Ideas for drawing can be found in magazines, newspapers and text books; all of which can be found inexpensively.

Finding resources for drawing is not at all hard.

 Ideas for drawing might be right under (in front of) your nose.

If your reading this then you most likely have Internet access, which gives you more material for drawing ideas than you'll ever need.

Here are a few other resources for finding ideas for drawing...

  • magazines
  • coffee table books
  • your personal photo collection
  • photos from friends and family
  • school textbooks
  • photos you take with your own camera
  • Photos off the Internet

I'll go over each of these.


Magazines are by far the main resource I get my drawing ideas from. They're easy to find and really inexpensive.

Most of us have subscribed to some sort of magazine at one time. We read through them and toss them aside to sell at our next yard sale. I have boxes of them sitting around...I can't make myself part with them. I just know I'll read them again later.

If you're not a reader I'm sure you can find someone who has a stash of magazines laying around. Maybe someone at work, or a neighbor you talk to down the street.

If you just can't find any then you'll have to buy some.

The most economical way is to get them at a yard sale. Most people who are selling their old magazines are tired of storing them and will let them go for a song.

Here are some tips for picking out your magazines...

  • Look for large clear photos.National Geographic or Life Magazine are two good sources. Parent and Child magazines will have nice photos of children. If you're into cars then snatch-up those Car and Driver issues.
  • Avoid any magazine that is primarily informational.These will have mostly text with maybe a small illustration here and there.
  • Don't pay more than 25 cents for a magazine.

I personally wouldn't pay more than 10 cents for a magazine unless it had a fantastic amount of photos that I just had to have, or the seller was stubbornly firm on the price.

The best way to buy them is in bulk amounts. You might offer to buy all their magazines. Make sure you know how many there are and you could get them for 5 cents apiece or less. Just remember to get rid of the ones you won't need.

coffee table books

Coffee table books are a great resource for large clear photos. Sometimes there are several black and white photos that are perfect for graphite pencil drawing.

I suggest that you go to several yard/garage sales and thrift stores to search for good bargains.

personal photos

I have several hundred photos that I've taken over the past 30 years. I was into photography before I was into drawing and painting.

You may not have as many photos as I do, but most people have at least some. Dig em out an see if anything gives you some new ideas for drawings.

    There might be just one problem

The image on a photo can be kind of small, and hard to see. This can sometimes be remedied by using a scanner to scan the image to your computer and enlarging it with your favorite editing software.

If you don't have a scanner, you might be able to find a friend who does. Another option might be to take it to a nearby business that specializes in helping people with their copying needs.

The best option is to use an artist's projector. This option is the most costly as projectors can run over $100.

Friends' and family's photos

Your gray-haired granny, Aunt Emmy, or the guy at work might let you rummage through their photos if you promise to draw something for them at no cost.

There have been several times that I have drawn from a photo I acquired from a friend, and then later given the drawing as a gift.

I don't mind not getting payment as this is one way that I hone my skills

Old textbooks

You might think that getting ideas for drawings from text books is a little nutty. However I have found several good black and white photos from some of my old college texts.

Grade school text books will often have nice clear photos in them.

These can also be found at some yard sales

Pictures you take with your own camera

This option gives you the most control over your choices for drawing ideas. You choose what to photograph, and the composition. Your ideas for drawings are almost unlimited with a good camera.

If I need a photo of someone eating an ice cream cone I just get the ice cream, put it on a cone, give it to my model, and start snapping away.

Be aware that if you take photos of anyone you don't know you might want to get a release form for them to sign. You can find generic forms on the net. You'll just need to modify it to fit your needs.

There are hundreds, nay, thousands of things to draw in this big wide world, so I would guess that you'll probably never run out of ideas for drawing.

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