Running out of ideas for your next piece? Getting tired of the typical prompts? Looking to discover new styles and techniques? Artist’s blocks can strain your thought process—even your confidence as a creative. That’s why we’ve got five fresh and riveting illustration ideas for you to explore and try out!
Draw your favourite fictional character
in your style
Whether you’re a seasoned creator with years of experience or a fledgling artist still finding their footing, you can never go wrong with sticking to what you know best—and that includes your own style and the characters you adore.
Chances are, you’ve already doodled them on your sketchpad or notebook a handful of times, only in their original style. So why not inject your signature flavour into their looks to produce a fantastically unique reimagination of their persona?
Maybe you’d want to sprinkle in a bit of added flair to their outfits or transform their feel by turning their features more lifelike. You could even switch up their original colours by applying your personal palette!
Imagine what’s inside your favourite character’s bag
While we’re still on the subject of drawing inspiration from your favourite character, you could explore their personality further in your work by illustrating what they might pack in their bags before they set out on their wild adventures.
The sky’s the limit here, really. You can come up with your own take on their inventory and even include items or tools you’ve never seen them carry in the shows or movies you’ve watched them on.
Depict a scene
using song lyrics
Let’s leave your beloved fictional universes behind for now and step into the realm of your imagination—and don’t forget to take your music player with you in this scene.
Picture yourself standing in the middle of a wide room, white in all directions. Now, bring out your music player and choose one random song in your go-to playlist. Then, hit play and let the music fill the entire room.
It may take you a few listens (or just one if inspiration hits you quick enough), but once you hear a portion of the song that resonates with you, start painting the room with the images evoked by the words flooding the space around you.
After all is said and done, behold the masterpiece you’ve created.
If that still doesn’t do it for you, though, you could…
Illustrate an idiom
or a proverb
You might consider adding a creative (maybe even witty) spin to idioms, proverbs, and other widely-known sayings. Here’s an idea you could start with: an image of Earth with a huge hole in the middle where the core is and, in that hole, a giant heart spinning.
Let’s take a quick detour into uncharted territory. You’ve probably already thought about doing this in the past, so now might just be the best time for you to use a new medium in your next WIP!
Don’t worry about spending too much on new gear, though. Unless you’re planning on dipping your toes into digital art, you can always find sweet bargains at your local art supplies store—even online if you look hard enough!
Draw a mind map
for your next WIP
Perhaps you’ve already got a few vague inklings about what your next illustration’s going to be. It’s just that they’re a little too jumbled up in your noggin for you to develop them into a coherent project idea.
There’s no better way to organise your cluttered thoughts than by piecing them together in a visual mind map. You can check out a few of our Ortus Draws-signature live sketchnotes here to get a feel of how you can mind-map your ideas effectively!
Go back to basics
If all else fails, you could just polish your fundamentals to sharpen your skills further. Practice does make better, so dust off your old workbooks, ready your tracing paper, and go back to basics.
We’ll leave you with one final—and our most valuable—piece of advice: don’t force it. It’ll only frustrate you further and chip away at your confidence even more. Take a step back from all your WIPs and breathe—or figure out how else you can deal with creative blocks, just like what we’ve illustrated ourselves here!