What’s a Mood Board?  And How to Create One

I’ve talked about inspirations and creativity before in my blog here. There are many ideas about creativity and how to cope with artistic blocks. Some say you can be stuck or have a block but I think we put that block or being stuck in our heads, sometimes without knowing it. Similarly, there are many ways to inspire the artistic, some that I have been using for a while and work very well for me. One of my favorites is my sketchbooks. (click here for that post). I also like to look through art books that are about artists such as Dali, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Motherwell, Nathan Oliveira, and Paul Klee, just to name a few. I am also inspired by art magazines and the artists I follow on Instagram. I’ve also taken classes  to learn how other artist use their tools or mediums. One thing I started working with this year is the mood board. (Directions to follow). 

If you are a marketing person, you will know what this is. It helps get ideas of what the client is looking for in their business, and provides a guide for everything from business cards to an Instagram post. For an artist, a mood board is something quite different. Mood boards provide inspiration and creative direction. It’s always good to take your time when you are putting one together and really look at colors, images and things that make you say, “awwwwww…”  It should be a source of constant inspiration. A mood board can and should change from time to time, because we change all the time. 

 I first put mine together back in February. I changed a few things through out the year, and removed a few things. I kept looking at it and knew that something needed to happen but I just couldn’t figure it out.  This month, I gave it an overhaul and created a board that brought a deep sigh. That’s what you will be looking for as you create your mood board.

Self Portrait

What’s needed to create a mood board?

Supplies are minimal: 

  1. Bulletin board of a large size;
  2. Push pins or thumbtacks;
  3. What goes on the mood board.

The main thing is almost anything that when you look at it you feel inspired.  You don’t have use all of these suggestions. I always use some swatches, of new colors or colors that I love, drawings or sketches that I have done, pieces of fabrics, dried flowers or leaves, magazine clippings, old book pages, small pieces of art that inspire me, and make copies from my sketchbook of things that I think came out well. This list can go on and on, but I think you get the idea. 

Arrange the pieces on your board in a manner that pleases you. I discovered a little trick with mine, so I was not waiting to get inspired. I laid some art papers in some places so I wasn’t staring at a blank canvas, so to speak. I started to think about things that I loved in my own art. I have some pages in a sketchbook, that I really like and every time I flip through that sketchbook I feel like painting. I made copies of those pages and added some color swatches, a few sketches, and a drawing or two. I was amazed when I stepped back and looked at it. It was me. And now I can’t stop looking at it. 

My mood board, for now.

When I set the placement of everything I pin it all down. I also use clear push pins so as to not distract from the mood. I held it up to make sure everything is secure and hang it back on the wall. When I look at my mood board, I feel like I am inspired to draw, paint, and collage. 

Another way to do a mood board.

Let me know if you have a mood board or you think you’ll try this. I’d love to hear about your experiences.


  1. Laura Bray says:

    I love the idea of mood boards but often get overwhelmed by the idea of them. I was just talking to my daughter today though and we were going to sit down and refresh our boards for the new year. I love your tip for making copies out of your sketchbook to hang on the board! So often I forget what’s between the pages.

    Have you seen that Jeanne Oliver has a Mood Board class? I am halfway through it and am really enjoying it. https://jeanneoliver.com/courses/gathered/

    1. I’m so glad to hear that. Yes we can get overwhelmed. It’s part of my day most days. I didn’t see that class. I’ll check it out. Hope you all are well.

    2. Yevonda Dee Jewell says:

      How do you know your an artist?

      1. I am a firm believer that everyone is creative. If you paint, draw, sculpt, etc. you are an artist. There’s no certificate or a grade. You are are an artist. That’s my opinion.

  2. Anne says:

    Hi, Aleta! I somehow missed your blog posts, including this one. (I thought I was following your blog on Bloglovin… maybe there was some sort of glitch).

    Your mood boards are wonderful. Loved seeing my postcard and business card in there. 🙂

    Hope your year is off to a good start!

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