I often take a trawl through Flickr and find it very inspiring. It's like having an art gallery in your own home.
It's not all good stuff of course, but the trick is to find someone whose work you admire, then check out their favourite artists. Then you can look in turn at their favourites... and so on. Watch out though - time melts away (I'm often in trouble with long-suffering John, for disappearing for hours).
Anyway, last week I was inspired by some blind-contour drawings I came across, by Christian Tribastone in Virginia.
I have a very vague memory of trying this as an art student. Basically, you are only allowed to look at your subject as you draw, not at your paper. It creates some interesting Picasso-esque line work.
Enter poor John again! I took my sketchbook and trusty 3B downstairs, and sat opposite him, while he was trying to watch TV.
I decided to allow myself a slight cheat, to prevent things going too wide of the mark: if I needed to take the pencil off the paper, I would allow myself to look while I repositioned it, but then I had to look away to actually draw.
When I was done, I had a play with some colour, tinting sections of the drawings. There are several more to see on my Flickr site.
The spots were inspired by a Stanley Spencer self-portrait I have always loved:
Now that's how to paint!
Had another go the following night, this time in a mirror: