Developing creativity as an artist

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Where do new ideas come from? Can you become more creative? If you’ve asked yourself this question, this article is for you!

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. 

So if you're looking to develop your creativity as an artist, keep reading for a few ways to dig deeper into growing and exercising this artistic skillset! 

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Experiencing museum exhibits, peer work, and new ideas are all ways to improve your creativity. (Photo by iSAW Company on Unsplash)

Experience and Investigate

The best way to develop more ideas and creativity as an artist is to have as many experiences as possible. 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 have experiences within 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.

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In order to boost creativity, you need to make work, and lots of it!

Try New Things to Boost Your Creativity

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. 

Our first sketch, almost every time, is going to be the weakest sketch we produce. Once that is on paper, it generally looks remedial and uninspired. We're not very creative in our initial impulses. But getting on paper is just the first step. 

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! 

Sketch and paint and work through ideas. Spending more time digging into an idea after an experience is what helps us to generate new creativity as artists. 

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Journaling and sketching are great ways to develop and grow your creativity as an artist. (Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash)

Exercise Your Creativity

Just like a muscle, creativity needs exercise. With regular practice and stimulation, 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:


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. 


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. 

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In order to develop your creativity, simply keep experimenting, exploring, and exercising!


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.

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