As artists, we all know that frustrating feeling of being stuck and unable to create anything new. Artist's block can take on many different forms and whatever you might be going through in your process, it usually manifests itself as low inspiration. But don't worry, you're not the only artist whose gone through this normal occurrence. There are things you can do to overcome this temporary feeling and we're going to go over those as well as my personal solution to creative block.
Why artist's block can be a good thing
It's essential to recognize that artist's block is normal, and it's not a sign that you lack talent or skill as an artist. I would even argue that there is good to be found in it. Sometimes a pause in one direction can open doors to a different path that wasn't even on your radar. The important thing is to not let it get you down and to keep pushing forward with growth in mind.
Everyone experiences a lack of inspiration at some point, and I think that perhaps it's a necessary part of the creative process. These times of low energy or lack of inspiration is what ultimately shapes who we are as artists and I think can better our work moving forward. If we don't go through the low points in our creative journey, how can we truly appreciate the highs? So just remember that this difficult time can have a positive impact on your artwork in the future and your audience will see that.
How do I overcome the lack of inspiration?
One of the best ways to overcome artist's block is to get out and actively seek inspiration. Take a break from your work and go look for new sources of inspiration. This could mean going for a walk in nature, visiting an art museum, reading a book, or watching a movie. Look for things that spark your imagination and make you feel excited about creating again.
Another way to overcome artist's block is to try something new. It's easy sometimes to get stuck in a rut with our art, and doing something completely different can help break the cycle. If you're an acrylic painter, try writing a short story, journaling, or even oil paints. If you write, perhaps try sketching out some visual scenes you're currently writing about. Charcoal would be a fun way to do that. The change in medium can help you see things in a new light and give you a fresh perspective.
It's also important to create a routine that works for you. This means setting aside time each day to work on your art, even if it's just for a few minutes. Consistency is key and these small steps can add up and compound over time. Find a time of day when you feel most creative and make it a habit to work on your art during that time. Mornings are usually when I'm most productive so recognizing your most productive 4 or 5 hours of the day is key.
Reaching out to other artists or joining a community/group where you can talk about your struggles can be another great way to get through a block in your work. Just having someone or a group of like-minded artists to talk to can make all the difference. Also, sharing your work with others and asking for feedback is another great way to pin point where you may be able to take things in a new direction or continue with what you have going already. All of these things can help in a big way.
My solution to artist's block
Like I said above, artist's block can take on many forms. So, for me personally, here's what I like to do...
My work is centered around wildlife and landscapes. I'm passionate about the outdoors and artwork is my way of expressing that. When I'm feeling like I don't have ideas or lack the motivation I need to create, I immerse myself in my subject matter.
My subject matter is what I love most and that's why I paint it. Therefore, the one thing that's always been a surefire way for me to overcome artist block is to simply get out in nature. When I spend time outside and begin to interact with the things I love to capture in my art, I usually find what I'm looking for and hit a streak of creativity when I return. I talked about this whole process in my vlog here:
Remember that creating art is a journey, and sometimes we need to take a detour to find our way back to our creative flow. Keep pushing forward, and I'm confident that you'll find your way back to your art in no time.
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I'm Chuck Black, landscape and wildlife artist based in Southwest Montana.
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