Tired of staring at a blank paper?
Or, maybe, you’ve been driven mad by all the incomplete works around you that show no sign of being complete within the next few decades?
Learn how to overcome artist’s block by reading the article prepared below! We’ll be talking about what creative block is, how to overcome it, and the various causes of art block that may be hindering you from making progress.
- Why Can’t I Draw?
- How to Get Out of Art Block?
- Tip #1. Take a Break
- Tip #2. Find Inspiration
- Tip #3. Try Out Drawing Prompt Generators
- Tip #4. Compete In Art Challenges
- Tip #5. Do Quick Warm-Ups!
- Tip #6. Get Rid of the White Paper!
- Tip #7. Personalize Your Creative Space to Ease the Creative Process
- Tip #8. Try Out New Things
- Tip #9. Learn from a Professional Artist
- Tip #10. Recreate Your Old Artwork
- Tip #11. Focus on Self-Care
- What Causes Creative Block?
- Beat Your Art Block Today!
Why Can’t I Draw?
Why can’t you draw? More likely than not, the cause is art block.
As for what art block is, it is an abstract term that is used to describe a phenomenon wherein your motivation for creating art has run out.
You might experience art block before you start the creative process. Leading you to stare at a blank sheet of paper or canvas for a very long time. You might also experience it in the middle of the creative process. Forcing you to stop in the middle of drawing or painting without knowing how to move forward or whether you even want to move forward.
Whatever situation you’re currently facing, don’t worry! There are ways to deal with it. It’s just that you’ll have to find a solution that works for your personal needs.
How to Get Out of Art Block?
In order to help you get out of your current creative rut, we’ve prepared a comprehensive list of various tips and tricks to help you overcome artist’s block.
Note, as mentioned earlier, you’ll have to find one that suits your personal needs. What works for others may not work for you and vice versa. Accordingly, you might find that one particular tip works very well whilst another only works relatively okay but is still useful.
It’s up to you to figure out a way to put all that works for you together in order to create an art block beat-down plan!
Tip #1. Take a Break
The simplest and most fool-proof way to deal with art block is to take a break. This is especially true when your creative block comes out of nowhere and you just feel … stuck.
In such cases, you’ll find that taking a breather will help you more than you think!
This can be a short break in between a drawing or painting. You can take a walk outside or have a short meal with some snacks and coffee.
It would be even better if you could go out of your home and walk around the nearest park. Just relax, get some fresh air, forget about the painting you’re working on, and focus on what’s happening around you.
If you’re not particularly fond of going outside. You can take a break in a different way. For example, you can do indoor yoga to relax your body and mind. You can also spend some time on your other hobbies.
Whatever you think will work to get you out of your current stalled thinking. Just do it!
Of course, don’t go too far or you might be led astray. If your break is too long, you might end up halting your creative engine and cutting off your creative flow completely.
The most optimal time period to take a break is 20 minutes. This is enough to get you out of your current headspace and out of the anxiety-ridden creative rut you’ve found yourself in without being too long.
Hopefully, by the time you get back to drawing or painting, you’ll feel at ease to continue with your creative project.
Tip #2. Find Inspiration
The previous tip was all about getting you out of a temporary rut often caused by restlessness and anxiety that naturally occurs during the creative process.
As for this next tip, it’s most helpful for those whose artist block has been going on for a longer time. To the point that you can’t find it within yourself to pick up a pen and put it down on paper, leaving you staring at a blank sheet with crickets chirping in your head.
Such art block often occurs because of a lack of inspiration. You just don’t know what to draw, basically. Or, it feels pointless to draw anything you think of.
In either case, one of the best and easiest solutions is to go looking for inspiration yourself. It can be the same as what was mentioned in the tip before. You can go out for a walk — a longer one this time! Specifically, to see sites you’ve never seen or have seen before.
Take a lot of pictures, sit down to appreciate the beautiful landscapes whenever you can, and find out more about the places you’ve visited and the stories of the people who lived there.
You can also visit museums or exhibitions set up by other professional artists. See what stories they want to tell through their artwork and you might find an inner story you want to tell yourself. This way of seeking inspiration can be said to be the most free and easy.
If you want something more systematic and rigorous, you can browse the internet about the topics that interest you. Whether it be your favorite music, your favorite fashion looks, your favorite shows, your favorite games, etc.
You’ll find that it’s easier to find inspiration when you’re looking at the things you like.
In the end, as long as you can complete one creative project, you’ll find that the rest to follow will be much easier.
Tip #3. Try Out Drawing Prompt Generators
If you feel like going out to find inspiration is a bit of a bother, then you can stay at home and find topics of interest through the internet.
One such popular resource for both casual and professional artists is a drawing prompt generator! There are plenty of generators for art on the internet, and they can be very useful for getting you to finally put pen down on paper.
After all, just as you can struggle from having nothing to draw, you can also struggle from artist’s block if you have too many ideas you want to draw! If that’s the case for you, then a drawing generator can help you by limiting your choices directly.
Anyway, it’s easy. With these online generators, usually, all you have to do is click and you’re done! Some even deliver drawing prompts based on your preferences, with filters that allow you to narrow the scope of the selection so that you can continue drawing what you like.
Tip #4. Compete In Art Challenges
If you think it’s difficult to be held accountable just from generating drawing prompts, you can kick-start your motivation through an art challenge instead.
Art challenges are great for those who lack inspiration and regularly indulge in procrastination.
It’s also good for getting positive feedback on your creative work. If the art challenge you participate in is the type that lasts for a long time, you can even get a better grasp on your skill level and see yourself progressing with every art piece that you make!
To give an example, one art challenge that you’ve probably heard of is “Inktober”. The rules are simple and straightforward. Drawing prompts are provided every day for the whole month of October. You can work on it beforehand if you want.
The main purpose is to help you immerse yourself in a fully creative mindset and engage with other artists through social media or through an art blog post. It’s also great for helping you out of your comfort zone by allowing you to stop thinking about what to draw and focus on the act of creating instead!
Tip #5. Do Quick Warm-Ups!
Sometimes, the scariest thing for those who are suffering from art block is looking at a blank paper or canvas. It’s just too much pressure!
If you’re a beginner, this type of anxiety is even worse. After all, art supplies don’t just pop out of the ground. Papers, inks, brushes, canvas, etc. all cost money! If you paint with watercolors, you have to spend almost a dozen dollars just on average quality paint and watercolor paper. If it’s oil paints, it gets even worse!
The fear of ruining your newly bought art supplies with mediocre art is very very stressful and it’s easy to feel guilty. In such cases, it’s difficult to feel inspired, never mind actually start creating.
If this is the type of art block you’re suffering from and you can’t help feeling stuck, then the best thing to do is to start with warm-ups. Warm-ups are quick and easy and don’t require much skills or creativity. Of course, we’re not saying that you should do warm-ups on your new or precious materials.
The best part about quick sketches is that they can be done with any art supply. There is no need for any expensive materials. It’s just to help you kick-start your creative engine and get you in the mindset to create art. That way, putting pen down on paper will not be so difficult.
For warm-ups, quick sketches or quick paintings are fine. The main goal is to not spend too long on it and not to think too much. Just think of it as an exercise to get your hands moving. Which is just right to relax your muscles for what’s to come.
Tip #6. Get Rid of the White Paper!
After doing some warm-ups and kick-starting your creative side, it’s time to get rid of the white paper. A lot of artists, be they beginners or experienced veterans, experience something called white paper syndrome.
As can be guessed from the name, it’s the fear of blank paper!
This time, it has nothing to do with whether your art materials are expensive or not. It’s just because there’s nothing on it. It’s too clean and too neat. Making it difficult to know what to do or where to start.
By the way, this syndrome also applies for those who focus on digital art. There’s no difference between a blank sheet of paper and a blank digital screen. It’s all the same.
But don’t worry, it’s not too difficult to get rid of this problem. It’s actually very easy. You don’t need to do anything special. You can just tone the paper with a background color. You can also make a few random marks. Whatever works to get rid of that clean white.
If you prefer digital painting, it’s even easier. Just drag an appropriate background color and viola! You’re done! The white is gone, and you can forget about the self-doubt you had previously and focus on the fact that you’ve done something.
For most people, this is enough to get their creative juices flowing and get straight to work. If it’s not enough, you can make bold marks on another layer. This is a good way to exercise your courage. And over time, it will only get easier for you to overcome art block.
Tip #7. Personalize Your Creative Space to Ease the Creative Process
The next thing to talk about is your creative space!
For most people, it’s easy to get to get artist’s block when their supplies are not in order. If you’re particularly disorganized, it might take ages for you to prepare the supplies you need. Which will only end with you staring blankly at the painting with no idea how to move forward.
Of course, there are also those who prefer their art room to be left just as it is, with pens and papers all over the place.
Rather than hindering them, having their supplies scattered around may help with their artist’s block. It helps by boosting their creativity and allowing them to focus on their artwork by not having to be bothered with placing their pens in the right place every single time.
The key point is … as an artist, it’s important to create a space where you feel most comfortable. Your art room or art space is the place where you’ll be spending a lot of time. It’s your space and it should be organized exactly how you want it to be.
Whatever helps with your artist block is what you should do. To make it even better, surround yourself with inspiration by decorating your art space with your own art or the things you like. What makes you feel comfortable is right!
Tip #8. Try Out New Things
Sometimes, art block is a result of being tired of a given thing. It’s human nature to dislike the old and love the new. Just like how one would get tired of listening to the same song over and over again and switch to new music, artists should try out new things too!
Perhaps you’re an artist who loves to draw landscapes. You’re particularly good at it, but you’ve reached a bottleneck and you just can’t find the will to keep painting more landscapes.
Instead of stressing over the matter until you’ve driven yourself into poor health, it’s best to consider something new.
Instead of landscapes, focus on specific flora and fauna. OR, completely abandon subjects involving nature altogether and switch to figures or portraits. There’s really no harm in trying out new ideas as an artist!
Instead, it may even help boost creativity and help you overcome art block.
If trying out new ideas is not enough, perhaps it’s time to step out of your comfort zone completely and switch to a different medium. For example, if you’ve been painting with oils for a long time, try out its complete opposite — AKA acrylics! Otherwise, you can try out gouache, which is a little more forgiving for those who are experienced with oil painting.
Artist’s block comes and goes willfully. Why not be equally willful and do something new? Perhaps you’ll find something you love more than what you were doing before.
Tip #9. Learn from a Professional Artist
There’s no end to learning. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional artist, there’s no harm in learning from another artist.
Also, for artist’s block, sometimes, all you need is a new perspective. With new insight into creating art, it’s easy to think of fresh ideas. You can also be a little bit more confident seeing things happen with your own eyes.
As for how to learn. There are various options. You can sign up for an actual class and meet up with other artists face-to-face. Or, you can learn from online classes. Be they free or paid professional classes.
Tip #10. Recreate Your Old Artwork
Art block occasionally occurs because of self-doubt. You might feel like you’re not moving forward. And that everything you’ve done up to now is completely useless.
If this is the type of artist’s block that you’re dealing with, the best thing to do is to look at your old art and recreate it. Only when you see the difference between the you back then and the you now will you know that you’ve truly made progress.
Of course, your artist block may not necessarily be cured just because you do this. But, it will make you feel better and help you be more confident. With confidence, you’ll have motivation. And with motivation, it won’t be long until you can find true artistic inspiration.
Tip #11. Focus on Self-Care
Be healthy, be happy! A healthy lifestyle is important for a healthy mindset. And, the better your mental health is, the easier it will be for you to get out of art block.
It doesn’t have to be too complicated. Just exercise as you should and try to keep a healthy diet. Having a healthy snack beside you when you paint is even better. It can keep you energized and focused on what you’re doing!
What Causes Creative Block?
Now that we’ve finished talking about the best ways to overcome artist block, let’s talk about the most common causes of art block.
We’ve already mentioned some before, but to summarize:
- Stress or Physical Exhaustion: This ‘cause’ for artist block is pretty obvious. After all, it’s hard to get anything done when you’re mentally or physically exhausted — never mind mentally draining activities like art.
- Self-Doubt: Self-doubt is undoubtedly the most common cause of artist block for many artists. Especially beginner artists or artists who can’t spend time practicing for many hours of the day. Once self-doubt begins, it’s dificult to be creative and any ideas that may crop up will seem either displeasing or meaningless.
- Fear of Criticism: This is an external cause that you can’t really control as an artist. However, instead of finding a way to avoid criticism, you should remember to learn to accept it instead. After all, not everyone will like your artwork, and even if they do, you have to remember that there will always be room for improvement in your work.
- Lack of Skill: Sometimes, the reason you can’t move forward is that you haven’t prepared for the steps ahead. Without skill, it’s really hard to advance. This is why many experienced artists will tout practice as a must for all beginners.
Knowing these different art block causes, hopefully, you will be able to better make use of the tips given in our list for overcoming art block. It’s best to treat the root of the disease at its core. Try to figure out what’s causing you to lose so much motivation and address it accordingly.
Beat Your Art Block Today!
Art block is a crisis that all artists must face throughout their careers. Hopefully, with the tips that we introduced in this article, you will be able to beat your art block and become the pro-artist that you want to be!