Inspiration can be hacked. Just ask any professional artist and they would tell you that waiting for inspiration is a sure-fire way to barely create anything at all. If you’ve heard the phrase “steal like an artist” then you probably know where I’m going.
Art begets art, and sometimes the only thing stopping you from your next portfolio piece is a search bar and a loading screen. Here are some useful sites marked in creative categories that can get the ball rolling and demolish your art block.
Working with color theory? Adobe Color’s got you. You can choose which color harmony you want, then drag the color cursor along the color wheel for an endless collection of guided palettes.
If you prefer swatching, Coolors.co is the build-a-bear version of palette-making. Just piece together your palette with guided blocks suggesting the best hue for your theme.
If you want a bit more randomness, Colorhunt.co has premade palettes for days you’re not entirely sure what you want, or if you’re thinking of challenging yourself with a random scheme.
Tutorials and guides aside, sometimes you just need inspirational images to get you motivated. 500px is a goldmine of visually engaging work that can remind you to push the boundaries of refracted light and artistic timing.
For moving images, Vimeo has a good selection of shorts (both animated and live action) that are great references for movement and image composition.
If you’re looking for 3D breakdown and processing, CG Society has an impressive collection of artists showcasing their work.
Rendered visual pegs
You don’t need to veer too far from the usual suspects. There’s a reason a lot of local creatives have a Behance account. It’s particularly useful with client-commissioned brand work.
As for those working off of vague ideas that can be better described with imagery than with common keywords, Pinterest is pretty efficient at identifying similarly composed images. This should allow you to make quick work of your mood board.
For illustrators or multimedia artists graduating from Tumblr and Deviantart trends, make sure to check out Art Station, ZBrush Central and Pixiv for more professional work.
Honorable mention to Instagram, where a lot of good artists share their process and rendered work as well—just be ready to filter, literally.
There are a ton of other creative websites worth bookmarking so if you have a few saved in your browser, sound off in the comments and save a (creative) life.