Whether you’re an experienced artist or a beginner, one thing’s for sure: drawing ideas are hard to come by. Though it might be tempting to wait for the inspiration to strike you, many people recommend spending some time drawing every day to build your skills! You don’t have to produce a masterpiece every day, but investing just a little time in honing your skills can make a big difference over time.
But that raises the obvious question of what you’re going to draw. Rather than letting yourself get frozen with indecision, let this list of cool drawing ideas be your guide!
You don't have to venture off the beaten path for inspiration... but you could!
Where to Find Drawing Ideas
Drawing ideas are everywhere. Unfortunately, it may often feel like you’ve exhausted every option around you. Maybe you get sick of drawing your favorite character over and over again, or there’s only so many ways to sketch your cat. You need inspiration!
Where to Find Drawing Inspiration
One of the most important things you’ll learn as an artist is the concept of a “creative well.” When you create things, it uses energy from that well. That’s why sometimes you might feel like you just don’t have any good ideas left—you’re working on an empty well!
But an empty well is only temporary. Refill your creative coffer by seeking out art that makes you feel good and inspires you to create. You can watch artists livestream on Twitch or flip through social media like Instagram or Tumblr to see what others are creating. Browse art books by people that inspire you or go to a museum. Get really old school and do what artists of the past used to do—take a walk outside and see what the world has to offer.
All these activities are ways to replenish your creative well. Once you’ve gotten some inspiration to draw from, you’re ready to get back to work!
All those paint splotches are signs you're growing!
What to Draw to Improve Your Skills
Sometimes you run into an art block because you feel like your skills aren’t improving. This is often known as a learning plateau—when you start, your skills increase rapidly. As you continue practicing a skill, your work starts to look the same because you’re working on refinement. Later, you may spike upward again, only to hit another plateau. This is a natural part of learning, but the feeling of stagnation (even if it isn’t real!) can be discouraging.
If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau, keep going! But also try spicing up your artwork with some new skills, such as:
Life drawing challenges you to draw people from real-life models. You can take a class in real life or even online. There are also tools like Line of Action to give you the experience of a life drawing class, including short-term drawings to practice gestures and longer drawings to really hone your skills.
Practice a Different Medium
If your digital art skills feel stagnant, try spending a little time with old-school pen and paper. If pencils are getting you down, try watercolor. If watercolor’s no good, bust out the finger paints! Sometimes a new medium is just what you need to ignite your inspiration. You can always return to your favorite medium later, and spending a little time on something else can remind you of what you love about your favorite.
Try a New Style
If your art tends toward hyperrealistic, play around with a different style. Get cartoony or abstract. The same is true if you prefer a cartoony style—getting outside of your comfort zone can be a lot of fun!
Fun Drawing Challenges
Art block is common among artists, and people are always coming up with new ideas to combat it, such as drawing challenges. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, try taking on one of these challenges!
- Inktober: Though it’s meant to be done during October, you can work on your inking skills any time of year!
- Lili’s Drawing Challenge
- Character Design Challenge
- Draw This in Your Style Challenge: Artists on Twitter and Tumblr often participate in a challenge to draw one another's’ images in their own style!
- Tons More from Doodle Addicts
Sharpen your pencils and clean off your brushes!
100 Cool Drawing Ideas
If you're still stuck for inspiration, good news! We've compiled a list of 100 different prompts to spark your imagination and get your creative mind working.
- A fern
- Your favorite animal
- A succulent
- An animal that has gone extinct
- A mountain
- An animal that lives underground
- A strange cloud formation
- A body of water
- A natural rock formation
- Your favorite flower
- The animal you LEAST like drawing
- A pomegranate
- A celestial body
- A venomous animal
I'm partial to raspberries, myself.
- Your favorite fruit
- Your state flower
- A poisonous plant
- An animal skull
- A mythological animal
- A carnivorous plant
- Something with fangs
- A crystal
- A mollusk
- Something furry
- A person with a big nose
- Your favorite fictional character
- Someone you know in real life
- A person you’ve never met but wish you had
- A historical figure
- A criminal
- A randomly generated character
- A bodybuilder
- A mythological figure
- A musician
Three extremely adorable ghosts.
- A ghost
- Someone who has the job you’d like to have
- Someone you see at a coffee shop
- A silent film star
- Someone you find on Instagram
- A scientist
- A wizard
- Someone in historical fashion
- Someone wearing a complicated outfit
- A person wearing clothes you wish you owned
- A witch
- Someone with your ideal hair
- A person with a different body type than your own
- A person who lives under the sea
- A person who lives under the ground
- Your favorite coffee shop
- A place you wish you could go
- A place you made up
- Somewhere where magic might happen
- A scene from space
- A scene in the future
- A scene in the past
- Somewhere calming
- A scene with lots of trees
- Your kitchen
- Somewhere extremely unsafe
- A city street
- A farmer’s market
- A scene from a fictional setting
Real places can be great inspiration.
- Somewhere with lots of neon lighting
- A fancy house
- A very normal house
- A path in the woods
- Somewhere you’ve dreamed about
- Your friend’s bedroom
- Your favorite restaurant
- A place you’ve visited as a tourist
- A garden
- A bookstore
- Your favorite aisle of the grocery store
- Your favorite food
- Something you ate a lot as a child
- A dessert
- A ship
- What you use to draw
Cute AND inspiring!
- A terrarium
- A magical staff
- A sword
- A laser gun
- An outrageous coffee cup
- A fantasy food
- A sci-fi device you made up
- A car
- A new book cover for your favorite book
- A made-up video game console
- A logo for a company you like
- A clock
- An unusual camera
- A bookshelf
- An empty bottle
- A full bottle
- A piece of armor
- A window with something outside
- Eggs of some kind
Now that you're inspired, turn your skills into a career by checking out this list of art schools in California!
Looking to turn your art into cash you can use for college? There are lots of art scholarships out there to help you do just that!
Art scholarships aren't the only kind out there—there are lots of other kinds of scholarships for high school seniors!
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.