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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 last.fm 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
Art Cycle by Shattered-Earth



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:
 
:iconshattered-earth:
Shattered-Earth Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015   Digital Artist
You should replace the image with my new one, and this time you can link to me instead of your stash LOL Art Cycle by Shattered-Earth
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lol. I didn't even know the actual image existed on DA itself. I found it via a (private) Facebook group, and DA doesn't allow you to link those images. 
I've updated it now. 
Reply
:iconblondie-ferret:
Blondie-Ferret Featured By Owner Edited Jan 25, 2015  Student General Artist
After experiencing months (yep, you're not blind, months) of art block, I'm so glad you made this journal. Thank you so much, you're a huge inspiration :hug:
Reply
:iconarishi-hazard:
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)
Reply
:icontwin-blade12:
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.
Reply
:iconweaponstar:
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. 
Reply
:icondakorillon:
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.
Reply
:iconhina-monoko:
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.
Reply
:icongothic7uv3r-lara:
Gothic7uv3r-Lara 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.
Reply
:icongezioi:
Gezioi Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Hobbyist
thank you so much.... :happybounce: 
very helpful! T^T)/
Reply
:iconnebulagregarzx:
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.
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
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.
Reply
:iconnebulagregarzx:
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.
Reply
:iconexosonic:
exosonic Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I just wanted to say, thank you so much for posting this!! This was helpful and especially encouraging!!
Reply
:iconevilsushicat:
evilsushicat Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
helpful.. very helpful :D
Reply
:iconkimology:
Kimology Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sooooooo helpfull! Thank you!
Reply
:iconmoonbound10101:
Moonbound10101 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014  Student General Artist
inspiration is for amateurs.
Reply
:iconcrystal-mint:
Crystal-Mint Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Wait, what?

Everyone has inspirations,no matter what their skill level is. Even "art gods", as some people like to call them, have to get ideas from somewhere. Although some artists may not get inspiration from other artists, they are still inspired by the world around them. It is actually impossible to create something completely original that is not based off of anything else.

Maybe you were just being sarcastic or making a joke, but it's always hard to tell on the internet, so I apologize in advance if I've misunderstood what you were actually trying to say.
Reply
:iconmoonbound10101:
Moonbound10101 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Student General Artist
Your right, but your misinterpreting me, you don't need inspiration to draw
or make art of any kind, it only slows you down waiting, searching for the next
grand idea to suddenly pop into your mind, you can't force it. Because when you
do it blocks you, relax clear your thoughts and let your imagination just flow.

For imagination is were art comes from.
Reply
:iconcrystal-mint:
Crystal-Mint Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Student Digital Artist
But imagination IS inspiration, because your imagination must also be inspired by something.
Plus,what you're saying only applies to some people, others might rely on more than just their imagination. Saying that only amateurs need inspiration is a very inaccurate generalization.
Reply
:iconmoonbound10101:
Moonbound10101 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Student General Artist
No it is not. Your imagination is a completely different thing.

Inspiration is a state of thinking.

Imagination is a place in your mind, kind of like a filter.
 
I will agree however that one definitely effects the other, but art is more
1% inspiration and 99% perspiration(work). THAT is more what i meant.
it doesn't mater how "inspired" you are what really maters is the work you
you put in to it.

(Side Conversation)- What did you mean earlier by "Art Gods"?
Reply
:iconcrystal-mint:
Crystal-Mint Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I still believe that no matter how good of an artist someone is, they still need some inspiration to start creating art, but that inspiration can come from their imagination.

Being inspired gives a person motivation to start and finish a piece of artwork.

And what I meant by "art gods" is just a nickname some people use to talk about great artists who seem to have no flaws in their work (I do realize that everyone makes mistakes no matter how good they are, I was just using a term I've seen used by others here on dA)
Reply
:iconmoonbound10101:
Moonbound10101 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Student General Artist
1. That first thing sounds about right. I concur.

2. Well it can sure, but it shouldn't have to. Drawing in a endurance race and long after
the spark of inspiration ignites, you still has to run on something. A professional should
be able to just get up and work. So should anyone. The requirement for a reason to start,
the absence of an idea, is what separates the amateur  from the professional.

3. I haven't actually heard that used until just now, so, yes thank you.
Reply
:iconcrystal-mint:
Crystal-Mint Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student Digital Artist
A professional should be able to just start drawing right away, but they still need inspiration to complete a meaningful piece of artwork.

For example, I can doodle a drawing of my OC without really thinking too much, but if that's just a small, quick sketch. To make a piece of art be better than that, a lot of thought should be put into mood, composition, etc. So while a good artist can quickly draw something without needing inspiration, if they want to put more effort into it, they probably still need a little inspiration to create a more detailed piece.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconhiddenjoy:
hiddenjoy Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
Thank you SO SO SO much for your continued, uplifting, persistent positive contributions here! :yay: 
Reply
:iconfrost070:
Frost070 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
you know, i always kinda knew there was a sort of cycle to my level of skill, and i i figured that i should just do something else to give me a jump start, but this has really solidified that notion. this was quite helpful, and thanks for posting.
Reply
:iconkasaiphoenix7:
KasaiPhoenix7 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I am going to favorite this so I can come back to it... this is perfect! I haven't tried most of these and am dying from artblock :c thank you!
Reply
:iconphantsythat:
phantsythat Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A solution to art block that's worked for me over the years has been to do something else for a while - something creative, but different from the practice that's currently closed.
Reply
:iconthtaylorth:
thtaylorth Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Student Artist
Thank You for making this!!
I'm currently experiencing art block right now, so this really helps!
Reply
:iconcreativesoul007:
CreativeSoul007 Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks for sharing; it helps :)
Reply
:icondeepphantasmagor:
DeepPhantasmagor Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Professional General Artist
Wow thanks for sharing this, I'm going to use this when next i encounter a bockage.
Reply
:iconthefalliblefox:
thefalliblefox Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I had come to say thanks for the fave & found something to fave myself. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at my pic/gallery, but thanks as well these words of wisdom. You don't know how close to home this hits for me. :D
Reply
:icontswordz:
TswordZ Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
Lot of thanks for this. It goes to fav directly.

I had done some of this tips. Some works well for me, others not so much (Listening to epic music is great when writing battles or fights. Trying new styles (of drawing) make me keep with the new style instead of the other, lol :icondragonkekeplz:).

I've laughed a lot with the chart. That's exactly what happen. Luckily, I've already assume that the artist usually it's the most critic about the work, that always there's people who make better art and than I can keep improving. But it's funny that, when I finished my last drawing i was like "Oh, this looks awesome" and two days after "Hmm, it could improve more".
Guess as I'm just beginning with digital drawing there's really A LOT to improve :-)
Reply
:iconmouse1002:
mouse1002 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Student Artist
thanks for the info.
Reply
:iconolivethomaslives:
olivethomaslives Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Professional General Artist
Wow, this is exactly what I needed right now. I've been so confused about this topic - I had no idea that the ability to Appreciate and Evaluate art is a skill in itself! Now I know I don't totally suck, I'm just really skilled at seeing good art. *Smug look*
Like A Boss Emote 
Reply
:iconbradymajor:
BradyMajor Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Great tips!  I usually face more writer's block than artist's block, and I often do these very things to overcome it, especially listening to music that sets the mood for the story I intend to create.
Reply
:iconengie-delane:
Engie-DeLane Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Student Writer
These are all really helpful for art and writing! Something I've found that also works (it's along the lines of unplug) is the SIC method; Sit In Chair. A lot of the time people I know say "I want to do this now" but they don't actually sit down and DO it, usually because of distractions, and because they aren't preparing themselves to do it then their mind is not in the correct headspace to be productive, thus resulting in the feeling of an art or writers block. I didn't believe it at first, it was too obvious, but it really does work for me and a few of my friends.

The only one you mentioned that I would contest with is the "start something new." I tried that and now I have more than 20 writing projects and a whole new problem has arisen; I can never decide which one to work on because my brain wants to add to all of them but my hands can only tackle one at a time so I'm often overwhelmed. That's more of a personal problem than a problem with the advice, though, because I have no self-control XD
Reply
:iconneraboo:
NeraBoo Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I remember I had a really big block sometime last year. It was the most frustrating time of my life, where I would sit with a paper and pencil or with my tablet and stare at the screen/paper with my brain absolutely unable to come up with anything. So one day I opened commissions with ridiculously low prices and pretty much instantly got requests. Doing art I didn't have to come up with but only put on paper was much easier than thinking something up. I also colored the sketches of a friend who didn't have a tablet.
So by the time I wanted to create something of my own again my skill had skyrocketed. So whenever I hit a particularly bad artblock I open commissions to chase it away.
Reply
:iconiwillburnyou:
iwillburnyou Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Your chart actually helped me be a little calmer with these things. Thank you!
Reply
:iconyashooo:
Yashooo Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014
This is AMAZING
Reply
:iconsirdna109:
SirDNA109 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very helpful and inspiring! Thank you!
Reply
:iconlady-compassion:
Lady-Compassion Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Excellent!
Reply
:iconactuallybunny:
ActuallyBunny Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much for this :) A really interesting and helpful read.
Reply
:iconjomster777:
Jomster777 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think I'm getting art blocked after submitting my first one... :C
Reply
:icon5jun27:
5jun27 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014
so real, thx :)
Reply
:iconkarolusdiversion:
Karolusdiversion Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014
The inspirations are flying high.:cloud: 
Look, up in the sky, the clouds chasing each.:emote: Cloud Test 
It may be helpful.Inspiration 
Reply
:iconskinkelstudios:
skinkelstudios Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014   Traditional Artist
Yes!! Just yes to all of this. 
Reply
:iconsomethingwildinside:
SomethingWildInside Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Aww these journals u do Are great thanks
Reply
:iconsquishysquids:
SquishySquids Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
When I get artblock, I listen to 'Summer is Great (DEATH METAL VERSION)'.
If that doesn't work, I go to my Skillet playlist.
If that still doesn't work, Nightcore remixes it is.
...
After that... Vocaloids.


And people say my taste in music is weird.
Reply
:iconkhetry:
khetry Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Completely true. And so well written :)
Reply
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