If you’re in the creative industry, you already know what kind of storm that brings while you try to stay on top of new trends. There’s always, this and that software, some fancy technique popping up, or a shiny new piece of gear you have to get your hands on. All these tools in your arsenal, it’s surprising how often you find yourself in a heavy creative funk. This is especially relevant if you run your own business or work as a solo freelancer. Your designs become repetitive, concepts and ideas blend together, everything just look and sounds the exact same. So, what do you do?
Inspiration is everywhere, we just have to learn how to open our eyes and know when it’s there. Then all we have to do is turn that into something creative we can use in our work. Millions of artists, and creatives are out there producing incredible pieces of work, follow their story, read about their struggles. Understand you’re not alone when it comes to these recurring creative blocks. Sometimes, we need to push through until an idea sticks, sometimes it’s better to take a step back to reevaluate our process.
Start paying attention to the work of other artists or companies you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards. Talk to friends who are inside, or outside of the industry to hear their perspectives. Not a big reader? Pick up a book and read a little. Go for a walk, observe the life around you, even interact with strangers to hear their story. YES! TALK TO STRANGERS!!
Any little thing you can hear, see, smell, or touch can spark a fire for your next projects. Take all that inspiration you come in contact with on your search and use that to create. Create something new, it doesn’t matter good or bad, just create something new. Remember, failure is only a step in the right direction.
An Exercise in Master Studies
This concept was created by fine art instructors, mainly geared towards painters. You would take an old master’s work, interpret and analyze what you see in order to recreate the painting with the intension to replicate the technique and finesse used by the master. Over time the difficulty will subside and you will grow to understand the importance of the exercise. You’ll start to grasp the concepts of compositions, colors will begin to make sense, layering and process will become clear.
Here’s a great example of the exercise process in action at cgcookie.com
The entire master studies idea can be useful in all aspects of the creative industry. Lets say, there’s an amazing illustrator or music producer you look up and aspire to be as good. Take a piece of their work and try to recreate it. Dissect each angle, every sound, all the small details. Understand where the foundation lies and what kind of layers are built on top of it all.
Because their work is so refined, the more you practice, you’ll start to notice how refined your own work becomes. Explore as many of these exercise from different types of artists and you’ll begin to understand which techniques work for you and which do not. Use this practice to mold your own unique style and workflow.
Stay Positive, Stay Motivated
The worst thing we can do as creatives during this mental block, is keep tumbling down that rabbit hole. Take control of how you react to this momentary laps in creativity, understand it’s not forever and start motivating yourself, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Chin up and keep moving forward while learning all you can along the way. It will all come together before you even know what happened.
Comment below if you have any helpful tips for staying creative and getting out of your creative funk!