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What Is Art Block and How to Beat It

What Is Art Block and How to Beat It

What Is Artist Block

Art block or artist block is when an artist has no motivation to create art or new ideas for new work. It is often associated with anxiety, procrastination, and a total lack of motivation. 

One of the main reasons why art block is so tough is because creating art is supposed to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. However, there are periods of time when the last thing you want to do is create new artwork whether it be due to a lack of inspiration, motivation, or simply exhaustion. 

We’ve all had those days where you lose that inspiration you once had to create art. 

Maybe it’s due to you now attempting to make a living off your art, and it’s no longer fun or maybe you think your art just isn’t any good.

In this post, we will break down the variety of causes for art block as well as some tried and tested methods to get rid of art block. 

Art Block – Key Takeaways

  • Common signs of art block are:
    • lack of ideas
    • procrastinating
    • depression or anxiety
    • feeling unmotivated, uninspired, or frustrated
  • Some ways to beat art block are that I’ve found personally helpful are:
    • Thinking about why you started creating art in the first place
    • Looking for inspiration in other’s works (I found using an inspiration board extremely helpful!)
    • Get some exercise (even going for a walk has helped me)
Table of Contents

    Signs of Art Block 

    Art block can be a frustrating and discouraging experience, so it is essential to recognize the signs of an art block so you can take steps to overcome it.

    Being uninspired is one of the most typical symptoms of an artistic block. Sometimes you feel as if you have run out of creative ideas for your art. This scenario may be very frustrating if you’re used to feeling inspired by what you do, just like everyone else when they started their journey in art. 

    Another sign of this is that you might feel like your work is not as good as it used to be or lose confidence in it. When you’re feeling down, it is harder to come up with new ideas. You begin to doubt yourself, your skills, and your creativity.

    These signs add up to more, which is the difficulty of starting new projects and procrastination. You might ignore or put off your creative task until the last minute.

    What Causes Art Block?

    Stressed woman doing art

    What causes artistic block can be caused by a variety of factors, both internal and external. Below are some common causes of art block to help you better understand it.

    Self Doubt

    Self-doubt is a common cause of art block. It’s simple to get caught up in the mindset that your work isn’t good enough or that you lack the skill to produce something great, especially when going through something in life.

    When self-doubt sets in, you lack the motivation or drive to create something because you constantly second-guess what you do. 


    If something isn’t going how you want it to, you could feel annoyed, disappointed, or even angry. It is what you call frustration. This experience may be pretty discouraging, making concentrating on the task at hand difficult.

    Comparing Yourself to Others

    The Internet has made it quite convenient to see the work of many different artists simultaneously, making it easy to compare your efforts to those of others continually.

    It’s easy to feel like a loser as an artist when you constantly hold up your work next to that of others and judge it against theirs. This feeling can lead up to self-doubt or a lowering of self-esteem. 


    Anxiety is a state of uneasiness or anxiousness that may be brought on by several things, including impending deadlines, the pursuit of excellence, or the fear of making errors.

    When anxiety becomes overwhelming, it might be challenging to concentrate on your creative work and possibly stop you from completing it.

    Fear of Failure, Judgement, or Criticism

    Fear might appear when you think other people criticize or judge your creative work or worry that you won’t live up to one’s high expectations.

    This fear might cause one to mistrust one’s abilities, which makes it difficult to follow creativity and express one’s thoughts openly.

    Financial Instability

    Financial instability may cause stress and concern, making it difficult for you to concentrate on your work. When tight finances are tight, it is hard to justify investing in your business.

    Not being able to get the materials you want to use for your drawings might fall to a lack of interest or fear of being unable to achieve what you want. 

    Lack of Skill

    It’s discouraging and sometimes frustrating to feel you lack the technical skills and knowledge to bring your creative vision to life.

    Not being able to do something because you lack skill might generate an atmosphere of self-doubt and make breaking through creative barriers and hurdles more challenging.


    It is so hard to do something when you are tired from your job or doing your school works all day. Finding the strength and concentration necessary for creative work may also be challenging when experiencing physical and emotional exhaustion.

    How Long Does Art Block Last?

    Depending on the individual, an artist may have an artistic block for various lengths of time. It might occasionally linger for a few days or weeks, or it can continue for months. So don’t worry! 

    Art block occurs to everyone and is a normal aspect of the creative process.

    If you want to get your creative juices flowing again, taking a break and doing something else is vital. You’ve got this!

    What Are Other Terms for Art Block?

    Art block is also known by various other terms, such as:

    • Creative block
    • Artist’s block
    • Creative slump. 

    These words describe the same underlying experience of being at a loss for fresh creative expression or new ideas.

    What Is the Cure for Art Block?

    As I have said earlier, it is natural to feel stuck and unmotivated at times. The good news, however, is that there are ways to break through art blocks and get the creative juices flowing once again.

    The following are some of the things you can do to cure or prevent artistic block: 

    Think About Why You Started Creating Art in the First Place

    Reflecting on what first inspired you to create art is one of the most effective strategies for breaking through creative blocks. Remember what sparked your interest in creating art and your goal, and reconnect with your passion for it.

    You can write it down or share it with someone you know or your fellow artists.

    Look For Inspiration in Other’s Artworks 

    Looking at other artists’ works can be a great source of inspiration and motivation. Visit museums, galleries, or online art communities to see other artists’ creations. 

    This way, you might find something that can inspire you or spark or start something with you again.

    Note: Adapting other artists’ styles is OK, but remember to give them your unique touch.

    Use Drawing Prompts

    Drawing prompts are ideas or prompts that can help spark your creativity and inspire new art. It gives you a specific subject or scenario to draw. Do fast sketches or drawings using these without overthinking about the outcome.

    You may find art prompts online, in art books, or devise your prompts to push yourself.

    Also, here is a related article that might help you create ideas:

    Do Some Deliberate Practice

    Deliberate practice is intentionally concentrating on enhancing specific skills or techniques. 

    Choose the areas where you believe you’re having trouble or wish to improve, then practice those areas. And who knows, you can generate ideas while practicing.

    Break the Procrastination Cycle By Following Habits and Patterns

    To break the cycle of procrastination, try setting a routine for yourself and committing to it. 

    For example, you could make a habit of sitting down to draw every day at a specific time, like 7 PM and listening to music to get yourself in the zone. 

    This pattern might help you get started and train your brain to concentrate on art during the allotted period and stay motivated, even when feeling uninspired.

    Look Back on your Previous Work and See How Much You’ve Improved

    Look at your previous pieces of artwork to get ideas of how far you’ve come and the progress you’ve made as an artist over the years. Reflect on the techniques you’ve learned and the new skills you’ve developed.

    This cure helps you appreciate your work, rekindle your passion for the creative process, stay motivated, and keep moving forward. 

    Attempt to Recreate Your Old Art Work

    Another fun exercise is to try to recreate your old artwork. This activity will also allow you to reflect on how you’ve developed as an artist and provide you with a new perspective on your current work.

    Consider Changing to a Different Medium 

    Changing your media is sometimes the solution to get beyond a creative block. If you typically work in graphite, try experimenting with charcoal. If you are drawing with pencils all the time, do a painting. These changes may let you discover new artistic methods and approaches to art.

    Do an Art Challenge

    Look online for art challenges or create your own. Participating in these challenges might encourage you to go beyond your comfort zone, try out new activities and help you find new inspiration and motivation.

    Get Some Exercise

    Stepping out of the studio or workplace and getting some exercise might sometimes be the greatest remedy for an artist’s block. Exercise’s mental and emotional benefits may help spark fresh ideas and approaches.

    It doesn’t have to be anything particularly strenuous, but by simply going for a walk, you can disconnect from the stresses, take a break, focus on being present, and it might help you gain a new perspective on your art.


    Meditating is a great way to relax the mind, lessen mental distractions, and see things more clearly. Several methods exist, including guided meditations, breathing exercises, and even just sitting quietly.


    It’s crucial to avoid putting too much pressure on yourself and provide yourself the freedom to rest when necessary. You may return to your creativity with a new perspective and a renewed feeling of vitality by taking breaks.

     Rest doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping or staying on the couch all day. Rest may also be reading a book, going for a walk, or any activities that keep you at ease.

    Artist Block and Depression 

    An image of a frustrated artist

    The pressure to produce significant or perfect art might lead to the connection between artist block and depression.

    As artists, we often place a lot of pressure on ourselves to produce impeccable work. It may make us feel stressed and overburdened before we begin working on it. Self-doubt and the feeling of being artistically unmotivated might result from this, which can lead to an art block.

    When this kind of block happens and expectations are not met, it may be upsetting and result in a chain reaction of unfavorable feelings, which can result in depression.

    We must recognize that art block is real and can happen to any artist. 

    But we must remember too that it is part of the creative process and is about development and discovery and that it’s OK if things don’t go exactly as you had expected. We may often discover fresh inspiration and drive by putting aside our expectations and pressure and concentrating on the process.

    What Is Art Block and How to Beat It – Conclusion

    Artist block is a common experience that can affect any creative person, regardless of their skill level or experience. It can manifest as a lack of inspiration, motivation, or creativity and can be frustrating and discouraging.

    Fortunately, many ways exist to overcome it and reignite your creativity. These include taking a break, following habits and patterns, or trying something new. It’s important to remember that a creative block is a normal part of the creative process and that taking a step back and prioritizing self-care is okay.

    Feel free to seek help if needed. If you’re struggling with artist block or looking for more ways to boost your creativity, we are here to help you by scheduling a call with us.

    Thanks for reading, and see you at the next one!

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