Monday, July 14, 2014

Feeling Uninspired? I get that too...

We all get moments of artist's block.  It's normal and fine, our brains work in overdrive and sometimes get overheated.  If there's no time crunch on a project or you're just doing art for fun then you probably know how to get yourself out of it… put the pen down and wait, right?  But for those of us out there who have quota's or deadlines we need a quick fix!

As a recent college graduate and a professional artist I have picked up many techniques that anyone can do to get themselves out of the block!  Here's a list I've compiled from my own personal experiences:

  1. First step, which is very important!  Whether you're stuck on one project or stuck on starting a new one, put whatever you're doing down and walk away!  You may have reached this point because you're trying to do something that doesn't want to be done.  Let your artwork speak to you.  If it doesn't want to be made that way it won't be, or it'll come out awful by your own standards and you'll hate it and yourself forever.  The only way to know whether or not you're stumped or burned is to walk away!
  2. Now's the fun part.  Get reinspired!  A couple of ways you can do this:

  • Research.  Maybe you've run out of ideas because you don't know enough about what you're trying to say, and that goes for all forms of art.  There are a lot of visual artists out there that believe the only thing they need to know is what the subject looks like, or should look like.  This is not the case and if you believe this then you've probably hit many slow points in your career!   probably… or you may be super successful and crank them out all the time, who knows, but from my experience if you don't know what you're working on then sometimes what you're making becomes stale.
  • Look at other works.  Grab one of those dusty art books you collect on a book shelf because it makes you look like a smart artist.  They actually come in handy, especially if those works are works that directly influence your style or just plain make you go WOW for a minute.  That spark in your brain that happens when something wows you and you suddenly wanna draw THAT can sometimes lead to some amazing developments or changes in decisions that work for the best!
  • If those don't work, another technique is to absorb yourself in a different form of art.  If you write poetry or songs stop and look at some cool visual art, your brain will start thinking of descriptions for it and you'll suddenly find a word you were looking for!  And of course it works the other way around, can't make the right drawing or painting?  Listen to some music, close those eyes and let the audio images flow in your brain until some synapses start firing!
  • Stop what you're doing.  Just stop.  Your brain is done, don't force it.  Grab a sheet of paper because you may have something in your head that you need to clean out before you can go about your business.  Just start brainlessly drawing/writing!  Sometimes I literally sit there and make circles because I WANT to draw, just don't have the brain functions to think of a subject.  Then suddenly after I've made some really weird marks and scribbles I start doodling a hand or one of my cats or maybe even a cup that's sitting next to me and then BAM! it hits me!  I know what I want to draw!  Sometimes you just gotta dry start them cogs in your head to get things rolling.
  • And now for the most inconvenient thing.  Sometimes you just need a change of scenery.  This is easiest when I'm working on smaller traditional drawings, but if you're creative enough (oh gosh I hope we are!) then you can make it work even if you're a digital artist with a laptop!  Go to the park if you can carry your things, go lay in the bathtub with your tiny notepad and be REALLY uncomfortable but feel great!  While that's dangerous, sometimes I like to live on the wild side of art ;).  Or simply walk outside!  It may not be pretty where you live but it's different and it's all about the atmosphere!  Or worst case scenario, just change rooms.  Got a lot of equipment?  Move from the studio to the living room or even go lay down in your bed (bring a scrap sheet if you're a messy artist).  There're options and NO excuses as to why you can't try any of these suggestions.

Regardless of how you kick yourself back into go always remember that a lack of inspiration is NEVER an excuse to delay or stop working for a client or a professor… or even a family member.  Professionalism comes with a price, it means art is your business and you've eliminated the luxury of whimsical happenings.  That being said, it shouldn't be thought of as stifling and the more you practice the easier it gets to become more efficient!  

Well now you've got the juices flowing and you're ready to go!  So get off of this blog and start arting again!  It's not going to finish itself!

original post can be found on my website at

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