Creative Block Breaker

Here’s something I want to share with my fellow bloggers and beyond, especially the artists and artsy types.

I was having a slow day at work, and I wanted to doodle something quickly into the small sketchbook I keep next to my computer. However, I had no ideas in my head from which to work from. I looked at the blank page, thought to myself “Oh No; Blank Page!”, and without giving it a second thought, I spilled the whole notion onto the page.

The result was raw, impulsive, and productive. In a manner of minutes, I went from having a blank page and no idea of what to draw, to having a page of hand-drawn typography, illustrated elements, and a concept to work with. Looking at the end result, I wrote down “How fast can you shut up a blank page?”

We’ve all read countless articles about breaking the creative block, and without going into which suggestions work, this little exercise in “shutting up the blank page” works for me. I refer to my smallest sketchbooks as “ugly sketchbooks”; they’re where I let ideas and thoughts initially escape my head and land on paper for the first time, in raw form for further evaluation. These sketchbooks are not where I do highly refined, post-worthy, professional level work; they’re where I plant seeds to see if an idea is viable, and also what other thinking is sparked now that the thought is visual and not just mental.

So here’s the challenge: how fast can you shut up a blank page? How fast can you grab even the most remote thought in your head, place pen nib to paper, and doodle quickly and recklessly until the thought is visualized? Chances are the end result will be sloppy and not represent your “best work.” However, if you assume that opening to a blank page will spark that perfect idea for the perfect drawing, you may be in for a long and futile wait. That perfect idea may really just be a thought that is raw, rough, below the obvious surface, and only needs to be fearlessly extracted and ruthlessly visualized at first so that it can eventually develop into post-worthy, professional-level work (or at least, something that you’re really happy with!)

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