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For a digital artist like me, getting these unique ideas for my images is one of the most important things. I see ideas in my dreams, when I read a magazine, when I take a walk or just about anywhere. I learned that ideas are everywhere if you allow yourself to see them. When I have the idea, I see it in my head as a “flash”. I see almost all the details, but I have to sketch this idea quickly in my notebook so as not to forget it.

These sketches work as a guideline when I start making the image itself. When I look at the sketch, I am able to remember all the aspects of the picture that I saw in my head. Of course, each image has a different process when I start putting all the pieces together, but that’s another story.

Below you can see a bunch of my sketches from the little notebook I carry around. There are always a few tweaks to the concept or the image itself, but often my sketch and final image match almost one-to-one, as you can see.

And in my notebook there are many other similar sketches just waiting for their time to be created as a final image.
What is your process for creating concept art and memorizing your ideas?

So how did I come up with these ideas?



When you sketch out the very idea with the poop stick figures, you are able to preview your image and you will remember it better when you come back to it. So keep this notebook handy at all times. I use a small Moleskine notebook which is usually in my bag, where I drool my small sketches. And when the time is right, I breathe those sketches into reality.


Years ago, after reading a book called “Fly Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, everything changed with me in my way of creating new concepts. When you allow yourself to steal (not copy) ideas from all around you, you are able to combine those multiple ideas into a new unified concept. So don’t copy someone’s image or idea, but save some parts of it and combine it with another idea.


When creating new concepts for your images, try not to search for things you know. Try to research things you don’t know. I’ve used Wikipedia’s random article button several times, for example, to expose myself to new articles and visuals that I’m not really looking for. These random items might initiate something new for your thought process and you might come up with a unique new concept.


You can also use Random word generator to create let’s say 3 totally random words and try to imagine those words as a picture in your head. I recommend using 3 words and then trying to visualize those words as a new concept image. This will be fun practice for any artist.

ABSTRACT, FUR, MACHINES, now try to see this image in your head. I definitely have weird images in my head. Maybe a new concept was born yet again?


I’ve often heard the argument that “I don’t have time to create something new”. Well, we all have the same hours to spend during the day. The older we get, the more excuses we have to NOT be creative. Give a child a cardboard box and they’ll turn it into a car or even a space rocket. We are just too lazy to see the creativity around us.

If you want to create unique concepts and create concept images, you need to invest time. And yes, I know time is our most precious thing, but if you dedicate a single Netflix episode’s time to creativity, I’m sure you’ll create a unique new concept as well. Invest that time in reading random articles, get out there and try to see those unique concepts all around you. Write them all down, visualize them in advance, and then, when the time comes, put your energy into creating those visions into reality. To do work!

Well, those are 5 selected tips on how I try to come up with new ideas for concept plans. What do you think?
Have you used any of these or have any other great tips to share? Comments below!

About the Author

Antti Karppinen is a Finnish digital artist. A retoucher, a creative brain, a father, a budding card magician. he is a creator of non-existent worlds and stories, and in his world, anything is possible! You can find out more about Antti and his work on his website and follow him on Instagram and Facebook. This article was also posted here and shared with permission.

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