It’s easy to get in a creative rut. Relying on what’s worked for you in the past is a smart choice, but not necessarily a challenging or exciting one. If you need to take your artistic output to the next level, here are three fast tips to help you push yourself to become an even better artist.
This may sound counterintuitive, but taking yourself out of your work zone and into another realm lets your mind wander freely. Read a book, go for a walk, bake some cookies… any activity that doesn’t have you thinking about art will open you up to new creative avenues that you may not have explored had you stayed focussed on creating. Once inspiration strikes, it’s time to head back to the drawing board (quite literally, in this case).
Remove the Black and White
No, this isn’t a metaphor. It actually means taking away the black and white options from your paints or pencils. Try drawing something without the option of using black or white to shade. Being forced to choose an unlikely colour will help you think about these hues in an entirely new way and add complexity to your existing colour palette.
Get a Critique
We’re not suggesting that you bend your art toward what the “masses” love or understand, but sometimes hearing someone else’s opinion on your work can help you see past your own perceptions. Whether you take their advice and make a change or ignore it completely, this exercise will at the very least give you insight into the way you take constructive criticism. If your art doesn’t change as a result then that’s great; it means you truly know who you want to be as an artist. But every artist has to learn to take both a compliment and a criticism, and testing out your emotional reactions on a loved one is a relatively painless way to start.
About Paperblanks®: At Paperblanks®, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks®, go to our website at paperblanks.com
I like the ideas here, and they apply to more than just art. They can help you get out of a rut no matter what field you’re in. I’m most attracted to the first two tips — I feel like I’ve had my fill of criticism (but that may be a bruised psyche speaking). Input is as important as output. Want to be a good writer? Read great literature. Want to improve your guitar playing? Figure out how the masters do it. The tip about removing black and white from your arsenal really just comes down to setting boundaries. I’ve reached the point where I almost can’t create without self-imposed boundaries. It might be one word to fashion a story around, one technique to use on an art journal page, or one poem to inspire a photo.
Thank you for such a thoughtful response! It really is true that it’s just as important to experience as it is to create. And setting boundaries, or at least (as you mentioned) choosing one key word is a great jumping off point. You may end up far away from where you expected, but the results are always interesting!
Last year we challenged readers to craft a story using the 2013 “Words of the Year” (http://blog.paperblanks.com/2014/01/writing-wednesday-can-you-craft-a-story-using-2013s-words-of-the-year/) – you may find that to be an interesting experiment.
All the best,
The Paperblanks® Team