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Submitted on
June 27
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I think every artist out here has experienced it at least one time in their career: the so called artblock. A moment of total lack of inspiration that suddenly hits you, and leaves you unable to create. Most often the solution is to just wait. Most artblocks will solve automatically with time. But there are circumstances in which an artblock doesn't automatically disappear, or when you have deadlines to catch. In that case, you might be helped by some basic tips to conquer your artblock.

Over the years, I've experienced an artblock (or writersblock, as they call it for fiction writers) many, many times. Most of them were short, but the longest lasted over 2 years. Most of them solved on their own. But sometimes I just needed that little bit of extra help. Therefore, I made a list with a few tips and tricks to make your artblock go away. Hopefully it'll help you as well as it did me.

:bulletred: Beat your fear

Most artblocks come from fear. The fear of not being able to make such a great work. The fear of not being able to make something good before the deadline. The fear of disappointing your audience, or the fear not being able to live up to expectations. While the outside world might have expectations, the greatest limitation comes from the fear within. Fear is a paralyzing emotion that is known to kill creativity instantly and make people stick to routine. This is a natural reaction, designed to keep us save in the time that we still had to run for huge angry bears and such. It's totally useless when it comes to art, though.
As art is often the result of a moment of inspiration, many artists hold this fear of not being able to do this "trick" again or running out of ideas. It might help you to know that you're not the only one suffering from this. Not by far. Realize this. Furthermore realize that you're often your own worst critic. People, especially customers, came to you because they liked your stuff in general, and they couldn't do something like that their selves. Even though you might not be entirely content with the result, they probably will be. As customers often aren't artists themselves, they tend to hold lower standards towards art in general. 

:bulletred: Do something new

I know it can be frustrating to be stuck with a certain artwork, but don't beat yourself up over it. If you're stuck with something, make it a habit to do something else. The change of mind will make you be able to look at all of your artwork with a new and fresh perspective later on. And sometimes an artwork just simply doesn't work. 
If you're stuck on your type of art in general, don't be afraid to try something else entirely. It sometimes helps to change your drawing subjects... or try using an entirely new medium. It's enjoying to learn something new, and new mediums might make you view new aspects of art you didn't know yet, so it's not a waste of time.

:bulletred: Listen to music

No matter what music you like, music is a strong way to provoke feelings. Research shows that, in movies, music is of even greater influence than the images we see. So get your sound plugged in, and push that play button! Put up a song you played when feeling inspired. Or a song that reflects the content of what you want to draw or write. It will certainly help you to get in the mood. You haven't got any music that makes you feel inspired? Then go surf around for new music. Use the recommended videos on youtube. Or one of the many sites like that will suggest you new music based on your playlist and preferences.

:bulletred: Browse for inspiration

Can't find the idea you want to portray? Try using google for images that reflect either the object or the mood that you want to portray. Image sites like DeviantArt, tumblr and pinterest have very inspiring images for almost everything and anything you want to make. Don't be afraid to get inspired by other people's work. As long as you don't directly copy their work and claim it as your own, you're totally fine. Just keep in mind that it's nice that, if you use other people's work, it's polite to credit them.

:bulletred: Unplug

Despite how the internet can be inspiring... it can be overwhelming at the same time. There's always an artist that is better than you, or an image that you could never do that well. And even though you might realizing the internet makes the competition worldwide, it can still be very discouraging at times. And then we're not even talking about the distraction the internet provides. E-mail, Facebook, Sites you have to check out, Skype contacts that talk to you. Same goes for your phone. Whatsapp messages piling up.
Sometimes it's good to take a break from the constant buzz that the internet provides. Get away from your computer, turn out your phone, and spend some time off. Taking a long walk or bike ride might help you to connect to your inner self again and get your creative juices flowing again.

:bulletred: Live healthy

Because a healthy body is of great help for a healthy mind. I'm not talking about running a marathon, but doing an occasional walk or bike ride might help you to feel healthy overall. Make sure you take care of your body well. Not only will this result in you having less worries about being sick, but it will also keep you safer from stress. Make sure you get that 8 hours sleep a day. Wake up and go to sleep at reasonable times, even though you might have deadlines. Sleeping will improve your working speed more than pulling an all nighter. 
If you're feeling depressed or otherwise mentally unhealthy, don't be afraid to consult a doctor about it if you can't solve it on your own. No matter what people say, a depression is a serious illness that should not be taken too lightly. 

:bulletred: Accept everybody has bad days

You can't be a star player all the time. Even the most skilled people have bad days. Don't beat yourself up over this, as it will only leave you depressed. Instead, go do something else and try again tomorrow. Most artblocks are only temporary and will solve their selves with time. 

:bulletred: Fuel your creativity

Fuel your creativity with brainstorming and playing "what if" games.
Think up a concept and brain storm about it. Put it down on paper. Write everything that you relate to this concept, even though it might not be used for your artwork. Think about alternate history. Things like "What if dinosaurs would have never gone extinct?", "What if World War 2 never happened?", "What if I place character-X in the streets of New York during rush hour?". Exercises like that will force you to think about things that would never have happened, and therefore force you to think creative. When you got your creativity flowing, try to move the game into the direction in which you want your artwork to be. Here you go! 

:bulletred: Talk with other artists

Talking with another artist might help you to reflect on your own work as well. There's nothing more inspiring than talking with other artists about their technique and their vision on certain subjects. Or exchanging story lines for your fiction. If you don't have any artistic friends or family, the internet has a solution. There are many networks for artists on the internet. Contact users that you like and talk with them. Or if that doesn't work out, take an art class in your neighborhood. You're guaranteed to meet artists there, and you'll learn something too.

:bulletred: A little science to help you

Doing art might seem like it takes you only one skill to get there, while in reality you need two.
1. The skill to observe. (visual skill)
2. The skill to make art (physical skill)
While in the perfect situation the level of these 2 skills will match, in reality they often don't. Hence leading to either thinking your art is perfect and not improving because your visual skill doesn't match up to your drawing skill. Or thinking your art totally sucks because your physical skills don't match up to the process of evaluating art in your mind (the latter one often comes with lack of physical practice). Needless to say, the last situation will often lead towards an art block. But knowing how this actually works, might make things better. Because while you might think your artistic skills totally suck, you're actually really skilled at seeing art, and you're probably on the brink of a great improvement -- if you just find the will to push it.

This chart --taken from the internet-- shows it visually
Visual vs Body skill by DamaiMikaz

Well, I hope this somewhat helped.
If you have any useful tips to share, do so. I'm more than happy to know more ways to beat that dreadful artblock :)
Add a Comment:
Arishi-Hazard Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, thank you! I am often getting art block, so the majority of the time I draw I feel like shit. I hope these work! (I'm sure they will XD)
Twin-Blade12 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 3, 2014
Very enlightening information. Your exceeding indefatigable efforts to strive is highly inspiring. I suffered from a 4 year artblock. Truly terrifying, mostly because of the stress that piled up on me. Slowly recovering but it will take time to rebuild my once artistically productive times.
weaponstar Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I like the distinction between visual and physical at the end. I hadn't thought of it quite like that before. I've definitely experienced (and continue to experience) that with my story writing. 
Dakorillon Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you for the reminder. Sometimes I can switch from writing to art or vice versa if there is a block. And sometimes everything is stuck.  Then its time to clean, organize, relax, read, watch, fill the creative buffer back up.
Hina-Monoko Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow! this really helps me. Your tips make me to take a look at my artist past and seeing my errors it makes me go on and get better.
Gothic7uv3r Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014   Traditional Artist
Thank you so much, really. Reading this hit me hard. It was really something I needed. Thank you again.
Gezioi Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Hobbyist
thank you so much.... :happybounce: 
very helpful! T^T)/
NebulaGregarZX Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The power of SCIENCE!! definitely helped.

Hmmm... it's funny for me to think about this, because I both draw and write. I've got two separate forms of art skill and observation skill to keep track of, which makes me wonder which one is more developed.
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Same here. 
I'm a writer and visual artist to. Though I think the gap in visual art is bigger than with writing.
NebulaGregarZX Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
With writing, I think it's harder to judge it without looking extensively at it. With art, you can take in all the information quickly, maybe examine it a little closer to see if there are mistakes. With writing, unless it's particularly stand-out terrible, it's unlikely that you can size it up with a glance.
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