Out of the 805 people that voted on the last poll, 507 of you have asked to bring back guides, advice and tutorials on how to break art block.
So with that observation I have decided to reinsert my time into the community as I still have great faith that each and every one of us has the patience, talent and potential to start our respective projects and persist even in the harshest environments.
Let's start from the top: What causes art block?Trends and Industry Health
As it stands the illustration community, be it video games, comic books, animation, etc. Has taken a great nose dive into the concrete in recent years, especially if you live in the land of the free, home of the brave.
I have noticed that industry trends can have an adverse effect on those of us who wish to create what we feel are great works of art and collections of love-laboring. With a drowning industry and seeing our favorite books and videos being removed from all distribution channels we begin, in the back of our minds, to lose heart in our own pushes forward.
It has an even more negative effect on those of us who believe we were made for nothing else but story creation and art. It's as if we are chasing a speeding train that has what it needs to survive on the bones but not what it needs to plump up. This may seem like meaningless information but...
The industry shapes how we draw and what sort of stories we tell. Many notice that vampires, zombies, ninjas and samurai are popular in the mainstream and then create stories and characters based on that thinking theirs will also be popular only to find that it doesn't work. And if it does, it's because people are 1) looking for it and 2) the art or story compensates for lack of the other.
If you do see your numbers go up through that strategy, it's only because it's been tossed in the corner with people who are already fans of these subjects.
Another problem we seem to run into a lot around here, especially on DA, is the fanart issue. DA has bred a place where fanart gets the most unintentional praise than original works and if you do happen to post an original that does well it's because you're *GENZOMAN
This fanart versus original art thing has REALLY disheartened an entire generation of artists that I believe to be devastating to the health of our community. The fact that a poorly drawn MLP doodle can acquire 1000+ hits but an original piece that took days barely breaks 100 views.Using DA as a gauge to track your progress...?
This is probably a terrible idea as well. I used to think that's what the pageview numbers were for. That each hit told me that people were at the very least noticing my work and the more people visited, the more motivated I would be to create something new. Personally, I have broken myself out of this thought process a long time ago but that doesn't mean it's still not a rampant reality for others. I stopped caring about the numbers and started focusing on the fact that my projects were moving forward. I was doing my absolute best at that time and using my various projects to continue to improve. Slowly, but at least it's moving forward.
But these numbers can be disheartening BUT it can tell you how you truly feel about your art when you take a step back from it. But DJ! ;^;
Now, now, don't cry...
A problem many of us face is that we don't push ourselves or attempt daring ideas. We all have these ideas: I want Character A to stand in the middle of the page striking a bad ass fighting pose.
Cool, we have the parameters but define "Bad ass" Define "fighting" Define "middle of the page". As artists we have to break each element down like scientists looking for the God Particle.
As artists, we have to put words with our work and let that sense of expression come out.
Now let's say you finish this masterpiece and you post it on DA. You feel good about it. Colors are awesome and well placed, the background reinforces your message, your character is posed beautifully and everything about the composition screams "I DEMAND YOUR ATTENTION" But it only receives 132 views
Quite the slap in the face, huh? You thought it would be the one. You thought you worked hard on it. You thought that you had overcome some soul-gnawing hurdle that you were trying to overcome for months. This original thing you want to blurt to the entire planet! But, no. 130 dev views.
Even the most introverted comic book artist I have ever met posts their work on this site (and many others) because they want to share with the world the things they feel they can't say out loud. But this dev view system really has a way of kicking you in the teeth when you feel you've attempted that very feat. So we retract.
We begin to question our push forward and that hinders our movements. Especially if you're like me and have to teach yourself everything you know through observation, tutorials and books. We see these numbers and trends, these people passing us up as road blocks that crash to the ground every time we feel we're at our current goal.
^----This can all cause art block.Personal problems and financial burdens
It's a craptastic economy, we're all mostly in debt and even worse off if you're an artist and there are no jobs that match your skill set. Tensions are high, anxiety shaking you to the bones. Political upheaval every time you turn on the TV.Life sux
The things in our lives tend to either block us from going forward or push us in the desired direction..or even back, if you're a scientist. ...you know. As Nian said in Stargate SG-1: "I am a scientist. A step in any direction is still progress." ...something to that effect.Here's what you do:
(and yes, I'll be following my own advice and if it works for me, I'll be starting an Artist Anonymous group, right here on DA.)
First, if you're having a problem in your life that is getting in the way of your creative energy I would say, instead of trying to draw through it, try taking care of that problem first. If the problem is time sensitive, ie you can't drop everything to tackle it like Emmitt Smith in the good ol' days
then don't worry about it until you CAN take care of it.
Once this problem has been kicked off the edge of the cliff like Smeagal in the lavas of Mount Doom, reflect upon any life lesson this problem may have taught you and pat yourself on the back. You not only learned something for later in life but you also learned something your dear original characters can use in your story process later.
Another idea is to become excited about the problems in your life. I know this seems like a bizarre approach but if you head into what appears to be a bad situation with a gung-ho 'tude from the get-go, you can inspire the people around you like a beacon of hope that any problem can be overcome with a little positive influence.
If you're like me and "positive" just isn't in your programming, might I suggest 'calm' at the very least. But I have a horrid temper so...yeah. Carry a sketchbook
I say this all the time but if you're a serious artist and want this to be your thing you need to be drawing all the time, even during bad times. I know this is sort of contradictory to what I just got done rambling about but sketching, at the very least, will also help you get through a problem. Use that opportunity to draw expressions or gestures that require a little more...passion (anger) behind the lines. Use that energy and turn it into art. Try other forms of art
Always wanted to try paints? AWESOME! Do it when you feel you can't draw. Pull up some how-to on color mixing and teach yourself about the color wheel and how to use gamut masks. Get some super sculpy and create a model for whatever reason makes you feel happy.
Try a craft. Buy some wood and make a clock or a weird looking spice rack for your mother (or father or anyone who likes to cook) Listen to some music
Go to Pandora or another radio station and flip the stations to different genres. Let the tunes guide you. Maybe you'll even find another type of music that speaks to your creative soul and opens up new ideas and avenues you would have otherwise not considered.
I listen to different genres when I'm drawing different things. Dubstep for fanart, alternative and showtunes for my original work, ambient and electronic for random not-categorized art. There's an entire musical world out there that reinforces everything you do. Music can also hinder you. If you're listening to a song and you feel the urge to slaughter Alliance Gnomes in WoW instead of drawing, flip the station until your hands feel like sketching. "Copy" someones art
I hate this but it's worth mentioning. We all do it, we've all done it and if you say you haven't you're a dirty, rotten liar.
Go to your favorite persons DA or art piece and find the one that inspires you the most. Put it side by side a blank canvas in your program of choice and draw the ENTIRE composition, top to bottom. Color it if it's colored, add all the details...you get the picture.
NOW WHEN YOU DO THIS: Don't copy the STYLE of the persons work. If you;reworking on your own anatomy style or line style, use your own twists and turns to guide you through the process. For example if I wanted to draw this:
I would put one of my characters in the horse, maybe change the pose a bit but the colors, the orientation of the character on the page and the execution would all be the same. In essence...he would be anime-ized.
Do this a few times. You'll not only learn something but you'll begin to train your brain into the kind of work and time it takes to create a masterpiece.
(I wouldn't post these compositions though due to trolls but if you do, put them in your scraps or post the original next to your and let the original artist know what you're doing. As long as you give advanced warning most people are pretty cool about that sort of thing.)Exercise your body and mind
Yeah, go stretch, go for a walk, read some books on astrophysics JUST because you can. (can you all tell I like space yet?) Go dig holes in the ground and find some feldspar...
. Explore another interest or something you've always liked to try.
For me? I've always wanted to take a horse out onto the plains with a telescope and a dog and stargaze.
These are also life lessons. The more you learn, the more art material you have to work with in your head and the better your stories will be because you'll have experience.
Museums are also gold mines of ideas and innovation.
This post is humongous. It is for a reason and if I actually sat down and applied more thought into this journal, it would be a book.
A VERY LONG and SNARLING MONSTER of a book! LIKE THIS ONE!
Only with an angry Leonardo DaVinci on the front posed like Uncle Sam in those propaganda posters telling you to buy war bonds.