Creative Slump: Help!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Jake is on the money here. Plan what you are going to do. I'd spend a week or so just gathering reference, getting your supplies together and making sure you are interested in what you are doing.

    What may have happened to you is something I've seen happen to many students. What I'm talking about is "over training". Over training happens when you feel pressure to "keep getting better" and think of it like doing push ups or sit ups. It becomes "work" and has an anxiety to it. There also could be a "I need to keep up with other people" type feeling too which will drain your energy really quick.

    The solution is to not give yourself too much pressure and find something to draw/paint that excites you. Don't worry if it's great or not, just enjoy the process and journey.

    Building your momentum, as Jake said, is a great way to keep it moving along. Remember to have FUN too! : )

    If you get really stuck, a weekly figure drawing session will work wonders. It gives you a definite time where you know you will be drawing and you don't have to think about setting it up or anything. Master copies are also great for keeping the pencil movin'.

    Good luck! : )

  • @amberwingart I completely understand how you feel , and have felt like that many times in fact right now! @Jake-Parker and @Lee-White that is some amazing advice . I too feel the pressure to make sure I draw every day to get better and try keep up with so many other talented artists that I think I am now a bit burnt out ! I think the idea of a personal challenge is great!!! 🙂

  • @Jake-Parker Holy cow, a thousand thank yous! I'd like to make a suggestion: it'd be great if you did a video on this, with all of these points - even if it's just you staring into the camera talking. I had so many bells go off for me as I was reading your comment - it felt like ropes being untied. I'm going to print out your comment so that I can re-read it.

    I have to say that it is SO good to hear you describe things that I thought were exclusive to me, like getting frustrated and wanting to throw in the towel & giving in to self doubt. Just that alone helped a lot. But I think you hit on the thing for me: I need to give myself something consistently to chip away at what's kept my stuck (I know it's self doubt).

    As I was reading, I decided I want to do 31 days of character sketches, because that's one of my two weakest spots, I'm terrified of it and I really really want to get better at it. I'm actually feeling excited now, which I haven't felt in months. Thank you so much, Jake!! Btw, last year I had a little mini-slump (a couple of weeks) and what broke me out of it was doing pieces for the Art Drop! Will you be doing that again this year? That was so fun...

  • @Lee-White Thank you so much! You hit on it for me - I hadn't thought to call it "over training," but it's this immense pressure to keep getting better and to prove myself, all while keeping up with other artists I admire... I'm riddled with self doubt because I think my work stinks and it creates this anxiety in me that makes me want to give up before I pick up my pencil. So the desire to draw is there, just not the desire to actually draw (I know, it makes no sense!).

    I really want to get better at characters, but haven't been practicing them because I'm awful at them, so I decided I'm going to do the 31 day challenge he suggested & I'm going to do a character a day. I'm feeling pretty excited about it right now, so I think I'll plan for tomorrow's character...

    I love the idea of doing master copies & figure drawing - I really want to improve at composition & the master copies have helped a lot (before I stopped drawing). I so appreciate your insight - it made me feel so much better to see you say that there are actually causes to this and it's not just some random thing that happened to me. I feel a little more in control now, after reading your & Jake's comments...So thank you!!

  • @Di07 Do you want to do the challenge together to keep each other motivated to keep going the entire 31 days?

  • @Camomilla Eek! 10 years without drawing would break my heart...Okay, I'm hopping on the 31 day challenge STAT! haha Seriously though, thank you...I agree that I need time and space to do my art also - if I have other burdens then I feel anxious and stuck. And luckily, my amazing husband, who is incredibly supportive, has made it possible for me to do this full time. I'm going to be working on my own skills and also teaching nature drawing to others to supplement our meager income, lol. I'm quitting the job that's kept me feeling stuck this week, so my time will be completely devoted to learning, creating & teaching art - I've been looking forward to this for a year!

  • @Chip-Valecek Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I definitely agree that I need to give myself a little break...I think I put so much pressure on myself to get better and to keep up with other artists that there was just no way that I could live up to all of my expectations. I've also decided to spend more time outside...Since I'm a fairytale artist whose emphasis is on wildlife, I really want to get outside more and draw from life - I think that will help loosen some of those too-tight ropes!

  • @amberwingart I would love that !!! not sure what it would be on, any ideas??

  • @Di07 Awesome! How about a character a day? (Or it could be more than one character interacting)

  • Great to see all the feedback and positivity here. @amberwingart you asked a question that I can relate too. @Jake-Parker spelled it out so well and lit my little fire, too. @Lee-White mentioning the "overtraining" totally clicked with me because I've devoted the last two months for building work for my portfolio, watching SVS videos, scouring the internets for awesome inspiring artwork and while I've been producing more work than I have in a while, I've never felt so awful about it. I think I felt better when I was only imagining the awesome ideas I had in my mind and how they'd look as finished pieces... I think you should definitely do the 31 characters in 31 days. Good luck and happy drawing! 🙂

  • @amberwingart sounds great! I m not very good at this but I guess that's the point : )

  • @Larissa-Brown-Marantz I totally understand how you feel! I feel so much better knowing I am not the only out there feeling that way 🙂

  • @Di07 Yep, that's the purpose! My finished drawings look okay, but my sketches look like a little kid did them (seriously), I'm terrible at clothing, I'm not so great at anatomy and I'm really bad at coming up with characters. So I REALLY need this! I did one the other night, but I didn't do one last night - I wanted to wait to see if you wanted to hop on. So let's go ahead and start tonight, if you want to. Then just start a page specifically for it called "31 day challenge: Jake's prescription for creative slump" so that we can find each other's. I'm so glad someone is doing this with me - it makes me feel more accountable.

  • @amberwingart me too, Yes I definitely want to do this as well, sorry just saw the message have you already created a thread?

    Maybe we should give ourselves couple days to set up and start with a fresh week on Sunday ? What do you think?

    p.s my anatomy is pretty bad too ! 🙂

  • I've come to the conclusion that I just can't draw clothing (especially on animals) and I've gotten myself so frustrated that I'm calling it a night. No sketch tonight. 😞

  • SVS OG

    @amberwingart I hope this is not too far off topic - drawing on the cintiq and now the iPad pro has been so helpful to me - the iPad allows me to use one of the few skill i have (which is patience) to improve my drawings - they would pretty much remain doodles if not for this - using layers is so helpful to me - i flatten as soon as i'm happy but it allows for so much correction and experimentation - i really recommend trying it if it appeals to you a even little bit - on my last two drawings i have used only one brush ( a pencil made by Nikko) so it is super easy really - anyways just wanted to share that - i know you can draw - your drawings are very good!

  • Hey @amberwingart I think I know how you feel, I went through a very long and very painful period of my life where I couldn't draw for myself. I am an animator so I could get away with it. I used to miss drawing, but every time I tried to draw I would get so frustrated because I got to a level where I was comfortable drawing, but since I stopped for so long, it felt like I didn't know how to draw anymore, so I would stop. But after 6 years I got tired of it, I missed drawing too much. I thought a challenge would help me, but since I was embarrassed with my horrible drawing skills, I decided to start with just 10 random words. I decided they would be horrible, that I would use just pen and I wouldn't take more than 15 minutes on each one. Since I was Ok with them being very ugly, the 10 drawings became 30, and then 60 and now I'm at 110. I just had to power through the first part and I think you need to do the same, just give yourself permission to do ugly stuff and not care. Then it'll get better.
    I hope this helps 🙂

  • @Camomilla said in Creative Slump: Help!:

    @amberwingart My longest creative block lasted ten years :p Even though I didn't realize it at the time, this was closely related to me having two children. The constant interruptions, the sleep deprivation, the busy work schedule - all of these things contributed to what became a decade without drawing. I also find that I need some time to actually be bored to get my creativity flowing. I'm also hugely inspired by other peoples art, and need to surround myself with this as well. Art is (at least for me) something that requires a lot of time and space in my life. Luckily, my children are now bigger and less dependent on me, and I can focus more. On anything I like, really. Art is one of those things 🙂

    I could have written EXACTLY that, except that it lasted longer for me since I had 4 children. maternity drained me of any will to make art. it really confused me at times actually, I thought maybe I had enforced that need on me all these years before. but then when I got my time back (some of it anyway), it just came back naturally.

    anyway, right now, what works for me when I feel like you do, is doing something completely different than what I usually draw, drawing from observation especially, because I know that while distracting me it also teaches me about the basics (anatomy, fabrics, lighting/shading...) which all help me in every aspect of my own art. I try to approach this exercise very lightly, as fun, no pressure, just study. it doesn't have to look good. I just loosen up. if you struggle with clothing, this might be the right thing to do for you. what you learn from sketching from life helps you to get better at more abstract or simplified stuff too

  • here, you could start with this one ^_^

  • @audrey-dowling haa haa love it!! might try draw of this one too!! 😃

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