Do you suffer from artist block? Here are 3 sure ways to cure you!
Tip 1 – Pixabay, Unsplash, Wildlife Reference Photos
Don’t expect every single thing you paint or draw to be some crazy unique design. Your next painting does NOT always need to top your last. It would be great if it did, but it would also be great if Texas wasn’t scorching hot in the summer…but we all know how that works out. Sometimes to break out of artist block all you need is to pick something. Pick ANYTHING and get to that easel or sketchpad!
Go to Pixabay, Unsplash, or Wildlife Reference Photos if you need ideas. Or just head to your fridge, grab the first thing you see and draw it!
“But Lisa, I don’t want to draw ketchup! I want to draw something surreal but I can’t think of anything good”. Then draw an octopus holding the ketchup while sitting on a head of lettuce. The point is to start.
Tip 2 – Give yourself a time limit to start
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen students spend weeks picking the perfect project. While they waisted that time dreaming up (or searching for) the perfect reference photo they could have been at the very least perfecting their technical skill while drawing that octopus/lettuce/ketchup idea. While working on the “filler” project they could have been thinking of that bigger better idea.
The point is you don’t stop working and improving your skills while thinking of your next greatest idea. When you sit down to pick a reference photo (or take one yourself), limit yourself to no more than 30 minutes to choose something!
Now to be clear, if you’re not finding yourself in the artist block boat…this doesn’t really apply to you. It’s ok to spend more time than this. I’m really focusing on those who are going weeks or months between painting or drawing.
Tip 3 – Give yourself a deadline for the finished painting
When you have a goal date and deadlines, you don’t have time for artist block. It forces you to hurry up and choose something and just get started!
YouTube and Patreon for me force me (in a positive way) to produce something new each week. Occasionally I work on a project that takes longer so I separate that into two or three weeks, but normally my goal is one per week. I don’t have time to sit around trying to figure out what to paint. I just pick something!! I’ve not experienced the feeling of artist block in years because of these deadlines.
I know the idea of a deadline sounds scarey. I was super resistant to them in the beginning. Then I realized it was one of the best things I ever did as an artist to keep myself creating more work! I’ve created thousands of paintings and drawings because I set a deadline for myself each week. Some nights I have to paint extra late to fit those deadlines, but in the end, there is no better feeling for an artist than to finish a new piece. Just imagine getting to experience that feeling EVERY WEEK! That should be enough motivation all in itself to set a goal!