How do You Work Through Artist’s Block?

Every artist knows the feeling. You’ve been staring blankly at your equally blank tablet, paper, or canvas for what feels like years, and all you’ve managed to come up with is something like this:

(Which isn’t a bad thing if the goal was to experiment with hand lettering “the” in a fancy way.)

The artist’s block struggle is real. And every creative has their way of waiting it out, pushing through it, or working around it. So we asked our artists – how do you work through artist’s block? Check out what they had to say!

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Artists Block” by Mathijs Vissers.

Get to work anyway. Create something, even if it’s not the thing you’re supposed to create. It’ll at least get your rhythm going. That’s how I ended up with my recent “Artist’s Block” design.


Sketch, doodle, Photoshop, whatever; just get busy making something. Even if it stinks, at least you’ll have made something.


Mathijs Vissers (@Demented) | Mathijs’ Artist Shop
Magic Wand” by Ross Matlock & Papao Vallejo

Whenever I have a creative block, I force myself to stay awake until I come up with at least one idea I don’t hate. The only negative to that idea is that about 80% of the ideas I come up with that I love at 2 AM I hate when I look at them again in the morning. But the main thing whenever you get a block is to not be hard on yourself. You’ve come up with great ideas before, you’ll do it again. In the meantime, just doodle (or in my case, write) something to keep your mind on thinking creatively. More often than not, your best ideas come when you get into a creative zone then let your mind wander.


Also, you don’t do your best thinking on an empty stomach: it’s always best to have some Oreos or chips and salsa at the ready.


Ross Matlock (@rossmat8) | Ross’ Artist Shop
Red Medusa” by Anna.

Drink wine and dive into the dark abyss of your mind. Look for the ruins, monsters and gems and ban them on paper.


Looking at the sky and clouds helps too.


Anna (@sleepydolphin)
It’s All Good” by Cody Weiler.

Usually I subscribe to the idea that sitting down and forcing yourself to work is the best way through creative block. However, when even that fails, it always helps me to take a walk or a drive with no specific destination in mind. Something about focusing on mundane repetitive action frees up the mind to think creatively. Nine times out of ten, I’ll come back home and have something in mind to start working on.


Cody Weiler (@csweiler) | Cody’s Artist Shop
Art Made Me” by Daniel Stevens.

I look to other peoples’ art for inspiration, so Threadless helps a great deal. It amazes me the unique ideas and styles that consistently flow through the site.


Creativity is also random, so when you get ideas you should write them down so you don’t forget them. I have a list of ideas I’ve been writing down for two years now so when I find the time, I work on them.


Daniel Stevens (@dnice25) | Daniel’s Artist Shop
UNLIMITED POWAH” by Villainzilla.

You don’t fight it. Do something else. Go outside, ride a bike to the beach or something. Drink beer. Listen to good music. Eventually, inspiration will strike :)


Ren Valenzuela (@renvillainzilla) | Ren’s Artist Shop
Polaroid” by Aaron.

I usually trawl through Instagram or Pinterest or ffffound for ideas ’til something sticks.


Aaron Thong (@agrimony) | Aaron’s Artist Shop

Or finally, do what Luis Romero suggests: Be Batman.

Do you have any tips for getting through creative block? Let us know in the comments!

Need more inspiration? Click here!

Featured image is “Mondrian’s Duvet: Study #2” by Perry Beane

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Carlyn Hill

Dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I'm not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.