Art Inspiration Advice From Artists

Check out our best pieces of art inspiration advice from creators and artists!

Disclaimer: If you click a PHASR link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may receive a commission.

Art Inspiration Advice

Art Inspiration Advice

Chris Gregory T. – Comic Book Artist

For me, the important thing to remember when it comes to inspiration is to keep working. Even if I’m not feeling inspired I’ve found that just putting the time in and continuing to create will lead to better ideas.

Where To Find Chris Gregory T.:

Twitter | Instagram

Jarry Lee – Content Creator and Artist

My tip for finding inspiration is to go back and look at the work you created when you first started before you got paid to create. That has personally helped rekindle my original passions for producing music and writing — working as a professional writer burned me out and I would feel too exhausted to start or focus on new personal projects or creative pursuits.

Where To Find Jarry Lee:

Official Website | Instagram | Twitter

Jason Chu – Hip Hop Artist

When I’m in search of inspiration, honestly, I look to my friendships. They’re the people who know me best, who I feel like I can be myself with, right? I love making records where it feels like I’m talking right to the audience, and having a trusted friend next to me gets me in that headspace. 

I’ll bring a buddy into the studio and chop it up with them while I’m writing lyrics, or go for a long walk-and-talk with someone. My friends always help me jump-start my creative vibes, and before I know it I’m in my zone.

Where To Find Jason Chu:

Official Website | Bandcamp | Twitter

MORE: An Interview With Jason Chu

Sheena C. Howard – Author and Educator

I get inspired by the thought of creating something that hasn’t been created before. I visualize the end product/result in my hand and that motivates me to see a project through. I get inspired by yearning to create social change and the type of world I want to live in.

I also get inspired by focusing on preserving the culture and history of Black people. That is why I published the first-ever Encyclopedia of Black Comics, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation, and numerous other books and creative projects.

Being inspired only by profit does not inspire me. Profit is something I strive for but just wanting to make money has to be coupled with other motivations, such as for social change, to fill a void, to create something that will help someone else, etc.

Where To Find Sheena C. Howard:

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instragram

MORE: An Interview With Sheena C. Howard

Michael Essek – Illustrator and T-Shirt Designer

As a T-Shirt designer, I often need to come up with original puns or funny phrases that I can use in my work (funny puns make for great T-Shirt designs).

One of the most successful strategies I’ve found for generating original puns is to reverse engineer any puns you come across – to discover exactly what makes them work. 

For example – one Halloween I spotted this headline for an advertisement: “Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun”. By reverse-engineering this pun, you can see they simply replaced the word ‘Girls’ with ‘Ghouls’. 

With this rhyming pair of words in mind, I was able to pull the same trick to generate some original puns of my own – such as “Ghoul’s Night Out” or “CowGhoul” (which are great ideas for Halloween themed T-Shirt designs.)

So when you’re out and about – keep a note of any interesting or funny puns you see. When you need to generate ideas, you can reverse-engineer them and use what you find to come up with your own. It’s a great way to help you discover new ideas and funny phrases that haven’t been done before.

Where To Find Michael Essek:

Official Website | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

DJFWB – DJ and Music Producer

I often find inspiration by being around things that are bigger than myself. Often that leads me to go and check out other artists when I’m in their city. If I’m traveling it means I’m making time to go visit things outdoors (grand canyon, waterfalls, mountains, wonders of the world) or even in my community joining a special cause and dedicating a day or so away from my studio and into that. 

Things that have 100% not worked: forcing myself to create when the creativity is not flowing. Pounding yourself over the head when there is no idea or desire to create just doesn’t work. Take a step back, occupy your mind with other things, and usually before you know it, ideas come flooding back. 

Where To Find DJFWB:

Official Website | Twitter | Instagram

MORE: An Interview With DJFWB

Chris Semtner – Painter and Author

My best advice would be not to stop making art. As long as you are doing something–even if you are just doodling on a scrap of paper–you are helping keep the creativity flowing. Work on multiple projects at once so you can always jump to something different whenever one of another isn’t keeping your interest. Never finish all your projects at the same time.

Creative blocks tend to pop up when you’re not making art because that is when you have time to worry about what to do next and to stress yourself out about coming up with a great idea, but, as long as you have a few projects going, you don’t have that pressure and can just let the inspiration come to you on its own schedule.

You also won’t have to stress yourself out about coming up with an earth-shattering work of genius every time, because if the new idea turns out to be a bad one, just scrap it because you have others to work on while you wait for another great idea.

Inspiration is everywhere. You just need to remember it long enough to get back to the studio, so carry a pocket sketchbook or camera with you wherever you go. That way, you can record your idea or inspiration before you forget about it. Whenever you are short of ideas, flip through this little sketchbook to jog your memory.

Another thing that works for me is taking a long walk by myself. This has the advantage of allowing you to exercise and daydream at the same time, and I stumble upon some of my best ideas this way.

Where To Find Chris Semtner:

Twitter | YouTube

Chadwick Tree – Photographer

I find inspiration by not looking too hard. I often worry about productivity but the key for me is not to try. Let life happen around me and I will often notice small things that evoke ideas.

I write them down in a big vintage notebook I have (I call it my spell book). I also just let that idea go and revisit it later. I notice that layers the inspiration and often pushes the concept by itself.

Where To Find Chadwick Tree:

Official Website

Ivana Kurilić – Blogger and Artist

Many artists and creatives will say that they find inspiration everywhere, and I would agree with them. However, when a person isn’t inspired and needs ideas, “everything” seems rather intimidating, and rarely works.
That’s why I’d suggest one idea that has worked very well for me.

Having an area of interest, a topic that fascinates you can always help you generate ideas for your art or creative projects. You practically already know a lot about that topic and have the desire to know more. When you get engrossed in this topic, you’re satisfying your needs and curiosities, and your inner muse. You’re feeding your mind and soul with things you care about.

Why not use this passion and information about the topic and make art that’s truly from within? This way, your inspiration will come from your deep, inner interests and love for something meaningful for you. 

Where To Find Ivana Kurilić:

Official Website | Instagram | Facebook

Adam Cole – Author and Musician

I’ve written a great deal of music and words, and I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had a lot of ideas ready to go.   I may be wired for inspiration, as I may be too receptive to input and also compulsive about expressing it, a good combination for an author.  For folks that don’t have my particular neurotype, it may be a little more difficult.

It might be worth investigating how someone not in my mindspace can get here.  First, you’d have to learn to pay closer attention to things around you, to take fewer things for granted, forcing yourself to ask questions most people aren’t asking like, “Why do people say particular things to one another that, taken out of context, don’t mean anything, like ‘How’s it going’  What is ‘it?’  Is that the same ‘it’ as the weather?  What is ‘it’ doing outside?”

Getting really obsessive about strange details like this is the key to noticing more obvious, and therefore more elusive, aspects of life like: “How do people use their bodies when they don’t want people to look at them?” “How do the presence of certain machines change the way a person holds themselves and moves through a room?”

Having a burning desire to communicate these things to people is both an impetus towards noticing them, and also a motivation to share them.  And one should not be put off by the strangeness of the observations. 

Inspiration is a windy snake, and noticing something that seems 180 degrees the wrong direction from what you want, i.e. “I want to write a love song.  Why should I be observing frogs?” might get you an idea you wouldn’t have had otherwise, i.e. “What if there was a frog who forced a girl to kiss him and he turned into a prince?”

If you don’t have a burning desire to communicate, it might be helpful to cultivate more of an interest in it.  If you’re just shy, bust out of your shell and share somewhere…in an online community or forum (like YouTube or AuthorsDen), at a coffeehouse, or among a trusted group of people.  The process of sharing will empty your mind and make room for more stuff that can be filled with observations!

Where To Find Adam Cole:

Official Website | Grant Park Academy of the Arts

Make The Other Emails In Your Inbox Jealous.

Get The Best Of PHASR Delivered Weekly

The Perfect Shirt For All Your Special Stains.


Get The Best of PHASR Directly To Your Inbox!

When you sign up for the PHASR newsletter,
you are automatically entered to
win free PHASR merch.