After My Hat: Art Blocks & Fodder for Castles
Since I am currently going through the mental block of the century (courtesy of a two month long hiatus from art in general) I figured now would be the best time to make a record of how to get over art blocks…or at least, how I do it. I realize that what I’m saying here is nothing new and that better artists than I have said these things, but I’m from a generation that works out their existential crises in public (the internet). So obviously I had to record this for posterity, and maybe for the few people who haven’t
obsessively read as many art and self-help blogs as I have. I hesitated to speak with any authority on this, but then I remembered how many times I’ve been through this song and dance, and that oddly comforts me … a realization which brings me to the first step in getting over art block:
1. Realize it is never permanent - unless you make it so. Art blocks come in two flavors - “Lack of Inspiration” and “Rusty.” I’ll mostly be addressing the latter, since that is what I’m dealing with right now. Art block - or Rusty Skills - is an intimidating combination of a lack of hand-eye coordination, an iron grip on the idea of perfection, and the desire for instant gratification. Each of these aspects, taken separately, would be easier to combat than the combined three. Perfection prevents you from creating the failures that are necessary and natural for effective practicing, and a desire for instant gratification keeps you from ever achieving anything of quality.
The way to fix this is to realize that creativity blocks are not your entire art career. They will come and go, and a lot of great artists will admit to having created a huge amount of art that they hate. The idea is to never. ever. stop. drawing.
* Practical advice: Go over the basics. Simple life drawings are wonderful, as are copies from master paintings. At first, don’t practice anything too difficult (eg. moving objects or still life objects with a lot of details), and just acknowledge the fact that you are a little rusty, but that with patience you’ll get better in no time.