Are you tired of the same old boring list of drawing ideas that tell you to draw a cat or sketch a house? It’s time for something different, isn’t it? Something that will help you learn how to draw, inspire you to draw something new, and give you real advice as to what you should really focus on when drawing. If that’s what you’ve been searching for, you’ve come to the right place.
These drawing ideas are different, creative, fantastic, and hidden gems in the wall of knowledge about drawing that you’re about to experience. This is the hard stuff, the real information that’s too in-depth for a listicle, but what every real artist actually needs if they want to draw something spectacular.
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for the tutorials, the guidelines, and the easy answers. There absolutely is. Sometimes you just need to see a sketch of a cat in stages to understand how to draw a cat. And sometimes you just need some inspiration from other artists or a list of fresh ideas.
That’s why at the end of this post, there are over 30 drawing ideas sourced from Pinterest of different things you can draw – most with tutorials, and after that, there’s an infographic with 60 more random drawing ideas. Whether you are looking for sketchbook ideas, inspiration, or how-to-draws – we’ve got you covered.
But first, we’re going to answer that age-old question “What should I draw”, with a unique perspective to help you get over the artist’s block that drove you to search for these ideas in the first place.
Table of Contents
Amazing Art is Everywhere – The Artist’s Perspective
I just can’t keep up with the sheer riot of amazing artists I see every day on various media sources. How can you not be simultaneously inspired by and depressed by that kaleidoscope of creativity? When I say depressed, I assume you know what I mean.
Are all the good drawing ideas already taken?
You come up with this cool design of a goldfish right? You work hard on it, give it all the time and effort you have, only to see some other artist’s goldfish … and it totally blows your goldfish out of the water. Now, here’s what I do in this situation: I never paint a goldfish again, that’s for sure, then I start looking at other things that maybe I could do better. Because obviously I’m not cut out for goldfish …
What Are Some Good Drawing Ideas?
If that’s why you’re searching for some fresh new subject to loose your creativity upon, I feel your pain. But be cautious with these emotions, because it’s a downward slope. Maybe instead of goldfish, you decide on iguanas. But do it smart this time, let’s go see how good other people are doing iguanas…
Not iguanas, look at THIS guy’s art, mainly featuring iguanas, by the way. There’s NO WAY I could compete with that guy. Ladybugs. Amazing ladybug artists everywhere. Antique children’s toys? Oh hell no, you know who paints antiques? People who bought those things before they were antiques, that’s who. I love antiques, I’m just being hateful. It adds drama. Cars? You’ve got to be kidding me, automotive illustrators are brilliant … Football? Well, there’s always business school, right?
How to Get Rid of Artist’s Block?
So that’s one kind of artist block, but maybe you’re here because you’re stuck. Maybe you’ve been drawing goldfish, but lately, your goldfish are looking stale. Or maybe your goldfish look fine, but your seascapes look like an 8-bit Super Mario level(all you wanna do is get outta there, know what I mean?). Or maybe you’re trying to draw, but you’re off, and everything you draw looks like a flaming paper bag that rang your doorbell after eating some rather suspect gas station sushi.
Hey, it all happens to the best of us. It can be really good to save your crappy artwork so that you can be inspired by your own progress, and take an important next step:
Light Your Old Artwork on Fire!
Ok, that being said, I cannot tell you how freeing it can be to take your blah stuff from the last 3-6 months, stack it like a house of cards in the backyard, and feel your own maturity taking shape … by … fighting the urge to … make smores over the embers of all those toxic craft store chemicals. See? You’re growing already.
Seriously though, even if you don’t experience the singular flavor of marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate toasted to turpentine perfection, putting away the images of your past can untether you from those expressive habits that once so defined, yet now restrict you.
Use a Blank Slate
I mean, it’s kind of a derp moment when you have to be reminded as an artist to start over with a blank canvas, but cut us some slack, we have busy little minds ok? Deal.
Take everything off the walls, or start working in a different room. Anything to jumpstart that idea that from now on, you’re not making anything unless it has something better than everything you’ve done before.
How to Make Your Artwork Evolve
This is actually what makes art so cool. So what if some guy in Argentina gets famous for his 6-story-high photorealistic, highly-lucrative goldfish mural in downtown Buenos Aires. Yawn. I mean, cool artwork, but, that was a really good photo of a goldfish you took and then used yourself like an analog ink-jet printer to transfer from your tablet grid to the side of that 5-star hotel.
If you wanna be that guy, maybe invest in a nice camera rather than a nice pencil grip. Don’t get me wrong, he clearly has a lot of technical skills, and that is important. But art isn’t just about technical skills. It’s creativity, seeing the world full of wonder and color and showcasing the way you see things to the world, not the way a camera sees things. Make your artwork evolve by not worrying as much about the details.
Take Your Artwork to the Next Level
The moment you’ve all been waiting for, the great list of drawing subjects, things you’ve never considered, enticing new subjects with onion-like layers of meaning and reflection upon the human condition …
I’m sorry, there are so many lists out there of “things.” How to draw a cat or an owl. Drawing stick figures. Do we really need that? It doesn’t answer the deeper question after all, of how to make your artwork more interesting, or how to level up your artwork.
Buy a goldfish. Hear me out. Find the most perfect, high-resolution, macro-tastic, color-licious, ‘shopped down to the perfect shade of deepsea lipstick and coral reef eyeshadow, scales polished to airbrushed- Catch Magazine: Swimsuitless Mermaid Edition- perfection … and you still won’t be able to capture the graceful way a goldfish simply drifts around the volume of its transparent enclosure.
Tl;dr: A live fish is worth a thousand pictures of random fish.
It’s like when you’re single, and sure, there are all these Tinder cuties, but you’re still looking at pics of your ex. It was a mutual decision. But the real relationship was so much more than all the pictures on Tinder.
A thousand pictures might give the viewer enough insight to grasp the personality of a particular goldfish, but how can that possibly compare to noticing that, when you sit down at your easel, Captain Ticklefins XXVII always comes over and waves with one flipper until you remember his tasty-flakes. Or that he hides in the shadow at sunset until the last bit of shadow, and then he swims out into the light, terrified and one moment later confused by the absence of monsters.
Trying to capture that, Je Ne Sais Quois present in life is the real challenge, and if you can do it, you will have taken your art to the next level.
How Do I Know When My Art is Good Enough?
I’m gonna spell it out in case my goldfish fantasies muddied the intellectual waters. It’s not about who can paint the best goldfish. However, if you actually go buy a goldfish and try to paint it as fast as you can as it swims around in circles (great painting idea right?), you’re going to get really fast at painting things you only see for a moment. Useful, you’re thinking. I didn’t invent this, check out gestural and time-limited sketching.
But wait, there’s more!
The other thing you’ll get out of this basically impossible task is this: your brain will start to absorb information from and about the living creature you’re studying. You’ll start to learn how its form moves in rhythm to propel it forward. You’ll begin to understand how and why it needs to take on certain shapes to change direction, arrest momentum, or respond to outside stimuli. Just as a cat behaves in an almost celebratory manner when it knows it’s about to be fed, a fish has its own biological clock and becomes animated by the anticipation of sustenance.
Fishes get happy at dinner time.
Now, google pictures of goldfish, and if any of those images tell you that goldfish feel more comfortable when you’re wearing sea colors, and are terrified of bright red sweaters, maybe I’ll change my point of view.
Here’s what you should draw: something that you see with your eyes that instantly makes you laugh, or cry, or pee your pants. Draw something you can’t capture with a camera, something that would never be seen by any eyes other than your own unless you bring that image to life. That’s how you truly enhance your drawing skills.
Finding the Motivation to Draw or Create
I think motivation is the biggest factor. It’s hard to push toward something when you’re not even sure it’s the direction that’s right for you. And there’s this whole other aspect in looking at art you find kinship with while wanting more than just to riff off another artist, but to really make something entirely personal and fulfilling.
Look at it this way when it comes to comparing your skill to someone else. Imagine you’re looking at this sketch by another artist. You enlarge it to full size on your monitor, pick up your pencil and sketchbook, and you try to sketch exactly what you see. For most people, the result will be basically the same. That guy’s sketch will look way better than yours. Clearly, that guy is doing something you’re not doing. Yes, because that guy isn’t drawing a sketch of a sketch, he’s drawing a sketch of a person.
Learn from Nature
The best thing you can do to improve your art is to stop placing so much importance on comparing your paintings of goldfish to other paintings of goldfish. But to start comparing your paintings to actual goldfish.
Ok, I kind of feel bad for not actually drawing up a things to paint list, despite all the delightful verbal imagery provided for you above.
3 Creative Drawing Ideas for Artist at Any Level
These three drawing ideas are meant to help artists of all levels experience drawing in a different way. These ideas will help you learn how to draw value, defining shadow from light. Once you master this, you will be able to draw anything.
Take three things of similar shape that you find lying around the yard, the living room, in a drawer – group them together in such a way that their shapes align or agree with each other – if you’re drawing with something like graphite, draw the objects in only two shades, or two colors: one color or shade for the dark values, and one color or no shade for the light values – after this exercise, try sketching the objects again as you normally would, and notice if your second drawing experience feels any different.
The purpose of the exercise is to teach yourself to simplify things, but also to observe your subject for a period of time without the pressure of laying down a sketch that’s got to be good enough for anyone’s standards (especially your own) – then, when you go to actually draw the objects for real, you already know pretty well what they look like. Now you can focus on drawing something familiar, instead of something foreign.
If you want to know something crazy, this is actually a miniaturized version of how professionals work. They don’t just pop up in a cornfield with a handful of paintbrushes, scratch in a masterpiece, and sell it for a fistful of cash to the first farmhand they see (farmhands are notorious collectors of art, ask anyone).
Draw With Your Eraser
When I sit down with a blank page and try to draw something, my first draft is like something you’d get if you zipped up a wild raccoon in your backpack with all your drafting tools, and let your little sister drag it behind the training wheels of her bicycle she got 4 years ago and is way too small for her now.
But somewhere in there is the thing I was trying to sketch, and if I just push back some of the static with my eraser, it looks more like Leonardo DaVinci is being dragged across the neighbor’s lawn instead of a raccoon. That’s actually more likely to happen than me getting a drawing perfect on the first try. Just try it, don’t give up on it until you’ve worn a few holes in the page. It’s good for you.
Dream into the Image
This is a hard one to teach because it is the thing that artists have, or have developed, that other people haven’t. I see 50 naughty shades of green in a single tree, but most people just see a green tree. It’s not their fault, they just don’t have any reason to stop and stare at a tree. You’d be just like them, if you weren’t holding a pencil right now, think about THAT.
When I’m trying to draw a tree, I don’t want to outline every leaf, twig, or squirrel in view. Instead, I want to look at the tree first as a mirror. Does it have any qualities that remind me of myself? Of someone I know? Do they, in concert with their surroundings, trigger your sense of beauty, nostalgia, spiritual awareness? If so, then there must be something about that scene, visibly, observably connecting with you on a psychological level. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to observe, let your mind try to grasp what it is about whatever you’re drawing that stands out.
If you’re drawing your transformers hanging out with Barbie in her convertible underneath the kitchen table, you’re already on the right track, don’t change anything. For the rest of you, observe patterns, make order from chaos, or vice versa. Consider the reason that you can’t draw as well as some of those artists you see, is because your mind sees a different, interesting way of drawing that you simply can’t quite grasp without time and thought. It’s one thing to draw a bunch of sticks and leaves you see sitting in a tree. It’s another thing to draw a carefully woven collection of materials constructed for the sole purpose of protecting something small and fragile. Don’t you think it’s important to create a work of art that shows the viewer, “A family of bluebirds as they hastily build a nest in the first snowfall.” What I’m not interested in showing the viewer is, “There’s a bunch of sticks and leaves up in some tree.”
A Classic Example
Let me illustrate this by pointing out Van Gogh’s sunflowers. Go look at a few pictures of actual sunflowers, then his painted sunflowers. They are so funny. They’re so sun-like, bright and open, yet their blooms are always leaning over in an almost human-like gesture of sorrow or self-pity. Think of the way Eeyore is always moping around with his head down. Van Gogh’s sunflowers are so fun because you can tell how much he identified with their emotional likeness. Is it sad or cute? Or interesting? Or E, none of the above?
It gives you a new appreciation when you see one of his paintings with the blooms looking up instead of down. What do you suppose that meant, in the language of the artist?
You could have all the lists in the world with everything you could possibly want to draw, but if you want to be an artist, you’ve got to do more than pull the string and listen to what the cow says. And I get that there might be people here reading this who are hell-bent on becoming an anime illustrator or something close-niche, but all my advice pretty much stays the same. Anime features and figures are built on symbols and archetypes that are based on life, then exaggerated. So I say, start with what those symbols are based upon, and perhaps devise new ways to represent those features that might make anime characters even more expressive and likeable.
What is Art Supposed to Be?
I’ll leave you with what a friend once told me, “I like art that makes me feel uncomfortable.” Weird right? It kinda challenges what art is supposed to be, at least according to one person. I mean, isn’t all art supposed to give me a tickly giggly feeling all over? Shouldn’t our drawing ideas convey that? Is this post all over? That’s what I wanna know.
I get that was a lot. As an artist, I sometimes get too into the weeds and details of my craft and don’t realize that sometimes, people just want to draw a cat.
30+ Easy Drawing Ideas for Beginners
As promised, for those who are looking for inspiration, here are 30 easy drawing ideas sourced from Pinterest to help you get started. Not only are these ideas of things you can draw, but the small tutorials are intended to help you get started.
Human anatomy is fun yet intricate. Although it’s difficult to draw people, it can be a lot of fun to get the correct form of human body parts when drawing. Beginners can start by sketching individual parts, like the eyes, nose, and mouth, before putting everything together for a full human face or body.
Here are some drawing ideas for various facial features, and below, there are ideas for figure drawing and how to sketch humans.
Drawing animals is also a great place for beginners to start. Cats, dogs, birds, and even mythical creatures are always at the top of the list of fun things to draw. Here are a few ideas for drawing common animals.
Plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which make them fun things to draw. If you are a beginner, you can focus on drawing leaves, and if you are more experienced, you can try to draw full plants of different species.
Homes and Furnishings
After you get comfortable drawing people and animals, you should try drawing the things they live in and use. Drawing houses, homes, apartments, and other dwellings, and the furnishings that go with them, will help you learn to draw a full scene.
Still Life Sketching
Creating a still life is often the first step for painters, but those learning to draw can benefit from sketching a still life as well. These drawing ideas for still lifes can help a beginner learn to draw common, everyday items.
These examples can help you set up a still life, but you can also use the advice from above to set up your own and create an epic masterpiece.
60 Drawing Ideas for your Sketchbook
1.The view from your window
2. A snowman
3. The contents of your refrigerator
4. A dolphin
5. The trees outside
6. The intersection near your home
7. Your junk drawer
8. Your favorite stuffed animal
9. A beloved pet
10. A messy desk
11. Your bedroom
12. A self-portrait
13. The exterior of your home
14. A bar stool
15. a power drill
16. A mug of hot coffee
17. A lighthouse on a rocky cliff
18. Your favorite fictional character
19. A grand piano
20. Your bedroom
21. A cozy nook
22. Gentleman playing chess
23. A grandfather clock
24. A video game character
25. A microscope
26. The most comfortable chair in the world
27. Your medicine cabinet
28. A sailboat
29. The Eiffel tower
30. Dinner cooking on the stovetop
31. A window with the curtains closed
32. A Pirate
33. A fireplace
34. A woman wearing an evening dress
35. A person writing at a desk
36. Relaxing with a cup of cocoa
37. A person sleeping
38. A school classroom
39. Your closet
40. A train station
41. Your childhood home
42. A vase with flowers beginning to bloom
43. A bookcase
44. A table setting for a romantic dinner
45. A penguin
46. A tea kettle
47. The wallet or purse you use most regularly
48. A remote control
49. An old radiator
50. The idea of a UFO from the 1950s
51. A candle in a holder that’s lit and halfway melted
52. An elderly woman drinking tea
53. A picket fence
54. A runway model
55. A bowl of fruit
56. Your most prized possession
57. The statue of David
58. A nightstand lamp
59. A person completing a long jump
60. A baby’s crib
Whatever your skill level, wherever you are in the artist’s journey, the important thing is that you start. Maybe, for now, you want to stick with the easy art tutorials from Pinterest. There’s nothing wrong with that! Get the basics down, figure out how form and function come together when drawing a face, sharpen your skills.
Then, come back and try some of the drawing ideas for advanced artists. Put random items together to explore their shapes. Let nature be your guide. Really look at the scene to figure out what’s beautiful about it, and draw that.
Try these things, and you’ll become an amazing artist in no time.