How have you recovered from burn out?
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    How have you recovered from burn out?

    I have had some major art issues and bummers that led to a complete drought of creativity and made me feel completely burnt out and depressed. Finally after 2+ years I am feeling the desire to create again. Anyone else experience this? How can I foster this creativity more, I don't want to relapse into my former state again...felt like the worst feeling in the world.

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    Welcome to my sketchbook lol.


    But anyways, what helped me foster creativity was trying something I've never done before, then improving while doing it. For me it was comics, they got me drawing and help practice a bunch of stuff. Then I got a tablet for the first time, so using a new medium helped.

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    I really want to try paint but every venture I take into ends up looking terrible and it gets me down

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    When I feel a little slump in creativity, I take time to look at other people's work. Always gets the juices going.

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    I find that my mood alters my desire to draw, and not so much vice versa. When I don't feel like drawing or feel 'burned out', its almost always an unresolved issue I have that has little to do with actual drawing. If it is to do with drawing, its usually feeling inferior art-wise, but I've come past that quite a lot recently.
    I used to be obsessed but not so much disciplined with drawing as a teenager but I didnt spend much time doing it because of angsty unresolved issues. Now in my early 20s I've flip flopped that mindset, I've grown out of those problems and im able to draw a lot more.
    Having a routine schedule also helps to keep you on track as well, even for 30 minutes a day, as long as its consistent.

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    I find I need to have other creative activities in my life besides art, otherwise I'll slowly start to feel uncreative and hate drawing. So anything that is fun and keeps my imagination active helps keep me in good shape for drawing. Roleplaying works great for me, since I need to keep stretching my imagination all the time. Also reading, and learning about new things all the time.

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    I read art and fear.

    But I also started treating drawing less seriously. By that I mean I give myself permission to have fun, no matter how much I suck.

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    Allow yourself to make 'bad' art; beating yourself up every time something doesn't come out the way you expected isn't going to help you and it will deter you from making progress in areas that you're less experienced in. Think of art more as exploration of ideas and processes rather than a production of something that needs to be polished and professional.

    I think the best way to get back into art after a long hiatus is to simply take it slowly. Don't feel like you have to spend hours and hours pumping out something cool - start with something simple that you really enjoy and try to do a little bit each day, like 20-60 minutes a day. Keep that up for a week or so then start encouraging yourself to do more every day depending on how much time you have for this. Don't think of it as work either; this is the part of the day where you get to let go and be creative. It might help to find a project that you can do, something that gives you a direction and encourages you to come back and get to the next stage. But if you do start a project, give yourself permission to end the project and do something else if it stops being fun and starts becoming a chore.

    Also, take this time to find out what conditions help you be creative, like what time of day you tend to get the creative urges or what activities inspire you, and develop a routine based around your findings. When you're working (or maybe I should say 'playing'), try to stay relaxed and don't stress yourself out. Maybe light a candle with a soothing aroma or put on some calm music and avoid caffeine (which tends to make you tense). That probably sounds silly (more like a seduction ) but the candle part helps me a lot.


    tl;dr - Start slow, stay relaxed, and just have fun

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    Same thing happened after I studied illustration, I took a long break and concentrated on other areas of my life and suddenly (it seemed) I was approaching 30 and I realised that I did really, really want to make a living as an artist and i'd better start getting a wriggle on, that was a good motivator!

    Good advice here about starting slow and having fun. I started doing life-drawing classes again because I remember enjoying them and went to some painting workshops, my confidence grew after that.

    It wasn't long after that I found Deviantart and ImaginFX Magazine and those were enough inspiration to feed my imagination for a while, then I discovered this site and that's where the learning started again. I find Tumblr a great inspirational resource at the moment, I look at my feed everyday from the sites I love to follow; mostly art but some comedy, films, monsters, photography, Ryan Gosling mmmm *cough*

    Last edited by Angel Intheuk; January 31st, 2012 at 08:11 AM.
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    i've never burned out in my life. all i do is expose myself to good quality art and music.

    I have to write 'I will not spam' a thousand times in the next week, in by bestest hand writing and say sorry to Black Spot for being so cheeky.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpha-Leader View Post
    I have had some major art issues and bummers that led to a complete drought of creativity and made me feel completely burnt out and depressed.
    You probably have cause and effect reversed.


    Tristan Elwell
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    The minute I start to feel burned out, and I jump into find ways to fix the problem. I fear the idea of taking prolonged breaks from making art because I don't want to lose my skill.

    I usually do research on things that I don't know much about, but I've always had a slight interest in. I'll take long walks/bike rides and do some hard thinking(I usually bring my camera along as well). I'll constantly look at other art, concept art books, deviantART, and the like. What really gets me out of a burn out is playing a lot of video games, and watching good movies. I'm really fascinated by concept art for video games so playing them always gives me some good inspiration.

    Generally I'll find inspiration to get me going again somewhere.

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    Make this your homepage. I did that a month ago and I've drawn every day since. Even when I feel uncreative and drawing doesn't come easy, I say, "Okay, I'm not going to be creative, I'm going to use today to just do gestures/draw hands/do a still life." Then when I'm done, I can cross off another day and feel good again. If I don't, I've broken the chain, and it'll stare me down every time I go on the internet. The best part is, doing those exercises, even for an hour or less on those down days, will still help improve my skill for the days where I do feel really good and creative.

    As long as you keep that ball in the air you're good. If you stop drawing and you never draw until you're inspired, then when you're inspired you're going to suck because you don't have practice. And you're going to feel bad, because your inspiration doesn't match the shitty drawing you just made. The only solution is to vomit out all the bad drawings in between bouts of inspiration.


    We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
    - Ray Bradbury
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