02 Dec 9 Sources Of Drawing Inspiration
Finding inspiration is one of the main problems every artist has to face. You might feel like you’re just copying everybody else’s works because you can’t have any original idea. Sounds familiar? Let me tell you, we all feel like that at some point.
A drawing is someone’s take on a certain subject after applying a sort of filter to it, so the subject becomes a personal interpretation. If you want your drawings to be more personal (this is finding your own filter) you need to figure out what inspires you, besides other people’s work.
I’ve come up with a list of 9 sources of inspiration to help you find your voice and experiment with subjects you might have not considered.
Granada cathedral by @mariomartinart (me!)
As complex as they look, buildings are basically groups of volumes, shapes and lines. There’s so much abstract inspiration you can get from them: materials’ textures, tilework, façades, shape of elements like windows or doors… Also from the way buildings group together (think about those messy & beautiful medieval cities).
Architecture is all around us, so just go for a walk with a camera around the city and you’ll come back with plenty of ideas!
Clothes by Marimekko
If you’re looking for pattern inspiration, you should start with fashion. Visit a fabric store and you’ll see countless designs printed on the textiles. There’s a lot of brands that focus on bold pattern designs (like Marimekko) and I find them so inspiring. If you go one step further, avant-garde fashion experiments with volumes and concepts to create sort of walking sculptures (check out this collection by Guo Pei).
From now on, don’t forget to pay attention to everyone’s clothes on the streets, you might be surprised!
Scans by Dennis Kunkel
I’ve always been fascinated by this kind of microscope images. Even without the digital processing in terms of color, the way that cells and molecules interact with each other is still very interesting. There are a lot of different types of microorganisms, tissues, virus, bacterias, proteins, etc that can give you so many ideas to draw organic shapes.
You can check out more images like this at Science Photo Library.
Tattoo by Piotr Szot
Tattoos are an art form on their own, and a very underappreciated one if you ask me. Have you realised how unique the art medium is? Not acrylic on canvas, not watercolor on paper… it’s ink on HUMAN SKIN. Because of that particularity, tattoos have to be very precise and sharp (and all that at the first try!). The style can be as badass or as sophisticated as you want.
I really recommend you to search for tattoos when gathering inspiration, for example on Pinterest. If you are curious, I created a secret board full of tattoo art.
Crystals, rocks, minerals, gemstones… Whatever name you wanna use, they’re some of my all time favorite objects to draw. The most interesting thing about them is how they form perfect geometric structures (crystallization, snowflakes etc) in a way you thought you couldn’t find out there: nature is more organised than we think it is. Some ideas: quartz, diamonds, topaz, opal, sapphire…
This web has a huge catalogue of pictures.
Eagle Nebula by NASA
Did you see the first picture of a black hole that came out some weeks ago? We don’t realise our telescopes take impressive pictures of interstellar objects on a regular basis, and most of them are available online (NASA website for example). You can find nebulas, planets, asteroids…
Besides those real pictures, there’s a whole community of people that creates concept art based on this idea of astronomy, how could life in other planets be… That of course can be another source of inspiration.
7. Interior design
Taken from my Pattern Inspiration board
Interior design is all about combining textures, colors, materials, furniture… all in the right proportion to evoke the atmosphere you want. I think it’s a very inspiring field for abstract and geometric art. There are a lot of magazines and websites dedicated to it, but you can also walk around your own home and discover new patterns you didn’t pay attention to before! Think about curtains, carpets, floor tiles, frames…
I have a secret board on Pinterest with some Interior Design inspiration.
Monument Valley by UsTwo
Videogames don’t have the stupid conceptual limitations of a physical world (that was intense). Impossible architecture, fantasy worlds, dreamy color palettes, extravagant characters, their own mythology… literally everything is possible. Start researching videogames’ aesthetics and let your imagination fly high. My personal favorite is Monument Valley and its Escher isometric perspectives.
9. Title Sequences
Title Sequences by Art of the Title
Title Sequences are a whole department in the motion design industry. And it’s for a good reason: they need to have its own aesthetic that represents the vibe of the show and a whole narrative behind them. Think about all the movies, TV shows, series and so on that you watch regularly. Some of them will have amazing concepts that you can take inspiration from (for example, Game of Thrones!).
The website Art of the Title focuses on title sequences, breaking them down for you to understand the basic concepts.
More ideas for sources of inspiration in case you wanna continue the research by yourself:
Glass work, patchwork, crochet, maths (theorems, trigonometry…), literature (medieval codex, old botanic books), crafts (quilling), nature, photography, music, esotericism (tarot), dance, sculpture, pottery…