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Beating the artistic block and being unproductive

Artistic block and unproductivity is something that I have never really had an issue with until the COVID-19 crisis came along, and I sit here now in my lounge, trying my hardest to create pieces of work that I am happiest with but not having the correct mentality to create a piece of work to the best of my ability. I often end up thinking I could really do with a cup of tea or let’s put on a serial killer documentary and then end up not doing the work in the first place, or I’ll have certain moods where I want to create work but can’t think of what to create.

in order to get me out is created slump and attempt to create work towards my degree, I have taken on the attitude of let’s sit down for five minutes and do something creative/a task - more often than not these five minutes will turn into half an hour or even an hour of a certain task, and even if it doesn’t work out , there has been an extra five minutes of a task that I wouldn’t have done otherwise so I’m five minutes closer to my end goal. This certain “5 minute” mentality works for the most small tasks in day-to-day life as well, whether it be hoovering the lounge or doing the washing up or folding clothes as soon as they’ve left the tumble dryer it works for most tasks throughout your day-to-day life. Once you have done the timed five minutes or longer you will feel 10 times better mentally than when you first started because you feel as if you have had a five minute spell or more of being productive. this is how I tackle my own productivity in my daily life for most small issues I face.


There are many ways to overcome artistic block for example one of them is to finish what you started in the first place you don’t have to create something new every time you want to create art. other ways to overcome it or to explore other creative disciplines as inspiration can come from anywhere look beyond other illustrators or artists, delve into new disciplines such as photography, typography, film, installation, and signage for example - trying something new lead to something bigger and better. This is what I have found throughout my degree I started off being a painter/print maker/drawing based artist, now I am primarily an installation and 3-D artist, all through trying new mediums when I had come to a loss about my work. You could also try and get a fresh perspective on your work for example changing angles or turning your drawing or painting upside down, try layering, try collage then photocopy it and blow it up 10x bigger than before then draw or paint that.

I have found throughout the years that always having a travel sized sketchbook, is also very very helpful for tackling artistic block as inspiration can come at any moment, not just when you’re in a certain artistic space. I often find that a lot of my ideas come in the middle of the night and therefore I make a note of them on my phone or in a sketchbook and then I look back on it on the next day and think “Wow I was really onto something”


Alternatively you can just stop what you’re doing and take a break as artistic burnout is a massive issue that us artists are facing currently, there is a lot going on in the world and we feel the pressure to carry on as normal despite the surroundings around us being the complete opposite of that, don’t be afraid to sleep on your ideas and come back to them at a later date.

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