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Artist's Block

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Artist's Block

Do you get it? Did i make up a phrase? -- You've heard of writer's block, do you ever had difficulty with drawing blockage? if so, how do you get around that? just curious.

Do you ever had difficulty with drawing blockage? if so, how do you get around that?

For me:

1. I walk away from the sketchpad for a day or so, especially when I'm having a Bad Art Day and everything I draw looks like a perfectly-executed turd. Find something else to do, like read a book or hang out with the family doing something innocuous. Turn off the drawing brain. Enjoy Real Life.

2. Write. Grab a writing pad and start writing. Stream-of-consciousness stuff, or a conversation with yourself, or generic observations, or specific observations about things or people in your immediate surroundings/house/whatever. Turn off the grammar and spelling filter - use pen instead of pencil. Come up with bits of stories, a dialog sequence between two faceless characters, whatever. At some point, you come up with a character or place in your writing and your drawing brain says, "Wait! I know how this thing looks! Let me show you..."

I also realize the artist's block may last a few days, so I try no to rush things. Some people say nuts to that and adopt the brute-force method of sitting down with a sketchpad and just keep the pen moving non-stop for... well, however long it takes. That approach usually doesn't work for me, but it may for you.


I should note I'm not an "artist" in the usual sense on this forum. I, like everyone, show their artistic abilities through other forms. It's interesting to hear how everyone handles the blank page, regardless of looking to fill it with words or drawings.

The block problem to me is a sign of fatigue. If you are a person who pushies hard all the time then do some of the things that have been posted. The more sleep I get the clearn my thinking becomes.

Start with a lamp post.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Once when I was airbrushing T-shirts in a mall, I got a request to paint a gorilla as a carpenter on a shirt for a woman's husband. I suddenly could not visualize a cartoon or even a real gorilla. My mind was flooded with the image of an alligator! There was no time to work through an artist's block. Spectators watching, my hand poised for painting, with no clue how I was going to pull this off - I started with the eyes, hoping that I would quickly remember what a gorilla looked like and not end up painting an alligator. It became a real out of body experience. My hand just seemed to have a mind of its own. I found myself, along with the many spectators, watching my hand draw not an alligator snout, but a gorilla nose and mouth and then continue with the ears, fur, arms, etc. Since then I have come to realize that when I have a mental block, I just draw - circles, lines, whatever. It allows the artist inside the freedom to start creating without my judgement getting in the way. Try it sometime, and don't throw away your scribblings. Just put them aside for later viewing and you may be surprised at what came out of that mindless scribbling jam. I find some of my best illustrations weren't drawn by "me". Often in a style that is unfamiliar to me.
Sometimes you just have to wear down the intellect and allow the artist inside to create.

Thanks for sharing. great gorilla story.