2u Creative — Amy Morelli — Illustration — Branding — Graphic Design

How do you Beat Creative Block?

I wanted to write a blog on this, because I am often asked by fellow artists and non-artists, how do you keep the ideas flowing. Well, first I wanted to say, that sometimes I don't. And that is normal. And the sooner as a creative person you embrace the fact that you can't always get through it, the better off you'll be.. It's a bit like getting rid of the hiccups.. The harder you try, the harder it is.. And sometimes you just won't be able to get through it, but don't worry it's usually not a permanent situation.

Creative Block is NEVER an ideal situation, and creativity can't be turned off and on like a faucet, However, I do realize that deadlines don't stop because your creative mind decided to take the day off. So I wanted to share with you some of the tricks I try to get the ideas flowing. 

This is the number one and golden rule. Don't force it.. The harder you try to create, the worse the creative is. LOL.. I think most of your will agree when the ideas aren't coming and you try an force it, the next day you look back on it and realize you spent all day the day before doing something that isn't great. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your clients, is walk away. This of course is a last resort. Try the 5 tips below, if these things don't work, then you MUST walk away and clear your head.

 Sometimes it can feel like your office walls are closing in on you. For me the best way to clean my palette is to grab my laptop and go to a different room to work. This doesn't always work however and when this happens, I change my environment by going to the grocery store, or taking a run, walking my dogs, lunch with a friend...you get the idea, anything that will put you in a new environment for your brain to add to it's memory bank for you to pull from later.

 This always works wonders for me. I jump at the chance to do some mindless production work, in our stationery division we always have ribbons that need to be tied, or crystals that need to be glued and this is a good way sometimes to get ideas to break loose.. The repetitive nature of the those tasks to focus on usually get's my juices flowing because I'm distracted. However if these kinds of tasks are available, then I do some drawing exercises that have repetitive qualities, for example: Draw a maze. There is no right or wrong answer and drawing has always been a great way to  loosen up the creative brain. Some other drawing things I like to do: Draw a Rorschach inkblot, Again No right or wrong answer. Create a blot that suggests peace and an evil clown.

This one is always fun. And it doesn't have to be a real party, sometimes it's fun to plan a fantasy party for a future date.  This really helps you think outside of the box, it gets you thinking from 2D to 3D and big picture thinking. Below is a sample of an inspiration board for an all white party. I got to thinking, how would you pull off a party using only the color white.  (since I have a stationery division, The 2u Collection my fake parties are always usually wedding related-as it gives me inspiration for both sets of my clients) Usually by the time I'm done with the inspiration board, my creative brain is a little looser than it was before I started.

This is my favorite! But it's a little tricky. My first instinct sometimes is to go see what work my colleagues are putting out. But this is slippery because it could just make your block worse when you see all the amazing work your respected colleagues are putting out. So I've found it's good to break it up. So if your primary medium is graphic design, then you should go to a gallery and inspire yourself with painting, or see a moving animation movie, sometimes it's good to go outside your medium and be inspired by other creatives you respect that work in a different medium.
Lastly, if you've tried all the above and even walked away for a day or 2 from the project than you are in need of a VACATION, and you should plan one. I know working in this field, you feel the need to say yes to everything, and constantly keep the work flowing- but sometimes you do just need a vacation if its been while, even if it's just a weekend to the beach!

I hope you find some of these tips helpful!