Internet, I need something to draw.
November 5, 2010 5:55 PM   Subscribe

I need things to draw, and I'm out of ideas. Where is a good place to find things to draw?

I work long hours at a network operations center. I typically have lots and lots of downtime. Most of that downtime is spent browsing the internet, but lately I've taken to drawing during the longer shifts.

Unfortunately, I rarely have any inspiration to work with, so I solicit ideas from the internet. Working within an idea from someone else seems to bring out my creativity. Plus, I get the satisfaction of making something for someone else (which is nice).

Typically I've gone to Twitter, random IRC channels, and Reddit to ask for ideas, and they've been generally good. The issues I have is mostly inconsistency. IRC is mostly the same people suggesting the ideas (which is fine, but I'd like to hear from other people). Twitter is the same thing, only I get fewer ideas. Lastly, I've made one Reddit "suggest-stuff-for-me-to-draw" thread, which was gangbusters, but I can't be doing that every week. I'd think I'd come across as someone looking for attention.

What I'd like is a forum of some kind where people draw from others suggestions, and critique it? Or, perhaps a forum that has a daily theme and all the members draw from that theme. Does such a forum exist?

If not, is there a "random idea generator" thing that could work for my purposes?
posted by hellojed to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
ConceptArt DSG!
posted by yaymukund at 6:06 PM on November 5, 2010

Illustration Friday offers up a theme a week.
They Draw and Cook
What I wore today
Learning to Love You More is no longer running but there are archives of interesting daily projects.
posted by coevals at 6:06 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

What about picking some subject that you enjoy drawing and working it from a bunch of different (conceptual) angles?

I'm in the same boat you are, and I've found that when I enjoy a particular subject, I can usually find a bunch of different images of the same type of subject easily, and start working through all of them. It's a lot different drawing something when you have a deeper knowledge of it from having a lot of experience drawing it. You start correcting mistakes that you didn't notice you were making before. You get good at certain parts and start struggling with others. You also see a pretty obvious progression of skill.

Another option is to find artists you like online and draw their work. Don't try for a slavish copy, just find work that you like and draw it, trying to put yourself into the mindset of the artist. In school we had an assignment to draw several works by an artist of our choice. I chose Jim Dine and did some large chalk-and-charcoal drawings of his. It was a totally different way of working than I'd done before, and doing so was a big brain-opener for me.
posted by fatbird at 6:11 PM on November 5, 2010

Make your own Tarot deck.
posted by hermitosis at 6:38 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine hones her art skill by working from photographs. Not trying to copy them but using them to understand form and light and color, and sort of riffing on them.

She mostly works in pencil and watercolor.
so maybe poke around on flickr and spend a day drawing fruit or dogs or I don't know what?
posted by SaharaRose at 6:42 PM on November 5, 2010

Would you be interested in helping make some scenes portraying vocabulary for teaching English as a second language? Especially if you wouldn't mind making them public domain? It would be wonderful to have, for example, a cute grocery store scene in which a teacher could point to different items (and/or label them), or a doctor's office, or a park, or a kitchen... there are books and resources out there like this, but it would be really great to have something that could be _legally_ printed out, modified, etc. (it might get teachers out of the habit of just using stuff regardless of copyright). In any case, scenes like this could be great practice, and can be anything that interests you.

If this sounds intriguing, maybe contact me and we can come up with an idea together -- I have to make an ESL lesson plan for use in three weeks :)

Good luck!
posted by amtho at 6:50 PM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Click "Random Article" on Wikipedia and go from there. Or try the random "interesting" photos on Flickr for inspiration.

Also, this Mefite set up a page on their site for "email me something to draw" sketches, which I thought was pretty cool and maybe you could do something like that too.

Also also, you might find the Artist's Corner forum at Penny Arcade a receptive place for what you're looking to do.

Finally, I wouldn't hesitate asking Reddit for ideas periodically, as long as you're asking in the right place. If you do "self posts" (the kind that don't accumulate post karma), and you stick to relevant subreddits, and as long as you're not doing it all the time, I don't think you'd be accused of attention-seeking.
posted by Gator at 6:55 PM on November 5, 2010

This is a fun trick I learned a while ago. There was a random image finder (I lost the link) I used to play with. What it did was clever but you can do it by hand.

Go to google and enter a common camera image file name, something like "IMG_1025.JPG". People just upload images with the default camera filenames so this effectively just gives you people's random images.

For example.
posted by chairface at 7:05 PM on November 5, 2010

The Drawing Board's Drawing Jam (careful, sometimes NSFW-ish)
posted by 0x88 at 7:44 PM on November 5, 2010

I like this 30 day drawing challenge.
posted by clearlydemon at 8:02 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Everyday matters
posted by b33j at 10:59 PM on November 5, 2010

you could play The Sentence Game, and join as many as you feel like (examples)
posted by rollick at 11:05 PM on November 5, 2010

I lurk over at the Apedogs and 4um forums. They're sorta like what you're describing in that they do critiques and forum-wide art threads, though maybe not a daily theme per se.

Some relevant links:
Frank Chimero's How to have an idea.
Everyday Matters flickr group list of weekly challenges,
Keri Smith's 100 creative ideas (not all drawing related, though they might give you ideas for some)

You could always start your own art blog drawing project like mefite jgwong did here (in projects) and solicit suggestions.
posted by everyday_naturalist at 11:33 PM on November 5, 2010

This may be absurd, but I think it might be a cool idea to draw every noun in the dictionary, starting with the letter a and just working on down. This would give you a mix of animal life, still objects, types of people, and abstractions (draw poverty!). Maybe words with multiple definitions would require including all of them in the picture (like a bunch of political parties throwing a party, or something).

It would take a long while before you needed more ideas. And I'd follow your blog, if you're any good at drawing.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 3:18 AM on November 6, 2010

Random Art Prompt Generator (simple or elaborate flavors). :)

There are also regular challenges, contests, and critiques at DeviantArt.
posted by wintersweet at 2:49 PM on November 6, 2010

Response by poster: There are so many good suggestions here, I don't thunk I'll run out. Thank you.

I should probably start a blog for this. There's already a lot of art.
posted by hellojed at 4:42 PM on November 6, 2010

Response by poster: Followup. Made the blog: drawing while working
posted by hellojed at 2:36 PM on December 6, 2010

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