Artist's block
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    gtgauvin is offline 3rd-level Artist with a +1 pencil and a Printer of Scanning Level 4 Gladiator: Meridiani
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    Artist's block

    I know this topic has probably been broached before, but I'm going ahead and bringing it up again. Anybody have any suggestions for what to do when the ideas just aren't coming anymore? It seems the past year or so, my output has petered out, and I can't seem to generate any ideas about which I can get excited. It'[s a rather distressing condition, considering how much I've sunk into this whole art thing, and I'd love to hear about how the rest of you manage to get yourselves working again.

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    I assume everyone has a different work flow, I'll post what I do when I lack ideas.

    If you don't already have one, create a inspirations folder. Just stack up illustrations, art, screenshots, photo's, whatever that you admire or wish to achieve. By just looking at them, you'll realize whats possible. Some of the craziest shapes and colors can work perfectly. It kind of "pulls you out of your own mind" and show you how far art can go.

    Also, checking your own old art, or series/films/books anything with (concept)art or illustrations in it can often result in you thinking "dang, I could do that better". Looking at bad stuff can be a good source of inspiration also, surprisingly.

    No idea how professionals handle this, but this often works for me. Hoping to be of any help, good luck.


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    I do it an odd way. When I have a drawing block, I usually try to do something new, in hopes that its just a block on that one certain thing. But if thats not it, I usually just push the fuck out of myself, with help from my girlfriend acting as slave driver/motivator getting me to create something. Once I get atleast a small thing out, the rest flows out easily.

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    Do some technical training.
    Life drawings.
    Light studies.
    Anatomy.
    Colour theory.

    Or take a small rest from art, a week or so maybe.

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    I'm a dick, sometimes two. Hence my name.
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    Its strange; through college I would always have these spells! Through the 1st year of University I would occasionally get one. But for some reason I have not had one for months, maybe over a year. It could be to do with what kind of work you are dealing with. If you are working on the same theme all the time that could be draining your creativity. There are certain variables that cause this but each person is different in what they do and how their minds work. I think you just need to find yours.

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    Im using a lot more now a simple trick that my literature teacher taught me in highscool, it was for coming up with story ideas or scenes, situations, characters, you name it.
    I grab a small notebook, paper, wathever and start writting some words one below the other of what catches my attention,ramdom names,synonims, subjects that i read about, anything! then you star relating the words together, you start finding a way to mix the different interest in all those words to create your concepts. Do it when walking on the street and see something, while in your house and some idea comes to you, go run to the same notebook and write some words that will make you remenber it later, especially if you daydream a lot, in short time youll have lots of stuff written for those "not so creative" moments.

    And if you fell uninspired you can come back to the pages you filled, youll remember stuff you found interesting or come out with new ideas out of including some subjects you wrote about. Ideas are in your head, you just gotta know how to juice them, if an image comes to your mind dont leave it there to be forgotten in the back of your head, write it down and come back for it later to draw it.

    Checking out my artbooks or the artists folder that i have doesnt work that well for me, if im not feeling creative then after checking them out only thing i will have in my head are the ideas those artists drew and not my own. I do that regularly for motivation but in the middle of a block i rather push myself out of it by doing something else. You can also try reading some books, or wathever material suits you fancy, go wiki, take a walk around the block and observe life, if you just sit there would be hard for your brain to come up with anything new out of absolute nowhere, feed it first and ideas will come up later .

    Last edited by Renegade89; February 3rd, 2008 at 12:13 PM.
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    I'm working on this as well.

    On Deviant art; you see "this is my character hyokusamanuemae-chan, he is the binder of the 3 earths of light dark and emo poetry", and while the art is a meager offering, the writing filled with typos, they still aspired to create their own world. Then I realized how many really good artists do this too. Then I realized it might be pretty fun.

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    One of the things I harp on in my classes is, process. You have to be able to produce professional work even when the muse isn't moving you. A reliable process or method can help you get work done even when you are not feeling creatively charged.

    A technique that we use in class is a variation on Eno's Oblique Strategies. It involves asking yourself questions about the task that has you stumped.

    Things like: How would the ancients solve this? or, How would a fine artist, philosopher, marketer, factory manager, army or end user solve this? The questions do not have to make a lot of sense, only prompt you to get outside of your own head and look at things differently.

    A better idea has a way of recharging your battery. If you are not excited by the basic concept, it is hard to be juiced enough to finish it. A fresh concept can go a long way toward putting you back in the game.

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    Hey bro, sorry to hear that you're having a block. I don't really know what to say to help you out but I will pledge that when you do get some stuff down on paper and post it in your sb, I'll be there to crit it.

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    Carnifex is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Oaksford View Post

    On Deviant art; you see "this is my character hyokusamanuemae-chan, he is the binder of the 3 earths of light dark and emo poetry", and while the art is a meager offering, the writing filled with typos, they still aspired to create their own world. Then I realized how many really good artists do this too. Then I realized it might be pretty fun.
    i'll have to say this one's really good advice. if you have a character,invent a backstory,however stupid,and it will become instantly more fun to draw him.(as you try to fill out said backstory with more details)
    f.ex. last week i had this alien dude with a broad head,nothing really fancy,and then i added a string of grass in his mouth. instantly my mind jumped to this being some drug that he steals from a plantagion he's working on,where he was sold to as a kid etc. etc...

    so yeah,try stuff like this and start to fill out his environment. it really is fun.

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    And (self)motivation is still everything.
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    adding a bit of what juston and carnifex seem to be getting at....

    find a way to become emotionally invested in what youre doing, and why you ought to do it. i also see the "this is for an RPG im working on" a lot and you know these kids aren't really working on a game, its just a fanciful set of ideas crafted together into a scenario they can find interest in.

    what are you thinking about right now? no seriously, what is it? now whay can't that be the basis for your next subject? i mean you already think about it leisurely anyway. okay so you may be about to say "but uhh Grief, that's sorta rated X and i don't know where i can find a picture of a walrus in that pose for reference..."

    your imagination is constanly working, but usually its on everyday things: sex, work, family, rent, tv, sex, dishes, food, music, swords, sex, sports, cars, sex, sleep, wayne brady, guns, movies, and possibly even about sex.

    you are being creative, its just that you havent considerded all aspects of your life to be 'free game' as subject matter for your art. don't be shy, make some work which reflects not-so-epic aspects of life, you may find it to be the most rewarding as you have personal experience with it already.

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    If you once were a roleplayer: Dig up some old characters.
    When you have played on a character for a month or so he will be packed with items and clothing.
    And have a history!

    Damn, gotta try that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtgauvin View Post
    It's a rather distressing condition, considering how much I've sunk into this whole art thing
    When you sink into something, especially something that you believe in you tend to blow the idea of moderation all out of whack. You have to find a balance in everything in life or it will catch up to you.

    Draw during every free moment but every once in a while take some time to experience life without drawing. You might look at art on the internet. You might play a video game to appreciate the art direction and style. You might spend an entire car ride with your head buried in a sketchbook and you might take a night off from hanging out to knock out some digital piece in Photoshop. This all sounds like the logical thing to get better at art.

    Every once in a while though, look at the news section on the internet or get on some forums related to sports or new inventions or something. Just no art talk. Every once in a while play a video game and focus on the entertainment of it only. Every once in a while leave the sketchbook in the back seat and just look around at the scenery as you drive. Every once in a while go out to dinner with your significant other and leave the art talk at home. Go to a coffee shop WITHOUT a sketchbook and just people watch. Meet someone, talk to someone, actually ENJOY the coffee. Live life and experience it. Seperate it from art and you might find that you put more life into your art.

    In my eyes, there is NOTHING in life that is worth obsessing about to the exclusion of experiencing the small shit that is unrelated to that obsession. How would you have any frame of comparison if you didn't see the side of things where art is not involved?

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    gtgauvin is offline 3rd-level Artist with a +1 pencil and a Printer of Scanning Level 4 Gladiator: Meridiani
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    Well, one thing I've been hearing a good deal of is to just walk away for a while, and I have to say, it sounds pretty good. For the next week anyways, I'll go on autopilot for a while, work on my anatomy sketches some more, take some time to get back into studying Japanese and do some daydreaming and brainstorming here and there during my free time at work ( I get lots of that). We'll see how I feel by next Sunday and take it from there. Thanks, everyone.

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