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Removing a long term creative block

Just that really.

I've had a long term creative block for 6 or 7 years now.

I can get by on basic illustration graphics jobs, simple stuff, but I never used to be without a pencil in my hand. I want to get back to my natural creative drawing/painting place.

Has anyone on here had a similar problem? I've got some meditation CDs to try out, which I'm sceptical, but I'll give it a try. I literally can't make myself pick up a pen or pencil to draw. Total and complete block.

Any suggestions will be welcomed... cheers.


Staff member
You often find that a creative block is a combination of trying too hard/putting pressure on yourself and a lack of inspiration.

For me, taking a day off and getting out to see or do something that I'd not normally see or do, helps re-vitalise the old grey matter. Although I cant imagine a 7 year struggle would be solved by a walk in the woods.
...a lack of inspiration.
Start with Pinterest, search and find designs/illustrations/art that inspire you. Even book covers and architectural buildings can be inspiring.
What makes these artwork/design inspiring to you?

Going to the city, looking at posters, adverts, people, shops, magazines will help fuel your creativity.


Well-Known Member
Surely that is far too many years for it to be a creative block. Are you sure you haven't fallen out of love with the industry? Maybe you need to explore a totally different area of design that you hadn't tried before? Everyone gets a creative block from time to time, might last days but not years. When this happens to me, I switch off, and do something completely different, or maybe work on a separate, easy going project. By doing this you are no longer focusing on the project you are struggling with, although subconsciously, in the background your brain is figuring out how to solve the problem task. Then you may find out of the blue, you get that big lightbulb appear above your head, everything becomes clear and you know exactly what you want to do. I believe our prefrontal cortex is responsible for this.

Basically, relax, don't worry too much and let it all come back to you naturally, never force the issue. Do / watch / read things that could inspire you.
No, I suspect a walk in the woods might not cut it. I just seem to have no verve or creativity anymore. I need something to shake my life up and get me back into my old mindset. I suffer from depression and that seems to dominate everything nowadays....


Well-Known Member
I think you need to try and go back and do more of what you used to enjoy doing.

I come from a traditional art background and found the transition to the digital world difficult at first, but seem to have found the right balance now.
Most of the work I do is still hand-drawn and finished on the computer, and I also try and keep my hand in with traditional art when I get chance. There are
still numerous outlets for talented artists even in this digital age. If that's what you used to like to do, make some time to do it after fitting in the paid work.
One day some sketches will click and off you go!

Just an idea - a popular thing at the moment is these colouring books for adults. I imagine they would be quite therapeutic to produce, as well as fill in.

First of all I'm sorry you are struggling with depression, I know how tough that can be. I hope you're getting some support - it's not the kind of thing you should have to face alone.

Secondly - regarding your creative block, it's hard to think that's not linked to your depression. It could be that if you can make some progress with one, it'll help the other too.

One small project might be something to slowly dig yourself out from under the creative block though, and that's a daily drawing project. I think the key to getting yourself back in to drawing, is to give yourself some easily attainable goals, but make sure you have a bit of a structure, so that if you are having an off day creatively you have the structure to fall back on.

An example might be to do one five minute drawing a day of a still life - but give yourself the caveat that it has to be an object, or objects that are easily to hand. No point saying - "I'm going to draw a pineapple today" if you have to go out and buy a pineapple. Don't give yourself reasons to easily find an excuse NOT to draw. And make sure, at least to begin with, that you give yourself a time limit. It doesn't matter how much you achieve in that period of time, it'll stop you getting bogged down though if it's not going well.

The last thing I'd say is don't set your expectations too high, it can take a while to get back in to the swing of drawing again after a long lay-off. Small goals, easily achieved. That'd be a good place to start.

Good luck.