Looking for artistic inspiration? Roll for inspiration is the perfect way to bust boredom and give yourself a drawing challenge that won’t disappoint.
A New Drawing Challenge is Born
One of the biggest challenges I face as an artist is figuring out what to draw. I can be hit with a bolt of inspiration and still be stuck trying to come up with any ideas to take advantage of that inspiration. But after I started playing Dungeons and Dragons a year ago, I realized that I can try taking a different approach to my creativity — and that’s how Roll for Inspiration was born.
Roll for Inspiration
I’ve become fully obsessed with D&D over the last year. I’ve bought a half dozen books, several sets of dice, and I’ve already tried my hand at running a game. I’m hooked. And one of the reasons I adore this fantasy game so much is because it injects an element of chaos into each game through a roll of the dice. When it hit me that I can use this to my advantage in art, it only seemed like a natural fit.
In fact, I realized that I had seen something like this before. When I was a teenager, I received a book called Fantasy Genesis by Chuck Lukacs that I hadn’t looked at in years. This book utilizes a similar tactic to help you come up with interesting fantasy concept art, but after flipping through the pages again, I realized I needed something a bit more honed into my interests. At that point, I sat down and started creating dice tables specifically to tickle my creative fancy.
In fact, I even created a whole course over on Foxsy by the same name: Roll for Inspiration! This course takes you through the entire process of creating art using this random table method. You can watch as I roll, plan, sketch, and paint a piece using my tables so you’ll know exactly what to do when you give it a try yourself!
How it Works
And after sharing the results of this dice drawing game on social media, people immediately began asking for the lists so they could join in. Who am I to keep this to myself? Allow me to share my drawing tables and my approach to this imaginative game.
Download the Dice Drawing Game Prompt List
To participate in the Roll for Inspiration dice drawing game, you need to get your hands on the prompt list. You can download this 2-page printable for free from the Fox Den Resource Library. You can find it under Planner Printables>Miscellaneous Printables (which is at the bottom of the page).
If you are already a member of the Fox Den, just enter the password you received in your signup email to go claim your printable. If you aren’t a member, don’t worry! It’s quick, easy, and did I mention free to sign up? Click the button below to sign up and get the password to the Resource Library.
To play this dice drawing game, you need to have access to D&D dice. A set of these dice contains 7 total dice. On the prompts pages, you’ll see tables that show “D20”, “D8”, and so on at the top of the list. That means you need the die with the corresponding number of sides.
For example, a table that says “D4” at the top will require you to roll the 4 sided die. A table that says “D20” will require the 20 sided die. That’s all there is to it!
Do I Need to Buy Dice to Play?
If you’re already a big D&D fan, chances are that you already have a set of dice that you use for your gameplay. However, if you don’t own any dice, that’s okay too! You don’t need physical dice in order to play this game because you can roll with digital dice rollers online. One option is Roll A Die, which allows you to easily enter the type of die you need and get a random roll.
If you don’t own any dice and you’re wanting to correct this terrible mistake, then there are tons of incredible options available online! I have a stunning opalite gemstone set from URWizards on Etsy that I received as a gift, and they have loads of other drool-worthy dice sets.
Pick Your Tables
Once you have your dice ready to go, it’s time to pick your tables. I tend to pick three or so tables at a time to create some interesting combinations. You can start with just one table to get started and add more prompt tables as you get more comfortable. There isn’t a set amount of prompts that are the “right” choice, so just do what feels right.
Don’t try to roll from each and every table! You likely will become hopelessly overwhelmed. I designed this dice prompt list to help me pull a few ideas, not create a massive overload of themes.
Roll for Prompts
You’ve selected the tables you’re going to use for your drawing — now it’s time to roll! Grab the right die for the job or roll online to see what you get on each table. You might roll something that seems weird or particularly difficult, but don’t reroll! Instead, challenge yourself to try to use what the fates gave you. The point of a dice drawing challenge is to push you outside of your comfort zone. You might create something unexpected and amazing!
Begin Sketching Rough Concepts
Now that you’ve got your prompts, begin a page of rough sketches. Don’t hold back ideas if they seem off the wall or stupid. This is a brainstorming session where you should entertain all the ideas that pop into your head. It might help to set a timer for 20 or so minutes to really encourage yourself to get out as many ideas as possible to prevent you from getting hung up on details.
This is a great point to start looking up references if you need them. There are lots of funky options on the roll tables that you might not be familiar with, such as animals, plants, poses, and more. Push your boundaries and grow your skills by looking up handy references to give you an idea of the colors, shapes, and compositions that you need to bring this piece to life.
The sketching can be done in a multitude of ways depending on your process. You can fill up a page in your sketchbook with rough sketches. If you’re feeling nervous about “messing up” your sketchbook with weird rough drawings of random stuff, then 1. check out my post about focusing on Done Not Perfect, and 2. try having an ugly sketchbook where all your wacky drawings live. Keeping an ugly sketchbook is a good way to let yourself off the leash and give yourself room to make mistakes while still having your fancy sketchbook that you share with the world.
So far, I’ve been doing my rough sketches on my iPad Pro with Procreate. This allows me to house all my weird sketches in one central location, but it also gives me the option to transfer to paper or keep the art entirely digital.
Pick a sketch that seems promising and start focusing on it for your final drawing or painting! If your sketch is small or there isn’t enough room on the page, feel free to redraw the concept onto its own page to give it room to breathe. This is the part where you get to add as much detail as you want — if you want it to be rough and minimal, this might be a short step.
But if you want to flesh out this concept and create a full-bodied piece of art, then it’s all you, baby. Use whatever medium you want (or whatever medium you rolled) to bring your art to life. If you get hung up on details or doubts, remember that this is meant to be a bit different from your normal stuff. Allow yourself to experiment and have fun, and don’t worry too much about this piece looking perfect.
After your drawing is done, take a moment to appreciate it. Is it weird? Off the wall? Out of this world? Excellent! You’ve just pushed yourself as an artist and given yourself the tools to grow today.
Now is the time to share it so others can appreciate your new art, too! If you post on social media, please use the hashtags #rollforinspiration and #dicedrawingchallenge, then tag me so I can see your amazing work (@little_coffee_fox on Instagram and @littlecoffeefox on everything else).
Don’t be afraid to get weird
The whole point of Roll for Inspiration is to challenge you in new, unexpected ways. If you feel uncertain, doubtful of your abilities, or scared to share, remember that this is supposed to make you feel a little uncomfortable. After all, it wouldn’t be a challenge if it didn’t make you leave your comfort zone! So brush off those fears, pick up your pen, and roll your dice. You’ve got some art to create.