The Calligrapher's Life

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4 Keys to Unlock Artist’s Block

Do you ever sit at your art desk and stare at a blank page until you’re cross-eyed?

I’ve done it. Whether I’m about to write a page or sketch a drawing or practice calligraphy, I have days when I’m absolutely clueless about what to do and where to start. It’s called “the block”. Writers call it writer’s block and artists call it artist’s block.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s the worst experience imaginable for creative types, especially when it’s the way you make your living.

Novices and pros alike are known to suffer from this common ill for creating. And, strangely, I find comfort in knowing “the block” doesn’t play favorites based on years of experience.

Whether you’re a painter, sketch artist, or calligrapher, when inspiration strikes, you feel on fire. You know the feeling when you’re creating and you’re in a groove feeling like it can go on forever and nothing’s stopping you? It’s fabulous when you’re in those moments, but you can’t help but hear the nagging thought in the back of your mind to take full advantage of the moment, because it won’t last forever.

Contrary to non-artists beliefs, turning on inspiration to create doesn’t work like turning on a faucet.

On the bad days, you’re riddled with a blank mind, doubting your capabilities and spiraling into despair when you’re unable to find an idea that clicks. No matter how hard you try, you couldn’t come up with another original idea for an art project, if your life depended on it.

What happens when you lose your inspiration? Do you discount the day or do something about it?

What to Try                                                                                                                                                                                   Veteran writers and experts suggest that when writers experience a creative block it’s better to write anything that comes to mind and eventually something useful springs onto the page.

What if you’re an artist and you get blocked? Doodling on an expensive canvas isn’t cost-effective and neither is ruining a $15.00 sheet of paper. Even if you’re determined to put pen to paper and doodle, why risk the paper…that’s unless you’ve got the money to burn.

Although every artist works with a different style, consider these suggestions to get your art motivated, especially if you’re in a structured art class or earning a living as an artist.

  • Do as writers do and grab a journal. Pick up a 70-page spiral notebook or one of those student composition books; you know the kind used for handwriting in grade school with the black and white speckle blend?
  • Commit to using your journal every day. Set aside 20 minutes every morning to sketch and take notes when your mind is fresh from a good night’s sleep.
  • Carry your journal with you or keep a spare in your car. As inspiration comes throughout the day, write notes or sketch ideas.
  • Remember to date to the pages. It’s great for reference and shows your progression as an artist. You’d be amazed at how much you can blend in your project when you jot notes wherever inspiration strikes.

With your handy notepads filled with daily ideas and inspiration, the next time you sit at your art desk, you won’t have an excuse for feeling “the block”.

Flipping through your journal pages will come as a welcome treat when you’re looking for the inspiration. You’ll be ready to grab your pen or paint brush and create with no limits.  Now gather those ideas and spring your imagination into action.

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2 thoughts on “4 Keys to Unlock Artist’s Block

  1. Hi.

    I have just spent a pleasant hour or so perusing your blog and have thoroughly enjoyed your hints and tips.
    On the subject of “Artist’s Block”, perhaps you might like to have a look at “Getting Started”, on my pages.
    I shall look forward to your next posting.

    Cheers. Bill.

    • 1positivelife on said:

      Hi Bill!

      Thanks for the uplifting comments. They’ve made my day.
      I’ll take a peek at your pages soon. Have a fabulous week and thanks for reading!

      -Chamois

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