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Mental Health

Artist’s Block And Ways To Work Through It

What to know what’s weird- declaring Fine Arts (concentration in Studio) as your major, but having no motivation to draw. As someone who has yet to find their art style, these creative impulses followed by little to no work is frustrating but it isn't unheard of either.

I've been struggling with art block, or artist’s block, for almost a year. The ideas form into visions, but when it comes to sketching them out that vision comes less clear when I attempt to bring it to life 

Doubt is the main challenge I’ve encountered. Many creatives experience this feeling, just like anyone else who invests their time and effort into their craft. We often ask ourselves, “What if I’m not good enough?” or “What if it doesn’t come out right?”

It’s only natural for others to suggest that practicing will makes things better and your confidence in your work will improve with time. It often does. But other times, that frustration can manifest into resentment toward your skills and talents, or quitting altogether.

The head image (self-portrait) and the first image below (sneakers) are pictures I submitted in an AP Art portfolio during my senior year of high school. It was also the last time I created anything substantial, anything that reflected my interests, feelings, or ideas.

When I first submitted my self-portrait, I was proud of what I had created. However, months down the road, I would throw it away because “it got messed up.” In all honesty, the technical mistakes bothered me so much to the point that I just didn’t want to look at it anymore.

Photo Courtesy of Ebone Harris

As I look at the only copy I have now, I realize that my interpretations of art have developed in a way that focuses more on the meaning and not just the aesthetics. Appreciating my art requires acknowledging my strong suits just as much as my areas in need of improvement.

So how am I overcoming this artist’s block and insecurity about my work? Getting back in the groove of things takes time and patience. But generally, it just happens when it happens. I’ve started looking for things that inspire me, doing things that make me happy (like taking pictures of flowers).


Photo Courtesy of Ebone Harris

Gradually changing my mindset about my work has helped, too. I am finding new outlets for my interests and actually using a sketchbook for once (even though I still manage to tear out pages I’m not satisfied with)!

The transition is not immediate or easy, but it makes me realize that my work, although far from perfect, is still valuable.


Sophomore, Georgia State University. Major: Studio Art
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