Ayush Kumar On Thursday, June 10, 2010

Everyone of us has faced a time in which everything around us seemed so boring, uninspiring and dull. When we just couldn't come up with fresh ideas for our next design, art, project or anything. It has happened with me a lot of times too. It feels so frustrating. Just sitting blankly, wondering what to do next..what to make. This condition is commonly known as 'artist's/ designer's block' or 'creative blank'.

I've seen that this 'designer's block'  mostly arises when we're forced to go through fixed, boring and monotonous routines for long periods of time. Or if we are subject to conditions where our gray matter isn't being used much. For example, attending boring lectures (in case of students) or sitting in front of a computer the whole day (in case of a freelancer or a general office-goer) does drain out all the creativity because of the dull environment they work in. Because, ideas are generated in our heads and so for creative thinking, our brain must be well exercised and used regularly.

So here I am, listing 10 ways as to how you can avoid a creative blackout and always stay at your creative best:

1. Browse through inspiration galleries

The most simple and obvious step. There are many great sites like Abduzeedo, Creattica, DeviantArt, Yay!Everyday etc. which provide very good inspiration whenever you need some ideas. The content on them is very fresh and inspirational. 

2. Follow a tutorial

Look for a tutorial on sites like PSDTuts or DeviantArt and try to follow it. But don't produce the same final results as given in the tutorial. Try to change the results to make it look different. You can even combine two tutorials to produce a new effect altogether. This will help you think differently and bring you right back on the creative track. This method can apply for traditional artists too.

3. Recreate your old work

Everyone was a beginner at some point in his/her life. I'm sure, you like everyone else must have attempted something in photoshop or on a real canvas that didn't come out the way you expected, just because you weren't as skilled at that point of time. When you have run out of ideas, try taking up these projects again and recreate them in a new way. In this process, you will come up with new ideas which will help in re-igniting the creative fire in you.

4. Study the artists you love

We all have someone whose skills we admire the most. Take up two or three of his/her works and study them. See how it was made, what techniques were applied, etc. I'm sure you will come across some techniques which are new to you. Now, try to implement these techniques on your own. You will start getting ideas as to how you can combine these techniques with yours, and produce amazing results.

5. Push your limits

Its never too late to learn anything new. Are you only a graphic designer? Try web designing too. Do you only work with watercolors? Try doing pencil sketching for a change. Trying out something different gives you new and better ideas. And yes, by learning new skills, you can always increase your sources of income.

6. Make an 'inspiration' folder

This is a technique I follow whenever I'm out of inspiration and also not in the mood to search the internet for some good inspiration. Because the net contains equal amount of crap as it does the good stuff. Whenever I'm surfing the net and come across beautiful piece of design or art , I just save its image (whatever size it is in) in my computer in a specific folder. And thus, whenever I need some ideas, I just go through my 'inspiration' folder and get charged up again! No more going through useless stuff and wasting time to find the perfect inspiration.

7. Look around yourself

Look out of your room's window. Do you see that billboard? The typography in it is awesome, isn't it? Getting some ideas? Nice! Or what about that painting in your room? Beautiful, isn't it? This is how you can find good inspiration in those 'small' and 'irrelevant' things around you.

8. Reconnect with nature

Most of us live in cities and due to the rising industrialization and urbanization, we hardly get to see much greenery around. Take a day or two off and visit some place where you can reconnect with nature. Just get away from the noise and the crowd, somehow. Because nothing in this world is more beautiful and inspiring than the flora and fauna around us. Lie down on the grass. Feel the nature's vibes running through you. Watch the birds flying. Hear the whispering of the wind. And when you return to your home, I'm sure it'll be a long time before you hit the creative block again.

9. Listen to music

Yes, music. Music has the power to change our mood whenever we're feeling down. It cheers us up and it can also be a source of inspiration. There must be a song that moves you in some way, makes you think or makes you emotional. Or it has some memory associated with it. I'm sure you can form an image of that scene in your mind. Convert that scene/emotion into your next panting/design. For example, whenever I listen to the song 'After the rain' by groovecatcher, all I can think of is the rain. I somehow feel like expressing the scene I'm imagining, through art. Somehow feel like making something relating to the rain, expressing my love for it.

10. Never lose an idea 

Never underestimate the power of an idea, however small and crazy it seems to you. Half the inventions in the world are because of crazy ideas and experimentation only. An idea can hit you anytime - in the middle of a lecture, while daydreaming, having lunch, traveling etc. Before you forget it, note it down somewhere. You can maintain a small diary to keep record of all your ideas/ inspirations. You can also use mind mapping applications such as Mindmeister, Xmind etc for organizing your ideas. I use Mind42 and love it. And one day, when you hit a creative block, you can go through your diary or your mind maps for creative ideas you've been noting down.

 Feedback on my first article, please? :)


Abhinav Rastogi said...

Lovely!! really good tips man! :D

Ayush said...

Thanks! :D

aditya said...

that was good ....
_aditya gulati

Ayush said...

Thanks! :)
I'm glad you like it!

...sijEEsh... said...

Nice article.. :)

Ayush said...

Thank you, Sijeesh! :-)

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