I think it would be fair to say that everyone has been through a phase during their art journey where they just could not come up with any ideas or found it rough to execute them.
If it just lasts for one day it’s a no-brainer but sometimes it is not that easy to get rid of the infamous “art/creativity block” and it lasts for multiple days, weeks or even longer. If you are struggling with this, here are some things from other artists I asked and myself, that might help you to get back to the fountain of inspiration.
1. WALK AWAY FROM YOUR ART
Pushing yourself to create in those situations is anything but productive. Either you’d get stuck and would have to do certain things over and over again, get frustrated, and then probably end up with a piece of art you’re not 100% happy with. Instead of pressuring you to finish that, find something else and turn it around, put it somewhere where you can’t see it, or just go for a walk outside where you can't see anything that has something to do with your craft. Look at the sky, sit in the grass and just relax for a bit.
2. TRY TO AVOID SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media (like I said in the last blog post), can create a lot of pressure around creating art which is counterproductive in this regard. It is not just social media though that can create this kind of overwhelming feeling. Maybe it's time to walk away from all technology for a little bit.
Take a break and try to ignore the digital world for a while and detox, go outside (maybe somewhere without any reception) and take a walk or relax for a little bit to calm down your brain. Maybe grab your sketchbook just in case the ideas come or sit in a cafe, look outside the window and look at what's going on around you.
3. DON’T OVERWORK YOURSELF
Sometimes you get into a creative block because you are overworked and your mind doesn’t have any more to give at that point. Take care of yourself, take a step back and reward yourself with some relaxing time, have a nice meal, go for a run or do whatever makes you happy. I, myself am sort of a workaholic and find it difficult at times to slow down and not do anything for a day but after a while, this is exactly what leads to a lot of those blocks. SO make sure you create time for yourself and take a step back.
If you can’t come up with something original maybe it would help to just build or draw something from reference for yourself. Copying is a great way to learn and practice and it doesn’t involve, coming up with your ideas. I practice portraits a lot when I can’t come up with anything. It still keeps me busy and I learn something every single time I am working on a piece of art if it is something drawn/painted from reference or not which will be valuable later on, once your creativity comes back.
5. TRY OUT DIFFERENT MEDIUMS
Maybe you’re stuck in that art block because you just haven’t tried anything new for a while. You know the routine, your steps, you’ve done that a thousand times before but something is just not working that day and you’re just not getting anywhere. That’s when a new medium might come in handy. If you’re usually working with coloured pencils, maybe try using oil paint. If you use a lot of different 2D mediums, maybe try building a sculpture and making something 3D for a change. Whatever comes out at the end might free up your mind, bring some fun back into your work and you might even apply some of the procedures to your usual medium as well.
6. DO CHALLENGES
Can’t come up with anything? Take part in Challenges, for example, our Challenges here on the website or app. This months challenge is to create something out of promotional magnets that you receive in the mailbox. Or maybe big things like “Inktober” or “Draw it in your style” which are absolutely MASSIVE on Instagram. These Challenges will remove the whole “decision-making” part and do it for you and you will have fun whilst doing it.
7. MAKE SOMETHING “BAD”
Don’t be afraid to create something terrible. I know that is not what we are aiming for but sometimes it is freeing to create something that is not our style at all or just inexcusably terrible! Nobody needs to see this piece you’ve created. After you’re done, throw it in a fire, burn it on a stove, drive over it with a car or maybe in the best-case scenario, it might inspire you after you are done with it! It’s another one of those things that will just help you to clear your head and where you should just enjoy the process and not worry about the look of the outcome.
The longer the art block lasts, the more frustrating and harder it gets to deal with it, so before you start doing this
, try out different things or just take some you-time might help you to clear up your head and start fresh.
A lot of these blocks are caused by anxiety, fear and pressure to come up with something great and amazing and also ruin the fun and beauty of art, so getting away from it for a while and distancing yourself from that environment, trying out something different, taking time for yourself or doing something else you love will help to bring that back.