Artist’s Block


Writers have writer’s block, and I think artists have artist’s block, or art block. I think, for my part, there are two main types of art block.

Type 1 art block is when you want to draw, but somehow the picture isn’t coming together. The proportions are wrong, the perspective is off, the composition is weird, the colours are wrong… something and anything goes wrong. This is the frustrating type. Often results in paper worn thin or rendered unusable because you’ve erased the pencil lines too many times, or it results in a lot of wasted paper because of mistakes along the way that can’t be rectified with an eraser. If it’s a digital piece you were trying to work on, you just end up with a blank digital canvas. Or, after hours of trying to get a picture right but never proceeding past the sketching or inking phase, you end up ditching the file because you just know it’s not going to work.

And Type 2… Type 2 is when you can’t even pick up a pencil. Or you can, but you end up just holding it and doing nothing but looking at the pencil. It feels like all the life has drained out of your hand, out of your arm. Maybe it even feels like life has drained out of your whole body. You’re just completely blank, either devoid of emotion, or so overcome by emotion that you can’t feel anything any more. At the same time, it isn’t as though you can’t make a picture work right (as with Type 1). It’s more of completely lacking the will to create a picture at all. Perhaps you can see the image in your mind’s eye – the picture you want to create – but it simply doesn’t connect to the rest of you. It’s like having an image in mind, but the hand holding the pencil doesn’t feel like your hand. You’re just not there, somehow, for whatever reason.

I wonder if other arty people have the same types of art blocks…

Got anything to add or say? :D