How to Develop Creativity as an Artist

Evolve Artist
Feb 18, 2020 · 4 min read

Dig deeper into how to grow and exercise your creative thinking.

Have you ever sat in front of your blank canvas and wondered when the creativity will hit? Maybe you’re just out of ideas and feeling completely uninspired. The good news is that creativity as an artist is something that can be exercised and developed, it’s not always natural and free-flowing.

Many people have the false impression that artists are simply born filled with creativity. Here at Evolve, we believe that while some people are indeed gifted with a natural ability to express themselves artistically without much training, the majority of artists cultivate their creativity and carefully develop it with training and practice.

Experiences Build Creativity

Creativity is built off of experiences. The more experiences you have, both as an artist and as a human, the more ideas will flow towards your artwork.

In order to generate new ideas, you also need to spend time investigating the experiences you do have. If you are interested in painting a subject, you must go and investigate and experience that subject.

If you want to paint birds, you have to have an understanding of those birds. You must watch how they move, discuss them with knowledgable professionals, view other artists’ work of the same subject; these are the things that will increase your creativity towards the thing you wish to paint.

Make expanding your horizons a personal policy and standard behavior for yourself. If you see something interesting, go up to investigate and understand what it is in order to cultivate and jumpstart your creativity.

Credit: iSAW Company

Try New Things

One of the reasons we often feel less creative or out of ideas is due to the fact that we aren’t experimenting enough with the ideas that we do have. In order to boost creativity, you have to make things!

When you have a whisper of an idea, no matter how basic, or are inspired by something you have been investigating or experiencing, begin to sketch it out.

When the information is out of our head, we can work on what we want it to become. Experiment with different angles, lighting, and mentally walk around your subject. As you explore, you will find fresh ideas and creative bursts that emerge from the experimentation.

In order to become more creative, you need to make work; lots of work!

Exercise Your Creativity

Just like a muscle, creativity needs exercise. With regular practice, the creative capacities of our brains can grow and be triggered. Here are a few simple ways that you can exercise your creativity to form new ideas:

Sketch

Sketching everything around you, from your breakfast to your train ride, can help you to start to see the world around you in a new way. Getting into the ritual of doing this every day can also help to build good creative habits, where something becomes a necessary part of your day.

Journal

Writing down your ideas, thoughts, and reactions can be a useful tool for artists. Some artists feel fulfilled simply by sketching their reactions and emotions, but others find more understanding in their experiences by writing things down to later process. Take a journal to a museum, and write down your reactions and what catches your eye.

Find a Creative Space

Whether it be nature, a studio space, a museum, or a busy coffee shop, find a place where you feel the urge and need to create. Make sure it’s not too distracting, and settle in to develop and create ideas.

Ask Questions

Reach out to artists and ask questions. Ask peers how they develop and exercise their creativity. Remember that experiences become fuel for creativity.

Creativity for artists needs to be exercised and developed. It is a skill that takes attention, but once cultivated, it can enable you to make work stronger than you could have thought possible.

Don’t be shy about investigating the world you live in, because the world that you live in eventually makes its way into your work. It makes its way in either as you found it or in some augmented fashion that fits your needs.

Evolve Artist

What’s on the easel?

Evolve Artist

Written by

Teaching art students how to get the technical skills they need to become working artists. Learn more at evolveartist.com

Evolve Artist

What’s on the easel? Tips, tricks, and advice to becoming a better artist.

Evolve Artist

Written by

Teaching art students how to get the technical skills they need to become working artists. Learn more at evolveartist.com

Evolve Artist

What’s on the easel? Tips, tricks, and advice to becoming a better artist.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store