Help, My Brain Is Blocked!
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Cover image Web readyThis is more than just the stereotypical ‘writer’s block’, this is the ultimate ‘creative block’. The kind where you’ve been sat at your laptop or staring at the same blank canvas for 4 hours awaiting the splash of creative juices to burst through your fingertips…and nothing. Absolutely nothing!

So you go outside, hoping that the garden breeze will whip you a refreshing wind of inspiration. Doesn’t work. Next some ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’music. Just sounds like noise. Then you break down, maybe even cry a little. Definitely doesn’t help the matter. ‘So what do I do?’

Ah, I thought you would never ask. I discovered this book ‘Creative Block: Advice and Projects from 50 Successful Artists’ written by Danielle Krysa the infamous blogger behind‘The Jealous Curator’, who gets down and deep in interviews with artists from around the world working in various media on the darkest elements of the creative process, from overcoming idea-stagnation to dealing with both self-criticism and external naysayers. Each artist offers a tried-and-true exercise—from road trips to 30-day challenges to cataloguing the medicine cabinet— that will kick-start the creative process. Creative block a universal challenge? No longer! Here are just five pieces of advice I’ve fished out so far…


From Mel Robson

Mel Robson Web ready
“I think it’s important to remember that making art is a process. It is never finished. The occupation itself is one of process, exploration, and experimentation. It is one of questioning and examining. Each thing you make is part of a continuum, and you are always developing. You don’t always get it right, but I find that approaching everything as a work in progress allows you to take the good with the bad. You’re never going to please everyone. Take what you can from criticism, and let go of the rest. When it comes to constructive criticism, I welcome that and think it is important to have people you can discuss your work with who will give you honest and constructive feedback. It’s not always what you want to hear, but that is often exactly what is needed. It can be very confronting, but very useful.”

From Anthony Zinono

Anthony Zinonos Web ready
“I’ve learned to reassure myself that all I have to do is sit back and patiently wait, or step away from all things art related for a while. It is so easy to get caught up with what you’re working on, By stepping away, it gives you a chance to put things into perspective, and realise that it’s not actually the end of the world. So, I would tell the younger me, “Don’t worry or stress about it; take some time out and do or think about something totally different. The block will always pass, leaving behind some magical inspiration.”

From Sidney Pink

Sidney Pink Web ready
“The idea of divine inspiration and an aha moment is largely a fantasy. Anything of value comes from hard work and unwavering dedication. If you want to be a good artist you need to look at other artists, make a lot of crappy art and just keep working.”

From Amanda Happe’

Amanda Happe’ Web ready
“I think we’re too hard on ourselves if we expect an uninterrupted procession of meaningful creation. Let it be. But lay in wait. Keep your ears perked and your soul soft for that new impulse, and save the guilt for when you really blow it in life.”

From Justin Richel

Justin Richel Web ready
The best advice for getting past a creative block? “I like to call it “pushing through the pain.”I need to finish one piece in order to know what’s next. So even if things are going poorly I continue to work. Finding out what I don’t like is just as important to discovering what works.

Also, it seems obvious enough, but it helps to keep your space clean. When I begin to notice my judgement cloud, or my productivity slow, it’s typically because I need to clean up my space. After a good burst of productivity my work surface is covered in debris. This is important for productivity, but I don’t want those things creeping into my periphery and influencing my decisions on new work.

And if all else fails, having a deadline can motivate like nothing else! It’s that “all or nothing” feeling that can inspire you to pull it together. If you don’t have a gallery exhibition or illustration deadline, ask a friend to give you an assignment. This will help get past the inner block that you have placed on yourself.”


(Images via tumblr)

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