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Just Draw It -- Emails and Inspiration Resources!
November 25, 2008

Finding Inspiration for Drawing

This month I would like to share with you some secrets of where I find my personal inspiration. There were a few mails recently that read something like this one from Nathan:

I think I need some ideas of things to draw, I'm not really interested in comic books and I live in a small vilage of three hundread people, so finding things to draw can be hard.
- Nathan.

Hi Nathan,

I grew up also in a village of only about 600 people so I can relate to you!  There is lots of interesting things online that you can look at :)  Also, I find movies are pretty inspiring - I am really a big fan of Hellboy 1 and 2, Aliens, 5th Element - those are some of the best.

Best Wishes.

While working on both video games and special effects for movies it became very clear how important certain movies are to the culture, design and look of the movies and games that came after it. One of the most influential movies has to be James Cameron's Aliens. The style of the movie and environment are just awesome, and the amount of detail in every aspect of that film makes it an invaluable reference point for making great art. If you are stuck for inspiration - take some time to study the environments in that movie - amazing!

Depending on the style of art you are trying to create there are different movies to suit that style, but I personally love Sci-Fi and Fantasy movies such as the 5th Element and The Lord of the Rings because they combine both light and dark elements as well as the colorful and monochrome. These movies are like an all you can eat buffet - full of so many interesting things that you can notice and incorporate into your own art.

If you own a movie like these on DVD, take a second to hit the 'pause' button when you see something interesting on screen and really look at all of the beautiful details in there, and then try and bring some of that inspirational imagery into your own art.

Using Music to Come Up with Your Own Ideas

I also think that music is a really good inspiration source that we should all be using. I prefer music without words for doing this. Orchestral music and soundtracks are a great starting point. When you are listening to the music close your eyes and let your mind wander using the music as your guide.

Think about what kind of mood the music gives you and what thoughts come to mind. While you are doing this it may be a good idea to have a pen and paper close to you so you can jot down your ideas in point form, along with the name of the song if possible so that if you need to you can come back to the song later for more inspiration when you are actually working on your artwork.

Another good source that I used to use a lot when I was younger was digital music because at that time there was no such thing as MP3, so it was all just sound, no words to break your focus on the mood and feeling of the music.

The site that I used to listen to so much when I was younger was the Mod Archive. They had a huge selection of digital music that didn't have any kind of words with them. You will need a special player to listen to these kinds of files, and if you are interested you can get that here: XMPlay.

Finding Other Artists for Inspiration

Local galleries are a great source of inspiration and if have you heven't been to look at the gallery for a while it might be time to schedule a trip, as the exhibits are always changing. Many large galleries are willing to let you bring your sketchbook in and sketch while you admire the works there - Just call ahead to make sure that it is ok.

One of the great things about art galleries is that you never really know what you may find there and what kind of exciting ideas may come from examining and studying these works. It's always important to remember that art doesn't always mean just drawing and painting. You will surely find this when you have a chance to look at some modern art.

As I write this I'm on my way to New York to see some of the world's finest art galleries and museums. One of the good things about being back in North America is that we can take advantage of some really amazing and inspirational collections of art and history. I've been in a little bit of a slump myself, and hopefully this trip will help get me fired up to make more art again.

Using Art from the Site

Here's another email that I recieved and was more than happy to help out the cause:


I found your picture of a 'Santa with a cup of tea' on google images.
Would it be ok if I used it for a promotion poster for a music event for the Teenage Cancer Trust taking place this christmas?

Many thanks,



Hi Sam,

Please go ahead and use the image for your event - I am happy to help. Please let me know how the event worked out. I am just about to leave on a short vacation and will be away from the computer, so please have a good event.

Best wishes


I would like to remind everyone that you are welcome to use the images on the site as you wish, but please show me what kind of creative ways you have used the pictures!

New to the Site this Month:

How to Start a Drawing From a Photo - Learn some key steps that you should be using before you start any drawing from a photo.

Best wishes for your Artistic Success!

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