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Drawing Ideas When Sad (Express Yourself Through Art)

Need some drawing ideas when sad or feeling down?

Sadness is such an overwhelming emotion. At times, it can be numbing. It can be deafening. It can suck out all the motivation you have and leave your life empty.

But still, the need to draw is still there. You’re just not sure what.

If you’re looking for drawing inspiration when you’re sad then look no further. I’ve compiled a series of tips and drawing ideas for you to do when you’re having a bad day.

On days like these, it can be difficult to come up with something to draw. So here are some of the things I suggest:

  1. Draw Things that Make You Happy
  2. Express your Feelings through Art
  3. Work on your Sketchbook Theme
  4. Draw a Calm Nature Scene
  5. Draw a Still Life
  6. Draw a Self Portrait
  7. Draw a Sad Portrait
  8. Draw a Figure in Motion
  9. Draw a Flower
  10. Draw an Abstract Drawing

These tips have worked well for me in the past and I hope they’ll help you too! However, if none of these click with you and it’s getting harder and harder for you to pick up the pencil, I recommend talking to a professional instead of forcing yourself onto your art.

Mental health affects many things in our lives, including the things we love to do. So it’s best to take care of ourselves and our mental health so that we can keep doing what we love.

Table of Contents

    Drawing Ideas when Sad

    1. Draw Things that Make You Happy

    Drawing things that make you happy may remind you of better times. It might even inspire you to draw more.

    Think about the things that make you happy and try to draw inspiration from them. A gift from your friend, a video game, or your favorite movie. Create art around things that bring you joy.

    If you have a comfort show or a comfort character, draw them! Make fan art, do crossovers, or simply just copy a picture or a scene.

    Drawing the things that make you happy can bring a sense of comfort which is something everybody needs on sad days. It’s like a warm blanket and a hot cup of coffee on a dark and rainy day.

    2. Express your Feelings through Art

    My next tip is to simply express your feelings through art.

    Draw based on your emotions and feelings. How do you perceive your sadness? What constantly plagues your mind?

    Emotions and feelings are often where artists take inspiration for their art. Here are a few artists who used their art to express their emotions:

    ArtistThe Art
    Taylor SwiftExpresses her heartbreak through songwriting
    Tracey EminRepresented her breakdown with a sculpture of her bed while she was going through a hard time
    Edvard MunchPortrayed his anxiety in his most popular painting ‘The Scream’
    Artists and Their Ways of Expressing Their Feelings Through Art

    These people all went through tough times and created art inspired by those times. You can do that as well by looking into your mind and pinning down what’s making you sad. Even if it’s nothing, even if you can’t understand, one way or another, you can represent it in your drawings.   

    3. Work on your Sketchbook Theme

    Another thing I suggest you do when sad is work on your sketchbook theme.

    If you have a theme for your sketchbook, you can just pick up where you left off and add a few more sketches to the pages. Because you’re following a certain theme, this won’t be too difficult for you to find ideas for.

    You can even add a touch of your feelings to them by representing your sadness through the colors or through how you draw them.

    If you’re like me and you have a themeless sketchbook, I suggest picking up a random and temporary theme that you can easily draw while you’re going through rainy days.

    If you wanna know more ways to fill your sketchbook, have a quick look at this video:

    10 Ways to Fill Your Sketchbook

    4. Draw a Calm Nature Scene

    Sometimes sad days are caused by all the chaos that happens in your life. If this is the case then drawing a calm nature scene may help you out.

    Nature is already very calming. Using it as a subject of a drawing might help distract you from your sadness. If you don’t know what nature scene to draw, you can take a walk or go to a park for some inspiration.

    If you don’t feel like leaving your house, there are a ton of places on the internet where you can grab scenes from nature that could inspire you. Google Earth can help you find something as well.

    As long as the scenery resonates with you and brings you a sense of peace, then you should be able to draw it just fine.

    5. Draw a Flower

    If an entire scenery is too much for you then on a smaller scale, simply draw a flower.

    Drawing pretty things can be relaxing and flowers are one of nature’s most beautiful creations. There are also thousands of them in existence so if you’re looking for variety then flowers make a great choice for a subject.

    To take it a step further, you can draw multiple flowers either separately or in a bouquet. The more, the prettier.

    Some flowers also have pretty designs and patterns which can keep you distracted from the things that are making you sad. Their colors are vibrant as well so if you decide to color your flower drawings, the vivid colors of flowers may remind you of better times.  

    6. Draw a Still Life

    You can represent your sadness by drawing still life.

    Personally, I find that there’s something so melancholic about still life. Maybe it’s the lack of humans that makes it seem so depressing or maybe it’s just me, either way, drawing still life can help you direct your sadness into your art.

    You can choose whether to color it or leave it in black and white. You can also represent your sadness by deciding how you want the contrast in your drawing to be. Will it be dark? Will it mostly be light? Will there be a balance?

    For reference, I suggest you choose any object in your house that you feel would accurately represent your feelings. A solemn window where the pitter-patter of rain can be seen, an empty table and chair, or even just your bed.

    Using your home as a reference can be more personal than just grabbing a picture from the internet. For instance, if you drew your bed, you’re not just drawing a still-life picture of your bed, you’re drawing the place where you’ve slept, cried, and stayed in for days.  It’s just not the same as grabbing a picture of a random bed on the internet and copying it.

    7. Draw a Self Portrait

    A self-portrait can also be a relaxing way to spend your sad days.

    You can choose whether to draw your current self or draw a picture from your better days. I suggest doing one of your current self to capture the sadness that you’re currently going through.

    Self-portraits are a great tool to portray your feelings. Your emotions can be seen through the expressions of your self-portrait. Even how you draw or color the portrait can be indicative of what you were feeling when you were doing the piece.

    It’s like looking at a mirror, except how you draw yourself on a canvas can tell you more than just your physical appearance.

    An added bonus is that self-portraits can get you to practice drawing human features. What better way to practice drawing humans than drawing yourself?

    8. Draw a Sad Portrait

    If you don’t like the idea of drawing yourself then you can try to draw a sad portrait of someone else instead.

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be sad but I can imagine how annoying it is to draw someone happy while a rain cloud sits on top of your head. Drawing something close to how you’re feeling is much easier to do which is why I suggest a sad portrait.

    The point is drawing humans, whether it’s your face or someone else’s, can be helpful in redirecting your sadness. Not only that but it also gets you to study facial features while you’re at it (although that’s not really a top priority).

    If a sad portrait is only making you sadder, then you can try to draw humans going through different emotions. You can take different scenes from movies of your favorite actor acting out various feelings.

    If that doesn’t interest you, there are many other places on the internet where you can find humans depicting several emotions. 

    9. Draw a Figure in Motion

    If you’re just looking for something to take your mind off of your sadness, then I recommend drawing a figure in motion.

    This can be a great way to distract you from what’s making you sad as figures and motions are often drawings that require the most attention. Especially if you’re keen on accurate proportions and fluid movements.

    Because your focus will be on the movements and proportions of the figure you’re drawing, your mind will temporarily forget about your sadness. Obviously, it’s not good to completely forget why you’re sad, but it is good to take your mind off of it for a while.

    Sadness can bring along a lot of mental turmoil so having that be gone for a second just because you’re too busy trying to get the hand or the position of your figure’s legs right is a good thing.

    10. Draw an Abstract Drawing

    My last tip is to draw an abstract drawing. Abstract deals with emotions and feelings rather than accurately representing reality. If you don’t know anything about abstract art, I suggest reading our other article How to Draw Abstract Drawing for Beginners.

    If you’re already familiar with abstract then you know that it depends heavily on shapes, lines, and colors rather than rigid figures and accurate proportions. It relies on meanings and representations rather than realistic copies.

    Abstract art is perfect for something as overwhelming and complex as sadness. Just take your paper or canvas and let your hand guide your drawing. To really dig deep into your mind, you can close your eyes and just draw. Let misery speak through the microphones of your art.

    Anyone who sees it will hear, and while they won’t entirely understand it, they’ll somehow be able to sense the feeling you had when you were creating the piece.

    What to Draw When You Can’t Think of Anything?

    There are many things to draw when you can’t think of anything.

    Things like:

    • Nature
    • Portraits
    • Still Life
    • Gesture Drawing
    • Abstract

    If you don’t know where to start, you can start with these. If you’re looking for something more specific, have a look at our other article here 17 Drawing Ideas For Beginners To Warm up and Build Basic Skills for drawing ideas.

    But generally speaking, if you’re itching to draw but you can’t think of anything, you may be facing an art block, and when that happens, it’s much better to take a step back rather than force yourself to draw.

    Why Do I Draw Better When I’m Sad?

    Some people draw better when they’re sad and that’s because art usually comes from emotions, particularly strong emotions, and one of the strongest emotions we feel is sadness.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean that your drawings are terrible when you’re happy, this just means that your art is tied to your feelings and how strongly you feel them.

    A lot of artists draw from their feelings rather than from their surroundings. Even if they choose to draw their surroundings, what they’re feeling at the moment will always trickle into the artwork. And that’s what’s so beautiful about art.

    It’s basically a language. When we have something that we really want to say, we scream it. For artists, if they have something that dying to be represented inside them, they draw it.

    What Should I Draw when Stressed?

    Art can be a stress relief to some, however, choosing to draw something difficult and intricate can add to the stress, especially if you’re a perfectionist. If you’re looking to de-stress by drawing, you can try to do:

    • Scribbles
    • Doodles
    • Patters
    • One continuous line

    When you’re stressed, I suggest drawing something that is calming and easy.

    Stress is caused when we feel overstimulated so picking something simple to draw won’t add to the overstimulation.

    Can Depression Affect Drawing?

    Many people actually link depression to creativity, saying that the more depressed you are, the more creative you’ll be. However, there is little to no evidence to back that claim up.

    How you are feeling can definitely affect your art so yes, depression can affect drawing.

    There is a link between creativity and depression though. Studies suggest that people who are highly creative are more prone to depression and mood disorders than the average person. That said, the evidence for this is quite limited, and more research still needs to be done.

    One thing is for sure though, art can be therapeutic and can even help some people get through depression. There’s nothing more troubling than not being able to express your truest self. With art, you can do just that with simple lines and colors.

    Is Drawing Good for Depression?

    Not only does drawing allows you to express yourself, but it can also provide a sense of fulfillment. It can also distract you from the chaos that’s in your life and can help you to de-stress.

    Yes! Drawing is good for depression. Studies show that creating art, or even just looking at art, can help with things like depression and anxiety.

    The ‘zone’ you get into when you’re in the creative process can also be seen as something akin to meditation. This, of course, can be different depending on the person, but most of the time drawing can be good for depression.

    What Are the Mental Benefits of Art

    Art has plenty of mental benefits. Several research shows that art and engaging in anything creative can be good for you mentally.

    According to Psych Central, the mental benefits of art are:

    • boosts self-esteem
    • elevates mood
    • creates feelings of accomplishment
    • enhances memory
    • relieves stress
    • aids in self-discovery
    • calms and focuses the mind

    A study has also shown that creating art, even for just 45 minutes, reduces our cortisol levels (our stress hormones).

    There’s no denying that art comes with many mental benefits. It promotes self-expression and creative thinking. 

    Even ignoring all its benefits, it’s also just a fun and great hobby to have. It makes lives more interesting and entertaining. Without art, the world would just be bland and boring.

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