What do you do when you’ve been staring at the same blank canvas, piece of paper, or screen for an hour?
Well, this happens to me more than I would like to say. I tend to go through long droughts when I am anything but creative, when I haven’t had an ounce of inspiration course through my mind. For me, this lack of inspiration is usually caused by stress or exhaustion, but the causes are different for everybody. No matter the cause, it’s always difficult to pull yourself out of a slump.
Unfortunately, inspiration isn’t some magical fairy dust that you can just sprinkle whenever you want. You have to go after it. So what do you do when inspiration doesn’t strike? Well I just happen to have some pretty decent tips on recapturing inspiration.
1. Stand Up! First and foremost, stretch and get some blood flowing, maybe take a short walk outside, a bit of fresh air never hurts. It also allows you step away from the work and get a new perspective on the world around you. Staring at the same, unchanging environment for any amount of time can be boring and frustrating.
2. Do some research, and by research I mean get online and look at images, or look at old pictures that make you feel something. Or if you live near any kind of museum, visit it. Take notes of what catches your eyes. What about it makes you want to look at it? The colour or the composition? Take a small sketch even. It is good to keep a collection of references near.
3. Experiment with a new medium, a new style, or simply a new tool. Doing the same thing every time you approach your canvas can get tedious, so trying a new technique can be just the thing you need to get out of a slump. Maybe instead of painting another watercolour landscape you decided to paint a still life? Or if you are an illustrator who uses coloured pencils, try using charcoal for a change. Working on something a bit out of your comfort zone is a good way to spark that creativity. It can open up a whole new way of working and thinking.
4. Watch a film or read a book. This is a great way to see how others work, or see something new (or even see something old in a new way). I am currently reading a book called ART Inc., a kind of self-help book for artists. It is all about how to set yourself up as a professional artist, and what it takes to start an art business. Though this may not sound like the most riveting reading, it teaches you how to effectively lay out plans and set goals for where you want your art career to go. On the other end of the spectrum, far from practical art but deeply interesting, the husband and I have recently started re-watching Planet Earth, a gorgeous nature documentary series narrated by the lovely Sir David Attenborough. Seeing the vast beauty of Earth has invigorated me and got my brain churning with new ideas.
5. Be fearless. This final step may seem cliche or simple, but it is honestly one of the biggest things artist struggle with. As an artist, you can’t be afraid of making the stroke, or working on a subject matter that isn’t “trendy”. Self-doubt can cripple your entire artistic operation. So go forth and be fearless. Let your passions, heart, and gut guide you.
I hope these tips help you rediscover your inspiration and move you to create something beautiful.
What do you do when you have a creative block?