The dreaded Art Block. It happens to all of us artists. Similar to Writer's Block- It's the Creative Block we get when we don't know what to draw, what to create, feel overwhelmed, when feel like we can't do it anymore. Then when we make ourselves sit down to create, nothing comes out. The nagging voice tells us that what we're making is ugly or isn't good enough. No ideas are coming to mind. Half drawings or scribbles are produced. The blank paper becomes overwhelming.
Creativity Blocks are frustrating things. Those blocks could be a number of things, but one thing we know for sure- It's blocking you from creating! It's a bother! We just want to make art to show the world and here comes this block to bother us. Creativity Blocks come in a number of forms. Each one is different.
Sometimes they're the negative thoughts that bring us down.
Sometimes it's a big obstacle keeping us from creative euphoria.
Sometimes we know what to create but our hands just don't agree.
Sometimes it just makes our minds go blank!
Whatever is causing the creative block, there are ways to work and overcome it. It will take time, and sometimes that's just what it takes, is time. In this post, I'm going to share with you my own experience with a recent art block, how I'm overcoming it, and some tips that have worked for me in overcoming my Creative Block.
In my years of being a Creative, I've certainly had my fair share of Creativity Blocks. This most recent one came about actually toward the beginning of the year. If you've been keeping up with my recent posts from last year, you'll know I've had a big life change and a lot going on in my personal life, which has caused me to becoming extremely busy with work outside my usual Freelance Art. Which meant art actually took a backseat to my life for a few months. I'd kept saying I would get back to it once I had the time. However, art is part of who I am. So I was left feeling unfulfilled and exhausted. So I made it a point to make the time to get back to creating for ME. I wanted to have the creative freedom and show my ideas and projects. So I finally decided that my art should be more than just free time, but a priority. If I waited around for free time, I would fill it up with other things and never have the time to create. I would make the time. Just like eating well or exercise or any other self-care, if it's important to you and your well-being, you should do it!
So with that, I got out my sketchbooks, my books, my tablet and pen, everything. I sat at my computer and... nothing. I would stare into space. Make doodles that I got frustrated at. Begin to write, got frustrated. Tried to make a list of my ideas, got overwhelmed. Tried to force myself to draw. My brain kept telling me it didn't look right and my hand wasn't cooperating. The Art Block kept telling me nobody would like this ugly piece, quit drawing, where is this going.
So I started to draw fan art.
Drawing Fan Art is one of my ways I also like to overcome Art Block. Many people in fandoms look for all sorts of art and it's a great way to practice while having fun with art without working on anything serious. You can be imaginative and creative and it's a lot of fun. But even drawing fan art wasn't working on my Art Block. "This is a waste of time" My Art Block kept telling me. "This is nothing useful or worthwhile, why bother creating something nobody cares about?" This was extremely frustrating. I couldn't even find joy in creating fanart because my brain kept insisting I was only wasting time.
Many people and advice on how to overcome Art Block is "stepping away from art for a while" Which is another method. Sometimes we get too burnt out working for so long, that a break is very much needed. To go take a walk, to the museum or the park or to sit and read a book. This is a great piece of advice and one I definitely encourage. Sometimes it's a great way to kickstart or inspire ideas when you go visit an art museum or something. Self-reflection is also very important as an artist.
However, I'd spent so much time AWAY from Art, that I didn't feel like this was my solution. I'd had plenty of inspiration and ideas. My issue was actually creating them and bringing them to life. My issue was trying to take on too much and becoming so overwhelmed I don't want to do anything.
The next thing I did was go over my art books. Sometimes these are a really great way to get inspired. Sometimes it's just time for a little refresher and a little practice.
Anyway, I'd gotten out my books, tried to start drawing and I got overwhelmed and exhausted again. My hand didn't want to cooperate and my Block kept telling me it was still a waste of time. I'm just drawing hands and they look terrible, why bother? I was still blocked from my creativity. This has been going on for weeks, months even, and I was starting to wonder if I would ever be able to be creative again. I was getting insecure and frustrated.
Finally, I just sat and thought and reflected. I didn't draw or let my thoughts get to me. I would acknowledge a thought and then release it while I focused. I guess you could say I meditated, even though I wasn't actively trying to meditate at the time, that's just what I did. I cleared my mind and tried to focus on what I wanted to create for art and why.
As I doodled, I also thought about what I wanted to do with my art. I have many ideas, but of course you can't possibly work on everything at once, and in order to make something there should be at least some sort of focus.
My ideas range from animated series, to video games, to children's books, podcasts, illustrations, digital art, E-Books, and so forth. The list goes on.
I decided to identify what it is I wanted to do in simple terms. I want to:
Entertain, educate, & make people laugh and feel good. I want to share stories, pictures, and artwork. So I decided to work on my website, which is my blog. I love to write, I love to interact and I love creating visuals. The possibilities on a blog are endless! Stories, Poetry, Reviews, Comics, Animations and so much more! Once I made that my goal, everything started falling into place and I started to get excited about creating again!
In fact, another thing that helped me out of my Art Block rut was actually drawing ABOUT Art Block! I took my own obstacle and used it as a stepping stone. Instead of letting that Art Block get to me and crush me, I used it to my advantage, climbed over it and started to make a comic about the struggles and overcoming Art Block!
Overcoming Creative Block Tips
Now I would like to share some of my tips for overcoming that dreaded Creative Block! These may or may not work for you but these are things that have worked for me in the past and they might help you too! :)
1. Work on a Project.
Seems easy enough, but sometimes we have so many projects in our heads that they don't quite come out, we're spending time thinking about them instead of working on them. Pick a project and work on it! If you have many ideas, pick one from a hat. Working on a project will give you excitement and there will always be something to do, whether it's writing or a background or a character design or jokes. A project will give you so many options and elements to work on. When you're finished, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
2. Take a break from the studio.
Sometimes you get burnt out and need a break. Go out and get inspired! Talk a walk in your local park, or go into the city and find something new and cool to do. Like a museum or a fun event. Try something new. Learn about things around you. Experience. Live life in the moment. You'll never know what may ignite that spark of creativity again!
3. Work on a craft not related to what you usually do.
Sometimes we still want to be creative but we're getting burnt out by the way we usually do things. Mix it up! That way you can still do art but in a different way. So if you're always doing digital art, take a break and try some hands-on crafts. If you're always working with props, try your hand at painting. Get outside your element. It doesn't have to be perfect, just create and have fun.
4. Explore, Learn, Read.
Just grab a book or go on the internet and find something to read. Read fiction, non-fiction, blog articles, whatever you want! Something out there that someone wrote will get those gears turning to help you overcome your block. There's so many inspiring works out there. Go read something!
Just be. Sit, relax, and breathe. Clear your mind. Sometimes that's all we need is a breath of fresh air in our minds. Our minds can be so cluttered with the everyday minutia of work, finances, bills, self-care, and so forth.
Just take a moment and be in the moment. Relax & Breathe. Sometimes it's all we need.
Remember, these things take time. It happens to every artist. It's okay to feel what you're feeling. Acknowledge those feelings, don't let them get you down. Trust in yourself and believe! You can do it, I know you can!
Thanks for stopping by to read my blog everyone! I greatly appreciate all of your love and support! My goal is to come up with regular blog postings here on my website at least once a week every Sunday, to either start or end your week (Depending on whether you start your week with Sunday or Monday!)
You can also follow me on Twitter @Kitsulie for regular updates!
Blue Skies! Enjoy the Chaos & Stay TOONed!