When I first started out, the surge of energy to create was almost too much to handle. But, like many artists, I’ve hit patches where the burnout creeps in, and the well of ideas seems to run dry.
I’ve learned one important lesson, though: you can’t just sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. There are ways to push past this stage, and I’ve spent a good deal of time diving into them. Let me share some of those insights with you.
Set a Schedule
Instead of waiting for inspiration to show up, chase it. Treat your paint sessions like a job by sticking to a healthy schedule. Keep a stockpile of images that can help you as ready-made materials for drawing. You can also sort the images according to subject, styles, and designs.
Keep Your Art Supplies and Tools Easily Accessible
I’ve found that keeping my art supplies within reach is a subtle but powerful motivator. On those days when my enthusiasm is waning, the mere thought of sorting through my materials can seem daunting. It takes a hefty dose of determination to kick things into gear. But there’s a trick I’ve learned: if I keep everything organized and my studio ready to go, it’s a lot easier to jump in and start creating.
Just Show Up at Your Studio
Even if you don’t feel inspired, go to your studio or art corner in your house and simply scroll through your sketchbook, organize tools and look at art or woodworking books or magazines. This will help you to get creative.
Revisit your old art and think about the subject that inspired you to create them. Study the work of your favorite artists and ask yourself what elements of their work you are fascinated that you can incorporate into your work.
I often challenge myself to just grab a pencil and dive into a quick sketch of whatever pops into my head. Sometimes, I’m surprised by how much I get into it, and hours fly by without me even noticing.
Have Lots of Pictures and Reference Material
Make use of every opportunity that inspires you. Take photos, save articles, make notes and then organize them in a folder. It is better to use your photos instead of others. Images from magazines should also be avoided because of copyright issues, the same applies to Google image search results.
Free online photo databases are a great resource for images. Bookmark the images (make sure they are licensed!) or create a references board on Pinterest. If this doesn’t help, think about why you have saved the reference material in the first place. This may help spark your artistic flame and refuel your productivity.
I always say, let your pencil and sketchbook be the trusty tools for your creations. I make it a practice to sketch my surroundings, work from reference photos, and jot down visual notes. It’s a habit that keeps the creative juices flowing.
If you often struggle to come up with ideas, consider using a list of pre-made drawings or painting prompts. This way, you can avoid procrastination and have a starting point every time you sit down to create.
Network Within the Art Community
Most artists work alone and are prone to art fatigue and loss of interest to create new pieces.
Only artists understand the lack of inspiration and phases of the art block. Therefore, networking and meeting with other artists who understand your struggles and give you valuable advice is a welcome step. They can help you view things from a different angle and can get you out of the art block.
Meet other artists, attend gallery openings, join local art leagues to stimulate your creativity. Take part in the online art communities and share your concerns. You can also join classes and learn new techniques through craft-art.com. This also creates opportunities to meet new people who can be the source of new ideas. The support you get can greatly boost you both artistically and personally.
Read Books That Inspire Your Creative Genius
I’ve always held a belief that when you’re grappling with uncertainty, the library is a sanctuary. This applies to tackling an art block, too. There’s invariably that one book waiting to ignite your curiosity. I look for books that teach new techniques, delve into art history, explore different art cultures, or are brimming with inspiring quotes. It’s these resources that often open the door to fresh ideas for me.
Participate in Art Challenges
Inktober, DTIYS, or any monthly or weekly art challenges are great ways to practice your drawing. After posting online, you will also get the opportunity to receive constructive criticism, helpful advice, and compliments that will boost your confidence and inspire you to create more.
You can also experiment with a new form of art like sculpting or woodworking as a hobby for fresh ideas.
Create for the Sake of Creating
Creating art without any restrictions or the need to fulfill any expectations is a liberating experience. Just draw or paint because you enjoy the activity without fear of conforming to any rules.
Create Art Every Day
Sure, it is easier said than done. However, setting aside scheduled time every day for art will slowly help you develop a habit. Motivation and dedication are tools that help an artist commit to their art, over-relying on inspiration. Those drawings are not for an exhibition. Therefore, you don’t need to give it your best shot.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Don’t let fear of failure stop you from creating art. A major concern harbored by most artists is their creation isn’t perfect or is unworthy of attention. This thought keeps them from experimenting or trying out new techniques which in turn stunts their growth as an artist. You need to let go of this fear and embrace your mistakes. Remember, there is always room for improvement and crafting better work.
Spend Time in Nature
I’ve come to realize that a clear mind and a healthy body are crucial ingredients for producing quality art. Stepping outside into the fresh air and sunlight does wonders not just for my mental well-being but also serves as a fountain of inspiration for my work. Whether I’m snapping pictures with my camera or simply taking a stroll to clear my thoughts, I make it a point to embrace the outdoors—whether it’s the park just around the corner or the quaint streets of my neighborhood—especially when the weather smiles favorably.
Draw Inspiration from Media
Movies, books, games, and music can help you stimulate your artistic side as well as entertain you. Think about what makes you enjoy each medium and the emotions evoked by them. The visual elements of these media can be incorporated into your artwork.
Additionally, put up inspirational wall décor to help you stay motivated!
Share Your Creative Process
A new trend among artists these days is to share their experiences and drawing process online. This is a great way to connect to people, have your work appreciated, and comfort other artists struggling through similar situations. This process will help you exchange ideas, share your experiences, and find your community.
Make Money With Your Art
Art takes time and experience to develop which many of us don’t have as a working population. If you want to devote more time to your passion, then people willing to pay for your talents are uplifting.
Build a website with an online store, build your portfolio and sell your work. It is best to work with a specific demographic or niche in mind, like nature photography.
Last but not least, be proud of how far you have come. Look at your previous works and successes, and you will notice a great improvement in your work. Don’t be discouraged by the execution of your artwork. Be patient and keep practicing to reach your goal. Art is about the journey, not the destination. No matter what, don’t put your paintbrush down!
Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.
Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.