Fighting Art block With Spring Cleaning

in art •  last year

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Hello guys! This post is a bit more personal, but I believe I'm not alone in this as art block and the feelings of failure are some of the most common topics in art communities.

The most common tips for beating an art block I've seen are either to keep drawing or to take a break. I tried both and they didn't work for me, so I decided to try a different approach.

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First of all, I'm a quite a messy person. This may not sound too bad, but it's like a silent killer that creeps up on your creativity. As a teen I used to think that mess is a part of creativity, but this was just my form of rebellion. Dissaray may trigger imagination, but this might simply be a placebo effect. Too many things around eventually clutter the mind with useless information.

Lately I had been feeling stuck in place, especially for work, lacking ideas and motivation. Moreover, after turning 24 I realized that another year flew by and that I'm falling behind my peers. The worst of all I had become an auto-consumer, apathetic and without filters. I forgot what truly inspires me and what I care about. I feel that I'm failing the expectations of me. However I'm not ashamed of my art, on the contrary, I'm proud of my progress, achievements and everything that I've posted so far. This is because I've taken the very slow approach, through trial and error until I'm satisfied or too exhausted to continue.

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My problem is that a lot of the times I end up staring blankly at the canvas unsure where to begin or unable to decide what is the priority. I've come to believe that the reason for this is my lack of concentration. So to counter this I've begun cleaning my home, which is also my work place, from top to bottom slowly and thoroughly. Including giving away or throwing out things that I don't need or use. Moreover, this is not only about physical cleaning, but also my enormous art and photo collection on the PC.

I hoard images, it's a habit and I hope to learn from them or to use them some day. Whenever there is something mildly interesting, I end up saving it into a temporary folder. Everything was too disorganised making it impossible to actually finding anything, so I ended up not using the collection. Finally, I started with my art collection, organizing by and I've decided to leave only the best of the best works and delete the rest. By best I mean only the works that I want to learn from or inspire me in some way.

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While doing this I also tried to pay attention to what I delete versus keep. This way I'm becoming more aware of my tastes and subconscious. I've little left to go and then my next goal is to delete all of the unnecessary photo references. I already feel more determined and less worried. It's too early to say if my problem has been solved, but either way it was worth it. It's a pleasant experience to let go and to reflect.

What is your experience and method for fighting art block?

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About the Art


This is Gemini- the zodiac twins and my third drawing in the zodiac series. The main element of the zodiac is air, so I used feathers and the slim shape to make the dragons feel as light as possible. The outlines are simple as usual, For the main color I picked light blue as it has the closest connotation to air and sky. At first I contemplated making the dragons in slightly different hues, but this would require quite more planning to achieve the right harmony.
All rights reserved by @kristyglas

My Previous Zodiac Posts

Taurus: https://steemit.com/art/@kristyglas/taurus-zodiac-dragons-the-process-and-coloring-tips

Aries: https://steemit.com/doodle/@kristyglas/daily-dragon-doodle-4-aries

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I can relate so hard on that art block situation. I live in a quite small place and it's also my workplace. When everything is messy I can't get focused on my works. I have like suddenly stop drawing or whatever so I can clean up and have a clearer vision of things around me. It's very helpful. Thanks for sharing your experience! 💜 About the illustration: I'm really liking how your dragon zodiac is developing, please keep sharing! See you!

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Thank you for the compliment and for sharing your experience! I didn't realize before that mess affects me and this is quite s new realization.
For me the thing is that my art block comes slowly, I don't notice it at first because I keep pushing and trying. And if I have instructions I can draw, but making something completely new is always hard. :)

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Have you tried organizing your work schedule with a Bullet Journal? I've been trying out the method for 1.5 years and I think it have helped me a lot. I find it easier to divide tasks in tiny steps and it works with illustration too, you can make a section for ideas and then you can divide them into:

-sketches
-linework
-color filling
-etc

Loooooong ago I made a post about it. and I've recently made another one explaining how to create an organized monthly spread (it is in spanish but google translate will help if you are into it). Here's the old one. I hope it helps you :3

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Thank you so much for sharing your method, @opheliapoe.

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Thank you for sharing! :D
I have been using journals but it's not nearly as cute as yours ^^ and I'm sure I'll find something new to add to mine from your post.
I'm working on my first game so it's not easy to plan things, but the journal most definitely helps! I need to start adding timelines maybe, as I only write down ideas without specific limits :D

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@enternamehere, thank you so much for showing up interest in this method. I'm glad you like it! Please show me some pictures if you make your own journal <3

@kristyglas I'm glad this can be useful for you. I know how stressful can be to have lots of projects and deadlines so I can assure you: this helps, A LOT. I'm sure you can create a really gorgeous journal and I'd love to see some pictures if you make one. I've been recently catching up with organizing and setting goals so I'll probably post more about the tools which help me to manage my responsabilities as a freelancer. If you are into it you can take a look on my blog now and then just remember that if you need the content on english I can make a space on the week for translated content. I stopped posting frequently on english since I only had spanish comments, but please let me know if you are interested :3
What's your game about? are you designing the characters? I'd love to see about it too <3

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Hey, if you can post on english it would be awesome!! :D I can use google translate otherwise, it works great lately.
The game is a pixelart platformer ^^ I do all of the visuals, so backgrounds, characters, animation, interfaces and so on :) So keeping track of everything would be impossible for me without a journal :D For the next project I'll try to do a better journal for sure xD right now it's not really fun to look at, but it's practical.
Do you have discord to see more? ^-^

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I've been thinking about scheduling a day in the week for posting in english the previous article I've posted on spanish. What do you think about it? That wouldn't be the case with the videos for illustration process since they are kind of shorter and I post them in both languages at once. Please let me know your opinion :3

I'd absolutely like to see the visual works you are creating for the videogame! Sounds quite exciting. A friend of mine is working on a videogame too and soon he'll move abroads to Argentina so he can study videogame development in a proper way.

I do have a discord! OpheliaPoe ʚ♡ɞ#3320 Please add me so we can chat and share stuff 💜

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Hey sorry for late reply :D I added you on discord. We have been crazy busy, but at least there is more to show ^-^
Also posts on English are definitely easier to read, thank you :D

I'm probably due for a cleanout as well at some stage in the not too distant future...though knowing me I will probably put it off until something triggers it (sometimes just the right mood, or sometimes a very major event like moving house XD), because I tend to use whatever time I have either here or trying not to have to repeat work XD Good luck with the rest of the tidying!

The dragons are so adorable, I love the little axlotl ears! Good colour choice (and totally not because I'm completely biased and love blues and purples really >_>) and nice touch with the blue spots/scales/whatever they are :)

Hehe love the Aries dragon too, it looks so cute and slightly puzzled XD

goatsig

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Hihi, made me smile ^-^
I understand, I postponed soo many things it was inevitable :) At least the weather is perfect now, not too cold or hot. And more sun=more energy :D
I'm totally the confused Aries haha, it sorta fits too.
Blues and purples are my fav too, I have to watch out to not make too many zodiacs blue as pieces and aquarius are probs blue too xD
Which zodiac are you? ^^

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Depends on which birthday I use ;D

goatsig

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Both? xD

Love it :)

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Thank you for the support!

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Thank you too! Dragooons! :)

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Always <3

Aww I love this one :D and you made it blue like my fav color :D!!! this is the best

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Glad you like it!! :D

First time reading about this "Art block" term you bring on this post, but I think I can somehow relate to. My experience is, usually having good and varied ideas but not being able to convey them on the pixelcanvas, then i forget about the "avoid the perfect mindset" principle about art, and instantly get frustrated then I scratch the work or I leave it unfinished, all because it just "doesn't look good", then I just dont do anything. Thats my "block".
Just remembering that principle keeps me on track.
EDIT: Pretty artwork btw.

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Well, I recommend writing down your ideas :)
This way when you learn everything, you can always try a good idea again and not lose it. Also avoid deleting works, even if bad as it can come in handy some other time ^^ I've done cool paintovers over my bad sketches.

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Hey that's a good idea, I always try to start a quick sketch of what ever comes to my mind, but to write 'em on paper and coming back to them later, that will leave a big list of ideas/material to work around. Creativity is too precious to leave it just forgotten.

Beautiful! Nice to see the process! I love that you're so focused on one creature - and you really master your dragons - or are they mastering you ;)

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Thank you :D haha
Drawing one subject in many different ways takes away some of the design pressure. This makes learning more fun and easier while drawing from imagination ^^

Adorable astro signs! I always fight with messy and try to organize my chaos at least once a week. Maybe as artists we get tunnel vision on our art and then things around us get in dissaray, but I have learned that the romantic idea of the artist in a messy pile is fine for film but in practice, makes things harder, so I live with my mess for a few days then do a good sort/toss/file and move on, otherwise, I can't stay focused on my art, if that makes any sense?

And I am of the 'just start drawing/doodling' school for art block. I made a daily art habit a few years back and because of that I notice very little art block now, I think when we train our patterns of life to a thing, like i have to draw something each day, it becomes more second nature.

Good luck and I love your little guys. :) (I found you on Steemsugars by the way, I need to spend more time on there)

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Thank you for sharing! Yeah the drawing daily habit is extremely useful and I check out your school :D
I can draw for fun anytime now, but my work suffers the most as it has to be of a certain quality and have to learn new things all the time.
The mess problem certainly starts with being too focused on something else haha, but sometimes/often it gets out of hand. I do agree that the romantized version of artists room is one of the problems. As we develop our habits young and we do what we see :)
Now the challenge is to keepthings clean and to see the effect :D

We've never met you, yet I am so proud of you!

This post struck a nerve with me because I also had a realization about the negative power of clutter. My family is quite familiar with hoarding, and I have witnessed firsthand the damaging effects of clutter. You were making no exaggeration when you said it makes you feel stuck and uninspired. Perhaps, in its own way, my fondness of "neat and tidy" is a form of rebellion against my kin.

Thank you for taking some time to share a more personal side of yourself, this was another great @kristyglas post! ☺ Take care ☺

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Thank you and for all support!
As weird as it may sounds, I've seen opposite true as well. Obsession with cleaning that frustrates everyone involved :S
It's like a weird cycle, as one of my gramps was a hoarder, so mom's opposite.
Instead of continuing the instinctive cycle I'm trying to finding balance and not buying too much in the first place, as cleaning takes time and a lot of energy :D
Take care as well! ^^

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Oh Im a messy person too. Hahaha, they say artists are messy because it increases creativity. No harm in doing spring cleaning once in a while.

For me I just wait it out until I get inspired again. My mental health post actually started out as me talking about it but I decided to write about it generally instead.

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The problem is if waiting takes too long :) Don't want to lose work afterall. So alternative to waiting is my first choice.

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Yeah except if it's for work. 😂