Even though I’ve been graphic recording for the better part of a decade and have quite the visual vocabulary at this point, I’m still always on the lookout for new inspiration. I like seeing how I could draw things differently or just adding new ideas to my bank of mental images.
Today I’m going to share my top 5 favourite sites that I go to when I want doodly inspiration. I posted a video about these sites on my Youtube channel, so if you’re more of a visual person, you can head over there to watch it or—scroll down this page and find it here too.
A quick note before we start:
You won’t find Pinterest on this list. And that’s really just because Pinterest is the go-to for a lot of people already. I wanted to give you some different and more specific options, and hopefully some you haven’t tried yet! (If you haven’t tried Pinterest, I recommend taking a look—it’s basically a never-ending gold mine once you get the hang of it).
Let's get started!
1. Google Images
Google Images may still be pretty well known, so if you’re like, “Yeah, Ashton, I’m aware,” scroll right on down to the next site on the list!
People everywhere Google things all the time, but did you know they have a separate search tab just for images?
I love typing whatever I’m looking for plus the word “sketch,” “doodle,” or “line drawing” into Google images and seeing what comes up (although, pro tip, if you type in “dog doodle” you’re going to end up with photographs of poodle mixed breeds—which is adorable, but possibly unhelpful).
2. Quick Draw
Quick Draw is a game with over 15 million users, which means it’s accumulated quite the impressive data set! Every time someone plays Quick Draw, their doodle is uploaded into a library of images. We’re talking 50 million+ doodles!
Their collection is used to train neural networks and study how people from different parts of the world draw the same objects. The drawings range from super rough sketches to more refined and detailed drawings, and it’s fun to see all the ways a single word can be interpreted! If you haven’t checked it out, I definitely recommend!
DaFont is specifically for handwriting inspiration, but since text is such a huge part of graphic recording and sketchnoting, it still deserves a place on this list. Looking at different fonts can give you ideas about how to draw your letters in new ways. Any font site will do this, but DaFont is my favourite. It’s especially great if you want to change up your handwriting for titles and headings.
4. Envato Elements
Envato is one of those paid image/video/theme/music/you name it sites, but since you’re just looking for inspiration, you can get what you need for free. Envato Elements lets you search specifically for graphics, which again is what you want.
Photographs are fun to look at, but they’re not as helpful when you’re looking to stretch that visual vocabulary. Check the video to see just how to find what you’re looking for.
5. The Noun Project
The Noun Project has the most comprehensive icon collection in the world, with designers from 120+ countries.
They have other collections as well (they added photos in 2020), but I love them specifically because of their huge collection of simple line drawings. If you’re ever looking for new ways to draw something, typing it into their search bar will give you dozens, if not hundreds, of ideas.
And that’s my top 5 favourite sites for doodly inspiration! The video below gives you a look at what each site is like—which means you’ll be able to jump right in and start exploring instead of wondering where to go.
If you’re loving the inspiration here and want to start your own doodly journey, I have a free pdf guide that can help you out. Sketchnoting 101 gives you a quick summary of the 10 fundamental pillars of drawing your notes, and it’s a perfect jumping-off point.