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072: Art Block is NOT real
Here's what's really going on, and 6 ways you can crush that
Oh, that feeling of the blank page. The feeling that anything is possible, you’re ready to fill that page but then….
…you’re feeling stuck.
Your old nemesis “ART BLOCK” has returned.
You find yourself thinking or saying “I’m feeling kind of blocked right now.”
Here’s the thing, art block, writers block, creative block?
It’s not real. it doesn’t exist.
It’s the boogeyman of the arts.
The real thing holding you back is FEAR.
Maybe you’re afraid that you’re not good enough.
Maybe you’re afraid people will judge your artwork.
Maybe you’re afraid you’re not going to make money with it.
Maybe someone told you that you shouldn’t do it, that you’re wasting your time.
Whatever the reason, deep down, that’s what’s really blocking you.
That’s what’s making you feel stuck.
You need to throw all of that stuff out the window right now.
Here are a some ways that you can instantly break through that feeling of art block right now.
When you’re feeling like you want to draw, but your pencil feels stuck, you just simply switch to these mini challenges. Force yourself to do it.
Mini-Challenge #1: Scribble Challenge
The first of those tricks is what I call the scribble challenge.
That’s where you do a random scribble and then take a step back and kind of draw out the first thing that you see, even if it’s silly or ridiculous, it doesn’t matter.
Keep scribbling. The more your hand is moving around, the better. Think of this like a jumpstart to a stalled engine. The scribble challenge is your jumper cable.
Much like “writer’s block”, when professional writers get blocked, such as Isaac Asimov, he would sit down and just start typing. He would just start writing anything even if the words made no sense.
What happens here is the human brain kicks into action and starts thinking:
”well we’re already doing this action, we might as well make it something worth reading or looking at. Might as well make it something you feel good about and not bad.”
Typically within about 10 to 20 minutes you’ll find that feeling of “let’s keep going!”
That’s what i call THE ZONE, but others call “The Flow State”
Mini-Challenge #2: DRAW SMALL!
The next trick is what I like to call DRAW SMALL.
Instead of thinking about some epic and large project or canvas, challenge yourself to draw something small and for only 10 minutes tops. Maybe even on a post-it note.
Some artists go even farther and draw REALLY REALLY small. Or draw the same thing over and over, smaller each time.
Mini-Challenge #3: SIMPLIFY
Now combine “drawing small” with this twist.
Take some complex looking car, or character, or anything you’re looking at, and try to make it as simplified as possible.
How can you draw it with a minimal amount of lines or shapes.
That’s the challenge!
Mini-Challenge #4: EXPLORATION
In this challenge you’re going to dive into the unknown and seek inspiration.
Maybe set a timer of 30 minutes so you don’t fall too far into the rabbit hole.
I suggest you keep a little notebook solely for this exploration exercise.
An easy way to do this is to search a popular hashtag on instagram like “#sketchbook” https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/sketchbook/
Now scan through and explore. Be mindful of what makes you stop to look.
Is it a specific style that really gets you energized?
Try to observe what they’re doing, or what about it that makes you excited.
Is it the color? Is it the lighting?
Is it the line work the line thickness?
What is it about their art that gives good vibes?
Mini-Challenge #5: STUDY WORK
Don’t procrastinate too much with it, don’t spend weeks doing this as a crutch, but take a look at a single panel from a comic book, or a single painting that you love, and just study the basic composition. The shapes. The forms. The layout & color.
And then do your own SMALL version of it. You’re just loosely trying to figure it out.
I can almost guarantee that those exercises above will get you through any art block.
But I have ONE MORE that I really like to do…
Mini-Challenge BONUS: SKETCH JOURNAL!
You might think something going on your day-to-day life is totally boring. Nobody would want to read that. But this isn’t FOR THEM. It’s for you. The simple act of getting your mind moving, and drawing with your thoughts and memories.
How are you feeling?
What are you afraid of right now.
What might be causing your art block?
Put those questions in your mind.
What I’ll do is I might draw out one of the key visuals. I was at a restaurant having tacos recently. So I’ll draw a little taco in the center of the page. And as I’m drawing this little iconic looking taco, I’m also remembering what I liked about it, or what I didn’t like about it.
What are my favorite tacos ever?
The little sentences that come to mind, I’m just going to write them out around the taco.
And as I’m writing those sentences, my brain is going to pop in more visuals… suddenly I’m thinking about that peculiar hot sauce bottle.
Or maybe that one time I shared tacos with somebody special.
You can do this literally with anything.
It can be shallow topics, things that are just common day-to-day.
Or it might be deeper thoughts you’re having.
Sketch, journaling definitely is a form of art therapy for me.
It allows me to reflect on my own inner thoughts. I like to look back at mine. I don’t share all of them publicly. There are definitely some personal ones nobody will ever see until I’m long gone.
And you know I kind of like the idea that maybe these things will be around long after I’m here.
Maybe 100 years from now someone, maybe a descendent, will find them and think…. wow, this guy drew really bad tacos. 😂
Or this guy was dealing with some heavy stuff.
That brings some kind of comfort to me. The idea that maybe it could also transcend time and bring value to someone in the future.
That makes me want to keep going… to draw more.
The next time you’re feeling art block or feeling stuck, have these little mini challenges right in your back pocket, so that you can instantly change your mind from feeling stuck and depressed to thinking… IT’S GO TIME!!!
🔥This Week’s Drawing CHALLENGE!
This week’s drawing prompt is…
Envision “ART BLOCK” as a Monster. What would it look like?
Be sure to tag #drawordieclub on the platform of your choice so we can all find each other (we’re mostly on instagram) Maybe we’ll feature your art in future livestreams and content!
✏️☠️♣️ HEY! Join the DAILY DRAWING CLUB!!!
Help support the club with five bucks a month and get some nice perks including a quarterly sticker, daily prompts at 5am and more. CHECK IT OUT HERE!
Draw every damn day!!!