Hello there; I've been looking through your blog and, as many others say, I just ADORE your art! I was also wondering if you could give me some advice. For quite a few months now I've utterly lost all motivation to draw. I want to go into something with art, so this devastates me, and whenever I try to draw I just get so easily frustrated. I've been an avid artist since I can remember, so for me to suddenly not want to draw for months on end really concerns me. Any suggestions to fix this?
(hi!! apologies for the late reply. i hope this can still be of some help to you despite that!)
i think that’s a feeling every artist struggles with at some point. you love art, you love making art, and it’s immensely frustrating when that suddenly doesn’t work out despite all the effort you’ve been putting in. and then you start to lose motivation, question yourself and everything you’re doing, and it’s a vicious cycle that’s really hard to break out of. so what can we do?
well, here’s a thing. let’s call it the productivity branch.
i feel like my own creative cycles are very seasonal. not in the sense that my creativity depends on the season, but rather that my creativity itself goes through different seasons.
- spring: new ideas, motivation, productivity still low
- summer: lots of ideas and very productive
- autumn: still productive drawing leftover ideas, but new ideas are harder to come by. and then
- winter: nothing. art-block. lack of ideas, everything-sucks-syndrome, no motivation, the creative part of my brain is basically hibernating
that’s you up there. you’re in a creative winter right now. and without any inspiration or motivation it’ll be hard to find a way to cross that gap over to a new spring (pls bear with the cheesy analogies). and if your cut yourself off from inspirational influence you might start to think that, hey, this isn’t so bad. i mean, who needs spring right? just means you have to do things. be active. yikes. winter’s pretty chill. haha.
but don’t do that. it’ll come around and bite you at some point, because that lack of motivation and activity might start to seep into other parts of your life, not just the creative one, and you don’t want that.
so! when you don’t have ideas and motivation to create, then don’t create. but instead make an effort to inspire yourself. inspiration entails motivation (and vice versa).
- read books, short stories, poems, science articles, anything
- go on walks, explore your surroundings, if affordable maybe even go somewhere farther away
- let people tell you stories
- listen to new music
- try things you haven’t done before (deliberately break old habits)
- go through other people’s inspiration blogs
- collaborate with a friend
- get really invested in something, talk to others about it
- watch movies, animated shorts, documentaries
- or speedpaintings and art tutorials
- try different techniques, or new brushes
- look at art that’s so inspiring that you can’t believe you’re still just sitting there not drawing anything yourself
- and most importantly, be receptive. take in the world around you, rearrange it in your head, and draw whatever you end up with. that’s the core of what creativity is
think about what you want to achieve. make your friends smile? draw something really cool you can print out and hang up in your room? touch people’s hearts? deliver a message? whatever it is, and however small or inconsequential it might seem, keep it in mind. it’s your light at the end of the tunnel.
if want to keep drawing for the sake of muscle memory while you’re still looking for your inspiration:
- illustrate your daily activities
- draw a random shape or find one in a photo (clouds are ideal for this) and turn it into a character or object
- pick different pictures and combine elements from each of them into one drawing
- do plain ol’ studies
- basically don’t try to come up with things completely from scratch. find something to work with and go from there. that will save you the mentally draining task of coming up with a subject, so you can start actively drawing right away
if you still can’t make yourself pick up a pen, make a schedule. train your brain to turn its creative gears at a specific time of the day, make that a habit. do it for pavlov
approach drawing with the awareness that what you create might suck, especially when you’re out of practice, but this doesn’t mean that it will always suck, and it doesn’t mean you suck. if you learn to dissociate your current creative achievements from your worth as a person and your future potential you will get back to work a lot easier, improve faster, and be more resistant to setbacks.
find something that makes it worth the effort of working through the frustration.
you might need to try a lot of different things because everyone copes with this differently, and even when a method worked once that doesn’t mean it always will. so start trying! you can only find inspiration if you start looking for it. 👍