Five Ideas For “Lazy” Art Projects (That Look Impressive)

2016 Artwork Lazy Art Projects article sketch

If you’ve just spent a while on a rather time-intensive and energy-intensive art or comics project, then it’s only natural to want to take a break for a while. Whether you’ve actually taken a break and want to gently ease yourself back into making art again or whether you just want to spend a while making something easier, a “lazy” project is absolutely perfect.

However, when I say “lazy”, I’m talking about “lazy by the standards of someone who has already had a bit of practice at drawing and/or painting“. If you’re an absolute beginner rather than more of an intermediate (or advanced beginner) artist, then some of these projects might not seem quite as “lazy” to you.

That said, let’s get started:

1) Still life: Still life paintings or drawings are one of those things that look incredibly cool, but which require relatively little thought and effort if you’ve had some experience.

Yes, they take a bit of time to make but, since you’re basically just drawing or painting things from real life ( but perhaps with a few creative changes to the colour scheme, composition, background etc…) – this saves you having to actually think of a totally new idea for your picture.

Yes, learning how to paint or draw things from sight alone takes a bit of practice to get right, but once you’ve learnt how to do this – you can produce astonishingly realistic (when compared to the rest of your art) paintings or drawings with relatively little effort. Even if you simplify your still life picture slightly, it’ll still look surprisingly realistic. Like this still life painting of a tortoise statue that I made a few months ago:

"Tortoise Statue And Stones" By C. A. Brown

“Tortoise Statue And Stones” By C. A. Brown

2) The public domain: As much as I think that copyright law urgently needs reform, one good thing that can be said for current copyright laws is that copyright doesn’t last forever.

The rules about whether something is copyrighted or not vary from country to country and (in the cases of things like parody or whether something was made by various governments etc…) circumstance to circumstance. However, once the copyright on something has expired, then anyone can do whatever they want with it.

This means that, although you should probably acknowledge your sources in some way (for the sake of good practice) and do your research first, you can use anything that isn’t copyrighted in any way that you want. In other words, if you need a break from coming up with entirely new ideas for paintings, drawings etc… then you can turn to the public domain for more *ahem* direct inspiration.

For example, quite a while ago, I was curious as to what this really cool old 18th century etching by Francisco Goya would look like if it was in colour. So, I made this:

"Sleep Of Reason (After Goya)" By C. A. Brown

“Sleep Of Reason (After Goya)” By C. A. Brown

3) Art series: Although thinking of a good enough theme for a series of paintings or drawings can be a bit of a challenge, once you’ve thought of this idea – then coming up with a few paintings or drawings that fit into this theme is slightly easier than coming up with several different ideas for your next few paintings or drawings.

The trick with making an art series is to stop making it when you start running out of ideas. As soon as thinking of an idea for the next painting in your art series seems more difficult than thinking of an idea for a “stand-alone” painting, then it’s time to end your art series.

4) Fan art: Yes, this is something of a grey area (in practice, if not in theory), but one “lazy” way to make a piece of artwork that will impress both yourself and others is to make some non-commercial fan art based on your favourite TV shows, films, games etc…

Since the only things that you’ll really have to think about are the composition of the image, the colour scheme etc… You’ll be saved the effort of having to come up with new character designs, setting designs, clothing designs etc…

If you’re worried about copyright or you want to actually do something a little bit more creative, then just make a parody of one of your favourite things. Although this takes a bit of thought, it can be significantly funnier than an “ordinary” fan art picture and, in some areas (eg: the US and the EU) there are allowances for parody in copyright law. But, the exact definition of what is and isn’t a “parody” varies from place to place, so do your research here.

5) Landscapes: Let’s face it, people are one of the most challenging subjects to paint or draw even vaguely realistically. So, one easy way to make impressive-looking art with relatively little effort is just to make some artwork that doesn’t contain any people. In other words, landscape paintings. It’s that simple.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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4 comments on “Five Ideas For “Lazy” Art Projects (That Look Impressive)

  1. Good advice! Fan art is one of my favorite ways to practice drawing; it’s a lot of fun, and it’s a good way to practice drawing from a reference. It’s helped me a lot with learning about character design, facial expressions, anatomy, etc. Plus it’s always cool to take someone else’s character and try to draw it in my own style. 🙂

    • pekoeblaze says:

      Thanks 🙂 I didn’t really think about it that way, but you’re totally right – fan art is one of many ways to learn from other artists. And it’s probably more fun than doing traditional observations/studies/sketches too. But, yeah, I really don’t make anywhere near as much fan art as I probably should (at most, I seem to maybe perhaps make about one piece every month or two) but – yeah- it’s always cool to see what another character looks like when drawn in my art style.

  2. Love how you brought up the ideas of beginner art and intermediate. Great idea to talk about!

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