one small change each time.
- Or, you can draw the first 10 objects that come to mind starting with the letter "M," whatever they are.
Step 4. Try provoking ideas using Oblique Strategies
Oblique Strategies was originally a deck of cards developed by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. Each card has unique clues that will guide you to draw something through lateral thinking, or approach a problem from an unconventional perspective. Choose a card and follow the instructions given. Trigger ideas that are usually given include:
- "Retrace your steps".
- “Take sudden, destructive and unexpected actions. Merge".
- “Pay close attention to the most embarrassing details and make them clear.”
Method 2 of 3: Trying Different Drawing Techniques
Step 1. Draw a doodle
If you have no idea at all, put a pen to paper and move it around. Draw lines, simple shapes, doodles, cartoon characters, stick figures, or anything you can come up with. The physical act of moving your hand to draw can give you a new passion. Doodling allows you to think and create in a free and almost unconscious way.
Step 2. Sketch a picture of the body movement
This sketch is a very important element in drawing, but you can use it for other situations as well. Set a timer for one minute and try to draw a whole figure or object. You have to work quickly, while forcing yourself to capture only the most important elements of the subject. After that, try to draw some of these images in 5-10 minutes.
You can even use online images as subjects to draw body movements
Step 3. Make an image from the photo
Photos can be very helpful as an image base, especially if you're running out of ideas. If you don't have anything to draw, find an interesting or completely new photo to draw. For example, take a magazine and tell yourself to draw whatever you find on page 3, no matter what it is.
Step 4. Imitate the work of the masters
If you have absolutely no ideas and don't know what to draw, there's nothing wrong with copying someone else's work! Trying to redraw the work of other artists will not only solve the problem of the idea deadlock you are experiencing, but also provide a good opportunity to learn.
- Consider imitating the work of well-known artists like Basuki Abdullah or Jeihan. Or, younger artists like Anindito Wisnu or Frieda Kahlo.
- Many museums allow you to sketch on the spot. Bring a sketchbook and a pencil and draw drawings imitating the work that inspired you.
Step 5. Read a book about drawing
Maybe you think reading a book about drawing is a boring activity, not something that will stimulate creativity. However, if you're stuck with ideas, one of these books can help. Even if you're an experienced artist, learning the fundamentals and trying some basic drawing exercises can spark new passions and lead you to big ideas. Some of the classic books on drawing that you can read include:
- Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (Betty Edwards)
- Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner (Claire Watson Garcia)
- Elements of Drawing (John Ruskin)
- The Practice and Science of Drawing (Harold Speed)
- Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form (Eliot Goldfinger)
- What to Draw and How to Draw It (E. G. Lutz)
Method 3 of 3: Developing the Habit of Drawing
Step 1. Try another activity before starting to draw
Why don't you read, listen to music, dance, or do some other creative activity? Or, try walking around the house. Clearing your mind can refresh your creative side. Also, you can think of it as a source of input to get drawing ideas. For example:
- When walking around the house, look for objects or scenes that look ordinary, but can make good subjects for an image.
- Think about what images come up from the music you're listening to, and try drawing them.
Step 2. Don't limit yourself to one medium
Trying out new media can be refreshing if you're stuck and don't know what to draw. Even drawing on a familiar subject can be a new source of inspiration if created in a new medium. Try different media, such as:
- Whiteboard marker
- Crayon Conte
Step 3. Draw every day
Force yourself to draw something, even on days when you can't think of a good idea. Even if you think the pictures made on those days weren't great, don't give up. By getting into the habit of drawing regularly, you have a greater chance of producing great work than if you wait for inspiration.