Unlock Your Inner Artist with 150 Inspiring Drawing & Sketching & Painting Ideas
One of the most popular questions I get asked is "How can I get better at painting?"
The short answer is: paint and draw as much as you can! This is by far the best way to improve your drawing skills.
The long answer is: find what inspires you and paint and draw as much as you can on that subject, over time you'll start to find your voice and master the subject so it will become easy. It's the long answer that typically gets people hung up because they don't know what inspires them. This is where this blog post comes into play.
Whether you’re an aspiring artist or just want to explore your creative side, there are hundreds of inspiring ideas for drawing and sketching that could spark your interest for any skill level. From nature-inspired sketches to abstract artworks, I have compiled 150 ideas that will help ignite your creativity and start you on your artistic journey or overcome a creative slump by getting those creative juices flowing.
Now, I'll preface this article with this: these are not all easy drawing ideas but are meant to challenge you at any level. I hope that this guide will help unlock your inner artist, inspire you to create beautiful artwork, and show you just how fun and rewarding drawing and sketching can be. So without further ado, let’s explore over 150 inspiring ideas of what to draw and sketch! Here you'll find:
- 30 Ideas for Drawing and Sketching Nature
- 30 People-Inspired Sketches
- 30 Animal Drawings
- 30 Still Life Artworks
- 30 Abstract Art Projects
While I encourage drawing from life, sometimes it is just not feasible, so here is an article that provides you with 17 Royalty-FREE image Resources For Artists.
Want to kick it up a notch? Take on a 30-day drawing challenge! Pick 1 of the sections and work it!
Ready? Here we go!
30 Cool Drawing Ideas for Drawing and Sketching Nature
Nature can be an inspiring subject for drawing projects for any beginner artist or a professional artist. From landscapes to sunsets, plants to animals, there are no end creative drawing ideas that you can use as the focus of your artwork! Want to take it a step further, play like Davinci who would combine characteristics from one animal and apply it to another (like creating mythical creatures where that have a lion's head and wings of an eagle).
You choose how you would like to work: either from a reference photo or live outside! Here are 30 drawing prompts and sketching nature:
1. A sunrise or sunset
2. The ocean
3. A mountain range
4. A lake or pond
5. The moon and stars
6. Floral patterns
7. Trees and leaves
8. A meadow of wildflowers
9. Clouds in the sky
10. Rocks and stones
11. Animal tracks in the snow
12. Rainbows and raindrops
13. A forest
14. An apple orchard (Or a local flower-growing farm - hydrangea farm, tulip farm etc.)
15. An abandoned house in a rural setting
16. Plants, herbs and succulents
17. Insects and bugs
18. Sand dunes
19. Wildlife in their natural habitat
20. A waterfall
21. Rivers and streams
22. Boats in the harbor
23. A rural landscape
24. Mountains and valleys
25. The night sky (a lovely challenge to draw)
26. Sunflowers in a field
27. Wild mushrooms and fungi
28. Foxes, birds and other animals (My favorite subjects!)
30. A beach scene
For each of these drawing ideas, you’ll need a range of art supplies such as pencils, pens, paper, watercolors, or pastels. If you want to add texture to your sketches, you can also use charcoal or even sandpaper. And of course, don’t forget to take the time to observe the world around you, taking inspiration from nature and allowing it to guide your artwork.
30 People-Inspired Sketches
Drawing and sketching people can be a great way to capture the essence of a moment or an emotion and let me also say, people are not easy subjects to master! It is only through focused great practice that you can master the human form. Here are 30 ideas for drawing people:
1. Children playing in the park
2. A person reading a book in the sunshine
3. People enjoying a meal together
4. Someone taking notes in a classroom
5. A group of friends laughing together
6. People dancing in the street
7. An elderly person smiling at the camera
8. Two people walking hand-in-hand
9. Someone playing an instrument in a band
10. A musician singing in a club
11. A couple embracing
12. A man smoking a pipe
13. People having a picnic in the park
14. Someone playing chess in the park
15. Two people arguing
16. A person playing sports
17. A family reunion
18. People running around a track
19. Children on a playground
20. A group of friends playing cards
21. Someone meditating in a park
22. Two people talking on a bench
23. A person jogging along the beach
24. People at work in an office
25. An artist painting in their studio
26. A crowd watching a parade
27. A couple walking along a beach
28. Two people talking in a cafe
29. Someone sleeping on a park bench
30. Two people stargazing on a hilltop
For drawing and sketching people, you’ll need to pay extra attention to details such as the clothes they’re wearing, their facial expressions and body language. You might also want to use photographs or life models as reference points when sketching people. And remember to take your time – the more details you add to your drawing, the more realistic it will look!
Want a great idea for a challenge? Try a 5-minute gesture drawing! To help with this:
Here are 8 websites where you can practice figure drawing
- Proko - This site offers a Free Model Sample Pack available for you to download when you sign up for their newsletter as well as FREE lessons.
- Line Of Action is a free online website with a variety of pose references photography. They mainly focus on Figure Drawing, Animal Drawing, Hands & Feet Drawing and Faces & Expression Drawing.
- QuickPoses is a website similar to the one above, but it definitely has more options you can choose from.
Sketch Daily is a very similar website to the two above with pose references and it lets you choose between three main topics: Full Body, Body Parts, and Animals.
- CroquisCafe is a YouTube Channel with art model drawing resources provided in a traditional life drawing class setting. Their videos do have nudity in them, and so they insist that the audience is 18+.
New Masters Academy is also a YouTube channel. Comparing to the previous one they have way fewer video sessions with pose references (at the time of writing only 15). However, these ones are featuring clothed models, so there are no age restrictions.
- CharacterDesigns is a growing collection of free high-quality images available for artists to use. They have many categories to choose from for your next inspired drawing or to practice figure drawing:
- Nude Drawing Reference Guide;
- Non-Nudes and Costumes;
- People and Events;
- Drawing-Painting Reference;
SenshiStock Sketch is a web-based app, that is similar to the ones we covered in the beginning. Images provided in there primarily come from the SenshiStock DeviantArt Page and are donated by the community.
30 Inspired Animal Drawing Ideas
Animals make for fascinating subjects to draw and sketch. From cats, dogs, and horses to birds, reptiles, and amphibians, there’s no end of interesting creatures that you can use as the focus of your artwork. Here are 30 ideas for drawing animals:
1. A playful puppy
2. A kitten curled up for a nap
3. A horse running in a field
4. Two dogs playing fetch
5. An owl perched on a tree branch
6. A rabbit hopping through the grass
7. A turtle swimming in a pond
8. An elephant trumpeting
9. A snake slithering through the grass
10. A cheetah sprinting across the savanna
11. A flamingo wading in a shallow pool
12. Two parrots perched on a tree branch
13. A bear fishing in the river
14. An eagle soaring through the clouds
15. Monkeys swinging from tree to tree
16. A lioness stalking her prey
17. A giraffe reaching for a branch
18. A hedgehog snuffling through the grass
19. Seagulls wheeling across the sky
20. Penguins waddling on an icy beach
21. Butterflies flitting between flowers
22. A beaver building a dam
23. A fox darting through the undergrowth
24. Two ducks swimming in a lake
25. Frogs leaping across a pond
26. Fish swimming in an aquarium
27. Crabs scuttling along the shoreline
28. A dolphin leaping from the water
29. A koala snoozing in a tree
30. A chimpanzee swinging through the trees
For drawing and sketching animals, it’s important to take into account their unique features such as fur or feathers, distinctive markings, and patterns, as well as their body language and expressions. For example; Did you know that a tiger's stripes are like their thumbprint - meaning no two tigers are alike!!! You may also want to use photographs or life models as reference points when sketching animals. With practice, patience and observation, you’ll be able to capture the beauty of these creatures in your artwork!
Here are 5 of my Favorite Skillshare Animal Drawing Classes!
I love Skillshare! There are endless step-by-step tutorials to watch, learn and do. Whether you are looking for a new skill or want to enhance your drawing medium, Skillshare provides a great option to find your next drawing exercise. Each of them inspires you and me, but for this section here are my 5 favorite drawing classes to relax, watch and draw with.
- How to Draw Animals
- Learn To Draw Animals By Doodling
- Drawing Fur
- Drawing Animal Portraits For A Beginner
- Masterclass of Animal Drawing: Beginner to Advanced
30 Creative Abstract Art Ideas
Abstract art is a form of expression that focuses on exploring the form and texture of an artwork, rather than its representational content. Here are 30 ideas for creating abstract art:
1. A painted canvas with swirls of color
2. A hand-drawn doodle pattern
3. An oil pastel landscape
4. An assemblage sculpture of found objects
5. A collaged portrait composed of geometric shapes
6. An abstract painting with splatters and drips
7. An inkblot drawing on paper or canvas
8. A monochromatic painting in shades of blue
9. An acrylic and paper mache sculpture
10. A mixed media artwork with fabric and paint
11. A drawing of a freeform face
12. An abstract landscape painting
13. A paper collage of colorful shapes
14. An abstract sculpture made from recycled materials
15. A charcoal sketch of an imaginary creature
16. A scratchboard drawing with intricate details
17. A monotype print of an abstract design
18. A geometric painting in bright colors
19. A wire sculpture of a human figure
20. An abstracted landscape made of paper strips
21. A digital artwork composed of overlapping shapes
22. An abstract portrait using mixed media
23. A drawing of an imaginary cityscape
24. An abstract painting with bold patterns
25. A textile artwork featuring geometric shapes
26. An abstract sculpture made from clay
27. A painted canvas featuring a variety of colors and textures
28. A relief print made with found objects
29. A digital artwork composed of abstract shapes and lines
30. An oil painting with vibrant colors and bold brushstrokes
Abstract art encourages creative freedom, allowing you to experiment with form, texture, color, and composition in a way that traditional representational art does not. Whether you’re working with paint, marker, clay, or digital media, let your imagination run wild and have fun with these abstract art ideas!
5 Abstract Art Classes to Get You In the Abstract Mindset
I personally have a hard time creating abstractly, so if you have this problem too, here are 5 fabulous resources to help you get into an abstract mindset.
- Simple Abstract Artwork - How to Have Fun With Acrylic Painting
Flower Painting & Pattern + Abstract Art & Japanese Inspiration
30 Creative Still-Life Ideas
Still life is a type of visual art that focuses primarily on depicting inanimate objects such as plants, fruits, flowers, bottles, and jars. Here are 30 ideas for creating a still-life artwork:
1. A bowl of vibrant fruit such as apples, oranges, and lemons
2. A vase of colorful flowers in full bloom
3. An arrangement of vegetables such as potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes
4. An assortment of teacups and saucers
5. A bowl of nuts and dried fruits
6. A collection of colorful bottles or jars
7. An arrangement of books, pens and pencils
8. A collage of photographs or postcards
9. An assortment of kitchen utensils such as whisks, ladles, and spatulas
10. A table setting with plates, cups and cutlery
11. An arrangement of trinkets such as coins, keys or rocks
12. A still-life painting featuring a basket of vegetables
13. An assemblage sculpture made from found objects
14. A collage of fabric pieces in varying shapes and sizes
15. A still-life drawing of a table with books and candles
16. An arrangement of seashells on a beach towel
17. A painting featuring an assortment of fruits in a bowl
18. An abstracted still-life sculpture made from wire and paper mache
19. A photograph of a collection of family pictures
20. A still-life painting featuring a variety of kitchen items
21. An arrangement of tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, and pliers
22. An assemblage sculpture of everyday objects
23. An abstracted drawing with minimal detail
24. A monochromatic painting of an arrangement of flowers
25. A charcoal sketch of a collection of bottles and jars
26. An abstract painting with muted colors and lines
27. A paper collage composed of found objects
28. A digital artwork featuring a variety of shapes, textures, and colors
29. A still-life drawing featuring various items found in nature
30. An abstract sculpture made from fabric and paint.
Still-life art offers an artist a chance to creatively explore composition, color, light, and texture. By experimenting with these concepts, you can create unique artwork that reflects your own personal style and vision!
More Still Life Resources!
For more on setting up still lifes and even painting one with me, check out the course "Intro To Oil Painting" where you'll be provided with a step-by-step tutorial:
- How to set up a still life that has great composition from objects you have in your living room or everyday life
- How to create a viewfinder
- How to create a lightbox to set up a still life using materials you already have
- Gain several tried and true fabulous reference photos to paint your own piece of art.
Check out this article for instructions on Setting Up A Still Life and 25 Ideas for A Still Life
Drawing and sketching can be great ways to express your creativity and have a lot of fun. Whether you're looking for inspiration from nature, people, animals, still life, or abstract art, there are plenty of ideas to choose from. You can try all sorts of different media using the same idea or the same idea from a different angle: from wire sculptures to textile artwork, oil paintings to digital artworks, there is something for everyone! With the right materials and a bit of practice, you'll be able to create stunning pieces of artwork in no time.
The key is don't limit yourself – let your imagination run wild and explore the possibilities - who knows, maybe you'll discover a whole new way of doing things you've never considered! Happy sketching!
NEED DIFFERENT WAYS TO GET INSPIRED?
Check out the Artists Soar Podcast where we chat about ways to get out of the creative slump and ways to find your creative style.
Listener Q&A: 13 Ways to Loosen Up Or Find Your Style. & 6 Ways to Meet Fellow Artists.