Hi there!

I'm Eni Oken, artist and author of hundreds of articles, tutorials and books in print and online. For over 30 years I've explored art, color theory, fantasy and ornamental design.

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Certified Zentangle® Teacher

Six ways to find inspiration to create

One of the greatest challenges of an artist is: What is my motivation to create art? I was talking to my sister in law who has just remodeled her craft room. It's gorgeous, and now she has the time and space to create. So how does one find motivation to create art?

In my opinion, you need a reason, or a purpose to create. It's very romantic to think that artists face a blank canvas (or in her case, a blank craft room) and start creating, but in my own experience that does not give you the extra push you need to force yourself into new explorations.

Here are a few ways to find that initial purpose:

cancer-club-icon-6001) Reflect over an emotional or strong experience. Emotional experiences are one of the best ways to find motivation to create. What did you go through? How did it affect you or the ones you love? Can you express that joy or pain through your creative work? Can you create various interpretations of the same event? As an example, I created an entire series of drawing based on my experience battling cancer. You can see some of that work here: Muddyglasses.com  (Please note, graphics are a bit strong, viewer discretion).

2) Social awareness. If your life is so balanced and even that you have not gone through a strong emotional experience recently, then think of others. Is there a social or global event that can trigger an emotional response in you, which you can related to enough to find inspiration to create? Are you affiliated with any charities or causes which can help you to spark that initial push? The Muddyglasses site also has some drawings related to social awareness, other than battling cancer.

Person04cover3) Create art inspired by a specific person. If you have a special person in your life, such as a friend or loved one, can you find inspiration in their person to create a piece of art? Artists throughout the centuries found inspiration in their loved ones. Picasso was known to create entire new styles of art based on the woman he was with at any given time. If you need help creating a piece of jewelry inspired by a person, take a look at Think & Design Jewelry Lesson 4: The Person!


4) Join an online group or challenge. The internet is packed with social groups on every single type of artistic expression there is. Find a group which runs regular "challenges" and join their gallery. By having a specific assignment, not only you will push yourself to complete the exercise, but it will also give you extra motivation caused by the friendly competitive environment. Even if you are not an advanced user, you'll be pushing yourself to post the best results you can. The Think & Design Jewelry Workshop on Facebook is one of these groups, with weekly assignments posted by the group.

5) Participate in a juried competition. Find a competition online which has a specific deadline and prizes. This will really push you to create the best type of art possible, and will give you a solid, tangible date to finish your work. Even if you don't win anything, you'll learn so much just for pushing yourself so hard.

6) Teach something. When you create an exercise for a class or even for a single student, you need to think exactly how you are going to make it. You'll find yourself creating the best samples of your work to show students.

These are just some ways you can give yourself an initial push into finding motivation to create art. It doesn't matter what type of art it is -- jewelry making, painting, ceramics, etc.


Week #2 and #3 of the Think & Design Jewelry Workshop

Crossover method of designing and creating a signature style