15 Ways to Avoid Artist’s Block or Creative Block

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15 Ways to Avoid Artist’s Block or Creative Block

15 ways to avoid artist block or creative block

Artist’s block or creative block really is no different from writer’s block. As an author of six business books, the same principles that I opted there work also with art and creativity.


Here are my 15 tips to ditch that block, stay creative and stay on task with creating your artworks.


  1. Set Goals

Akin to any business, life objective or activity, it helps to set goals and be clear about what you want to achieve.  Knowing the goals and then setting the hours you work helps towards you being clear about what you want to achieve.  This is FOCUS and focus is what helps us (you guess it) stay focussed.

  1. Journal ideas when you get them

A great way to keep ideas up is to be constantly journaling and sketching your ideas as and when they come to you.  By doing this when the idea hits you, you keep those ideas top of mind so that when you’re looking for something to do … hurrah … just reference your own sketches.

  1. Ditch the fear

I know, at times, that procrastination and creative blocks are the results of fear.  Have a talk to yourself (perhaps not in public, you’ll be fuelling that fabled ‘crazy artist’ label) and remind yourself how gifted you are, how good you are at your work and that what you produce is awesome.  Don’t worry about what others say.  Art is very individualistic; what one person says is exceptional, another will see it as rubbish.  You cannot please all the people all the time; start with pleasing yourself.

  1. Change media

If you’re getting a little stuck, then switch media and play, work or trial something else.  They say a change is as good as a holiday – so take a break and work on something else.  You might just be getting a little bored focussing on the one thing time after time, so give yourself a break.

  1. Switch pieces

To keep the creative juices flowing, keep the change up also with the pieces you are doing.  Just watch you don’t move into the mode of starting heaps of projects and finishing nothing.

  1. Google ideas

If you have the inclination for something but just don’t know what to do, Google some relevant words.  Those words might be ‘bright’, ‘beautiful’, or ‘seascapes’ … just Google words, switch the search to images and you’ll have a full palette of ideas to inspire you.  I’m in no way suggesting you copy, however, being inspired to do your thing is a great thing.

  1. Travel

Take a trip and whilst you’re away, take your sketchpad or camera and get some ideas happening.  Nothing like a change of scenery to inspire some wonderful ideas.  There is a world full of ideas, images, things that are superbly amazing; venture out and see what is there to be seen.

  1. Take a walk

Now I know taking a trip may not be within the budget or plan, but take a mini trip out of your immediate environment.  A trip to the bush, to the beach or down to the local park is a great option.  Animals, people and plants all make for interesting subject material.

  1. Get clicking

A camera is a great tool for every artist.  Whether it be getting spectacular sunsets captured just at that moment or a storm broaching the horizon, a camera will capture that image immediately.  Don’t forget to look down, look up and look for interesting angles.  Snap away – these days with digital cameras you are limited only by your memory card.

  1. Take a class

You may be a very accomplished artist, but sometimes going to a class, workshop or even beginners’ class can open up ideas.  Perhaps you discover a new technique or product you were not aware of.  It’s also great to try new things, keep your mind open and who knows what ideas might spring forth!  Remember that old expression “We’re never too old to learn.”

  1. Have a chat

If you are stuck, maybe it would be good to chat with other artists.  This can be in a gallery, at the markets, during an exhibition or online socially via Facebook or some other social media platform.  As an artist, we can be somewhat isolated, so get out and socialise.

  1. Ditch the distractions

If it’s distractions that you feel they are what is stopping you.  Maybe it’s time to simply turn off the TV, switch off the phone, lock the door and just get started.  Maybe just a little discipline and making a start is all that is needed.

  1. Stop!

I’m not a fan of non-action, but maybe it’s time for a break.  If you are just stuck, then stop and take a break.  If you’ve been pushing for a long time, then especially be sure to take regular breaks.  However, if it’s time for a break, take it and don’t beat yourself up.  Whilst my kids were little, my breaks were often 5 years at a time … it doesn’t mean I left art.  I just had a (very long) pause … dare I say ‘pregnant pause’ that didn’t stop me from returning to what I love.

  1. Remove the pressure

Often, when we put pressure on ourselves (or allow others too), pressure mounts and this can be a real ‘show stopper’ causing us to ‘freeze up’ and have those creative juices dry up.  Remember why you paint or draw – most likely because you love it.   Get back that passion and love of what you do; even if it means a formal sabbatical, where you just spend a little time enjoying art and not ‘being’ an artist.

  1. Finally, don’t forget to love art

Have fun with pieces and even ‘play’ a little with some pieces.  If you’re stuck, pull out a fresh cheap canvas and just muck around.  It might be the oil that loosens those cogs and gets you back on track.

Yours in Art …

a passion for expression