ARTIST BLOCK-How to counter them!

Well, it had to happen–so yeah.

With the success of Felipe Smith’s pilgrimage to Japan–I’ve started thinking about the greatness and pain he’s probably experiencings, but I also thought about the doors it could potentially open for the select few non-Japanese mangaka that could make it there.

But with that…it caused me to really look at my art objectively (to some maybe too harshly) and I feel like I really need to get better. I know I do some things well but I guess I want to ensure not being rejected which is next to impossible but I just want to get in, lol. Of course, this happens RIGHT when I experience an artist’s block…

Which totally sucks and I’m trying to get over it–so I’m asking other artists here what the hell do you do when this happens? How do you handle it? How long does it take for you to get over it?


my biggest issue is that what i see in my head and what i actually put down never agree with each other.
i am rarely satisfied with the work i do, it’s a double-edged sword, honestly.
i think perception is a major deterrent when it comes to being artistic.
you can’t let the fact that you aren’t creating what you want to to completely halt your progress.
it’s not a wall, it’s a door.
think of it that way.
again, perception.
sorry if that made no sense.
what works best for me when i paint is keeping a couple of “dummy” canvases around so i can just throw paint on them, just like with working out, you always want to stretch first.
good luck.

I usually wait for motivation to happen. yeah wait…and then go all out once you find a source of great motivation.

i put my art on hold for maybe almost a friggin year. before that time i had been doing major half doodles that never got me anywhere. then, the SFIV trailer kicked in. that was all the hype last year. right there i started to pick the art style of SF3 (like kandoken but no where near his greatness.)

for two full weeks, i took it as a time to finish and improve on things i was afraid to do in the past:

  • as a kid i always wanted to draw SF3 style but couldnt, so i took the time to pick it up again
  • always drew half faces telling myself i would finish them later, this time i commited to finishing front angle faces
  • the ideas in my head for SF that i never drew i finally got down to sketching them

sure ur weakness and a story maybe different, but i do think some kind of break and surge of motivation has to happen before u start something new and crazy.

it was like a new era in drawing for me. i think i have over 100+ sketches just from those 2 weeks of hype.

I’d just find other artists to hang out with and sketch a lot.

Looking at other art helps too.

I usually do what Dfist suggested. Either I look at other’s art or even just watch a movie or a show, or play a videogame and look for inspiration in those.

i general try to avoid “finding inspiration” in other’s work, i find myself (subconsciously) emulating their design/elements…

isnt that still kind of like finding inspiration in them anyway?

I think my problem is that I don’t sketch enough–and working strictly on what I’m doing so I don’t loosen up and then if “life” gets in the way that’s time I’m not drawing so when I try and get back in the flow it doesn’t work out that way.

I also feel the need to re-do things since there’s always something wrong in my art and I fear an editor seeing that hence me not getting publishing deal.

I look up to people like Suzuhito Yasuda, Kinu Nishimura, and Sonoda ( I like American artists too but those are the mains currently) and I often feel like my art looks amatuerish for some reason–even when I do color it. I don’t know–people tell me, " Oh man, if I could draw like that I would doing all kinds of shit…" and its like well yeah I know I don’t totally suck but I know what’s wrong with it.

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself I don’t know…I know I hate it when shit doesn’t come out right. I’m sure it’ll get better soon–I just want someone to publish me for God’s sake–I see people who aren’t that great and get published and I wonder, “Why?” but that’s neither here nor there–I just gotta work on me. I have a thread here if you haven’t seen anything I’ve done–I know the 3 of you that do frequent here probably have but–just in case.

Glad to see people discussing ways to overcome this.

i guess, but i’m trying not to emulate a pre-existing style.
but my endeavors are more traditional, so it’s not as hard as trying to do comic stuff, i guess.

I feel your pain man

alot of times I pretend I have a deadline to meet and I have to give it my 100%
and that works a lil bit because I make the ideas come into my head.

Or what I do is, …well u see I’m a fanfic writer and I always picture the things in my head and how bad I want to see forever so I just pic up a pencil and paper and draw exactly what is going on in my head.

I think that’s a way to start because all through my school years I would draw things that went on in school and in my head and that’s what kept my pencil moving, but once I completed college I started going through what you mentioned.

I also think about things that piss me off in the world of comics and animation, like how certain comics sell and the stories arent even that good or if a cartoon is famous and it’s just a recycled story yet people ignore it, I think about how unfair that is and how much originality should be recognized, it pushes me to get better. I also think about how people say non asians arent capable of creating anime or manga and the stupid logic they use to back it up, It makes me realize how important it is to perfect what I do.

:smile: Simply pick up some old sketches/drawings and re-create them somewhere on the page.



Sometimes changing your routine helps – you’re giving yourself the chance to be inspired by stuff that you normally wouldn’t experience in your usual daily routine.

So if you only listen to a certain kind of music, check out the other stuff on the radio/internet. Or hit the library. Go to a museum / exhibition. Get inspired by all the other stuff out there :slight_smile:

Of course there are times where you’re burned out, or simple too busy to actually do anything (which is my current state of affairs). These times you just need to step back, recharge and do what you have to do :slight_smile:

what df and rook said.

i usually listen to music. or see what other artists are up to/lurk.

i prefer listening to music im not familiar with though… it seems music i KNOW or memorize, it seems i come out with the same results every time. also, ill force myself to draw by simply studying life.

It’s basically a discipline thing. Really no shortcut other than to power through in some way.

It’s similar to asking, “how do i get out of a depressed mood?”

Just gotta dig down deep where you think there’s nothing, find something, man up and go.

Best advice I can give you. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

another thing i like to do is remember old character designs i used to think about and redraw them out. way more often than not you find yourself changing something so they look fresh and new. it also helps to inspire your thought process and you end up thinking more and more about the character and yada yada yada. at least that’s me ^^;

i’m gonna follow up on this topic. i too want to know how to avoid artists block.

Well, I haven’t posted in here for a sec but–honestly I think it varies for people. For me if its manageable I’ve waited until it just came back, but since I’m looking to get a job doing comics I’ve found that I have to just "power’ through it until I get back in the groove. Its very painful to see yourself draw badly but you eventually will be back to normal.

The recent drawing I posted (WIP) in my thread is the first thing I’ve drawn since my block. It could be better but I have to just realize none of my art will ever be perfect theres always something to work on.

HAHA @ rook’s artist throw comment.

I agree with everyone’s suggestion. When it all comes down to it, the only way to beat artist’s block is to draw. The longer you delay, the harder it is to get your groove back.

Everything said is very true. However just a little trick i like to do is ask people if theres anything theyd like me to draw for them. I need to feel like theres a challenge. Or, I just start drawing anything like a shape or eyes or something and keep building on it until I have a full piece. It helps to not use the same techniques on all your drawings to make them feel fresh.

Back when I was into DBZ, that was all I drew. I emulated the style almost perfectly. Then I got bored of it REAL quick, because all I was doing was skeleton frame, musculature, DBZ face, skeleton frame, musculature, DBZ face, etc etc ad infinitum. Shit got old so I challenged myself to do more traditional looking anime, or not so muscular guys with cooler clothes, or women for a change. I slowly started getting better because I was actually pushing myself instead of doing the same old thing. However I can say that emulating a style to the point of perfection does help with drawing what you see (or what you see in your minds eye), and good old hand eye coordination.

I will say the hardest thing for me to get past is when Ive been working on something for a while and its coming out REALLY good I almost dont want to work on it anymore in fear that Ill screw it up.

I have lacked motivation for 3 years. Its over for me…