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January 15, 2011
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Cures for art block

Art block. An ugly thing, isn't it?

Sometimes you might be sat there lurched over empty paper with absolutely no idea what to fill it with.
Perhaps you're bursting with all sorts of scenes and pictures, but when you attempt to draw you're unhappy with every single outcome.
Maybe you feel you're not even good enough or suddenly find the act of drawing tedious as an actual job.

From what I've seen, art block can come in different forms. All with different reasons behind them and a different set of frustrations along the way, but each one can be cured.

Setting the scene: Some people can draw anywhere, give them a crusty take-away crammed desk in front of a building site and they'll draw like mad. But it simply doesn't work that way for everyone. Where you draw can be important for helping you feel at ease and getting yourself drawing. So find yourself somewhere comfortable, quiet and well lit. Could be outside in nature, could be cooped up in your bedroom- where ever you're most happy with.
Other tips
-Having music that stirs your imagination playing is good to.
-If you don't like people hassling you whilst you're drawing in public, go somewhere like a glen or a  park with earphones firmly lodged in and a scowl on your face. If you manage to perch yourself up a tree to, then that'll probably seal the deal.

-Making your 'drawing studio' (Aka kitchen table/bedroom desk/box in an alleyway) smell nice and keeping mess out of your view will definitely help you keep your mind focused on art.

Now that we're sitting comfortably, why don't we try and address some of the deeper causes of artist's block.

I don't know what to draw - A common one, sometimes we'll be stuck drawing the same people in the same pose with the same clothes and same expressions, simply because we can't think of what to do. Times like this call for challenges, ideas to break the boundaries. You draw someone standing, why not sitting with a mouth stuffed full of food? You draw someone with a blank face? Why not angry or terrified, maybe even laughing so hard their faces has gone all blotchy and red. Just question how to make something interesting, or how to deviate from the norms you usually stick to. The next section may help you allot, so stay tuned.

It's not good enough- I get this one many a time. But the fact remains that if you don't draw anything then you won't get any better, will you? We're not all born artistic geniuses so stop worrying and start working on the basics and learning how to get better.

I'm bored but I still can't draw anything: Well, don't I have a treat for you? Just wait till the next section...

Exercises: Time to stop rambling and start drawing. Here are some things you can do in order to get back into the motions of drawing.

Loosening up: If your anxieties stem from getting started then why not set aside a scrap of paper and simply doodle all over it. Sometimes it's good to have a 'prompt', a theme so to speak, title generators are good for this. When the page is filled, don't focus on the quality, its all about getting yourself in the frame of mind to draw.

Mix and match: I don't know about you, but I love to make creatures and monsters. Why not make strips of paper and put animals on some and random things on the other set like "Gold", "watcher", "Berserker" and "flower". You might end up with all sorts of bizarre things ( Crispy baboon and magic partridge are two I once got) but some will definitely spark the imagination.

Shapes: This it one I like to do when I get art block. Find a piece of paper (A3 would be good) and cut it up into simple shapes (squares, rectangles, triangles, circles) and work towards filling every shape with a drawing. It gets you thinking on composition. Bonus points if you come up with interesting poses to fit people in and nice borders in there. If you use watercolours, you could also make each shape a different colour scheme. See how far you can stretch your mind. You might come up with all sorts of interesting pictures.

Time for a change: If you always stick with one medium, one style, one subject and one size then you're bound to feel bored. If you use watercolour, switch to acrylic! If you draw people- go ahead and make a frilly sparkle-dog (I won't laugh, I promise)If you do realism, switch to surrealism for a spell. If you work small work large. Use simple lines? Start working with form.  When you challenge yourself, you start to think and when you start to think, ideas will come. Don't be afraid of the result, because you might come up with an unexpected idea for a better picture later. It's all about sparking interest again.

Character exercises: If you have characters, they're a mighty tool in getting ideas flowing. Play what if *(for more information on that, look at my cures writer's block)* but instead of writing the outcome- DRAW IT.  Making new characters too is also a great way to get you in the mood for drawing. *(for more info on making characters look at my character making tutorial)*. Just thinking about where your characters live, how the interact with others and what happens in their life are brilliant things to draw, because they'll have allot of meaning to you.

That's it so far, if you want to add any other interesting ideas be sure to tell me about them. Everyone will have different methods for getting out of their block, thinking about what would help you personally will probably give you all sorts of ideas yourself.

Good luck everyone, and more importantly- get back to drawing!
I forgot I didn't have one of these written yet. So I thought I'd make one and share it with you lot.

Other helpful thingamajigs:

Character making: [link]

Writer's block : [link]

Enjoy, and don't hesitate to tell me anything YOU do to destroy art block that I haven't mentioned.
Add a Comment:
CuteCandles Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
This is the most useful article for art block that i have come across! Just by reading it i'm feeling more optimistic :D
reaper4987 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Hobbyist Filmographer
best way for me is that I watch cartoons and study the shapes and the motions of the character and have a good laugh with it laughter is one best way for me to cure artist block
wolfie900 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't get it I still have Artists block...
SnoodleDoodle Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013
Now you're a lucky one. I haven't been active on deviantart for months, but I had to reply.

Do you want some genuine help for your art block? I mean, I can look through your gallery and treat you like you're someone who's willing to get some harsh advice if you want. 
This thing is ancient, and well before I got into uni. They were mainly little things for myself when I was bored with drawing the same things over, and over, and over again.

That's another thing from the 'art block' you know. Drawing the same things over, and over, and over again. 

But art block doesn't honestly exist. Not when you're at a level of art student or a working illustrator, artist, concept artist. It becomes your job and whether you feel that strange, mythical ebb and endless flow of creativity that is apparently whenever you're not art blocked means nothing to your teachers and commissioners alike. 

Nothing should stop you drawing, but you can make drawing more exciting and beneficial for yourself. I don't know you're age or your intentions with your drawings, since I haven't checked you up yet, but I had a quick glance at your journal and it was about being art blocked. I assume if you're desperate you wouldn't mind some real in depth advice.
squeakylex Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
i tried to express my feelings on my artwork but i couldn't so i threw a raging fit.
animatedastronaut Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2013
I'm going through the same thing right now.
squeakylex Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
you do?
animatedastronaut Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
squeakylex Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Ok I understand.
Hannahlikesmusic Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I hate artblock so much- I generally feel like everything is dead when I have it as all I do is write and draw so when I've got no ideas for both, everything pees me off so much...I will definately try one of these cures tomorrow :D
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