Oh Inspiration, wherefore art thou?

Sometimes inspiration comes at 7 A.M on a saturday morning when the sun is too bright, you're still grumpy because you're tired but you can't sleep anymore because the idea keeps nagging at you.
Sometimes inspiration comes at 7 A.M on a saturday morning when the sun is too bright, you’re still grumpy because you’re tired but you can’t sleep anymore because the idea keeps nagging at you.

Let’s talk about inspiration. The biggest mystery in the world of art. Nobody understands it, nobody can grasp its works and ways. Inspiration can hit you right in the face in a moment when you least expect it (like 3 A.M but you just have to take that stupid photo) but you might also suffer from a total lack of inspiration, resulting in a long artist’s block. Probably every person knows this, not only artists but writers and people who do something just remotely creative as well as people who haven’t got any interest in stuff like this.

For me personally, there seems to be literally no healthy mediocrity. I go on art binges where I can draw every single day, sometimes even multiple times daily but these binges are followed by phases where I loathe art. Especially my own works.
Simply taking a look at my pencils and colours makes me want to throw up in extreme cases. What kills my inspiration or my mood to do art can be lots of different things. Sometimes I’m disappointed (or plain angry) because everything I try turns out ugly or at least feels dissatisfying for me because it varies from the image I had in my head originally, sometimes I’m discouraged because my works don’t get as much attention as I want them to get when I post them online, sometimes I just run out of ideas. My head turns absolutely empty and I can’t think of anything to do considering art. But in the past I figured out some things that help me overcome those phases at least a little more quickly.
I thought I’d share them with you because these might be helpful in many situations not just when it comes to art.

art block

The first thing I ususally do is move away (or straight out flee) from my workplace. I put aside my pencils, my graphic tablet, my brushes, everything. I just get it out of my sight. Sketches I made and hate wander straight into the garbage can (At least put them away somewhere. Just don’t look at them). Sometimes I regret it afterwards but at the point of frustration the “No mercy” attitude helps me a lot.
Then I go outside. I take walks. You don’t need a specific aim, just go outside and walk around. Don’t start with the thought “When I get back home I’m going to do something extremely epic and pioneer art” because the probability that this is going to happen is…well…not high, it’s even going to clog your brain even more and this isn’t the exact effect we want to achive with the walk. Instead, walk around and just open your eyes.

Practice thinking of nothing or just let your thoughts drift freely. You’ll notice tons of interesting things like this. Plants, buildings, garbage on the streets, passing people (Damn I’m such a hippie). Take walks early in the morning during sunrise and take walks during sunset and just notice how the light changes druing the day, it’s actually quite fascinating. Especially if you live in a tiny village like me and everybody is still asleep or already inside of their houses so all the streets are empty. It sounds silly but getting impressions of the actual outside is so helpful, I don’t do this often enough too.

What usually is a great help is music. I play the guitar and love to sing (but I sing horrible. Does this stop me though? Ha, no ), I listen to music all day long because I can’t stand silence at all. I love how different songs can affect how I feel. Some songs make me feel badass, like I can kick in doors in and defeat professional MMA fighters, some songs make me want to lie down and stare at the ceiling while thinking about how hard my life is and how my poor unfortunate soul is trapped on ths planet. You can try and translate those feelings directly into art.
Do it with the colours you use, the symbols you decide to put in your work or just draw a person who looks the way you are feeling. You are allowed to do absolutely everything (that’s the cool thing about art. No rules, yo)
I also like reading lyrics of songs. I love words in general. Writing is another hobby of mine and I like typography and using text on my drawings. Song lyrics and music are probably the things that gave me the most ideas in the past.
I’ve done so many things inspired by songs I love, it’s almost scaring me.

What works great, also words and letters related (call me Queen of Transitions please), are poems, books and short stories. Especially Edgar Allan Poe, E.T.A Hoffmann, mythological stories and fairy tales work well for me. Some of the music-inspired stuff:

But in the end, you can’t force it. You can do things that might be supportive of bringing the inspiration back but I guess there is not “THE ONE“-way of guaranteeing that there will be an amazingly brilliant idea blossoming by the next day. And it works different for everybody, even differently for each individual depending on the day. Sometimes just seeing a photo on tumblr, browsing fashion on lookbook can be helpful.
The tiniest things can give you amazing ideas while making great efforts can result in nothing. It’s difficult to calculate, if not impossible. But all the blocks, all the frustration, all the suffering is worth it in the end because the excitement when you get a vague idea and then keep building it until it becomes something real and something you can be proud of, is just one of the most rewarding feelings ever.

So whatever you do, don’t quit, don’t give up, frustration is awful but brighter times are coming.


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