Thursday, March 27, 2014

The trouble with inspiration

As an artist, you are no stranger to the dreaded "art block". It happens to the best of us and it often occurs when you least expect it.
I've had bouts with it that have lasted a couple of months at the most and it leaves me feeling very unfulfilled and anxious.

I have a bad habit of thinking of things while I'm laying down waiting to fall asleep. Sometimes I also get ideas while I'm driving, and of course, I get them while I'm in the shower. Its always "Oh, this idea is too good to forget, I'll write it down when I'm done" and I can't even begin to count how many ideas I've forgotten because I didn't take note of them in the moment.
I also find myself getting the strongest urge to draw when I'm deciding it's time to call it a night. I work overnight at my job, so most of the time, I'm awake when the sun rises. I think that's probably my favorite part of the day.
I like the serenity that it brings; birds chirping, the smell of coffee, and the light glow from the day's beginning. Its a time where I feel alone but it isn't terrifying in the least.

I probably take more breaks than I should while I'm working on something (whether its schoolwork or personal work) but I don't think its too detrimental to my process. Sometimes my thoughts will get too muddied up while working - maybe I'll think of an idea for another piece, another technique I could try, googling techniques or pictures for inspiration... my mind is constantly racing!
I also get a lot of joy out of posting work-in-progress pictures online. I love to see other artists do it and I love the behind-the-scenes sneak peek feel it has. There are times when I look at an artist's finished project and it completely blows my mind that the piece was in fact a process. Colors and lines can look so flawless to me that I feel as if it simply came as a printed image on the paper. WIP shots help quell my thoughts and reminds me to take things one step at a time.

A great way to clear your mind from art block is to take a break. Take a nice bath, watch a movie, play a game, go for a walk... just do something to take your mind off of the problem at hand. Sometimes doing these other things can also inspire you! I really suggest watching the movie "Sophie's Revenge" if you're in an art bind!
Taking a trip is not the easiest thing to do but that can help the most. It doesn't even have to be on a plane or anything, take a drive without a map, ride your bike down streets you always pass by but never turn onto... just give your eyes and your brain new images to process. Its just like not wanting to eat the same thing every day, stimulate your brain and your eyeballs!

You can always try to push through the block, but it might end up leaving you more frustrated than you were to begin with. Sometimes your hands just don't agree with what your brain is telling them to and that's okay! I have no advice for pushing through it because once I hit the point where I can smell the burn of my eraser and I'm crumpling up paper after paper, I realize that I won't be getting anywhere.
Something as simple as just cleaning up your work area can help - just do something, anything else!

Anyone that thinks being an artist is easy is sadly mistaken, we just make it look that way!

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