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Here at the Deviant Mentor program, we pair newer artists up with seasoned ones to give advice, critique, and encouragement. We're here to support new or growing artists of the deviantART community and to make a difference in their art lives.
Founded 6 Years ago
Jan 10, 2010


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Long time no see patients! Today's blog will be discussing the nasty, horrible, no good, very bad enemy of all creatives: the dreaded art block. 

Even if you haven't seen all of The Matrix films (or like them for that matter) many of you are probably familiar with this iconic exchange from the first film: 
Boy: "Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth."
Neo: "What truth?"
Boy: "There is no spoon."
Neo: "There is no spoon?"
Boy: "Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."
When it comes to creativity, we as artists are our own worst enemies. The greatest sabotage you can ever do to yourself as a creator is to place limits on your abilities before you even know what you can do. THAT, my friend, is precisely what Neo's problem was at the beginning of the Matrix series.

Wrenches In the Gears of Your Mind

Gears are Turning by pixelworlds
So what happens when you know without a shadow of a doubt you don't have the skills to tackle a project?

Know Thyself

Ok, heads up because I just can't seem to stop's yet another nugget I pulled out of the Matrix film (yeah, yeah bear with me, I actually do have a point to make here!) Besides fear, which can also be crippling, calculated and even sensible overthinking can send you careening over a cliff into stagnant territory. The maxim 'know thyself' is a Greek phrase that has several different uses in literature. One of it's meanings is simply to have an enlightened view and understanding of yourself, outside of your emotions and perceived limitations (Har har, that was also it's usage in The Matrix). It is the total understanding of your abilities, likes, dislikes, thought patterns, etc. Essentially, a state of being that is nearly impossible to master for we are merely human and our minds, though vast, are still housed in a finite body. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses takes time and a lot of courage no matter what you are facing in life. 
temet nosce/ know thyself

So am I telling you that you're doomed if you really can't do something? No young grasshopper, pay attention! Knowing that you don't yet have the ability to do something simply means you haven't learned that skill yet, it is not the end of the world or your path as an artist

The Difference Between Quitting and Failure 

If you're American it's probably been beat into your brain, through many years of schooling, that failure is the worst thing that can happen to you while you're learning how to do something. Those who fail are often stigmatized severely, and at times even ostracized for it. You've probably also heard nasty things about quitters, but there's two sides to every coin. Failing at something typically means one of two things: you put forth your best efforts and the process did not work, or you did not put forth your best efforts and the process did not work. Most often the former is the case which is why failure feels so very devastating. Here's the thing about failure though: either way you learned something. That's not always the case with quitting. People quit either because they realize that they are not fully committed/can't do something, or they think a task is too difficult and bail to avoid failing altogether. Never quit out of fear of failure. I repeat: failure is not the end. Do not be afraid to fail, because it means that you tried something new and you now know what not to do. 

Failure is an enormous portion of being an artist, and I believe that far too many young artists are so crippled by the idea of failing that they end up stagnant. They only stick to what "works" and then wonder why they aren't seeing any progress. It's because you gotta come out of that box little kitten! Trust me, failure doesn't feel very nice at first but after awhile you welcome it. It took me the better part of 2 1/2 years to develop the current painting process I have because of massive amounts of failure. I kept trying things until I got what I wanted out of the media I was using and the images I was creating. To be blunt: you fell on your rear end as an infant multiple times, expect to repeat the process

There Is No Spoon (for real) 

The culprit of all art blocks is the artist. Not a lack of materials. Not a lack of time. Not a lack of energies. And please, don't think I have no personal understanding of those three things. I'm working on my third degree and am underemployed :XD: When you're in a rut, the only thing (truly) in your way is you. There's no spoon. It doesn't exist. What is your spoon? Grab that thing by the handle and bend the sh!t out of it. You're the creator. You're in control. You've got this


Helpful Art Block smashing articles and tips:…
Art Block Banisher
Do you find yourself staring like a zombie at a blank piece of paper on your desk? Do you whip your pencil in a circle to draw a head, erase it, draw it again, and still find yourself dissatisfied and uninspired? Do you long to draw your characters in some crazy or adorable situation but lack the ability to come up with an idea?
Never fear! The Art Block Banisher is here!
This is a list of possible scenarios you can evilly dump your favorite characters into, whether they belong to you or someone else. So think about a few favorite characters, pull out a pencil and paper, and let's go!
Cooking Who can cook what, and how well? How many fire extinguishers will be necessary? Try drawing a full-out scene or just little doodles.
Age: What did your characters look like when they were little? How did/would they interact? What about when they're older? Try drawing them as grown-ups or (gasp) geezers. (Here's a great tutorial on faces at differen
     Expanding the comfort-zone by FOERVRAENGD
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SzkArt Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Can you join both as a mentor and a mentee? Because I'd like both
PageOHaraWriter Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Of course! Just apply as a mentor and you are free to ask others to mentor you as well.
Vanetias Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2015  Student
Hi there, I believe I have sent a message regarding that I wish to find myself a mentor for my own art.
PageOHaraWriter Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2015  Student Digital Artist
We would love to have you Evans. Make sure to read our rules here:
...and then apply as either a mentor or mentee with all the required information in your join request!
Vanetias Featured By Owner Edited Dec 4, 2015  Student

I apply myself as a mentee. Sorry, may have mixed up with a different fourm.
Clockspur Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm looking for a mentor, do I need to pay points?
PageOHaraWriter Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Of course not! Everyone is welcome to join and learn in this group.
Just read our rules here:
...and then apply as either a mentor or mentee with all the required information in your join request. I hope you join us!
Clockspur Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you!:)
Nortya Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
No, it's totally free. I haven't heard anyone charging points for it!
Clockspur Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Okay, thanks!:)
Add a Comment: