25 Inspirational Quotes for Creatives

I know, I know – quotes may seem a little cliché. But don’t be so quick to count out how motivational quotes can be! Sometimes when you’re in a creative or artistic rut, the best thing to do for that block is to read through quotes spoken by some of the most creative minds, and use them as fuel. So whether you’re hitting an artistic wall, trying to figure out what designs you should sell, or just looking for a new tattoo, here are 25 inspirational quotes for creatives that will whip your brain into shape.

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“Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it.”

– Madeleine L’Engle


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”

– Maya Angelou


“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has been cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience”

– Henry David Thoreau


“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”

– Austin Kleon


“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt”

– Sylvia Plath

“Ideas come from daydreaming. They come from drifting. They come from that moment where you’re just sitting there going, ‘well, everybody knows if a werewolf bites you, you turn into a wolf when the moon is full. What happens if a werewolf bites a goldfish?’ The trouble with these days is it’s really hard to get bored…there’s all sorts of wonderful TV at your fingertips and it’s really hard to get bored…put [your] phone away, go for long boring walks, actually try to find the space to get bored in. That’s what I’ve started telling people who are like,’I want to be a writer!’, good. Get bored.”

– Neil Gaiman


“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

– Vincent Van Gogh


“”There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.”

– Pablo Picasso


“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.”  

– Neil Gaiman


“When it is working, you completely go into another place, you’re tapping into things that are totally universal, completely beyond your ego and your own self. That’s what it’s all about.”

– Keith Haring


“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

– Steven Pressfield


“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

– William Shakespeare


“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”

– Jack London


“Inspiration comes and goes, creativity is the result of practice”

– Phil Cousineau


“The difficultly lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones”

– John Maynard Keynes


“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You must simply do things.” 

– Ray Bradbury


“Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite – getting something down”

– Julia Cameron


“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep”

– Scott Adams


“To try and fail is at least to learn. To fail to try is to suffer the loss of what might have been”

– Benjamin Franklin


“You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is…unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far”

– Alice Neel


“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. It seemed obvious to them after awhile. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

– Steve Jobs


“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits”

– Twyla Tharp


“One very important aspect of motivation is the willingness to stop and look at things that no one else has bothered to look at. This simple process of focusing on things that are normally taken for granted is a powerful source of creativity.”

– Edward de Bono


“You see a child play, and it is so close to seeing an artist paint, for in play a child says things without uttering a word. You can see how he solves his problems. You can also see what’s wrong. Young children, especially, have enormous creativity, and whatever’s in them rises to the surface in free play”

– Erik Erikson


“Creativity is discontent translated into arts.”

– Eric Hoffer


Ready to stop waiting and start making & selling your art? Signing up for an Artist Shop is a great (and free) first step! Threadless takes care of the manufacturing and shipping – you just make great art. 


Need more inspiration? Look for more quotes here:

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We’re an artist community built on the power of helping each other succeed — if you’re reading this and have tips of your own to share, please do so in the comments! Thank you!

Illustration done by the amazing Katie Lukes

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