While working in the creative industry has its many perks, every creative has hit the roadblock where ideas suddenly come to a screeching halt. You put your pen to paper and – nothing.
You stare at the blank page, desperately diving through your imagination to conjure new ideas and spark inspiration. Maybe even the opposite occurs; you have too many ideas and you feel paralyzed by the seemingly endless list of options. Both are common circumstances that happen to the best of us who depend on a stream of creative output.
A creative block can evoke a range of feelings, from light frustration to sheer helplessness.
The root of the cause may be difficult to discern and what works best when trying to overcome the block is different to everyone – it could be as simple as taking a walk, cleaning your workspace, or changing up your routine.
Our favourite way to approach this creative block is to go analogue – though, admittedly, we’re a little biased. We encourage you to step away from your daily desk routine, and pick up your sketchbook and a pen or pencil.
The key here is to leave behind the idea of perfection and allow yourself room to play and permission to draw something terrible – easier said than done, right? Focus on the process instead of the result, and step into the mindset that relishes the exploration of ideas or solely appreciates working with basic materials.
If the idea of a completely blank page is too intimidating, we find that building simple parameters for ourselves can really help light the spark.
Here are some simple drawing prompts that work for us:
Draw letters or words
- Put down on paper your main ideas or thoughts. Illustrator Craig Ward says, “A visually loaded word or phrase can jump out from a passage of text, or a song, be sure to sketch those ideas out as they come.”
Practice continuous line drawings
- A great warm up practice for all illustrators and artists. You’ll find that most people build their drawings from a series of short strokes, then maybe outlining the forms as they complete the image. Keeping your pen or pencil on the page can result in interesting nuances and form a unique style. The perk to this method is that you never know what the result could look like – an easy way to forgo perfection.
Play with colour
- Roll up your sleeves and take yourself back to those blissful kindergarten days. Practice your hand at abstract art by creating marks or shapes on the page. Begin with putting anything down and eventually you’ll find yourself surprised by how methodical it can be.
Copy and create
- Rather than trying to be original, look to artists or works you admire. Try to rework them or copy them as a learning exercise. Copying something can require the same technical skill without the pressure to create something original and unique. Use this prompt to exercise a technique or maybe learn a new one.
These prompts are just some of many one could exercise to step away from the dreaded creative block and practice engagement with visual tasks. Even without having a block, giving yourself 5 to 10 minutes to do something that creates a tangible result can provide a sense of ease and calmness to your daily routine.
Here are our favourite products to keep on-hand to get our creative juices flowing.
Let us know how you like to overcome your creative block.