When I struggle to find ideas: Artist block and what I do to overcome it

I couldn’t possibly remember the amount of times I have sat at my workstation all ready to paint, and nothing comes to me. All I felt was whole load of emptiness in the ideas department. Usually I can pick up a pencil and and start sketching no problem but when the old artist block hits it hits hard.

Nowadays though I try my best not to let it overtake me completely by doing a few things that will ensure I have a few ideas tucked away waiting for if and when it strikes.

So here are 7 ways that anyone can put into practice straight away for that just in case moment.

1/ Walking

This is something I try to do as often as I can but I really don’t do near enough walking. When I do I go for a walk around my neighbourhood and use my mobile phone to take photos of interesting things. When I get home I save all the pictures onto a memory stick in a file called random pics. This is my go to file if I need some visual inspiration and it usually works well. I have created a few good pieces of art work using my random pics file.

2/ Old drawings

Sometimes just getting old all my old drawings and paintings I have stashed in the closet under the stairs will inspire me and I have used this method tonnes of times with great success.

3/ Notebooks

I always carry a notebook with me when I am out and about so that i can take note of any ideas that come to me. If I din’t write it down in note form then by the time I get home I will have forgotten. I even write down interesting snippets of conversation if I think I can use it in the future for a theme or something.

I tend to look in my notebooks at least once a week to get some arty ideas.


4/ Sketchbook

I always have a sketchbook on the go. Even if I am watching television I’ll have a sketchbook on my lap. It is just for random sketches and doodles to keep the creative part of my brain active. It is amazing what ideas you can come up with when you flick through your old sketchbooks.


5/ Books

I love visiting my local Waterstones book shop. I tend to look at quirky book covers, art books, design books and even children’s books. I also tend to spend way too much at the book shop so I don’t go every week like I used to.

6/ Art classes

Now this is something that I am definitely going to do in the new year. I am actively looking in my local area for any classes that are coming up in the near future. I think attending an art class is great as it flexes your creative muscles further and you will also pick up some great techniques that you never knew about. Also you will meet like minded people and you never know, you might create brand new friendships.

7/ YouTube

YouTube has been a minefield of inspiration for me in the past and it was the first place I looked to when I first started out with my art journey. It is a great place to find inspiration and follow along tutorials to get some practice in.

As you can see their are many ways that you can find inspiration when the mind goes blank. Don’t stare at a blank canvas and get stressed out because no ideas will come. Instead, give the above ideas a try. You may have your own ways to find inspiration that I haven’t mentioned and I would love to hear about them. So post them in the comments below.

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