Art block, or a lack of creativity is a problem we all face as artists, but there are some ways I’ve found to help me when I’m in a rut. I wanted to share them with you in the hopes that it may help but also so that you can share any of your tips in the comments below.
Consume Less Art
I’m sure most of you reading this will also be on Instagram and probably follow lots of artists like I do. This can be a great way to build up a community of like-minded people and share ideas but it can also be super overwhelming. I used to believe that the more artwork I consumed, the more ideas I would have, but later on I realised this was not quite the case and I couldn’t think of anything original to make for myself because my mind was full of other people’s work. Instead I like to refer to other types of media such as photography. Pinterest is great for this and so is using my own photographs because they are unique to my personal experience. This blog is also very useful for me because the subject matter is already established.
Contradictory to my first point, art challenges on Instagram have also been a great way for me to overcome art block. There are lots of hashtags such as #drawthisinyourstyle and 30 day challenges like #inktober (coming up soon!) which you can join. Sometimes just getting pencil on paper is the hardest part and once you start drawing the ideas start to flow. These challenges are a nice way to remove the decision of subject matter and focus on developing your style instead.
If you’re anything like me, you might just be feeling overwhelmed with all the possibilities of things to make and not know where to start. Making a routine has been so helpful because it’s reduced the number of decisions I need to make. For example, you could aim to make one phone background a week for four weeks, or a greetings card design each month. This way when you start to struggle with ideas you can refer back to your routine.
I love to have a running list on my phone of ideas for things to draw. Most of the time they come to me when I least expect it because I’ve seen something that’s sparked an idea. My latest blogpost was a list of 30 ideas if you’re looking for some inspiration right now.
Take a Break
And finally, if all else fails, just take a break. You might be burnt out or over-tired in which case pushing through could only make things worse. Do something completely unrelated to your work if you can and come back to it later on when you feel ready.