Coming up with interesting and creative still life drawing ideas and finding inspiration to capture the ordinary in a new way can be tough!
For those of you who delight in the peace and satisfaction of a quiet still life session, here are enough ideas to keep you going for months. What’s more, you can forget the boring fruit bowl set-up and find creative ideas which will bring new meaning to your everyday life. Take a look and then submit your drawing once it’s done.
1. Embrace a mess
We’ve all got a muddle in our home somewhere that we’ve put off sorting. Now’s the time to confront it, and embrace it, by finding beauty in the angles and texture of your clutter.
2. Find beauty in your recycling collection
In the same vein, discover the different shapes and colors of inside your recycling box. Now you’ll be doing your bit for the environment and making a work of art.
3. Highlight your junk food habits
Instead of sheepishly hiding that crisp packet the minute it’s empty, collect any naughty treat packets from your day and draw them after.
4. Fill a little box with junk
Find a very small Tupperware box, matchstick box, or other container and go around your home looking for tiny odds and ends you have lying around. Hair bands, pennies, receipts, crayons… whatever small bits of junk you discover. Now place them all inside the container and capture the effect appearance.
5. Build a structure
Create your own structure from bits you have at home. Maybe a tower of paper cups or cereal boxes, or create a mountain from your dirty laundry.
6. Create your own toy story
If you haven’t got any toys at home, head to a charity shop and pick up some bargain playthings to create a fun scene, with narrative, which you can then doodle.
7. Represent your typical breakfast
Do you always have the same bowl of cereal? Sit in the same spot? Or wear the same dressing gown? Find an object or scene that best represents your typical breakfast and draw that.
8. Choose an object that needs replacing
What have you been meaning to replace for a while but still haven’t got round to it? Now is the time to give it one final burst of your attention. Study it in detail, maybe it will find new appeal…
9. Pick an object you wish you didn’t own
Think about any everyday essential you secretly wish you didn’t own. Perhaps you rely on a medication you’d love to live without, or you’re embarrassed by the car you drive! It’s time to find new interest in an object you don’t like.
10. Draw something hideous
This doesn’t have to be something you own, but pick something that’s laughably unattractive to you. Browse second-hand shops and pick out a terrible jumper or raid your kitchen cupboard to bring out that disgusting vase you were gifted once…
11. Focus on tiny treats
Think about edible delights you enjoy which are particularly small – take Love Heart sweets or Popcorn pieces. Take a look at them in detail you never have before.
12. Be aggressive, then record it
Take an unwanted object (it could just be a cardboard box) and intentionally damaged it. Draw the results.
13. Marvel at machinery
Capture the detail of complex mechanics that fascinates you, from old typewriters to your garden lawnmower.
14. Switch off tech you can’t live without
Pinpoint the tech you are most often glued to (laptop, iPad, smartphone…) then turn it off, and do a portrait of it!
15. Visualize your to-do list
What tasks have you been putting off? Capture an object that best represents something on your to-do list. This can be a highly creative still life drawing.
16. Go as simple as possible
Search your house for the simplest looking object you can find. An egg, a toilet roll, an eraser… see if you can portray beauty in this.
17. Represent your personality with one object
If you had to pick one inanimate object to best represent your character, what would it be? Place it on a blank surface and sketch it.
18. Capture your most worn garment
Always wearing the same pair of jeans? Have a favorite bra you can’t part with? Hang up or arrange your most worn garment on a table, then use this as your muse.
19. Draw something which makes you nostalgic
Choose an item which brings back precious memories and re-create in on paper.
20. Celebrate your favorite beverage
Grab your favorite can of pop, make yourself a cup of coffee or pour a nice whiskey – whichever drink you love and see how accurately you can represent it. Then drink it afterwards!
21. Choose something which makes you giggle
Pick your favorite DVD or get out a novelty gift you don’t usually look at.
22. Ask a friend to name an object
Let a friend or colleague choose your muse today. Ask them to name an object which you are likely to have at home, and draw that!
23. Observe where you sleep
Sit opposite your bed or any other space in which you sleep, and capture exactly what it looks like straight after you get up in the morning.
24. Pick up a paper
Pick up the newspaper. Draw it.
25. Revisit the most expensive thing you own
Have you ever considered what the most expensive item you own is? Do you own a treasured piece of jewelry? Or perhaps it’s simply your TV? Find the item which has the highest value in your home, and draw that!
26. Discover a corner you never look at
Take a look around your house, which areas do you often overlook? It’s time to choose a new angle to view your property – sit and discovery the shapes, textures, and light you find there.
27. Draw a door to an important entrance
Think of a door that holds significance to you. It could be your front door, it could be the door to a pub you frequent, or a lecture room you spend days in… take a seat and draw that door in detail.
28. Reinvent the fruit still life
Still getting the urge to do a traditional fruit bowl still life? Take a more creative approach and fill another vessel with fresh fruit – such as an old pair of shoes, a fish tank, or a sink!
29. Choose a comfortable spot
Where is the most comfortable place to sit in your life? Instead of sitting there, pull up another chair and sit and capture it in a still life drawing.
30. Visualize a confession
Think of a secret. This can be as light-hearted or as serious as you like… how can you represent this confession in just one object? Find it, and draw it.