Australian artists and hobbyists don’t have to look very far for inspiration. From the golden sands and turquoise water of our beaches to our lush green rainforests and quintessential bush settings, inspiration is all around us.

But how do artists go about their creative process? What gives them that spark to capture what’s in front of them? We asked five Australian artists to chat about their love of the arts and inspire you to start something bigger in the artistic space today.

Meet Digital Illustrator Brent Turner 

 Image of Australian artist Brent Turner standing in front of a colourful mural of cockatoos in a brewery setting.

Brent Turner spent his childhood drawing, finding inspiration in nature while exploring the fire trails and waterfalls near his Terrey Hills home, where he would stumble upon cute critters. But when the Sydney-based artist traded his pencil and paper for tech, he fell in love with digital drawing. His brand Brentos (which he created with his partner, Tash) is a testament to his love of Australian bushland and features dreamy pastel interpretations of the nation’s most beloved flora and fauna.

Start by Finding What Inspires You

Inspiration is the force that motivates creativity, so it’s important to dig deep and find what drives it. Heading into wide-open spaces is Brent’s tonic. “I’ll often spot something, like a wattlebird feeding on a banksia or a red-bellied black snake patiently waiting by a stream for a frog, and I’ll write down these little moments and refer back to them when I’m in need of inspiration,” he says. 

GIF series of artist Brent Turner with shots of him at work painting, on his laptop and in front of his mural artwork. 

Work in the Right Environment

“I have creative friends who require complete silence and others who can, and do, work under the most chaotic conditions,” Brent says. “I’m most creative on weekends when I’m free of the stresses of the inbox and I can sit outside with a beer and a Bluetooth speaker and draw with a clear headspace.”

Brent’s Top Tips to Get Started

If you're new to drawing, digital or otherwise, Brent suggests practising by creating work from analysing the artists you admire most. “As a creative exercise, copy their work to get a sense of their techniques and nuances,” he says. “Once you understand what gives an artwork consistency and a style, you can begin to think about how you can apply your own techniques to your creative work to begin developing your own style that’s 100 per cent yours.”

What You’ll Need

SEE ALSO: Find the Best Paint Types for Your Next Art Project

Meet Oil Painter Lisa Nooin 

A portrait image of Australian artist Lisa Nooin standing alongside some of her artwork in her studio.

For some it was sourdough starters, for others it was binge-watching Tiger King, but for Sydney-based oil painter Lisa Nooin, it was her return to painting that gave her a reprieve from the COVID-19 pandemic. “The soothing process of mixing colours and the gliding of paint on the canvas reignited my artistic passion,” she says. Since then, Lisa has made her art a full-time focus, along with running her own jewellery business, Lady Nooin.

Find Something That Sparks Joy

It’s the slow and “deliberate” process of oil painting that brings Lisa the most joy. “Oil paint’s slower drying time compared to acrylics allows me to savour the creative process,” she says. “Additionally, as a colour enthusiast, I appreciate oil paint's vibrant and true-to-life colours, unlike acrylics, which tend to dry darker.”

GIF series of Australian artist Lisa Nooin using oil paints to create a painting of flowers in a vase.

Define Your Own Style

Lisa’s unique style, which emulates the vibrancy of stained glass windows, was born from “experiment and play” over the course of her artistic journey. “For those seeking their own artistic style, my advice is to persevere by consistently creating art and experimenting with various styles,” she says. “Over time, you'll discern your preferences and dislikes and, as your artistic journey progresses, you'll naturally cultivate your unique artistic voice.”

Lisa’s Top Tips for Getting Started

For the oil painting newbies out there, Lisa says to start small. “Rushing into larger works can be expensive and challenging, especially when you're still experimenting and developing your skills,” she says. “Begin small, gain confidence and then transition to larger projects when you're ready.”

What You’ll Need

Meet Graphic Designer and Digital Artist Jack Turner 

Close-up portrait of Australian artist Jack Turner, smiling and wearing a striped shirt, with prints of his work in background. 

When a primary school teacher admired his vibrant drawing of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it gave Melbourne-based Australian artist and designer Jack Turner a “warm and fuzzy feeling” and ignited his passion for creating. Now affectionately known as Hey Stubby, Jack’s cheeky, outgoing personality shines through in his art. As the creative director of Skwosh, a line of resort wear for adults and kids that he co-owns alongside his close friends, he spends his evenings letting his imagination run wild.

Trust in the Creative Process

Just as finding inspiration is personal to each individual, so is discovering your own creative process – which is Jack’s favourite part. “I always love drawing shapes and objects first … it feels more organic and more like me,” he says. 

Leaning into the elements of art you find the most enjoyable will help you develop your own process. Jack draws by hand first before moving to the computer. “I spend quite a bit of time during the hands-on stage and it vastly outweighs the digital aspect, but that’s what brings me ultimate joy,” he says.

 GIF series of Australian artist Jack Turner, with shots of his artwork in a gallery, at his desk, and some of his abstract pieces. 

Take the Pressure Off

Whether you’re practising or refining a skill, love of the art is key. To foster creativity, Jack takes time out to look after himself by “having a nice hot bath” and “going for a nice long jog”. Whether it’s some pampering or getting out to move your body, he suggests a little bit of self-care to “spark some serious creativity”.

Jack’s Top Tips to Get Started

Jack advises taking a free-range approach before you hit the digital tools. “Always have a doodle with a pencil first … spend more time brainstorming your artwork as I feel that’s the most enjoyable and exciting part. Our world is getting extremely tech-savvy, which is great … but don’t forget about the pencil!”

What You’ll Need

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Tools for Artists and Creatives

Meet Oil Painter Libby Haines

Image of Australian artist Libby Haines in an olive green top, sitting in front of an oil painting.

The pandemic rekindled Australian artist Libby Haines’ passion for oil painting. With the beginning of lockdowns in 2020, and the closing of her jewellery business after six years, the Melbourne-based painter sought to fill the “creative hole” in her life. “Once I started, something was awakened in me. I hadn't felt so much passion and drive to create in a long time,” she says. 

Three years on, Libby and her art are thriving. Her works, made with water-mixable oil paints and using the alla prima (wet on wet) technique, are an evocative portrayal of life’s simple pleasures and expose the joy in domestic moments. 

Make Art for Yourself

While art is a wonderful way to express yourself, Libby says it's also a cathartic form of therapy to help cope with life’s stresses. “Painting, for me, is a form of escapism; a chance to step outside of myself, my own thoughts, and be entirely in a moment,” Libby says. “I get so much pleasure focusing on colour and texture and bringing a concept and feeling to life through paint.”

GIF series of Australian artist Libby Haines’s oil paintings of food scenes, plus a close-up of a paint palette loaded with oil paints. 

Find What Works Best

With three solo exhibitions already under her belt, Libby’s passion continues to flourish. “My advice for someone trying to find their own creative process is to dive right in and learn by doing,” she says. “Try lots of different things and challenge yourself to do something out of your comfort zone. I learn best by doing and making mistakes as I go.”

Libby’s Top Tips to Get Started

Riding the highs and lows of creating art is an important part of the process for Libby. She encourages those who are looking to start painting to embrace the failures and “not focus so much on perfection, but rather on creating”.

“A big thing that holds people back is fear of failure – you have to push past that,” she says. “You would be surprised what you can create if you just keep moving forward and lean into what feels good.”

What You’ll Need

Meet Acrylic Artist Tulli Stevens 

Portrait of acrylic artist Tulli Stevens, smiling and looking into the camera, sitting outside on grass.

With the beaches and bushland of Mullaway, near Coffs Harbour on the north coast of New South Wales, as the backdrop of her childhood, Tulli Stevens grew up with a love of art and culture as well as the nature around her. As a proud Gumbaynggirr woman and Indigenous Australian artist, it’s her connection to her culture and Country that shines through in her paintings. “I love the idea of creating a beautiful artwork that tells a story, something to make people feel a certain way, to inspire,” she says.

Be Prepared for When Inspiration Strikes

When an urge to create art comes, Tulli always has travel-sized essentials on hand and her acrylic paints are never far away. “A small art journal is something I use a lot,” she says. “It’s perfect for writing notes, thoughts of inspiration, sketches, jotting ideas or testing colours for new paintings. A miniature set of watercolours is [also] ideal for travelling or creating little artworks while you are out and about.”

GIF series of Tulli Stevens using paint markers to create dotwork artworks, as well as images of her finished pieces. 

Make the Creative Process Your Meditation

Tulli finds her craft is a form of relaxation. “I have often been someone who finds it hard to sit still in meditation, until I realised that meditation can come about in many different forms,” she says. “[Painting] opens a space for you to release emotions, to feel relaxed, to explore thoughts and ideas. It’s a beautiful way to become present in the moment, to just be, without any external thoughts or worries.”

Tulli’s Top Tips for Getting Started

Sometimes a trick of the trade or a handy tool makes creating art much easier and, as Tulli runs art workshops with Mullaway Creative Co, she has a few to share. “A spray bottle of water will be your best friend while working with acrylics. It helps move the paint in a much smoother way, creating consistent colours,” she says. She also recommends using wet palettes to keep your paint from drying out while you’re working. 

What You’ll Need

SEE ALSO: 8 Indigenous Artists to Follow