It's the one thing all artists deal with sometime during their career. It's inescapable. Whether you're just starting out, or are professional, art block remains an issue. In this post, I am going to cover four ways to overcome the dreaded art block. These are by no means the only ways, but they are four that I persondgdgjally find helpful.
Go Back to Art School
I mean that figuratively, of course! You don't actually need to go to art school, but practically everyone could use more practice without worrying about completing a full work of art. Just do some practices reminiscent of the studies you would do in an art class, but you're the professor instead! Although it's possibly the most boring option, it's also one of the most productive, especially if you're like me and you are always forgetting just how to make a decent-looking foot. Some ways to "go back to art school" are:
Try Something New
Give your brain a rest by attempting a completely new kind of medium. If you normally draw digital, cartoon illustrations, try doing some watercolor paintings. If you have only ever worked in a 2D medium, buy some Sculpey clay and try your hand at sculpting! Hell, even doing some creative writing flexes a different creative muscle! Who knows, if you try writing a short story or poem, you might get inspired to illustrate it afterwards!
Personally, I generally work in Photoshop nowadays, but when I get worn out from staring at the screen, I like to go back to my traditional media roots. I find focusing on an acrylic painting gives me a fresh perspective and lets me literally stretch my art muscles by putting the paint on canvas. More often than not, halfway through a painting I will get so inspired to do a new digital piece that I have to stop painting and go back to Photoshop!
Trying out a new medium works because it keeps you thinking creatively. I could go in depth about how creativity works, but basically the more you do creative work, the more you will grow as a creative person and the easier it will be to come up with something creative. You won't necessarily better your technical skills with this option, but you will improve your imagination.
Follow Your Interests
If part of your art block stems from being bored of drawing your own personal characters or being worn out from commissions and gift art, try drawing other subjects in which you're interested. In other words, draw some fan art! I know, I know; it sounds silly, but it has merits, I promise. The wonderful thing about fan art is that you are using a character that is already designed, much like you would in a commission, only you don't have anyone to make happy other than yourself. You can play around with the characters' designs and you can draw these characters in any setting you want. On top of that, you already have an invested interest in the characters, so you should have an easier time getting excited about the drawing! That excitement will help push you through your art block.
With the recent popularity of Pokemon, I have been sketching some of the less popular Pokemon in my free time. I really love drawing these little guys because their designs are incredibly simple, at least in the first generation. Because they are so simple, I can focus my efforts less on getting the character correct, and more on doing my take on the character. I can go as wild as I want as long as the Pokemon is still recognizable. And, with my strong nostalgia from playing the game as a kid, I have an emotional investment in the characters so using them to practice is actually fun!
Even if Pokemon isn't your thing, consider drawing some art based on your favorite things, whether it be video games, movies, or novels!
Do A Meme
This option is going to sound even more silly than the fan art one, but it takes the excitement from the fan art option and the creativity-boosting nature of trying something new. I'm talking about art memes. If you've spent any time on DeviantArt at all, you've probably seen them. From the 100 Theme Challenge, to the 25 Essential Expressions Challenge, you can find an art meme for really anything you could possibly want. Go ahead an cringe at some of those last ones, I know I did. But if you actually stop to think about it, these memes can allow you to try out something new that you might not have done before. Take the 100 Theme Challenge that's been around for years. While a lot of the themes seem like they were thought of by that emo kid that always sat in the back corner of the classroom, have you actually drawn "No Way Out" before? What about "Innocence"? Or "67%"? I know I haven't drawn 67% before, whatever that means. But that's the cool thing about these otherwise ridiculous memes: they get you thinking in new ways. Much like how trying out a new medium can get your creative juices flowing, drawing your character how they would draw themselves is definitely a unique concept to think about. And because most of these memes are silly, you probably won't feel any pressure to draw your absolute best (though you still should try at least a little) or make sure everything is anatomically or compositionally correct. Don't take yourself too serious and just have fun!
Art block might be a pain to deal with, but it isn't an insurmountable issue! You just have to push through it. Hopefully one of these options will spark some creative thoughts that will have you back to drawing the art that you really want to do.