Being an artist is like being a child: the world around you triggers us to want and need to create. It is a beautiful thing - most of the time.
What happens when you suddenly, for no apparent reason, stop being inspired? You have hit a creative wall and can't seem to muster the energy to find your way around, over or through the wall. When that happens, one can feel very frustrated. Creative block can be quite debilitating.
Here are a few tips I have learnt to reignite my passion that I would love to share with you:
1) Don't beat yourself up. It happens and it happens to us all at some point in our lives. Be kind to yourself - it will come back. There are things you can do, as the master / mistress of your destiny, to bring it back.
2) Distract yourself. Overthinking and worrying is not going to help you. Find something else to do with your time, a visit to see some friends, going for a walk, doing some exercise, yoga... anything that breaks the pattern of non-inspiration.
3) Treat yourself to a "no pressure" day. We often feel like we must be doing, doing, doing and we really don't have to. Take a day off and only do things that make you tick. Special, "you-flavoured" things. Relax and remember "no pressure".
To me, this also means taking the pressure off myself to feel like every drawing I do must become something amazing. Stay conscious of any thought patterns you may have that are similar to this. They are our inner critic and hinder the freedom of being creative. If you find your mind wandering in this direction while you are drawing, don't be frustrated: just encapsulate the thought in a bubble and gently blow it away and carry on drawing.
4) Draw. Carry on drawing! Always, always, always. Even if you are stuck for inspiration. Draw something, anything. I find that if I am feeling uninspired, drawing a still life, patterns in nature or an animal I love keeps me on track. Even if just a little bit. Keep a sketchbook with you wherever you go. You never know when you'll be struck with an urge to get your pens out. Your sketch book is yours and not for anyone else to see. Even though you are feeling uninspired, keep drawing, every day if you must. These drawings will later serve as inspiration for future projects and will help you to gather your thoughts.
5) Spend time connecting with children / animals and nature. This is of huge importance. Children, animals and nature have a massive impact on our happiness levels. Spending time with children and animals reminds me of my own inner child and teaches me to reset, refresh and see the world through excited eyes again.
Likewise, being in nature has such an amazing influence on my piece of mind. I am fortunate to see the ocean from my studio window and I live on a mountain, so nature is accessible for me. I adore being underneath a canopy of leaves and branches - the sun shining through translucent green and yellow leaves is quite possibly a favourite thing. So, go connect with nature, be present there and let the good vibes flow in to you... Maaaan.
6) Write a bucket list. This is similar to writing a journal. Make sure you date it and keep hold of it to look back on. It is very much a cathartic experience. In a years time you will see that you have likely ticked-off a lot of your list and you would have developed and grown from your journal entry. It's always good to write our ideas down - perhaps even a blog is something that will help you. If you haven't started one, perhaps now is your time to begin. Do let me know if you do. I love reading other people's blog entries.
7) Go on creative dates with yourself. Giving yourself the love and attention you give your loved ones. Whatever it is that inspires your creative energy, do it. I personally love going to galleries and exhibitions and meeting up with other illustrators. Taking the time to refuel on things you love, will only help to serve you in the best possible way. Source out any events happening in your local area and go be involved. Network with other creative people in your industry and talk about what you love doing.
8) Eat healthily. Ever heard the saying, "You are what you eat"? Well it is totally and utterly true - and though it may seem easier to just eat the peanut butter from the spoon, (speaking from experience here! Don't act like you haven't done it), a healthy meal or snack is going to really fuel you for the day. Take your time to enjoy your healthy food and focus entirely on eating it. None of this snacking by the computer or at your studio desk! Take the time to keep yourself healthy. It honestly helps.
9) Finish off any projects you have left behind. Much like a cluttered space can cause us some mental unease. It is the same with our head space. If you have any unfinished projects, throw yourself at them full pelt. If that doesn't inspire you, follow the next step before approaching...
10) Shake it up. Sometimes we can get ourselves into a bit of a rut where we stick to a certain style or method because we are good at it. It is amazing that we have mastered a skill, but that can sometimes be what makes use cease to be inspired. Shake it up and experiment! You're a creative after all. It's what you do best. Grab the paints you've left redundant, the charcoal, the ink, the scissors and glue and play. There is no need to be creating anything as a final masterpiece - just enjoy the process and...
11) Have fun! Throwing an extra point in there just because... well, why not. It is probably one of the most important messages to take from this post, so it deserves its own point. Life is too short to be taken seriously - so enjoy it. Enjoy every part of it. We aren't here forever and as soon as we realise that, our illustrations and art work will become more enjoyable for us and for those viewing them. The genuine loving-life factor will ooze out of every pixel and line and radiate joy and inspiration full circle.
What methods do you have to keep inspired? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.