Ready for a creativity reboot? From easy prompts to big ideas, we’ve got tips to help you feel the flow.
Call it flow. Call it focus. It’s that magic feeling of being full of ideas, and one just seems to lead to another. Those blank canvases or watercolor blocks feel welcoming, not accusing. The world is taking care of itself and all you have to do is — wait for it — create. After all, you know how to be creative! It’s who you are and it feels like the most natural thing in the world, and you’ll never run out of ideas and inspiration.
Every artist has had those golden moments, and most know that they can be fleeting. You think you’ve got this, and then you’ve got nothing. Those are the days when it helps to have some everyday wisdom, a creative prompt, a place to start. Or do you need something bigger — a change of medium? A deep dive into the work of an artist who inspires? From small to large, we’ve rounded up the best ideas from artists and creativity experts to help you start to recapture that feeling of flow.
Picasso, famously creative, seemingly unstoppable, is said to have warned, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” In other words, whatever it takes, put in your time in the studio, and keep at it. Your creativity will grow!
Tips, Prompts and Quotes from Creative Pros
Maybe upping your creativity is as simple as a routine ten-minute warm-up using an easy prompt, or reflecting on a quote, or breaking down an idea. Find the ideas that resonate, take notes in your journal or sketchbook, and make a firm commitment not to judge any of the work that comes out of your warm-up sessions! It’s truth that often the hardest part is getting started, and these gentle prompts and ideas are guaranteed to give you a place to begin.
- Danny Gregory’s 11 Ways to Be More Creative Starting Now
- Jeanne Oliver’s 42 Art Prompts for Discovering New Creative Ideas
- Fall in Love With the Creative Process | 23 Art and Creativity Quotes
When You Need a Jump-Start
When you hit a wall, prompts and affirmations might not be enough. If you find yourself in a creative block that just doesn’t shift, or you’ve lost confidence, it’s worth turning it around! No matter what, you’re not alone, and many artists, even the most successful ones, get stuck. Check out our batch of recommendations, ideas, and shared experiences from artists who’ve been there, or helped others who have.
- Jane Dunnewold’s 8 Ways to Boost Your Creativity
- Is Source Material Getting In the Way of Your Creativity?
- Fighting Through Creative Block
- Eric Maisel on Curing Your Art Burnout
- Three Creativity Challenges to Improve Your Art
Give Yourself a Challenge
Are you a goal-setter? You don’t necessarily need a ten-year plan, but a month-long challenge or a specific project or scheduled time to work can help define your creative space and reduce decision fatigue. There’s less to think about — you just have to meet your chosen commitment. Check out these stories for ideas that can work for you.
- Art Challenge: 30 Paintings in 30 Days
- An Artist Declutters Her Life … And Paints All Her Possessions
- How a Strict Artist Schedule Can Lead to Creative Spontaneity
- Dean Mitchell’s 5 Keys to Creating Art That’s All Your Own
Sometimes you’re just ready for a change — of medium, of pace, of scenery. Why not explore possibilities that will catapult you into a new frame of mind? (Travel can work, if it’s within pandemic safety guidelines, but opt for art-focused travel to stay on mission. For that, our guide to workshops worldwide can help.)
Listen to Other Artists
Our Art Bound Podcast, hosted by Doug Kacena, invites you to join in on intimate, inspiring, funny, and truthful conversations between artists. Try listening on your daily walk. You’ll get connected and hear how others live the creative life. Enjoy these selected episodes, and more!
- In Episode 1: Art & The Fear of Failure, host Doug Kacena talks with Daisy Patton and Quanh Ho to discuss fear of failure, imposter syndrome, and other feelings that might hinder your creativity.
- Episode 5: Free Your Art | Experimenting With Medium and Meaning: Suchitra Mattai and Taylor White, with host Doug Kacena, push back on labels, boundaries, and limitations of all kinds.
- For Episode 9: The Art of Experimentation, Andrew Jensdotter and Ashley Williams share tons of insight into the role of play and experimentation in the artist’s life.
What gives you a creative boost? Let us know in the comments!