Creative Lull? How to Give Your Artistic Creativity a Boost

Let’s be honest here: Some artists are naturally creative, for others it doesn’t come so easy. To become a successful artist on your own, it’s important to nurture your creativity and talents. If you find there are times when your mind just draws a blank, you’re certainly not alone!

Here are a few ideas that will give your creativity a boost when you need it:

Keep what writers call a “swipe file.” Or, call it your art idea journal.
Either way, carry an art diary with you and when you see something that inspires, take notes – or even a photo with your cell phone.

Keep a bulletin board in your studio or office. You never know when you’ll run across something that will spark your creativity in a magazine or newspaper. Even a telephone conversation can spark an idea, so put up a bulletin board where you can post ads, pictures, quotations, or anything else that may inspire you.

Know when you’re at your most energetic.
Creating amazing art takes energy; when your energy level is low, focus on other projects that don’t require a lot of thought. It’s also important to note that there are times you simply need to take a complete break from your work for a day or two to rejuvenate. Also know what times of the day you’re at your most creative or energetic, and which times you’re not.

What to do when an art project becomes boring, instead of inspiring or fun? Maybe re-work the piece into something new, or reflect back on the excitement and anticipation that led you to start the project initially. Alternately, find a temporary distraction and do something else for a bit. If the enthusiasm just won’t come back, consider scrapping the project and beginning on something fresh.

Working on a big project?
Think about slicing it into smaller pieces. This makes it easier to remain enthusiastic about your work, sort of like setting small goals; when you reach your goal with the smaller piece of the overall project, it motivates you to move on to the next small piece. Huge projects can become overwhelming; working on a smaller “piece of the puzzle” can help you thoroughly enjoy your work.

Don’t think that every piece has to end in success. Art is not a field of perfection; just like anything else in life, practice makes perfect. Get it in your head that some projects will simply be good practice, and don’t put pressure on yourself that you must achieve perfection with every piece you create!

Perhaps most important of all is engaging with other artists, who have been through (and still go through) what you are going through. When your creativity hits bottom, it’s often inspiring just to be around other artists who have stories of their own – and maybe a few suggestions!


  • Great suggestions! I keep an inspiration board above my desk and several art/idea notebooks. It is fun to have something to refer to when I need a spark!

  • I am gradually scanning and sorting my notebooks and disjointed pieces of paper – have too much of that stuff laying around to be able to find anything, and just flipping through notes and sketches rarely helps me.

    • I have old calendars dating back years that I’ve saved for the pictures but I can’t get rid of them… just in case I need the inspiration!

      What if you took pics of the notebook pages that are important and saved this way? Someday you might want to look back…

  • Great ideas! I belong to a group of artists. We meet once a months and have a Japanese artist guiding us, also we comment on each others art.
    However, I learned new ideas, very helpful ones, tonight. It took me a long time to find my style. I observed a well-known German artist, Gerhard Richter, and I realized that this is my direction. I do not want to imitate him because I have my own life journey. I’m from Germany, too, but that doesn’t mean anything. I have notebooks, just for art, and never used them. I collect papers, but there are so many, that I have stopped searching them. However, I will start anew reading above mentioned ideas.

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