Jamie Lynn writes: I began my art skills with fan art. Now I have worked with fan art (i.e. celebrity portraits) for such a long time, I have some troubles with coming up with original designs for my art. My skills improved, just not my original ideas. What would you suggest for coming up with more originality? Thank you for your time to read this. 🙂

So many artists find themselves in this situation. If you enjoy portraits, get a camera and start taking photos everywhere you go! The thing about celebrity photos is they are usually taken by professional photographers, with good cameras and lighting. You will want to learn how to do this yourself! Start taking photos of anyone who will let you (yes, your family and friends will start to get sick of it, but they will usually deal with it). The more you get the hang of taking photos, even if it’s what not to do, or what doesn’t look right, the easier it will get for you to come up with unique ideas.

There are even videos here on youtube that share tips on photography and lighting set ups. Yes, photography equipment can get quite expensive, but start with whatever you have available, even if it’s a little point and shoot. Start getting an understanding for angles you like to work in, and lighting that works well in your art.

While not the exact situation, it still relates so I will share this little story. I like surreal work. I remember years ago feeling like I was just not creative enough to come up with ideas on my own. So I randomly would just paint something. It may be great, it may be terrible. The thing is, that painting would lead me towards ideas for other paintings, which lead to even better ideas. That is a circle that just continues. The more you paint and draw, the more that you get your creative wheels turning (even if slow at first), the more ideas you will come up with!