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Submitted on
July 12, 2013


55 (who?)

How do you deal with "Artist's Block?"

I don't care who you are, or how well you draw, one of these days, the Art Block Fairy is going to pay you a little visit. When that day comes, ideas will be scarcer than possums driving pickup trucks. Despite the randomness of that metaphor, how you handle artist's block will decide when you'll get those creative juices flowing again. 
Some of you will decide to pause and have a snack. I can tell you from experience that this doesn't do much to kick-start the imagination. When that doesn't work, there's always the option of getting a second snack. But eventually, you'll get too frustrated and too full to keep doing that. There's got to be another solution. So you decide to follow the prevailing wisdom, which is to go for a walk to refresh yourself, in the hopes that inspiration might return. The walk is pleasant, but almost mythical in its fecklessness. If walks worked, the beach would be teaming with cartoonists and writers.


Watch TV? Won't help. Do a chore you've been putting off? Gawd no. I can't stand to see you suffering like this, so I'm going to tell you the little secret, which is totally counterintuitive. Here we go:The problem with the popular wisdom about taking a break is that it removes you from the "productive" mode and puts you in a "reflective" mode, which I also refer to as the "What's the meaning of it all"-time waster mode. Think about it. You go for a walk along the water, with plans to return to work rejuvenated.  Who the heck wants to return to work after a walk on the beach anyway? The key is to stay in the " productive" mode, but to switch the material you've been working on. While it's true that you need to put some distance between you and the drawing that's been giving you fits, you don't have to take a mini-sabbatical in order to do it.


This is what I recommend: Keep drawing. But switch subjects. Draw something you're enthusiastic about, for example, a personal project, or something that you haven't had time to complete, or maybe a picture of a possum driving a pickup truck. Lose yourself in it for an hour or more.  Now you can transfer your rejuvenated creativity back on the drawing that's been disobeying your efforts to brazenly. And because you didn't take a break to wind down, you don't need to waste any time winding up. You're ready to go.


But here's the last hint: when you return top the original drawing, attack it from a different angle. In other words, to get fresh perspective, draw from a different perspective. So if it was a side view, try drawing that character in a view. If it was a full shot, try drawing the character in a medium shot. And don't be surprised if you get the drawing right this time, on your first try back. And let me know how it works for you!

Your Cartooning Sherpa,

Chris Hart

*See what's cookin' on my Facebook Fan Page*…

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shinylugiagirl Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I never got an art could be that I have too many ideas and not enough time to put them all on paper...
Lace-and-Metal Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
^ This journal => Why I work on multiple sculptures at a time.
skriy Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Student Filmographer
Your journal just helped me out of an art block :D :hug: now I have started concepting and storyboarding an art block fairy short:squee:.
Christopher-Hart Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Professional General Artist
Glad to hear it. Thanks for writing.
Ryotsu-san Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Student General Artist
Playing video games also helps owo
RavenStudios Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I inadvertently do that. I have several comic book stories in the works and when I get stuck working on one, I immediately work on another. If I don't feel like drawing, I write the script of another (or its sequel). Knowing this actually work, I'll keep doing that :)
Kiwi-tan Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2013  Student
Usually when I get into frequent artist blocks it means I need to switch the medium. Example: I got tired of drawing so I did SCULPTURE! It was awesome.
AsharaNi Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Student General Artist
Thank you! :handshake: I'll have it in mind!
emperorkirkwall Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
huh I should try that sometime:| had one for the past month.
Christopher-Hart Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
A month? If you keep drawing, maybe at a lesser pace, when you have an extended block, and you look back at the file of drawings you did, I bet you'll see that some of them were pretty darn good.... give it a try!
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