How to get out of bad illustration habits
Updated: May 9, 2020
Sometimes when drawing, painting, or designing something it is easy to fall into a habit. Not that that is always a bad thing, in the beginning, it might mean that you found a work process that works for you, but after a while, what made you productive can actually make you bored and producing boring work. Maybe you are stuck using the same color scheme every time, or maybe all your characters look the same.
That usually happens when you notice you are not excited to get to work anymore. When doing one more illustration or writing one more word sounds unbearable. Even starting a new project seems to get you tired just thinking about it. Your drawings start to look wrong somehow, lifeless. Like you just can't get it right and that ends up driving you into a dreaded creative block. sounds familiar? to me it does.
So here are some ways to fight a creative block
If you are feeling uninspired
take a break from work, even a short one, and go do something that inspires you. It might be gardening, a craft project, or going for a walk in a beautiful place. Just take your mind off things for a bit and enjoy yourself. Someone that is happy will produce better work.
Some days it just doesn't happen.
There are some days that I sit down to draw and it seems like I forgot how to. Everything comes out crooked and ugly. I start to despair and wonder how I am going to finish my projects. it's all lost!
Don't do that, if you're not feeling it today, it is likely that tomorrow will be better. Just have a bit of patience with yourself and maybe go have a look at all the work you've done that you actually feel proud about.
My favorite method
Now my favorite thing to do, which ends up helping most of the time, is to go learn something new.
Adding new knowledge to my arsenal makes me want to try it out and motivates me. And there are so many ways to do that! One of my go tos is to look at the work of artists I admire. Not to compare but to learn from them. I like doing studies. Select some of your favorite illustrations and try to copy them for practice. Maybe it is to learn how they do textures, lighting, colors, etc. I can not emphasize enough how important it is to do this!
Another good thing to do is to watch some tutorials and participate in some workshops. I'm always looking for instruction from many different sources, each new perspective adds to my own. Some times what you really need is a shift in perspective.
One more thing to try is to change mediums. If you only work digitally try messing with some paints or doing pencil sketches. This always helps me remember techniques that I should be using in photoshop to improve my drawings.
If you only work traditionally, why not give digital a try? It might open up a world of possibilities for you.
What do you like to do to get past a creative block?