Artist's Block? These Tips will Help

As a painter, photographer, and doodle enthusiast, I understand the frustration of wanting to take a break and tend to a hobby, but having no idea where to begin. Thankfully, in my years of experiencing classic artist's block, here are some tips I've collected that help get my creative juices flowing (especially after an exhausting day in school, when the last thing I want to do is sit, and think, and be confused).

Replicate a Photo

Something that always gets my creativity flowing is when I’m going through my photos and reliving amazing moments from hikes, adventures, and vacations. There is some semblance of creativity in remembering a story or a feeling from a simple snapshot on a phone or laptop, and it leaves much to interpretation. So if I stumble across an amazing sunset photo or a photo of myself with a close friend, embodying that moment’s energy on a piece of paper can be a fun challenge! Maybe you took a photo on a particularly cold morning, so you are inclined to use cold colors like blues and greens to tint the page. Or perhaps you want to highlight the warm happy feeling you felt on a cloudy day, so you try to incorporate flowers and warmer colors into the artwork. Either way, I highly recommend seeking inspiration from your past memories.


Just Start!

It's amazing what abstract creations you can come up with by just splattering paint on a canvas, going outside with your camera, or drawing lines on a piece of paper with no predetermined direction. Inspiration can hit suddenly, out of nowhere, in ways that you never saw coming! The end result can be that much more impressive because of the spontaneity and improvisation involved. My absolute favorite drawings I’ve done are when I sat down after a long day and just started drawing layers and layers of lines next to each other. In the end, they formed these flowing and breathing images that felt 3D and it made me feel good to know that I completely freehanded that image!

Think about Gifts

Is your friend graduating soon? Does your mother adore handmade gifts? Are you just grateful for your awesome roommate and want to show them some appreciation? These are great motivators for creation – if you have someone you care about to create for, it is easier to come up with ideas based around their interests and preferences. Not only that, but you can save a good amount on purchasing a gift, while giving them a product that means a whole lot more than some gift card or candle (no shade to candles, they really are amazing)

Redo or edit old work to see how you’ve grown

As a photographer, I have literally thousands of old photos from 3 years ago that I still keep with me. I cringe sometimes at how bad my editing was back in the day – but hey, I was a beginner! It’s really refreshing to edit an old photo now, and see how my tastes and style as an artist has changed over time, and it’s really rewarding to see improvement. Similarly, I believe you can get the same satisfaction out of rewriting an old short story, replicating an old painting, or taking the same subject matter and interpreting it differently. You will learn a lot about who you are now vs. who you were then, and where you want to improve further as an artist!

I hope these tips help you end that pesky artist's block! And if they don't, then maybe that's a sign not to force it. I suppose that's my final tip – if inspiration isn't hitting, don't worry. When the entire point of turning to your hobbies is to release stress, it's not worth stressing over :) 

** All artwork in this article is done by Rohini Mettu **