More often than not, social media gets a bad reputation. Much of it, arguably, is well deserved. But, when used effectively, social media can serve as a powerful tool to kill art block. Instagram and Pinterest are the tools we’ll focus on, as they are laden with images we can use to practice drawing. Coupled with a random object generator, the possibilities are endless. The random object generator will provide you with a list of objects that you can use, or spur specific searches on Instagram or Pinterest.
Why use random generators in the first place? Simply put: to get out of our comfort zone. Instead of drawing characters and objects from a predictable space inside your head, you are now exposing yourself to a much broader range of categories.
Using a random object generator takes the pressure of having to think of something to draw.
For the purpose of sketching, I prefer searching for images on both Instagram and Pinterest (as opposed to using Google image searches) because the image searches on those aforementioned platforms are more accurate. This is due to the fact that images on Instagram and Pinterest are curated first and foremost by humans, not algorithms. As a result, I spend less time searching for references and more time drawing.
My random object sketches are not exclusively limited to objects. I will often integrate people, cartoon characters and animals into my sketches, assembling all the elements into a collage. As I draw, I will vary the size of the objects and arrange them into a composition, as shown below. Arranging the elements into a collage adds a layer of context and connection between each of the objects, and personally speaking – I think it’s pretty cool to look at when you’re finished drawing.
With this approach, I can focus on drawing instead of trying to come up with the perfect idea. In the process, I usually let my mind wander – and, more often than not, a new drawing idea emerges. Bonus!
Below are a list of random generators you can experiment with:
- Random Lists (datasets include things, instruments, flowers, and clothes)
- Figurosity (random pose generator)
- r/SketchDaily References (full body, body part, animal, structure, vegetation)
- Art Prompts (character, creature, situation, challenge, object, environment generators)
- Getty Images (search specific objects, poses, etc. under “Creative”)
- Creative Commons Image Search
Do you use random generators to fight art block? If so, what’s your experience been like? Do you have a favorite random generator site that’s not listed here? Awesome! Feel free to post your suggestions in the comments below.