From the Artist’s Perspective: Resistance and Creativity

Daniel Arruda is not only an artist but a storyteller as well. His often cosmic illustrations explore fantasy, curiosity, whimsy, and are always bright and colorful. Known as Darruda, Daniel’s approach to fighting creativity is one we can all take to heart. In this piece, Daniel was curious about creative resistance & using it to your advantage. Let Darruda show you the way…

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It’s 7 am. The alarm clock rings on my phone. After 10 minutes I get up. Gradually my mind starts up and generates the first thoughts. I take a minute for a very cold shower, do a few energy exercises, and then 15 minutes of meditation. A quick coffee in the morning, some fruit, and mysterious company – a dark voice that never gives up on manifesting itself. It seems to come from deep inside, most often stronger in the morning. Something that pulls me in the opposite direction, with negative thoughts wanting to prevent any creative manifestation and to move on. What would that be? Why am I thinking that way?

Black Coffee

Author Steven Pressfield, identified these thoughts and called them “resistance” – an inner force that blocks creativity and sucks your dreams. An emptiness that sits between you and your goals and prevents you from doing what you should already be doing. 

“Most of what we feel comes from sensory inputs from unconscious portions of the brain, our lizard brain,” says media psychologist Dr. Pamela Rutledge. The lizard brain is the part of the brain that senses danger, where instincts and feelings are subconscious or involuntary. We can not distinguish what is real or virtual.

Illustration Daniel did illustrating creative resistence.

It’s as if we had two voices in our brain that were fighting. But how can we fight this enemy?

“The greater the fear, the greater the resistance. The danger is greatest when the finish line is close.”


– Steven Pressfield in The War of Art.

Resistance is a very strong force because it’s linked to safety and survival. But it can be controlled. I started to identify these voices in the morning and living with this kind of behavior for days. Taking advantage of this situation was the smartest strategy I ever took. Resistance leaves some clues and directs us toward the path we need to follow.

Tiny Spark

Ironically, we use creative power to create resistance, which prevents us from creating. It’s scary! Knowing this, I changed the way it was relating to creativity. I began to see my first sketches with more positivity and hope. I was having fun and learning from the process.

Keep Breaking Rules

Creative ideas challenge us. I’m always trying to find flaws, identifying gaps for fear of moving on. There is the fear of failing and taking risks, but creative ideas are renewed all the time, they are like chameleons that change color, shape, and adjust to the context. These are challenges we face throughout the process. They lead us to find the best solution for our projects.

Creative Psycho

Using fear on our behalf is a perfect weapon. All strengths and powers come from our fears. You won’t find the perfect setting to start creating; we’ll always be facing adverse conditions in order to delay what we need to do. The best advice comes from the author: “Shut up and do the work!”

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Daniel Arruda

Daniel Arruda was born in Rio de Janeiro, a city known for its curves and fantastic landscapes. He is a lifelong artist, designer, illustrator, and passionate about T-shirts. His interests are many and greatly influence his work. He lives with Ozzy the bulldog and his magic guitar. He loves science fiction, retro stuff, video games, and classic movies.