Drawing Inspiration: How to Turn Everyday Objects into Creative Ideas


Are you looking for ways to infuse more creativity into your life? Have you ever felt stuck when trying to come up with new ideas? Drawing inspiration from everyday objects can be a powerful way to spark your imagination and fuel your creativity.

As the renowned artist and inventor, Leonardo da Vinci, once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." This sentiment speaks to the idea that inspiration can be found in the most ordinary of places. This article will guide you through the process of finding creative ideas from the objects that surround you every day.

Whether you're an aspiring artist, a professional designer, or simply someone eager to explore their creative side, this article will help you tap into the potential of everyday objects and transform them into unique and original concepts. By the end of this journey, you will have unlocked the ability to see the world around you in a new and creative light.

Introduction to Everyday Inspiration

Have you ever looked around and seen something so ordinary, but it just sparked a new idea or creative thought in your mind? Everyday objects have the power to inspire us in ways we might not even realize. As renowned artist Georgia O'Keeffe once said, "Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time." This quote beautifully captures the essence of finding inspiration in the everyday.

Whether it's a rusty old bicycle leaning against a fence, a stack of colorful books on a shelf, or even just the way the sunlight filters through the leaves of a tree, there is beauty and inspiration all around you. You just have to train yourself to see it. That's where the magic lies - in finding beauty and creativity in the ordinary.

Noted author and illustrator, Maira Kalman, also expresses the significance of ordinary inspiration, saying, "I walk everywhere in the city. Any city. You see everything you need to see for a lifetime. Every emotion. Every condition. Every fashion. Every glory." It's true, the everyday can be a wellspring of inspiration if you allow yourself to truly see it.

By the end of this article, you will have the tools and mindset to transform the everyday into the extraordinary, and turn the mundane into the magnificent. So, let's dive in and explore the endless well of creativity waiting for you in the everyday.

Finding Art in Ordinary Places

When it comes to drawing inspiration, ordinary objects can be a goldmine of creative ideas. Look around you, and you'll find that even the most commonplace items can spark your imagination in unexpected ways. As the late designer Bill Moggridge once said, "Good design goes to heaven; bad design goes everywhere." So, how can you find art in ordinary places?

One way to do this is to take a closer look at everyday objects. "You don't need to attend a gallery to find inspiration. You can find it right at home in the things you use every day," says artist and illustrator, Emma Block. Take a moment to really observe these objects, noticing their shapes, colors, and textures. You may begin to see them in a whole new light.

Another approach is to challenge yourself to find the beauty in the mundane. As author Elizabeth Gilbert suggests, "Look at the world through an artist's eyes and you'll see a world worth painting." Consider how a simple household item like a spoon or a paperclip can be the starting point for a new creative concept. When you start to see the artistic potential in everyday objects, you'll find that inspiration is all around you.

Your surroundings are full of inspiration, waiting for you to discover it. By finding art in ordinary places, you'll open yourself up to a world of creative possibilities. As you go about your day, take the time to really look at the objects around you. You never know what new ideas might emerge.

person holding white and gray stone
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The Transformative Power of Perspective

When it comes to drawing inspiration from everyday objects, one of the most powerful tools in your creative arsenal is perspective. The way you choose to look at and interpret an ordinary object has the potential to completely transform it into something extraordinary.

Author and artist, Wendy MacNaughton, once said, "You can find inspiration in everything, and if you can't, look again." This quote beautifully encapsulates the idea that a simple shift in perspective can turn the mundane into the remarkable.

Think about a mundane object that you interact with every day, such as a coffee mug or a house plant. By shifting your perspective and viewing these items through a different lens, you can unlock a world of creative potential. For example, the coffee mug could be seen as a blank canvas for intricate designs, or the house plant could become a symbol of growth and resilience.

In his book "Steal Like an Artist," Austin Kleon emphasizes the importance of changing your perspective by saying, "Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done."

So, challenge yourself to view everyday objects with fresh eyes. Look at their shapes, colors, textures, and functions in a new light. How can you reimagine them? How can you use them as a springboard for your creativity?

By harnessing the transformative power of perspective, you can breathe new life into the most ordinary objects, turning them into sources of inspiration and creativity. Remember, it's not just about what you see – it's about how you see it.

Creative Exercises for Object Exploration

Now that you have recognized the potential for creativity in everyday objects, it's time to explore and harness that inspiration. Here are some creative exercises to help you unlock your imagination and see ordinary things in a new light.

  1. Object Drawing: Take a simple object from your surroundings, such as a coffee mug or a potted plant, and practice drawing it from different angles and perspectives. This exercise can help you appreciate the beauty in everyday objects and train your mind to see them in a new way.

  2. Free Association: Choose an object and let your mind wander freely. Associate the object with different words, emotions, or memories. This can lead to unexpected ideas and connections. As author Elizabeth Gilbert puts it, "Inspiration is always trying to work with us. The question is, are we working with it?"1 .

  3. Object Manipulation: Experiment with physically altering or reimagining an object. This could involve taking it apart, rearranging its parts, or using it in a way it wasn't intended for. This exercise can help you break free from preconceived notions and spark innovative ideas.

  4. Sensory Exploration: Engage all your senses to explore an object. How does it feel, smell, sound, and even taste? This approach can help you uncoil fresh insights and associations. As artist William Kentridge once said, "You have to have a sense of curiosity, a sense of wonder, and a sense of play"2 .

  5. Object Transformation: Imagine the object in a completely different context or environment. What if it was in space, underwater, or in a futuristic setting? This technique can prompt you to think outside the box and generate imaginative concepts.

By engaging in these exercises, you will train your mind to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and spark creative ideas from the most unexpected sources. Remember, creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly, so make object exploration a regular part of your creative routine.

magnifying glass near gray laptop computer
Photo by Agence Olloweb on Unsplash

From Object to Concept: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you've explored everyday objects and found inspiration all around you, it's time to turn those objects into creative ideas. This process involves transforming your observations and thoughts about an object into a fully realized concept for your creative project. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you with this transformation:

  1. Select an Object: Choose an object that has inspired you in some way. It could be something as simple as a spoon, a flower, or a piece of furniture. As you select your object, remember what designer Charles Eames said, "The details are not the details. They make the design."

  2. Analyze and Deconstruct: Take a closer look at the object and deconstruct it in your mind. Analyze its shape, texture, color, and functionality. Ask yourself questions like, "What makes this object interesting or unique? How does it make me feel?"

  3. Find the Essence: Try to find the essence of the object. What does it represent to you? Is it the idea of simplicity, elegance, or functionality? As designer Dieter Rams once said, "Good design is as little design as possible."

  4. Brainstorm Ideas: Let your mind wander and brainstorm different concepts based on the object. Think about how you can incorporate the essence of the object into a creative project. Consider the words of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."

  5. Sketch or Write: Whether you're an artist or a writer, express your ideas through sketches, doodles, or written descriptions. Capture the concepts that have emerged from your exploration of the object.

  6. Refine and Develop: Refine your sketches or written descriptions, and develop the most promising concepts further. This is the stage where you bring your initial ideas to life. As graphic designer Paul Rand advised, "Don't try to be original, just try to be good."

  7. Reflect and Iterate: Take some time to reflect on your concepts. Ask for feedback from others and be open to reworking your ideas. Remember what Steve Jobs once said, "Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something."

By following these steps, you can effectively turn an everyday object into a powerful and meaningful concept for your creative endeavors. Remember, inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places, and with a little creativity, you can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.

Showcasing Your Creative Ideas

Now that you've taken the time to tap into everyday objects and turn them into creative ideas, it's time to showcase your work. Sharing your creations with others can be a rewarding experience and can even inspire those around you to see the world in a new light.

One way to display your art is through social media platforms. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are great for showcasing your creative ideas. You can use hashtags to reach a wider audience and connect with other like-minded individuals. As artist and author Austin Kleon puts it, "Share your work with the world. You never know who it might inspire."

Another option is to host a small exhibition or gallery showing. Invite friends, family, and colleagues to view your work in person. This not only allows you to share your ideas but also provides an opportunity for meaningful conversations and connections. As artist Georgia O'Keeffe once said, "To create one's world, in any of the arts, takes courage."

If you're feeling particularly bold, consider submitting your work to local art galleries or publications. This can give your ideas a wider reach and potentially open up doors for future opportunities. Author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk advises, "You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don't do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it."

Remember, showcasing your creative ideas is not just about seeking validation or recognition, but about inspiring others and celebrating the unique way you see the world. It's about finding joy in the process and sharing that joy with others.

So go ahead, put your work out there and let your creative ideas shine! Your unique perspective and inventive approach might just be the inspiration someone else needs.

brown wooden table with white wall
Photo by Justyn Warner on Unsplash

Continuing the Creative Journey

As you continue your creative journey, it's important to stay open-minded and constantly seek new sources of inspiration. Keep exploring and experimenting with different objects and ideas to keep your creativity flowing.

Remember, inspiration can come from anywhere, so always stay curious and observant. As author Elizabeth Gilbert once said, "The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them."

Keep pushing yourself to think outside the box and challenge your own assumptions. Look for different perspectives and ways of doing things, as this will help you stay innovative and continue to grow as a creative individual.

Don't be afraid to seek out feedback from others and use it as a way to improve your work. As entrepreneur and author Seth Godin advises, "Don't find customers for your products, find products for your customers." This mindset can help you tailor your creative ideas to better serve and connect with others.

Keep in mind that the creative journey is a continual process of learning and growing. Embrace the challenges and setbacks as opportunities to refine your skills and expand your creative horizons.

Above all, remember to stay true to yourself and your unique creative vision. As renowned artist Pablo Picasso famously said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

By staying curious, open-minded, and dedicated to your craft, you can continue to draw inspiration from the world around you and turn everyday objects into amazing creative ideas.


As you reach the end of this article, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the everyday objects that surround you. Remember, creativity can come from anywhere and anything. Embrace the ordinary and let it inspire you. As Pablo Picasso once said, "Everything you can imagine is real."

Remember that finding inspiration in everyday objects is a practice that requires openness, curiosity, and a willingness to explore. It's about training yourself to see the world with fresh eyes, just as the artist Georgia O'Keeffe did when she said, "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for."

So, the next time you feel stuck or uninspired, look around you. Look at the objects you pass by every day and see them in a new light. Use the transformative power of perspective and the creative exercises we've discussed to unlock the potential of everyday inspiration.

Remember, your ideas are valuable, and they deserve to be showcased. Whether it's through art, writing, or any other form of expression, don't be afraid to share your unique perspective with the world. Your creativity has the power to inspire others just as much as it inspires you.

So, I leave you with these parting words from the renowned author Neil Gaiman, "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before. Remember that you have the power to create and innovate, and that the world is waiting for your unique ideas."

Keep exploring, keep creating, and keep drawing inspiration from the world around you. The journey of creativity is ongoing, and I can't wait to see where it takes you.

a person standing in the middle of a desert
Photo by NEOM on Unsplash

1Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (2015)
2William Kentridge, "The Art of Making Art", TED Talk at TED2012
3Charles Eames, Eames: Beautiful Details (2015)
4Dieter Rams, As Little Design as Possible (2001)
5Frank Lloyd Wright, The Natural House (1954)
6Paul Rand, A Designer's Art (1985)
7Steve Jobs, Wired Magazine Interview (1996)
8Austin Kleon, "Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered" (2014)
9Gary Vaynerchuk, "Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence" (2018)
10Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (2015)
11Seth Godin, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (2003)
12Neil Gaiman, Art Matters (2018)
13Georgia O'Keeffe, Some Memories of Drawings (1977)