How the hell do you manage artist’s block?

That sinking feeling of sitting down and seeing a blank page, then not knowing where to go from there. That arm on the figure that just doesn’t look right and you don’t know how to fix it.

The first step to solving a problem is to define the problem, so let’s cover a few symptoms and causes of artist’s block first.

Symptoms of your sickness

It really boils down to a lack of motivation to create something. People may consider this a cause of the problem, rather than a symptom, but it really isn’t. It’s a symptom of a larger problem.

But that one symptom can manifest in so many different ways:

  • Getting easily distracted.
  • The blank page is too intimidating one morning.
  • Getting frustrated by everything art-related.
  • Feeling sluggish when you sit down to draw or paint.

It boils down to something being in the way of your creativity. A block.

But what’s actually wrong?


Here’s another short list – the cause is you. Whether you’re feeling some fear or resistance or letting other things/people get in your way – it boils down to what you are letting get in your way.

I don’t really care what other people say the cause of artist’s block is, because the cause is just yourself. You can take control of your artistic endeavors and succeed at them if you do the right things.

So what are the “right things” that you need to do?

Prescriptions for your pain

Here are a few ideas to defeat your own worst enemy and get rid of artist’s block forever.

1. Create a routine for your art. Sit down at your drawing table every day like it’s a ritual to your muse. When you practice your technique daily the inspiration and creativity will follow naturally.

I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.
W. Somerset Maugham

2. Put good stuff in your head. Athletes need a good diet to perform at their peak. You need to do the same with information and inspirational material. View great artworks and learn from them.

3. Read a book. Even if you don’t want to draw – start reading. You may read a particularly interesting scene that you want to re-create on a canvas.

4. Watch a movie. As an artist it’s your job to be the set designer, the costume designer, the cameraman and the director. See how the pros do it – pause a scene at its peak and see if you can learn anything from the framing, the lighting or the expressions of the actors.

Share Some of Your Tips

I’ve shared a few of mine, so leave a comment with any ideas or suggestions that you may have. I’ll even try your ideas out myself and leave my own feedback.