Sunday, September 28, 2008
Three Tips on Kicking Artist's Block to the Curb
Since I wrote about writer's block for one of my guest blog posts this week, I figured it would be appropriate to write about Artist's Block for my tips post. They're rather related -- sort of evil kissing cousins and it's easy to believe when you're in the grips of one or the other that you will never do anything creative ever again.
So what is artist's block? It's when you've got the time, the materials, and sometimes even the commissions lined up, but you just can't bring yourself to put pen to paper or brush to canvas or Sharpie to wall or glue to trash.
And here are three tips for shaking it.
1) Immerse yourself in someone else's art. There are some amazing websites out there for Safely Dead Artists. For instance, I was a huge Monet fangirl when I was a teenager. I had Monet posters all over my bedroom walls. Sadly, back then, they didn't have this amazing site. Definitely lots of fodder for thought there. If you can, get to a local museum. The idea is to remind yourself what you found exciting about art in the first place.
2) Give yourself permission to create something unuseful. I used to get artist's block a lot when I was creating art for a series or doing a lot of portrait commissions. Every piece of art I did had a distinct purpose and deadline, and I knew before I started that I not only couldn't mess it up, but also that I pretty much knew what it was going to turn into. Giving myself permission to do something entirely not useful in the general scheme of things (like "The Summer Girls" at right) always got my juices flowing again.
3. Switch media. When I get stumped with my colored pencils, I pull out my acrylics, and vice versa. They both offer such a different experience -- one offers total control and the other total freedom and messiness.
Joy in art, for me, is really connected to learning and changing as an artist. So when I'm stumped, it's almost always because I've let myself plateau and get stale.
And that's our three tips for this week! I've got to go Febreeze a dog. Anyone else have tips for shaking off Artist's Block?