What does it mean? And how can you get over an artistic block?

If you’ve been part of the art community, you probably heard about an artistic block. Art block is a period of time when an artist is unable to access their creativity and create a new piece of work. We’re usually experiencing artistic block when we’re exhausted, mentally or physically. 

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So, my experience of artistic block: 

For me, art started from a place of loneliness and pain, and it was always there when I needed it.

The first time I really felt “artist block” was a few months ago. I never felt betrayed by art before. Even though I experienced periods of time where I wasn’t motivated to draw, it never bothered me to create when I wanted too. A few months ago, I had a really tough time and tried to look for my safe place, art. The problem was that I literally couldn’t draw anything. Each drawing found its place in the garbage can and no matter how much I tried, I was not motivated, I had zero ideas, and no patience to keep creating. 

It took me almost 3 months to be able to complete an A5 drawing that I liked. It came from the inside of me and finally, I was able to express myself and my feelings. 

Now, before you freak out, here are some things that helped me and may help you too.

1. Try to work with paint/ different medium

I love painting because I feel like there are no rules. It has more flexibility and you can start without specific plans. Just exploring and experimenting with new mediums, colors, and compositions. 

2. Don’t freak out

I freaked out which only made it worse. Every artist experienced an art block, and everyone pass through it. Be patient and don’t freak out. When we’re stressed our abilities are dropping and we’re not able to think and function as normal. 

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3. Keep creating

Even if 10 pieces are “awful”, don’t give up. Give it a chance. Sometimes we judge our art way too fast and later discover that we actually love it. 

“Show up, show up, show up, and after awhile, the muse shows up, too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually, she just shows up.”- Isabel Allende

4. Change environment

Hiking, walking, go out with friends, or spend time with your family. Try to think about other things, experience, and creating new memories. Maybe it will inspire you in your next piece. 

“When I have a creative block, I take walks. I like to see what shapes stick out – so many legs rushing by at once, it can seem abstract. I don’t need to see great art to get stirred up. Music does that for me more easily.” — Caio Fonseca

5. Keep a creative journal

How many times did you walk on the street and had an amazing inspiration for your next piece? That’s why I carry a blank journal in my bag. IT’s the perfect tool for an artistic block. It’s pretty small and doesn’t take space or add weight to your bag and it’s a great way to doodle/ write ideas that pops into your mind unexpectedly.

Keep an art journal to help you overcome your artistic block
My 4” on 6” drawing journal

6. Watch movies, listen to music, and read books

I find a lot of my inspiration in music. I can hear the words and picture a whole scene in my mind. The same thing when I read books. Try to find your inspiration in different places. Our next piece is only waiting for us to find it. 

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light, and shadows.”  — Jim Jarmusch

7. Try an artistic challenge

There are so many challenges you can try (3 days- 100 works, a piece for each day and more). The goal of those challenges is to make you sit and create. No matter how good or bad it is, you’re challenged to create something. One of the ways that I tried to improve my skills and find creative ideas was by drawing each day. I managed to do that for 200 days. Some of them were simple and some really bad, but at the end, I was able to create my own pieces and open my creativity. Those artistic challenges make you focus on the art, make time to create and eventually you’ll find ideas to get over your artistic block.

8. DON’T GIVE UP!

The most important part of overcoming your artistic block is not giving up!!

“If you hear a voice within you saying. ‘you are not a painter,’ then by all means paint, boy, and the voice will be silenced.”- Vincent Van Gogh

My point is, when we find ourselves in an artistic block, it’s easy to be hard on ourselves, and get depressed. But my goal is to give you some inspiration and prevent you the frustration. I was so frustrated and felt locked down because I couldn’t let go of this mindset. Art for artists is like breathing and I couldn’t breathe. My body was stressed and all I needed was to stop thinking. Once I let go, I was able to express all of my thoughts into one (messy) piece that described exactly how I felt. Now, when I’m at my best artistic period, I see the artist’s block as an opportunity for growth and success.

My first drawing after my artistic block
My “messy” piece

So, take off the pressure, keep creating, and don’t give up, before you’ll notice your artistic block will be behind you and you’ll keep creating.


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Lee

    Thank you for the information! This information is super helpful with different artistic blocks. I loved the most the #4 and 5. Changing the environment is a great idea to clear the mind and get inspiration.

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      I’m so happy to hear that! I hope it will help you next time you experience a creative block.

  2. Hadar

    Never thought about changing the medium as a way or overcoming my block. I’ll gonna try these tips next time I’ll have an artistic block!

    1. Shany Yizhaki

      So happy to hear that you’re gonna try it! It really helps me when I feel stuck

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