are you tired of sitting there, pencil in hand, blank paper in front of you matching your blank stare? do you work tirelessly in the computer program of your choice, staying up till some unfathomable hour, only to realize that you've failed to produce something of consequence?
*insert sad peoples faces, nodding in unison*
some call this artist block. others simply refer to it as a lack of inspiration. whatever you dub the foul beast, everyone is going to endure its mind-numbing powers at least once in their artistic lifetimes. its inevitable. what does one do when one is faced with this grim drought of ideation? heres some tips i've found useful in my own practices, feel free to share your own thoughts, tips and ideas in this thread, and hopefully it will leave us all better prepared when the beast bites you!
1. Brainstorm - do you want to do some creature designs, but are having a tough time coming up with anything that hasnt been done already? dont feel bad, we cannot force ourselves to create in a vacuum. there will always be a prior influence (conscious or subconscious) forming and guiding our thought processes. try brainstorming. its a simple grade school trick that was imparted to me at a wee age, but i havent been able to fault it for its effectiveness in these sorts of situations. lets have an example, shall we?
essentially, we are using word association to come across seemingly random and unique attributes. you say big teeth, i say baleen, you say whale, we end up with a whale-bunny hybrid! now thats thinking outside the square! silly example, i know, but you get the idea. dont just stop at 2nd and 3rd tiers, you can use this concept to expand to ridiculous levels of creativity and ingenuity!
2. Random Idea Generators - you can find these almost anywhere and everywhere online. they will often consist of randomly juxtaposed words, items, settings, creatures, occupations, events, etc, to create a 1 in a million concept for you to work to. here is an example of what could work for you.
3. Community Activities - you may not already know this, but there are weekly, fortnightly, and monthly challenges taking place in a little ol' sub-forum called Community Activities. in it, you will find such open challenges as:
Creature of the Week (COW)
Character of the Week (CHOW)
Environment of the Week (EOW)
Industrial Design of the Week (IDW)
Panels of the Week (POW)
see, there's something for everyone! you can sign up for any of these moderated challenges, gain useful insight and critiques from your peers along the way as you develop your concepts, and you even get judged, which only fuels you on to do your best (one would hope this is the case). the very best part about it is that you dont have to come up with the themes, they are given to you! if you approach it in the right manner, you will be improving on so many faucets of your art and productivity, those including your ideation, your abilities to meet deadlines, and to design to a specific given brief. not to mention, you will be building up a great portfolio of work very quickly indeed
4. TAKE A BREAK! - i know that time is precious, and that procrastination may well seem like the wrong way forward, but often you will find that a simple 5 minute walk around the block, or a quick snack, or a splash of water on the face, or a song or two whilst laying on your bed, can make the world of difference when dealing with creative blocks. staring at a screen will not help. taking breaks (in sensible moderation) will not be the end of you! i cant tell you how often i've had an idea pop into my head when ive gone and done something completely unassociated with art. ive been inspired by a door-knocker, ive been inspired by a balloon flying up into the air, ive been inspired by old people sitting on park benches. look around you - inspiration is EVERYWHERE!
5. The Best of CA - this place is a variable treasure chest which, when opened, radiates with some of the finest, most resplendent artistic works you will ever find. they are, in themselves, inspired works, and the inspiration does not stop at the artists whom created them. have a gander, you will probably have to re-locate your jaw after it hits the floor in awe before you go back and draw some more (i rhymed, yay!)
remember - nobody is going to take it on themselves to shove inspiration into your brain. you have to do that much, hopefully the rest will come in due time.
hope this has helped