Have you ever stared at a blank screen and had no idea how to start? Do you sometimes sit over your WIP and questioned everything about it without the slightest idea what to do next?
You're not alone.
Feeling “artistically dry” signifies that your inspirational palette is exhausted. A mental hurdle appears, telling us we are not good enough and questioning our talent. It’s a vicious circle of expectations, disappointment and a loss of self-confidence.Here is how to break out of it, whether you’re stuck before you’ve even started or struggling to find inspiration halfway through your piece.
#1 Do something new
Lacking inspiration means it’s time to refuel your visual library. And that won’t happen unless you do something new. Explore an unfamiliar part of town, take a pottery class or go on a blind date.
#2 Leave your comfort zone
If you’re a character artist, why not try creating an environment? Explore a new discipline that doesn’t hold emotional baggage and lots of preconceived notions of what the result should look like.
You will be a lot less critical of your work and give yourself permission to just create. Oftentimes, this is how our best work is made. Try something you’ve never done before...and see the magic happen.
#3 Look at the world through an artist's eyes
Yes, it’s a cliche. But it works. Train your eyes to become sensitive to art concepts like basic object shapes, contrast, colors or lighting. Suddenly, things that seemed mundane like your old couch will come alive with new textures and color palettes you can explore in your art.
#4 Set manageable goals
A blank screen implies endless possibilities, which can be overbearing. To avoid feeling intimidated, set yourself a realistic goal. Don’t aim for a grand landscape; instead, decide to draw a tree or explore the surface texture of a rock. Eventually, these puzzle pieces will come together and you can work towards larger ideas.
#5 Become unstuck
[caption id="attachment_212812" align="alignleft" width="450"] "Chase, The Dreamer" by Tim von Rueden[/caption]
Has your creativity run dry halfway through a piece? You are sitting there questioning your abilities and talent and are about to throw in the towel. At this point, do not quit.
"Never abandon a piece!," says Tim von Rueden, CG Cookie's lead concept artist. "If you need a break, lay the piece aside for a few days, but always come back to it. With a fresh pair of eyes, you will be able to give it extra polish and complete it."
Make it a habit to always finish a piece and add that satisfying feeling of closure to your mental bank.
"I finished one of my drawings, Chase, after years on the back burner," says Tim. "The satisfaction I got from completing it was so worth the effort."
#6 Impress yourself
Let’s face it: most (if not all) creative obstacles are in our heads. We tell ourselves we have no talent and that we should give up.
Turn it around and praise yourself for every partial success and every time you feel inspired. This will create a positive momentum and mental confidence that you can tap into later. Remember: you talk to nobody else as often as you talk to yourself, so make sure it’s positive talk - and the rest will follow.
What else has worked for you? Let us know in the comments. For more inspiration, try using one of our downloadable resources for your next piece.