One of the toughest challenges an artist can face is creating cool cartoon designs.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an illustrator, painter, or sketch artist, you need ideas.
Unless you’re an extraterrestrial that stole Pablo Picasso’s, Leonardo da Vinci’s or Vincent van Gogh’s DNA, then maybe you can teach us a few tricks.
This article explains the methods I used to create most of my cartoon characters and other designs.
While I may be super creative, imaginative or just plain crazy, sometimes I need some type of inspiration to begin my work.
Learn to see Art
I’m a natural when it comes to envisioning things and seeing shapes in odd places.
I can stare at the clouds and come up with many ideas, from elephants to dogs, and other cool cartoon designs.
Sometimes I amaze myself that by simply staring at the wall, shapes appear like ice-cream cones and bunny rabbits.
Unfortunately not everyone has that type of vision to see figures in unsuspecting places.
This is why artists need to start with a simple idea and work from there. But where do we start?
Here’s a list of simple yet powerful ways to kick-start your creative machine.
The world wide web has billions of images of just about anything you can imagine.
From people posing, to cats with sunglasses under the sun.
As a rule of thumb, I suggest having an idea in mind before searching on the internet.
For example, one day I was fascinated with snails, so decided to draw a cartoon snail.
So when I started my search, I already had something in mind and quickly found the image.
In some cases you might not have any ideas at all to start searching, so I suggest looking for something simple.
When I say simple it means an easy shape or object like a triangle or circle and find related images.
So for example, a tree can be created with a triangle, a human face can be created with a circle; just keep it simple.
Or search for specific objects like a diamond necklace or a plastic toy.
You will definitely find something unique on the internet.
Movies and TV Shows
There are tons of cartoon movies where I get inspiration to draw some of my designs.
For example, I’ve sketched cartoon mummies, dogs, birds, famous villains and much more.
A great method of grabbing ideas is to pause the movie in a specific scene.
Pausing the movie or show at the right moment can give you a great pose or angle that you can use for your designs.
Place close attention to the background of the scene to find cool items like cartoon shoes, candles and other objects.
Current TV Shows can be a great form of finding trending designs.
This is that they show cartoons in modern places with new gadgets like robot drones and hover boards.
Drawing and Comic Books
One of my favorite ways to generate unlimited ideas is to purchase drawing books with simple designs.
Some of the best drawing books you can buy are children’s coloring books and designs.
The reason for this is that kids drawing books have simple cartoons and images that can help you create easy but effective designs.
Comic books on the other hand are a bit harder to draw but I use them to get ideas on small things like drawing a lamp, a sign and comic letters.
Magazines and Sketches
There are a variety of magazines for every occasion, from fantasy to beauty and art.
When looking through a magazine, look for products that you add to your design.
Cut out objects from the magazine and save them in a file for future designs.
Believe it or not, your own sketch designs can help you discover new ideas.
I keep all of my sketches in a portfolio or in a sketchbook for reference.
Not only will they give you ideas for new designs, but they also provide motivation to continue drawing.
Libraries and Book stores
Libraries are filled with books that contain some of the best images for your designs.
Bring a notebook with you when you visit a library to sketch or write about designs you find.
I’ve found great ideas in books that were not related to art.
For example, check out the section of human anatomy, medical practice, animals in the wild, nature and related topics.
Look for books with a variety of images like history, Guinness world record books, and technology timelines.
Bookstores are interesting because you may find a rare book with unique design ideas.
I’ve bought many books from local book stores and garage sales.
Museums and Art Galleries
Probably one of the most exciting places for an artist to generate design ideas are the local museums and art galleries.
I’m not saying to go out and copy someone’s work, but see what’s popular in the museum.
Does the statue of a dinosaur give you an idea about drawing an impressive cartoon dinosaur?
Art galleries are great places to see different types of color combinations.
Artists may find a unique mix of colors for their decoration design.
Visiting an art gallery is an educational experience because you can study what makes certain paintings popular.
Traveling and Photography
Whenever you go traveling, keep in mind that everywhere you go, there’s a place or thing that can be added to your design strategy.
Maybe you’re in London and you capture a busy street or while attending an event you do a quick sketch of a foreign toy.
Did you know some of the best artists are photographers?
This is that they are always taking pictures and they see things differently through the camera.
Just look at their amazing photographs, they plan their shots with precision.
You don’t have to be a photographer, simply take pictures of places and things that look attractive to you.
For example, if you’re hiking and you climb a mountain, take a picture.
When the sun comes down in the late evening in the city, capture the moment.
There’s no one sure place to look for design ideas, artists need to have several types of resources.
The best advice I can give you is to be on the lookout for new concepts.
Similar to a blogger that needs ideas on what to write, artists need to focus on their surroundings.
This is what makes art so much fun, you may find the next big design trend in an unfamiliar place.