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How many times has this happened to you?
You're suddenly struck with an urge to draw or write, but when you sit down, nothing happens? Or you might be scrolling through dA and looking at all these amazing pieces and wanting so badly to do something of your own, but you just can't bring yourself to  begin? You're not alone. 

Every creator ever has gone or will go through periods of art or writer's block. It's just something that happens. For this reason the most important thing, before you do anything else, is to remember that it doesn't mean you're a bad creator.  You're not unskilled, you're not getting worse, and it certainly doesn't mean you're never going to be able to draw or write again. Having block does not invalidate you as a creator :) (Smile) In fact at this point, it's almost a rite of passage! But don't ever think that having block means you're bad at what you do.

So. You're blocked. You're probably feeling pretty terrible, quite possibly about your work. One of the things most likely to cause art block for me is being too critical of my art. I start feeling like I should be making faster progress, like everything I do is fatally flawed, like my skill hasn't got better and is never going to go anywhere. These are probably pretty familiar thoughts, right? But I can tell you right now, they're not true, and probably one of the best ways of proving this to yourself is to look back on your old art.
If you hear this and immediately don't want to because you think your old art is terrible, then congratulations - you've just proven that your art has gotten better.
You have made progress, you are getting better, and you shouldn't be afraid :) If you didn't think this, or you need further reinforcement, then don't worry - it's time to look back at your old work. Anything from a few months to several years, you'll likely be able to see the difference just comparing them side by side. Your newer stuff probably just overall looks or reads better! Then look closer - notice improvements in specifics like colouring, lighting, composition, anatomy, linework, texturing. 
The same goes for writing, but instead look at sentence structure, paragraph flow, imagery, word choice.
You are you, and nobody else, and the only art you can compare yours to is your old art - not something that anyone else has drawn. Your work has come a very long way, and it'll continue to go further if just you keep at it - so there's no time to give up!

Something else that might help to figure out exactly what might be bugging you about your art. I can tell you right now, no matter where you might be in your journey, your work is worth it.
Being able to pinpoint exactly what makes you feel uncomfortable about your work can really help in feeling a sense of purpose - lacking direction can definitely cause art block. It'll be stuff like I mentioned up above - colouring, lighting, composition, anatomy, etc. Last time I had a major problem with my art, I realised it was because I was using colours incorrectly. I was able to work towards amending that issue and it really helped me become more comfortable with where my art is going. 
If you can't see it yourself, you can always ask someone else! Sometimes all you need is a fresh pair of eyes! (NOTE: I'm happy to lend one of these, if you need it! I'm no expert but I'm always happy to give my opinion to those who ask :) )
Knowing exactly what you'd like to improve can really help your confidence in your art as well as your motivation to keep pushing and achieve your goals! Because believe me, you can achieve them!
Pretty much any level of skill in art is attainable if you're willing to work for it. Every great creator - every single one - started off where you are now, and probably had the exact same fears, doubts and dreams that you have. And you can bet they went through art or writer's block, just like you, and probably did it many, many times before they got to where they are today.

So just look at block like another feather in your cap. Just one more step towards where you want to be. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and this block won't be the death of you either.


So, now you know why you should push through your art block, how exactly do you find ways to beat it? I've got you covered in the second part of this series - What To Draw When You Can't Draw Anything

Created at simplydevio.us
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:iconravuswolf:
ravusWolf Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2018  Hobbyist
the motivation I needed 
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:iconmenendez93:
Menendez93 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2018  Student Digital Artist
nice
motivation found¡¡
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Glad to hear it! :D
Reply
:iconliswyn:
Liswyn Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really helpful!! Thanks a lot!!

Some time later I'll take some time to peek in your gallery, can't do so right now because I'm at work, heh

You seem to be an amazing artist and a kind human being, I'm happy that this kind of people still exist around DeviantART! :D
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah I'm really glad it helped! ^^
And thank you so much, hope you like it :D
Aaaa you're too kind! Thank you again :)
Reply
:iconkingofwarlocks:
KingOfWarlocks Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a truth like a cow, as one of my local sayings goes. (i live in the Netherlands, so you've probably never heard of it),
I've experienced this myself a few times, and still have it with a bunch of unfinished characters and stories. Sometimes when i don't have homework, i want to continue on one of those works but often i can't manage to get something on paper, which isn't great for my motivation. But these bits of wisdom turn that around, and i'm sure that it can reinvigorate other artists as well. 

I will gladly keep this around in my favorites and look back at it whenever it is needed, and share it with those that are mentally blocked like that as well.
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haha nope can't say I have heard of that one, but I like it :D
I'm really glad you find that this helps, thank you so much! :)
Reply
:iconkingofwarlocks:
KingOfWarlocks Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
glad to hear it!
no problem! you are very welcome :)
Reply
:iconlaurapuppy:
Laurapuppy Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, just what I needed. Great words. Will try with both, writing and drawing. Thank you!!
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah I'm really glad to hear it! Thanks so much, and you're very welcome! 
Reply
:iconmmkaay:
Mmkaay Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Interesting fact---the Greeks believed that lack of creativity and the inability to create was the cause of muses leaving the artist. Meaning, it was not the artist's fault they could not create. The godesses flowed and went as they pleased.

Real great journals here thankyou.
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah that is really interesting! And thank you, it's my pleasure ^^ 
Reply
:icondzulkifli27:
Dzulkifli27 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017
Hey Aris, kinda of having a heavy block right now and being pretty withdrawn from everything, so when you post this journal, it kinda like a fresh air to me. It's kinda hard when you're doing some paintings halfway and then suddenly the inspirations is gone and you can't progress on it, even though it's almost finish. Even trying to do some simple sketches/doodles turns out to be just like some incomprehensible scribbles and mess.
I think the problem I'm facing is probably quite the opposite; thinking that the past work is better and it's a baggage I need to discard. For me personally, the direction of the art itself is important and probably I've to look within to find my direction again. However I still holding up my pen and keep o putting ink on the blank paper. Seriously all artist will learn to respect the blank paper at one point in their journey:)

I've just found a good video here, perhaps it'll help too, it does give me some food for thoughts:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lTcgS…

Thanks Aris for putting this up, hopefully I won't feel like I'm helplessly drowning and could finally raise my head again.
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah I'm sorry to hear that! I really hope you get past that soon. And yeah, that can be a big issue too, thinking your art has gone downhill. It most likely hasn't though, you're just looking at it with newer, more experienced eyes! :) It's awesome that you're sticking with it though, don't give up! :hug:
Ah unfortunately my internet is too slow to watch videos XD But I'm sure it's really great and I'll check it out when I can! 
You're most welcome, I hope so too! 
Reply
:icondzulkifli27:
Dzulkifli27 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017
Looking at it with a newer, more experience eye? Never really thought about it that way. 
Yeah you're right, it's just like walking on a muddy field right now, but eventually you'll get out of it so long as you don't stop.

It's ok Aris, here is another good one, but yeah you could look at it later with a better internet. There were other good video there too so you could watch them:)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTkN8B…
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haha yes you're right! ^^ Don't stop!
Ah thank you, I'll be sure to check them out once I can!
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:iconjessiroseart:
JessiRoseArt Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
this is so well written~ I've had block many times before for weeks/months. But now I'm finding that doing at least something even a tiny doodle does help kinda make it go away and, personally, keeps me in "art mode." Like, if I don't draw for one day, it becomes two, and two becomes 4 days, and then weeks, then months and so on. 
and, i do the same thing -- i'm way critical about my art.
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh thank you so much ^^ 
And yes definitely! Just small doodles can really go a long way, especially when yeah, you feel like you might stop for too long ^^ And yeah haha that sounds pretty familiar XD But we can't let being critical stop us! CURSE YOU! 
Reply
:iconjessiroseart:
JessiRoseArt Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
yes exactly! La la la la  no matter how critical we get we need to keep going~
and If I REALLY don't want to draw I will color a previous sketch or doodle! It's still doing something, and sometimes less tedious/harder to be critical towards. and playing with color is so much fun
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes! :la:
And that's a really good idea! ^^ 
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:iconneoimperia:
NeoImperia Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I go through weeks or months without finding something to draw quite often. Last year (in my recap) I had a gap month where I hadn't posted anything, but this year was better. Sometimes I simply accept it, it happens. Otherwise I try to get new small ideas from songs, poetry, movies, w/e and draw little doodles. I also do worldbuilding where I have to type a lot instead of drawing, so when one doesn't work I switch to the other. ^^ 
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm glad this year has been better! Maybe next year will be even better! :D
Yesss songs and movies and stuff are awesome places for inspiration! And YES that sounds so familiar :'D I also write and draw but I can only seem to do one or the other at one time, but it's great to have a backup like that :D 
Reply
:iconelphyda:
Elphyda Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hhhhhhhhhhhh, this hit my issue right on the nose and I didn't even know it until now ><
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It seems to be a common thing! I'm glad I could help :)
Reply
:iconnekob00:
NekoB00 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
For me, especially lately, I've both been behind a BIG block and honestly a little afraid to step out of my comfort zone. I had gone back to my roots and dove headfirst back into traditional art where I was familiar but then I started to kind of feel stagnant. I am no professional, and I make PLENTY of mistakes with traditional but it wasn't really challenging me to improve either. Every time I tried to draw digitally though, I found myself either staring at a blank canvas, or way too critical of whatever came out. One of my major problems with digital is that it isn't what I'm used to. I have trouble figuring out how to get the same effects with digital paints and brushes that I could get with colored pencils, for instance. All of that kind of made me stop doing *anything* for several months. This journal has helped a lot though. I found an old picture that I had been playing with that I had sketched (and started to color) traditionally and I put it into SAI. I know what kind of style I *want* to develop and where I want to improve. Now I just need to figure out how to do it.

I'm still intimidated. I feel like I'm back at the beginning, learning the basics and the rules again and it is a bit daunting, and maybe a little discouraging. I needed that kick in the tail to remind me that if I let it get to me, if I let things like this hang over my head, I can never improve. Thank you for that. 
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm sorry to hear you've been having so much trouble! And yeah it can be super hard to make that transition between digital and traditional, especially if you want that painterly look in digital work. Textured brushes are pretty good for that kind of thing ^^ 
It can be pretty hard to figure out to how to improve specifically. Do you have any artists that have similar styles to what you want? It can be great to look for tutorials, step by steps or even speedpaints online! That's how I learned, mostly :) But a large part of it is just knowing that every stroke is teaching you something, even if you don't think it is :) And a lot of digital painting is just experimentation, and trial and error! But that's the advantage of digital ;) I'm working on a painting right now that looked totally awful until I put a coloured overlay layer over the top XD There's always hope for a painting!

You can do this! Don't give up, you'll make it to where you want to go :hug: 
Reply
:iconnekob00:
NekoB00 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I've tried a couple of texture brushes but not many yet xD I... honestly don't have a good reason why lol.
I do follow a few artists that have styles similar to what I want to learn how to do. I watched a speedpaint by one of them a few days ago that kind of clued me in to a few tricks I could try (greyscale and select brush or the line tool in GIMP). I've been playing with that since yesterday. I think part of my issue is that there are a few different styles I want to try and nail down though and I'm not sure if the one I'm trying first (realistic) is the way to go.
I know one of my problems with my current stuff is waaaaaaaaay too much blending courtesy of a few kind critiques I had when I had DAPro. I'm not sure the best way to avoid that though... maybe more reference pics will help :S
I think maybe another problem is being afraid to trash hours of work and start again too. >o< I'm definitely gonna keep trying though. The only way I can move is forward Hug
Thank you a bunch for the encouragement and for the tips. I'm definitely gonna do my absolute best \o/
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haha fair enough! They can be tough to get used to. 
And aa that's a good start! I hope their speedpaints help. 
And oh gosh I know how that feels XD I thought I'd ease into one or the other of my styles but I'm still constantly switching between them. But that's okay XD 
I think realism is probably a good place to start though, because it'll give you a good feel for the basics. In my eyes, realism is to art is kind of like what ballet is to dance - it gives you the fundamentals, and gives you a leg up. Not saying you can't be good if you don't know realism, that's not true at all, but I think it helps :)
And yeah, I think references will definitely help there, give you a feel for how much is enough :) And practice will help too of course! XD

Well honestly, those hours of work weren't for nothing, because they'll more than likely feed helpfully into your new work :) Probably in little ways you won't notice, but it'll be there making things easier :D And yes, definitely, never give up! You got this :hug:

It's my pleasure! I really hope it works out! :D
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:iconnekob00:
NekoB00 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I think you're right, both about realism and references both... and practice too of course. ^^ I've been working a lot today on all of it. I found some nice reference pictures but most of all I've been reminding myself that it's ok to start over if I need to. I have been making grievous use of layers too though xD
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad it's been working out today! And oh gosh haha I know ALL about having too many layers XD My current WIP, a simple portrait maybe 3/4 done, is currently at 243 layers XD 
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:iconnekob00:
NekoB00 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
O-O holy crap! That... is a lot of layers xD. I'm glad I'm not the only one that does that though. I've heard a lot of people say they keep their art on like... 2 or 3 layers and I'm sitting here like "HOW?!" lmao.
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep I've always had FAR too many layers XD My full drawings get up over 600 XD 
Yeah I have no idea how people do that XD Sorcery!
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:iconlunarestrella:
LunarEstrella Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Can I just say I LOVE these journals???? I mean really its awesome because they cover definite issues that I have with my own art and writing at times and these are just really inspirational :)
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aaaa I'm really glad you do! :la: I'm honestly so pleased that they inspire you ^^ Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconlunarestrella:
LunarEstrella Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:squee: :la: You are sooooo welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D and they really do!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to have more drawing time again!
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aaaaaa!!! :D :D :D
Reply
:iconnerissy:
Nerissy Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
in my case i have these amazing ideas to draw and i know i can pull it off easily, because i made harder things before
but when i go do it, it looks like shit ç-ç
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It probably doesn't look as bad as you think :) But either way just because something seems easy, doesn't mean it will be XD I scrap a tonne of simple portrait sketches because they don't turn out, even though I've done stuff way harder. It's pretty normal, but don't let it get you down :hug: 
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:iconnerissy:
Nerissy Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yeah, whenever this happens i just dont feel like drawing anymore for some time
but thanks Heart 
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's understandable :) But there's always next time! ^^ You're welcome <3
Reply
:iconanimegeekdraws:
AnimeGeekDraws Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Same
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:hug:
Reply
:iconanimegeekdraws:
AnimeGeekDraws Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aww
Reply
:iconmycreed9004:
mycreed9004 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Well said! Finished a couple bigger projects recently...low motivation to start something new. I've tried and it looks like a toddler drew it, and not like a super talented toddler, like one the parents say "oh that's nice" to a lot.

So for the time being I've switched to photography...at least until my drawing display comes in. Thank you for the affirmation that I'm not alone in this feeling.
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks very much! And ah yeah, I think that's pretty common! Sometimes it's best to take a break and refresh, and come back to it readier than ever :D
But yes, you're definitely not alone, and I hope photography goes well for you! 
Reply
:iconverdenpark:
verdenpark Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2017
This has been most helpful. I am having trouble with writing at the moment. I know what has to be written, but it is just not flowing out the way it should. Very frustrating! I was hoping to get it done by Christmas. I am waiting with bated breath for the next instalment. 
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:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm glad to hear it helped! And ah I know how that feels, it can be super frustrating! I'm hoping to put out the next journal in the next couple of days, I just don't want to flood people ^^ 
Reply
:iconddarknezz:
dDarknezZ Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
It really is very annoying :(
Reply
:iconarasteia:
Arasteia Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It is :(
Reply
:icongemini-iro:
gemini-iro Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you for this. My sis was feeling a bit down, and after a few tears she smiled again. It's a feeling we've both felt, but one she feels more often. It gives her, as it does me , a happiness to see things from that perspective. Again thank you for such insight.
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