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
So what happens when you know without a shadow of a doubt you don't have the skills to tackle a project?
Ok, heads up because I just can't seem to stop myself...here'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
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
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
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: www.goodreads.com/book/show/18…
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