All artists suffer from artists block at some point in their career. It is difficult to remain inspired at all times. As an artist, I suffer form lack of inspiration more often than I care to admit. So, how do we get out of that rut? How do we stay inspired?
We all have our own ways to deal with this. I follow some simple steps to keep myself inspired. Most of these steps may help you too.
1. Get out of your comfort zone
I used to paint abstracts all the time. For almost 3-4 years since I started painting, I only painted abstracts. I’ve had friends ask me if I could paint a landscape or a portrait and I just said, “Meh, not my style”. I’ve even turned down commissions. Finally, one day where I wasn’t feeling inspired, I decided to make a portrait. It took me a lot of time. I struggled with it for a week, but at the end of a week, I had finished it. It was beautiful. And you know what, I had not wasted one week waiting for inspiration and I had learnt something new.
So, try something new. Make a portrait of your favorite personality or make a landscape OR better yet, try some acrylic pour.
2. Follow artists on Instagram
This is one of my latest discoveries. Instagram is an amazing place for artists to showcase their work. You get to see short videos of artists making art. Your eye may catch something new; a new form, a new technique, a new kind of painting. It is a big ocean of inspiration. But I do have to say this. Find inspiration but don’t steal. Don’t just copy another artists painting.
3. Visit art galleries
This is almost the same as following artists on Instagram, the only difference is, you get to see the art -up close. You may even get to meet some artists. Which brings me to my next point…
4. Meet new people/artists
Find out what places artists visit the most. You will get to meet them at art galleries, at cafes close to art galleries, at art events, at art supply stores, etc. Interacting with other creative people will help you find inspiration.
5. Visit the art supply store
Now here, I mean, visit a big art supply store. Mainly because, big art supply stores find ways to introduce new products. Talk to the employers there and ask questions about products if you have any. Often, they will know more than artists. I visited an art supply store which displayed a few paintings at the billing counter which showed the use of products like gel mediums, crackle paint, etc. I was intrigued. This is how you get inspired to maybe try an new product and a new kind of painting.
6. Your camera is your best friend
This is one way I make sure I don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. I always carry my camera when I go out OR have my cell phone on me. Whenever i find something inspiring, I take a picture. I then save them in a folder on my laptop called ‘Reference Photos’ and keep them organised. So whenever I’m lacking inspiration, I go through one of those photos and start painting.
7. Participate in art competitions
Whenever you visit an art supply store or an art gallery, look at the notice boards. You will always find something regarding an art challenge or a competition. Just take part in it. Whether you win the competition or no, it is an opportunity to make a new painting. Competitions come with inspiring themes. You may learn something along the way. You may even win. You never know.
8. Don’t keep your art supplies safely stashed away. Make sure they are easily accessible. That way you will paint when you are inspired and wont waste time with prep.
9. Keep a pocket note book.
Ideas come and go in a flash. You may want to note them down when it is fresh in your head. I always keep a little book and pen in my night drawer because I often find that inspiration strikes when I’m laying in bed trying to go to sleep.
Alternatively you can use an app on your phone to take notes but I dont recommend sleeping with your phone next to you.
The following points are the few things that inspire me. It may or may not apply to you.
10. Watch TV channels that may inspire you
I enjoy painting wildlife. I watch wildlife channels and come across so much inspiration. You will see that in my paintings. Find something that inspires you and think how you can incorporate that into your painting.
11. Watch mythological movies/fantasy fiction
I have always been fascinated by fantasy art. I watch mythological movies that inspire me. I find something new and just paint/ draw something I see. It is fascinating. It is all about imagination. After all, the majority of things you see on screen in such movies are ‘Artist Inspirations’
12. Read an inspiring book
This is to keep you motivated. Often we hit a low and feel like ‘Ugh, it is so hard being an artist’. Read something that inspires you to keep you going. Read entrepreneurial books. Cut out inspirational quotes and put them up on your mood board or around your work space.
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I also have a YouTube channel with art tutorials, hacks, time-lapse videos and much more. Do check it out here. Have a nice day.