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Being an artist, whether you are a painter, a sculptor, a singer or a photographer, there can be days where you hit a blind wall when it comes to creating art. Whatever you try to do, you are not able to find inspiration or cook up the motivation to create anything. And there will be days where you find it excruciatingly difficult to create something.

So, what is artist's block? It occurs when an artist feels incapable of creating art because they have difficulty tapping into their creativity. It is an abstract term for when your motivation well has run dry and you can't come up with any ideas. For example, you may be in the middle of a painting and suddenly you feel stuck, you're not sure how to proceed with the painting. It can be a pretty overwhelming feeling and it can last for hours, days, weeks or months and even years. What you must understand is that, it doesn't mean you are not good enough to paint. It happens to the best of us and through this article we look at ways to overcome this obstacle.

To begin with, let's look at what causes Artist's block. It is very real, but how it manifests in an individual's life will vary from person to person. For example, the following may help you identify if you are experiencing this phenomenon.

  • Struggling to produce creative work regularly
  • Lack of motivation to create new work
  • Difficulties in translating ideas into art
  • The lack of desire or motivation, which keep you from creating anything

Next is to understand the reasons behind this;

Self Doubt

Self doubt can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. Internal, negative thoughts keep one from moving forward. It is necessary to remember that, these moments shall pass and it is completely normal to develop these feelings. What is important is to take baby steps to overcome the obstacles.

Fear of judgment

The fear of being judged for your work comes from directly comparing yourself to other artists and their skill levels. Believe me, it is easy to get into this mindset and feel overwhelmed by what you see online. It is necessary to work on what motivates you, not the rest of the world! The sooner you stop comparing yourself, the easier it will be to change your mindset. All great artists, were once like you, but it is with time and practice that they achieved their goals.

Lack of skill

Practice makes perfect, that is fundamental. As long as you keep working on areas which you lack a skill, you will become better. Confidence comes with practice and repetition. If you find yourself feeling creatively blocked because you are not sure how to draw something, it is perfectly ok. Take 5 to 10 mins of the day to practice it. You will get better. For motivation, look back at your previous work to see how you have improved.


When you are feeling a creative block, take a step back to check how you are feeling. How has the week been, have you been taking enough rest, eating healthy? Is there a stress factor which is worrying you? If your mind is occupied with a concern, then it is not surprising that you will struggle to create art. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is something which is overlooked yet very important.

Now let's look at how to overcome the artist's block

Take a break

Forcing yourself to engage in an activity that is not bringing you joy is not going to do any good. So it is always better to step away from art for a period of time. During this period, you can take up any other action which you enjoy, be it spending time outdoors, listening to music, practicing yoga etc. A brief pause will help you recharge your creativity! Make sure the break is not too long!

Find drawing prompts

If you are finding it difficult to come up with topics of inspiration, make a list of prompts! Ask friends or family to give you ideas, write them down and whenever you are ready to make art, consult your list!

Study your favorite artists

If you have art books, go through them and bookmark the pages which stand out to you. The point of this exercise is to become aware of the artistic elements or techniques which you are drawn to, naturally. By doing so, you're likely to discover new techniques or ideas which you may want to experiment within your own creatives.

There is no one correct way to overcome artist's block and thankfully, studies have shown that creative activities including painting, drawing and coloring can positively impact your health. For this reason and many more, overcoming this obstacle is very important!