Exeperiencing another struggle to find an appropriate topic to talk about, I found myself stuck in a sort of inspirational crisis or an art block. This goes both for my blogs posts and drawing motivation. It’s not like I don’t have ideas, I just find it hard to get to them and start developing. And this sucks. Therefore, I decided this week’s post will be dedicated to art blocks and how I usually (try to) deal with them. I hope you find it useful.
The Art Block
I once read the definition of an art block by an artist I was following and he said it very accurately:
An art block is the worst fucking thing for an artist to ever encounter
I couldn’t say it better. For those who are not super familiar with the feeling – this is when all your Inspiration and motivation to draw, write, or create anything is absolutely gone and in the worst case, the only thing you can feel is frustration with yourself for your inability to pull yourself together and start creating something. You simply block.
It’s annoying like hell, but it happens very often (at least to me) and it’s an unavoidable part of every artist’s development.
How do I deal with that?
At first, it was really hard for me to deal with this negative experience and I was trying to force myself to do stuff despite my lack of motivation and inspiration. That’s the worst mistake you can make. It just made me even angrier at myself and prolonged the process of getting back to creating. Art blocks happen for a reason and this means you need to take time away from creative work for a while and recharge yourself with energy to start again after a short break. It took me some time to start perceiving this as a normal thing, but once I did I started handling art blocks way easier.
So what do I actually do to overcome this phenomenon? There are several things I like to do to get away from the Creative process for a while and charge myself with inspiration at the same time.
- Get away from my art for a while
I still think this is the best way to deal with art blocks. Getting away from my creative process, be it drawing or writing or whatever gives me space and time to think and engage with other stuff. This refreshes my creative process and thinking and when I get back to my work I can view it from a new perspective and with fresh forces to handle the challenge. No matter how creative of a person you are, creativity needs to rest as well and the best way to recharge it is by occupying yourself with something completely different.
- Going out/Being physically active
This is kinda similar to what I mentioned above, but for me personally, the most recharging, relaxing, and creativity inspiring thing to do is to go out for a mindless walk outside. Drawing, writing, and developing concepts usually involves a lot of computer screen watching, digging into various research and the worst of all staying at the same place for a long time. I’ve mentioned it in one of my previous posts, I see this as something really dangerous for my body so I try to involve enough physical activity in my daily routine and I often incorporate it as a break from my creative process. Similarly to getting away from my art, this gives me energy and reinspired passion for creating. Also, inspiration is everywhere so taking a short walk or a quick run can lead you to unexpected inspiration as well.
- Just relaxing (Books and movies)
Be it watching a movie, reading a book, listening to music (I will get to that in a while), or simply doing nothing and letting my thoughts run free with no actual purpose – this is a good way to refresh and take a break from all the burdens of the creative process. I often get ideas and inspiration from movies or series I am watching while taking a break as well, so it might turn out to be a win-win situation. The same goes for books – I often get inspired to draw or write by the stories or characters of the books.
I think it would be fair to mention anime and manga fit into this category too – watching anime and reading manga is not only relaxing for me but usually inspires a lot of creative ideas and motivates me to go back to my work faster.
Apart from listening to music in order to get away from the creative process (even tho I usually listen to music while drawing) it is also one of the biggest sources of inspiration for me. Diving into the discography of a band or a concept album and getting into the core of the message and idea is first of all distracting me from the struggle I am having with drawing/writing and secondly inspiring to see what other people have created and developed with serious effort.
If you have read my blog before or you know me personally it is obvious that artists and bands are my biggest source of inspiration. I’ve been heavily inspired for drawing sessions before and here are a few examples of my biggest inspirations from the music world.I had a phase of getting really into Gorillaz, their concept, storytelling and character development. I eventually went on a Gorillaz drawing spree.
Twenty One Pilots are also a constant inspiration, especially with their unique storytelling and concepts. BTW – they are up to something again! Check this hidden link out
They inspired a lot of drawings and actually the first of my writing attempts (which was not a blog)
The positivity and encouragement of Bliss N Eso are a constant motivation for me to keep going. I have also been heavily inspired by the concepts of Linkin Park (A Thousand Suns) and I attempted to make illustrations for some of the songs, but they are lost somewhere (and not that good whatsoever).
Recently, I am finding a lot of inspiration in the concept, storytelling, and character interpretation of the Swedish badasses Ghost. It’s rare to see someone perform their characters with such dedication. I have only one Ghost inspired artwork so far, but I am really into their concept and I find it super fun to observe their marketing moves.
Finally, I need to mention that the artwork of Nothing But Thieves is one of the most beautiful and inspiring album/band art I’ve seen. Check it out!
There are dozen of other artists and bands that inspired a lot of my work (you can see that in my Instagram), but I won’t get into it now. However, let me know if you want to read more about which artists inspired me most and what exactly is the inspiration I find in them, I would be happy to make a blog about that.
- Other artists
After I have taken enough time away from creating stuff I also like to find inspiration in other artists (and writers) – one of the best sources of inspiration is other people’s art without a doubt. There are so many artists I am following it’s hard to choose who to put here as an example – from famous creators like Stan Lee, Mark Bagley, and Stuart Immouen (Marvel – Ultimate Spider-Man 2000-2011) or Ito Oogure aka Oh!Great (Air Gear – one of my all-time favorite manga series) or Hiroyuki Takei (Shaman King manga series and spin-offs) to random talanted artists I found on Instagram – the list is endless. Here are a few (randomly selected) of the artist I find really inspiring due to their different and interesting styles:
Sketchbook art/ Sketches with mixed media – Artbyrikilea
Tatto artist (minimalism) – BettyZooTattoo
Super clean manga style all media – AsiaLadowska
Hyper realistic pastel and pencil drawings – DeeValuckaite
Well, this how I generally attempt to fight art blocks. Most importantly by giving myself some time to take a break and trying to remember art blocks are a necessary part of the process. When it comes to inspiration for starting again – it is everywhere and what I showed you above is just a tiny part of it. Go and find what inspires you most and use it to start your next project!
Thanks a lot for reading, I hope you found at least part of this blog helpful or interesting. Let me know how you deal with art blocks and what inspires you by sending me a message in my social media or commenting here.
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