10 ways to overcome artist’s block and get your mind back to creative spot. It’s very common, but devastating moment for an artist to feel they’ve lost their inspiration, to encounter a creative block. But suffering from artist’s block doesn’t mean you’ve lost your imagination or ability to execute cool stuff. Good news is, over years of working in professional concept art environment I found that there are many ways that you can beat it permanently. 🙂

There are 10 simple ways that I usually do to beat artist’s block and kill the beast once and for all.
1) If you cannot think of what to draw or paint, try study or copy from master artists. This is a good opportunity for you to challenge yourself and you will discover new things along the way copying the work of artists you like and admire such as John Singer Sargent, Frank Frezetta, or any great artists. There is no shame, all the great artist study or copy the master artists before them, it’s true! 🙂

2) Life drawing session, just go draw from live models or go outside and do some landscape sketch, composition, study trees, leaves, building, people. Just draw!
This one is easy. But I often choose life drawing session because there are people there and it motivate you to draw faster and more. (thanks Luca for reminding me) 🙂

3) Change mediums. If you draw with tablet, start random doodling with pencil in the sketchbook. If you use pencil, try markers, charcoals, brushes, ect. Explore with new materials and use new tools. You can just doodle random shapes to get your frustration out, it doesn’t need to make sense. Though you might find some cool shapes randomly that will give you idea to develop further.

how to over come artist's block

how to over come artist's block

4) Go for a run! That what usually works for me, get sweat and you will be rejuvenate. Believe it or not, your brain will function so fresh after a good long (at least 20 minute) sweat. If you don’t run, get into the habit! It’s good for your health and cheap. Or you can punch the bag or any exercise you might prefer…as long as you get sweat you will get the same result. Slow walk does not count!

5) Find new inspiration pieces, I do this a lot. Internet is a HUGE collection of information. I usually visit darkroastedblend.com, englishrussia.com, or cghub and look for something cool. Or to avoid the computer, go visit to a local gallery or museum often helps. Or go through art books and magazines. Take the pressure off of yourself and just enjoy other artists’ work.

6) Take a new direction with your approach. If you usually start using lines, try start using shapes. If your approach is realism, try cubism. If you start with monochrome, try using color right away. Anything that get you away from your habit or comfort zone.

7) Do anatomy study, landscape study, just anything to keep you drawing and painting. You can also study something you don’t usually pay attention to. Make it a mission of studying just hands for a few days or feet or hair, ect. It’s always good to do some review and study.

8) Read cool stuff that will stimulate your visual cortex. I usually go read Greek mythology, Hindu’s god, goddess and deities, Chinese mythology and ancient tales like “Journey to the West” or any contemporary science-fiction like Cthulhu, Dune, any zombie story. Then make your own vision of whatever that might be creatures, demons, etc. Watch some visually kickass movies also works.

9) Re-design old cartoons, comics, Manga, or Anime, movies you like. Look at them again, read, browse, then recreate them as your own vision. It’s all for the good fun and it can be long and challenging. Kinda similar to #7

10) Sleep, maybe you should get a good sleep possibly. You might be working too hard and your brain don’t function anymore. So give it a break. 🙂

If these 10 tips do not help, it is possibly that you are burnt out. so…you could do #11

11) There are times that the pros called it, “burn out”! If that is the case, it’s not your creativity. It’s your fire that is slowly going out of flame. It’s time to take a break from art totally for at least 3-7 days. Go do something else. If art is your profession, you will have to find a hobby, for real. If not, then it’s easier for you. If you are an art student, well this one doesn’t apply to you because you have not earn this batch yet. Don’t even draw, browse art forum or do anything that relate to what you do everyday art wise. You will come back with all the new idea and possibly OVERLOADED that you cannot wait to get it out of your head.

Hope this information are helpful 🙂
Art is coming soon. Cheers!!!

PS: if you have any tips that you do to help get a rid of artist’s block, feel free to share on the comment. Thank you guys.

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10 ways to overcome artist’s block

| Tips and techniques | 20 Comments
About The Author
- Xia Taptara (黃曉聲 Huang XiaoShēng), currently a freelance concept artist for games and films, formerly a character concept artist for ArenaNet/NCsoft (GuildWars & Guildwars 2). I also work on various projects for Game of Thrones, Square-Enix, Paizo Publishing, Fantasy Fight Games, Disney Interactive, and many publishers & clients. I use Wacom Tablet Intuos and Photoshop CS2,3,4,5 to do most of my professional art work. I use pencil, pen, and traditional medium in my free time. I founded IdrawGirls.com (TheArtClasses.com) in 2007 to motivate myself to create more and better art. Also I get to draw and paint whatever the hell I want to. Hopefully I can inspired some young soul and old soul alike. *QUESTIONS & COMMENT: PLEASE POST THEM ON THE BLOG. Business Inquiry please e-mail me.


  • Jokayo

    I like this article but I do have another side about that “block” you were talking about ,what you said is absolutely helpful , but it mostly applies on people who doesn’t have problems on their level , you addressed people who have problems with the concept part and how to get their ideas organize and so on , but for me is a different thing sometimes I draw something I like , but when I see others work like yours for example I feel that my level is so ! so low , it’s a really bad feeling . for me I stop for about a week or so , and the biggest problem when I see another great work I feel that I should do something , and so forth , like an empty circle , it’s like that the drawing art is throwing and bringing me back like a toy,
    I guess you might had this kind of problems and I would be pleased to hear your opinions about it and thanks again Xia

  • Xia Taptara

    Rome was not build in just one day. If you want to achieve something great, you will have to earn it. Practice, practice and practice. You cannot stop.

  • Pingback: 5 steps to improve your drawing skill fast | art lesson online

  • Christopher Phoenix

    Thanks, Xia!! 🙂 I’m going to follow the “draw from life” tip, I’ve been studying more from references (as I don’t have access to a model), but I’ve reached a point that a feel that I need to draw life in order to progress. There is so much cool stuff around us that a lot of people don’t really bother to look at, like trees and interesting landscapes and leaves and even cool bugs…

  • Thomas

    Thank you so much– I have come to your website again and again since i found it looking for some inspiration on the internet. Your tutorials and pages like this have inspired me and given life to my drawings and paintings beyond belief. Your help has pushed me to be a greater art student than I ever thought I could be– I can’t thank you enough…

  • HyperModexMonsta

    Thank you for this. I been drawing for a long time, but i stopped because i didn’t win contest. When I think of it now, I am very stupid for stopping what i love just because of a contest. I am deciding to go back to drawing and possibly pursue a career out of it, but I didn’t know where to start, until i read this. This should help to get back my artistic drive rolling.

  • Xia Taptara

    Yeah, it is not about the contest or anything else. It’s about the joy and whatever comes after is all benefit from doing it. Wanting to draw and paint is priority first, not the other way around.

  • CSP Art

    I made this… I don’t know what to do!! i am thinking of making an eye but i dont know !!!please i need some more tips

  • Mahima

    I am a young kid, I love drawing but u have noooo idea what to draw.. ( I don’t like reading long thing unless it is harry potter )

  • Kateřina Šedová

    I had different “block”. (comment: Painting is not my work, but hobby) I simply had no need to put my ideas on paper. I was satisfied with only imagination. (Why I should toil with it, when I have it in my head in second and better? What use have painting? I have such a problem with almost everything 🙁 ). Firstly, I painted games, than I have started painting challenges. For example: I can have problems to paint details of disturbed water and skin textures and I am not sure If i can resolve different materials well enough. Than, lets start to paint old hag splashing in water with various oddments around in great detail … . Just to prove myself I can make it. I am in the middle of second “hard” painting and nicely consumed by it, now. 🙂

  • Xia Taptara

    What use have painting, you say? To some of us, like me, it is a profession. It is not necessity to most, but luxury and inspiration. Sometime they could even tell a story of a fallen empire and how glorify it used to be. 🙂

  • Seth

    I do not know if this is of any help, but when I suffer artist block of the worst kind, I create the best possible impulses for all my senses.

    I find reference material on Internet, find music that fits the mood of what image or sculpture I wish to create. If it’s about a certain culture, I find music which fits, even eat and drink stuff which contributes to that.

    If the block is really bad, just spending a day searching the music or images or recipes for food and drink can be of great help on its own! Get into it.

    If it’s not a cultural image, let mood music help. For combat and such, get into the more aggressive songs of the music genres you enjoy (rock, rap, dubstep, skrillex)… For fantasy, look up ambient or new age music or soundtracks which fall in place with the mood your work needs.

    Music is your friend, and helped me many, many times!

  • Xia Taptara

    Good tips. Thanks a lot. But you know really, there is no such things as artist block. Most of the time I just realize that I was being lazy or if I work too hard for too long and got burn out. Most of the time, it is just your body telling you that you need to change something in the routines. 🙂

  • Fantasy_Wolves

    This was helpful but my problem is a little more complex. I have a passion for writing and drawing so when I get artists block I also get writers block, but thats not really the complex part. Probably one of the biggest reason I get artists block is an emotional issue because my only true friend goes to a different school so now I’m alone, and all my thoughts and feelings are trapped inside my head because I don’t feel like I can talk to anyone about how I feel, and I will have random days of depression from that and thats one way i get block. But also I will show my ‘friends’/ acquaintances what i draw and they just nodd there heads and start saying “what’s her/his name can draw so well” and it really just adds on to the emotional stress because they are comparing me to other people. I’m not sure how to get rid of my block because I have tried everything I can think of, but thanks for your time.


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