Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A question about Artist Block

Fellow artist Licia asked me, "Marilyn, what is your best advice for "artist's block" when it hits? Do you force yourself at those times to sit and draw no matter what?"

Yep, sit down and start drawing. But start small, draw tiny, tiny little doodles that are really crappy. :-)

Draw twenty circles or boxes on a page and then turn them into something, faces, animals, houses. I find when I am blocked it is because I have a perfect beautiful picture in my head and not the skills for getting it on paper.

Another way to get jumpstarted it to try new things, new pencils, paints, stamps, pens. Feel free to explore. Try inking with a brush instead of a pen.
Draw your way through the alphabet. Doodle something that starts with the letter A, B,C...

If you are totally stuck, just practice your lettering. Anything that gets your pencil or pen moving is good.

I have a million tricks for getting to the drawing. Mostly because it's hard for me. Putting that first mark on paper or starting "a proper drawing" is not something I come by easily.

But the trick is to just show up at the page and let yourself play.

More later,



  1. Thank you so much for the suggestions!
    - Licia H

  2. Licia! My pleasure!

    I can't wait to see what you come up with!


  3. I don't really have any good advice beyond, just do it. But I am encouraged and inspired by your technique of starting small. Just draw circles—brilliant! I agree that sometimes the block is caused by not knowing how to do what you want—I encounter that all the time with design. Starting ANYWHERE (hmmm, what if I just place the logos . . .) usually gets it going. And snacks help.

  4. Another words, just butt your head up against that block and start pushing! Great advice Marilyn!

  5. Interesting how almost all creative people do run into some sort of block. I know I've had it with my beading and my writer friends complain about it all the time. I sometimes wonder if we don't really have little "Muses" sitting on our shoulders helping us along and our block is when they go on vacation.