When You Don't Feel Creative

When your art is also your business, it can sometimes feel like a labor to start that next piece...

You have a quota of works to finish in a space of time and that requirement, instead of spurring you on, feels like a massive burden.

Your creative routine should be something that enables creativity, not suffocates it - you know there is something wrong Let's diagnose it...

1. You Haven't Started

The most common problem I personally face is that black canvas - How do you begin? How does it end? The amount of possibility and the long road of work ahead cripple you...

These moments are full of pressure and muddied by your thoughts - you've dwelt too long on it and now are inventing stories of difficulty to justify your creative well running dry.

You must release this pressure and force yourself to not think.

Whenever this happens to me - I grab my sketchbook, a place meant for unpolished, wild creativity, and begin a portrait using an online reference. This simplification and limiting of my aim paired with the carefree environment of my sketchbook allow me to focus on the process.

It gets me out of my head and into the artwork. 100% of the time I will then find the impetus to begin that looming large piece.. which doesn't seem that big anymore and just becomes another piece..

Fix disillusion and overthinking by starting on a rough, smaller, no-pressure work.

2. You Are Bored

When you work on the same work for a long amount of time it is natural to fall out of love with it. The implementation can get frustrating, you may have to redo several parts of it several times. It can feel like you're making no progress on something you don't even like anymore...

Variety. You need stimulation to get creative and do your best work (this is basically the crux of all the solutions in this post btw). So find the best way to bring this in - experiment with having several works on the go, rotating your focus as your passion waxes and wains, scrap this piece and redo it bringing the lessons learnt from the previous version.

However you can, add variety into your work and your life - this could also take the form of going on a walk, changing your environment, watching a film or socializing.

Often giving space lets your subconscious creative well refill and gets your interest back!

3. You Suck

So you've actually started, you're really interested in what you're doing, you go to crate and then you do awful work - you find it repulsive, you hate your style, you think you're inadequate, you can't seem to find the right way forward.

First of all - it's okay. EVERYONE goes through this when they are learning. Constant learning and failing are so incredibly vital to the creative process. The answer is about how to dance with failure - how to use it to your advantage and in the long run make incredible progress...

Failure is a chance to learn. If you don't learn then that is the real failure.

If you feel like you suck, don't just stop there. Why do you suck? What is it about your work that is frustrating you? Write the reasons down. Is it the composition, the anatomy, the narrative, the colours etc The more specific you can get the better.

Effectively learning is all about this kind of question generating.

Basically; you try something new -> you fail -> you find the questions you need to answer -> you go search for those answers -> you find something new to try -> repeat.

You must experience and practice first-hand for yourself and then apply other's teachings - by doing this you have something concrete to apply lessons to, compounding and targeting your learning.

Take a step back. Ask the right questions about the work. Find the solutions. Put it into practice. Repeat


There are many reasons you may be feeling not creative but I've found that generally they can all be boiled down to these 3 reasons.

Remembering that there are always solutions to your problems and that being creative comes from creating is really at the heart of the answers.

And I hope these answers helped you!

So what do you struggle with creatively?

Did you find these tips helpful?

What are your methods for dealing with creative blocks?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!