7 Tips for What To Do When You Have NO IDEAS or Motivation!

Everyone goes through periods where you have no idea of what to draw or create, which affects our motivation. The irony of this is that I came up with the idea for this video because I had no ideas! These times can be frustrating, and the easy response is to wait it out until you magically get your motivation back. But this doesn’t usually work - or by the time it does, you’ll be wasting precious time just waiting around when you could be making things!

I used to mope a lot in these situations, but now I actively scope out possible inspiration for what to create. Motivation is something you need to be constantly working on to maintain, so I thought I’d share my tips for what I do to get my mojo back!

Photo by  Thought Catalog  on  Unsplash


1. Create a Collection of Inspiration and Reference

Whenever you find something inspiring, add it to a collection of inspiration and reference. This could mean saving photos to organised folders on your computer, or music playlists on spotify. Then, when you’re in need of inspiration, you can just scroll through your collections and see what sticks out and makes you feel inspired. The amount of times I’ve depended on this for inspiration, I think I would feel lost without it!


  • Photo references of anatomy, perspective (including ones with very warped/intense perspective), lighting/mood/colour palettes, faces/facial features, fashion/outfits/material, expressions, landscapes, animals, whatever!
    Tip: Go through modelling agency websites for some unique-looking faces. Find movie stills for great lighting, mood, colour palette, or composition references.
  • Other people’s art. You could like it for specific techniques or style, composition, colour, line, medium, whatever!
  • Playlists of songs which set certain moods and influence you as such.
    Tip: Create music playlists for different moods or themes, so that when you want to paint an image with a certain mood portrayed, you can gain inspiration through music whilst working on it. Eg: Dark and moody playlists for dark paintings, upbeat or confident music for confident characters, etc.
  • Make it easy to access.
    Tip: do it on dropbox or similar if you can, so that you can access it wherever you need to.
Using http://chadwickmodels.com to find inspiration for faces/facial features.

Using http://chadwickmodels.com to find inspiration for faces/facial features.


2. Think About Recent Experiences

Have you had any notable experiences or strong emotions you’ve felt recently? Try to channel that feeling into your art. For example, I got the idea of this video/blog because I myself was experiencing this exact thing! Use what could be a personal setback to your advantage, and use it as creative inspiration.

Tip: write or sketch down how you’re feeling at the time. It’s easier to remember or think back on those experiences for creating later on.


3. Trawl through certain websites which inspire you

Could be:

  • themed tumblrs

  • Instagram Influencers (a lot of people complain about the nihilistic millennials, but honestly there are so many unique people out there and I love when those kinds of people just upload a bunch of photos of themselves)

  • Pinterest

  • Blogs

  • Youtube(rs)

  • Fashion designer sites (oooooft alexander mcqueen)

It all depends on what inspires you or what kind of art you create.

Tip: Again, whenever you stumble upon inspiring websites, BOOKMARK THEM!


4. Listen to particular music that get’s you inspired or in certain moods. Eg: bright, smooth music for a calm drawing

As I said above, create playlists which set a certain mood or theme. Music has a surprising effect on your mood, and therefore inspiration. It’s especially good for times when you start a drawing in a certain mood, but can’t expect to feel that way for the entirety of the artwork (especially for works which take several days or weeks to complete) - listening to music can help bring you back to that mood and help you connect with your art.


5. Watch Certain Movies That Always Inspire You

Everyone has particular tastes in movies, and you can be inspired by movies for many different reasons - for the cinematography, the actors, characters, sets, costumes, soundtrack, or storyline.

Tip: I don’t work well if I’m trying to draw whilst also concentrating on a movie, so I find I work best when I watch a movie, and reference certain shots from within the movie, or a good one is to listen to the soundtrack whilst I’m working! Listening to the music from the movie will help take you make to the mood of watching it.

Utilising https://movie-screencaps.com to find great movie shots.

Utilising https://movie-screencaps.com to find great movie shots.


6. Have a Change of Scenery

  • Go outside, go for a walk and listen to some music whilst you do, and just think. Note anything that you think about that gives you inspiration.

  • Exercise - a way to give your brain a break and focus on something else, and also gives you mental energy - make you less lethargic and more motivated to be productive. After a good workout session you’ll feel motivated, and exercising with music can have the same thinking effect as going for a walk.

  • Do mindless tasks and think throughout them. I can think of great ideas when cleaning, doing the dishes, showering.

  • Avoid your phone for a while so that you don’t mindlessly scroll. This can kill many ideas - or, you can find something inspiring but then get lost in your scrolling and forget about it forever. If you find inspiring things on instagram, screenshot them and immediately upload the screenshot to the cloud - whether that be dropbox, icloud, or google drive.


7. Try to Avoid Distractions

  • I find drawing whilst watching TV/movies to be distracting - everyone is different, of course, but I recommend listening to music over watching things, as it’s more motivating/inspiring than distracting.

  • Same goes for social media or being online. Make sure you’re not getting too distracted by it and breaking your concentration or mood.