Getting Past Creative Blocks

Found yourself staring at a blank screen with no idea where to begin your next Blender project, fearing you will “lose it” if you keep on going without finally starting a new project? Congratulations: you’ve just hit a creative block. Take a deep breath and let’s refresh your productivity with a few trusted tricks of the trade. 

First of All: Realize It’s Normal

Creative blocks happen to every artist who works long enough. As you grow and learn your own artistic habits, you'll form your own ways of breaking through these creative droughts, though it helps to remember that creative blocks have hit virtually all artists at some point, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Jackson Pollock. 

Anything is Better Than Nothing

So what can you do to become productive again? In the words of Shia LaBeouf, "JUST DO IT!" As a visual artist, you have asserted yourself as a creative person. Trust that instinct and give yourself the freedom to create something even if you're not sure what it is or what you'll ever use it for. When you're dealing with creative blocks, the only goal is to simply create. There's an old saying to make your mantra when you're feeling stuck on a project "Perfection is the enemy of the good." Speaking of mantras… 

Don't be Afraid to Meditate

Meditation can seem like a very abstract or mystic concept, but it is simply the practice of being aware of each passing moment. Better still, studies have found that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking, even if you have never meditated before. 

The New York Times has put out a free and helpful guide to meditation without the new-age or spiritual takes that can dissuade many from taking part. 

Re-educate Yourself

Sometimes all you need is to go back to the basics. Grab some Blender tutorials and start from the beginning to refresh the fundamentals. Focusing on the basics of the craft can get you creating without stressing about giving your creation all the bells and whistles available. When you’re stuck, simple is better.

Say Yes to Any Old Idea 

Most artists have a lot of projects sitting in the cluttered drawers of their minds. For whatever reason, these ideas never came to life. Why not give them another go? Your creative block is their second chance to become something amazing. A lot of times, you'll find the reasons that caused you to ditch the project in the first place have gone away. If not, break them down and make it your goal to solve each one as you create. 

Do you have any methods for getting past creative blocks?

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  • Mehdi Sahban (crepsqual)

    Great article! Hum... what do I do to get past creative blocks? I think about what made me love art in the beginning, things like stories, colors, memories.

  • Matt Dickun (az93)

    The meditation is interesting, I will check it out.

  • Bob Edwards (radeoflier)

    Great article!

    My one tip to add:
    Art is problem solving - what problem are you solving??? The problem of why a character would do a thing or how they would do it? What angle to shoot from?
    Reducing your creative block to a list of problems (that are "solve-able"; don't beat yourself up!) and then attacking that list can work. Even if the problem is "Where do I start?" (there's actually a precedent question to that which is, "WHY am I doing this?" or "Who will see this and what will they think / feel / do?"

    Keep being awesome CG Cookie!

  • anarchymedes

    If you cannot do the art, do the craft. Go ahead and debug your existing stuff: check for small mistakes, try trivial improvements, and so on. I'm only a sporadic Blender user, but this approach has helped me in my software developer profession and in my mucking around with creative writnig (still not ready to self-publish anything on Amazon, but getting there: something is better than nothing). Besides, perfection is the enemy of the good, yet there is sure to be some nasty troll out there who'll have nothing better to do than nitpicking: this may be a chance to frustrate him. Sweet revenge! 😉😎

CG Cookie

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