Hi there! Do u have any advice for someone suffering a severe case of art block? I find that i cant mentally get myself in that headspace where i actually WANT to achieve something. It doesn't help the fact that im an animation student in the thick of the semester where theres deadlines left, right and centre. Any advice from ur own experiences would be more than appreciated!
hi!!! hey buddy!! thanks for asking me im honestly flattered that you would come to me w this and also, strap in pull up a chair lets talk for a minute
first things first, lets get this out of the way: i always have art block. i love drawing, i’ve loved it for my whole entire life ever since i figured out i could do it, but it’s always hard for me. every second, every time. im eternally grateful to have as many followers as i do here (thanks, everybody) because i have spent the majority of my life just occasionally scribbling off something i was vaguely interested in and only recently have i had the pleasure of other people being interested in those things. this is a huge motivator for me, which i know every third artist on any social media platform will tell you is “””””””not why you should do it, do it for yourself”””””” etc etc ad nauseam. but it works for me: knowing that i can draw something, even if it took me twenty minutes, and someone out there will appreciate it. i love that. but i don’t think i have the natural ability or ambition that i think a lot of others have. it’s a lot of work for me, it takes a long time, i’m constantly berating myself and wishing i could improve faster and screaming at my devil hands for not eating what my brain cooked up.
SECOND: i never finished my stint at art school (which was ALMOST TEN YEARS AGO at this point), so i may not be an excellent authority on this subject. deadlines and pressure are not my strong suit. i don’t handle them well, given the information detailed in point one. you did ask, though, so i’ll answer you as well as i can
ALL THIS TO SAY: the way i get myself to Want To Do Things is generally to literally fucking force myself to do it. whether this is trawling inspiration blogs for something that catches my eye (i maintain my own regularly for occasions like these, so i have a handy resource to go to when i can’t think of anything i even want to draw), doing a few rounds of life drawing, going through old art and attempting to redraw something i really liked but know i could do better now, or honestly The Extreme which is getting myself fully and emotionally invested in some form of new content (which i do uhhhhhhhhh a little too frequently) – find something, anything that stirs you. then draw! even if it’s crap that you’d never show anyone in your entire life, even if it’s sketches you’ll never finish, i mean jesus christ i have like 900 unfinished .psds that are unintelligible half-formed shapes that only vaguely resemble something that inhabits planet earth. the only thing i have ever found that works is to just keep going, even when it sucks, until i can break through it JUST enough to feel like i’m not scribbling on a wall with crayola markers and my non-dominant hand. that’s all it takes, usually. if i can do a little bit, i can convince myself i’m capable of a lot, and that’s huge.
one more thing, and i’ve said it a million times and i’ll say it until i die: i think making things that you enjoy, regardless of their quantity or quality, is the most important factor in keeping yourself motivated and in the game, and it shows when other people see what you do! it shows in the pride you take in your work! i mean, i know objectively that a lot of things that i PERSONALLY make are not good or polished or professional in any way, shape, or form, and they never have been, and i’ve never operated under the illusion that they were. but i like them, and i like thinking about them and sharing them with other people who enjoy them and respond to them, and i think that’s a good, symbiotic relationship. if you aren’t invested in your own work, if the things you CAN make even when you feel like your garbage dumpster hands can’t make anything worthwhile, don’t make you both proud to have been the one to do them and ALSO inspired to do better than your own good good self the next time, you’re gonna feel like nothing you do is worth it. do stuff that matters to you and you’ll feel better about it because it isn’t just an assignment or a deadline, it’s something you care about. and you wouldn’t be asking me this question if you didn’t care, so i believe in you
(ps if any pals or fellow animation majors would like to tag in and field this question you’re more than welcome – my expertise is not particularly valuable in this situation xoxo)