Staying inspired whilst being creative

Hello everyone! This is a quick message for all creative types, worried about maintaining their inspiration and workflow. It can be difficult to be an artist, particularly if you’re creating artwork at home without a regular audience or getting frequent feedback. Creative blocks and a lack of self confidence can easily creep up on even the best and most successful artists and designers.

Fortunately there are some easy things you can do to stay inspired and keep going with your creative flow. This is by no means a comprehensive list; more a few ideas put together to keep myself motivated, as much as to try to help other artists! Alas I too suffer from creative crises more frequently than I would like to admit!…. So read on!

Read self help content by other artists & creatives

It is easy to get discouraged when you feel like the only person doing what you are doing! Being an artist can be a lonely profession carried out at home or in a secluded studio! Remember: there are millions of other artists coming up against the same issues – many of whom have excellent advice for when the creative inspiration stops flowing. I particularly love the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield – for the artist who is feeling down in the dumps or having a crisis of creativity. Strong words and fantastic advice. Or find an inspiring blog post: another person I love is Seth Godin, a marketing expert, who has an excellent blog and many books dedicated to helping people express their creative visions.

Reading a book or a few articles can often be enough to get the creative spark reignited and remind you that there are many methods of tapping into your creative flow state.

Start small without any expectation

Often we are overwhelmed by a sheet of blank paper, or a new Illustrator document! So, start small. Give yourself the aim of spending just 1-2 minutes creating something. The tiniest increment is a great start. And take the pressure off – just draw for the sake of drawing, for example. Choose anything small to get started on. You could even start on a tiny piece of paper if it helps! Or the back of a cereal box! Then take a break. Come back half an hour later and you will likely find you want to press ahead!

Change up your medium

Look to try a new medium that inspires you. For example, if you are normally a pen and ink person, try making a collage! Or if you’re a digital artist, who is feeling stuck, maybe try lino printing. Often trying a new material is inspiring enough to help us to take a different angle on creativity and get the juices flowing. You don’t have to stick with the new medium forever – just give it a go and enjoy the freedom trying a new type of material and style brings.

Buy yourself a beautiful new pen

Sometimes getting yourself a new pencil, pen or paintbrush or colour of paint is enough to inspire a creative rush. The excitement of using a brand new sketchbook can get us juiced up and ready to be super creative!

Watch a youtube video or listen to an artistic podcast

This is similar to the first point above, but there is something to be said for watching a video and/or hearing a real human talking about their experiences of the creative process. Especially if that person is a successful artist or designer. Their enthusiasm for their craft can be infectious, and to recognise that they too face similar artistic challenges can be a real help to any struggling designer. I try to watch a couple of videos each week – in fact I schedule it into my calendar as a “must do”. You can listen as you create. Often this alone is enough to get me started when I am feeling at a hiatus.

Keep it up – and don’t worry if the work sucks

Keep up your small efforts and the incremental habits will build. Those 1 – 2 minute drawings a couple of times a day will soon blossom into a beautiful series of work. Also – remember – to get to the good stuff you have to go through the motions of creating the rubbish too! Practice makes perfect and every artist makes bad work sometimes – particularly at the start of a project or if they are out of practice. Getting the less great stuff out of your head will mean your subconscious brain will be working at how to improve it – when you come back later you may find that you have solved a creative problem or found a way to make a step towards the artistic masterpiece. It is a creative PROCESS!

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