Sometimes my inner critic stops me from painting.
I know I’m at a creative block when I start criticizing everything I paint, thinking it’s not good enough or that it looks too much like what I’ve already created.
When I hit that wall I take out my sketchbook.
I keep a few sketchbooks around: one for sketching with stabilo pencil and water, one for taking notes and brainstorming and one for art journaling.
When I hit the inner critic wall, I take out the art journaling sketchbook.
My sketchbook is the place where I can be free.
It’s a sketchbook, not a precious blank canvas, so I feel like I can play.
I get out my travel art supplies (a set of watercolors, a stabilo pencil, an oil paintstick and a few water-soluble oil pastels or chalk pastels) and I just sit and draw.
I start with whatever comes to my mind first.
If I am at a creative block, I usually want to paint something new, but beautiful. I can never paint something new beautifully (it takes lots of mistakes and trying different things before I can make something new work).
So, I make it easy for myself in my sketchbook. I start with something I know I will like.
That means I usually draw a lion. There’s something about the nose and mane that makes it look good and unique each time. I can draw a flowery mane, a circle mane, or just scribble.
And any animal makes it so I don’t have to worry so much about the mouth.
If I stick to something I know I will like and have fun creating, that helps me overcome my inner critic.
Next, I draw something different (maybe a portrait), but I keep to the colors I know I like. This keeps me in my comfort zone, so I am happy with what I create.
And from there, I uncover new characters and new techniques that get me enjoying to create again.
Of course, I’d love to hear from you. What do you do to get over creative blocks? Do you keep an art journal or have multiple sketchbooks around? How do you use your sketchbooks?
I hope you’re enjoying the holidays! Happy painting!
Ps. I created my Happy Painting Mini Course to help you enjoy the creative process and be happy with the outcome.