Every artist, regardless of profession or experience level, deals with the dreaded creative blocks from time to time.
Also known as barriers to inspiration, creative blocks refer to those awkward periods when your creative mind implodes such that no new ideas can come in or flow out. It typically results from the inability to tap into your internal creativity.
Creative blocks are common among artists like painters and drawers, as well as musicians, performers, writers, etc. In fact, anyone whose career depends on creative and critical thinking can face these inspiration barriers.
Although creative blocks typically last for days, some people may grapple with these barriers for months and even years. And while they generally clear sooner or later, creative blocks can set you back on your career big time.
What Causes Creative Blocks And How Can You Deal With Them?
The primary cause of creative blocks is the fear of making mistakes.
For instance, a painter may find themselves constantly postponing a project because they’re afraid the final output may not turn out as they visualized. This fear of imperfection can prevent an artist from ever embarking on a project.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to combat creative blocks. One effective remedy for inspiration barriers is using art prompts.
An art prompt basically refers to a suggestion or starting point for any artist or creative who wants to embark on a serious project. Although simple and straightforward, art prompts can go a long way in clearing mental slump and getting your creative juices flowing.
20 Art Prompts To Jumpstart Your Creativity
1. Take a break
This is arguably the most effective art prompt idea for unlocking creative potential. Whenever you feel like no fresh ideas are flowing into your mind, just put the project on pause and take a break.
However, remember that it’s what you do while on a break that matters the most. Never put a creative project on hold to try your luck with another stalled project. Instead, use the break to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as going for a walk, playing a fun game, or joining a chat room.
2. Use positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are an excellent way of tapping into your creative mind. Examples include “Yes, I can,” “I did it before, I can do it again,” “I’m dead to naysayers,” etc.
Consider repeating these affirmations every morning or whenever you hit a dead end with a creative project.
3. Take inspiration from your favorite quote
We all have special quotes that turn us on and get our creative juices flowing.
One of the best times to invoke these quotes is during moments of mental slump.
4. Connect with your higher power
Saying a short prayer may also help to clear a fuzzy mind. If you’re not a religious person, consider yoga instead.
Those moments of heightened self-awareness are necessary for kicking creative blocks in the butt.
5. Visualize an Ideal Situation
Creatives are generally perfectionists and idealists. So, visualizing an ideal situation should come naturally to you.
For instance, you can picture a world where money was of no concern yet people still had to work. Or, a world where death and diseases didn’t exist.
6. Write down your favorite word and add effects to it
Which word turns you on? Is it love, sex, pizza, or car? Just write it down and add some art around it. Experiment with different fonts and color effects.
7. Write down your favorite song lyrics and add effects to it
Whether you’re a music lover or not, I bet there are song lyrics that you can aptly relate to. Maybe because they remind you of your first love or an auspicious occasion. Download and print the lyrics, then add some artwork around them.
8. Draw geometric shapes
There are tons of geometric shapes that you can experiment with to activate your creative imagination.
To make the most of it, experts recommend going for unique ones like polygons and trapezia.
9. Have someone draw a random shape, then complete the drawing
Here’s another perfect strategy for combating creative blocks. Just ensure that the drawing is completely random and not anticipated at all.
You can even consider asking a random person in the street or neighborhood to draw the shape if you suspect a known person may draw something you’re already familiar with.
10. Have someone mention a random word and draw a shape similar to the word
Instead of having someone draw a shape that you can complete, why not have them mention a random word and do the drawing from scratch?
11. Think of yourself as your role model
Wear the shoes of your role model and walk a few miles in them. Try to imagine what they’re up to and how they spend their precious moments.
This art prompt idea will especially come in handy if your role model also happens to be a creative artist.
12. Face your fears head-on
If you’re a painter with an unexplained aversion for the purple color, take a purple marker and start painting a random picture with it. And if you’re a performer constantly battling stage freight, arrange a backyard party where you’re the emcee.
As they say, the best way to confront our fears is to face them. And that includes fears of carrying on with a creative project.
13. Animate inanimate objects
You may never encounter a walking stone in this lifetime (or the next). But it won’t hurt to draw a stone with legs and wings.
Adding life to inanimate objects can go a long way in unlocking your creativity.
14. Depict people/animals in quirky situations
Besides adding life to inanimate objects, you can also depict people or animals in awkward situations.
For instance, try drawing a fish flying in the sky, a chicken skydiving, or an infant steering a locomotive.
15. Repurpose your mails
Instead of shredding your mails and chucking them into the trash, why not use them to make a collage or sculpture?
16. Pick a subject and illustrate it in an entirely different way every day
This art prompt will help you appreciate the fact that there are numerous dimensions to every subject.
For instance, you could illustrate death as the end of life on the first day. Then on the second day, portray it as the beginning of life.
On day three, you could illustrate how death is neither the end nor the beginning but a process that occurs throughout our existence.
17. Reminisce about your childhood
Create something that brings back your childhood memories. Focus on evoking nostalgic memories as opposed to intrusive ones.
You can also think of a piece of advice that you’d give to your younger self. And if you’re feeling sufficiently inspired, you could even do a complete letter to your younger self.
18. Think about your bucket list
Think of what you aspire to achieve before kicking the proverbial bucket.
Whether it’s traveling the world, writing a memoir, or becoming a social justice activist, thinking about your bucket list will surely get your creative juices flowing.
19. Recreate a scene from a movie
If you’ve watched a really captivating movie, recreating a scene from the film could help tap into your creative mind. This also applies to a book.
20. Do something completely random
Last but not least, you can resolve creative blocks by doing something completely random and unpremeditated.
This could range from giving out a whistle so loud it leaves your eardrums buzzing to walking in the rain, going on an unplanned road drive, etc.
There’s no way to prevent creative blocks from happening. However, it’s reassuring to note that there are numerous tips you can implement to prevent these inspiration barriers from taking a toll on your creative projects.