One of artist’s least favorite moments is when their often colorful and interesting imagination grinds to a halt. Inspiration vanishes, leaving us with all the tools we need yet no idea to create with them. So what does one do? A bad habit I’m trying to overcome is getting frustrated and putting up my sketchbook for an undetermined amount of time. While it does sometimes help to take a breather for a day or two, longer than that you’re just procrastinating. Here are some of the ways I try to get rid of artist’s block:
1. Practice: One of my favorite ways to get my brain going is to practice something I’m struggling with (I.e. expressions, foreshortening, whatever) and by practice, I mean repeating and trying different techniques over and over. Because as you know, practice makes perfect. And once you get the hang of it, you’ve opened up a whole new category to draw.
2. Explore: This is kinda common sense but seeing as artist’s perceive visuals better than anything, I can’t NOT include it. If you’re desperate for inspiration look up artwork (good websites include deviantart, tumblr, and Pinterest) until something ignites a spark inside. I’m not saying copy, but if you see a beautiful fairy, create your own. Or if you see a color scheme that captivates you, create a drawing utilizing it. After an hour of looking at great art I just about guarantee something will hit you. Or, you just spent an hour looking at great art, so you win either way. You’re welcome 😉
3. Take A Walk: I know it sounds weird but I love taking a walk to clear my mind. It’s almost like meditating. If you’ve been staring at a blank page in your sketchbook and feel the frustration welling up, try taking a fifteen minute walk to destress and refocus. It helps a LOT. Plus nature is extremely inspiring.
4. Drawing Prompts: I’m not going to lie, I don’t do this one often. But every time I do I ask myself why. What kind of deterred me from them was the ‘I don’t want to draw an unoriginal idea’ but silly me didn’t think about the fact that as you draw you get inspired. So pick a prompt that sparks an idea in your head and go with the creative flow. You obviously don’t have to follow the prompt (it’s not an assignment) so if you halfway through want to take it to a whole new direction you can. A few of my favorite prompts are: Redesign the cover of your favorite book; Pick a song and draw what comes to mind when you listen to it; Design your own cartoon universe; draw cartoons as they would look in real life.
5. Don’t Obsess: This is my kryptonite. To keep it real, art is the only thing I’m a perfectionist about. But while you might think that would be a good thing, it actually often prevents me from completing a piece. I’ll start obsessing over a detail and lose sight of the actual creative process. So what I have started doing is, if there is a part I’m struggling with or can’t get right, I skip it. I move on to another element and then come back. And it actually works well. As long as I don’t just give up entirely on it and only give myself a micro break, it can be like a jump start for my brain. Trust me, don’t obsess.
I hope these prompts help! Let me know if they do 💜 As always, Take Care of Yourself & Much Love- Amber