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Art Block Help – Finding the root issue and fight back

Art Block Help – Finding the root issue and fight back


Today, we continue our series about art
block and in this video we’re going to talk about how you can figure
out what the cause is for your art block, because if you know what
the cause is, it’s easier to find a solution. Welcome back
to Pencils & Stories. My name is Henrike and
I make and teach comics. I hope you are well
in this weird time. I hope I can provide you with
some information just, you know, help you keep focused on art. Keep focused on doing
what you love. I know it’s very
easy right now, to.. I think art block is actually going
to be a bigger problem because we are not… We are all a little
bit stressed and we are anxious. First, some words of encouragement. Just try and
not overwhelm yourself. It can be very easy to, in this
period where you need to stay at home, to put all this pressure on
yourself to make a personal project or finally start at comic
or that kind of stuff. Do what you really
want to be doing. And if that’s hard for you, dealing
with having to set your own schedule and having to motivate
yourself and stuff like that… I know for for me, for example, I
work way better when I’m out of the door, like, I’ll just go sit in
a cafe, order something to drink and just work for a few hours. I cannot do that right now because
I need to be at home. So, you know, my whole routine
is basically messed up and that’s…that can be hard. So I just want to encourage you
to not put an enormous amount of pressure on yourself, like, I have all
this free time now, now is when I need to be doing
it. This will not go…. This is not going to help you.
The more you know yourself in these areas, the more you know how
you can keep yourself relaxed, keep yourself focused. Some people just need a ton of
time and just go all in. Other people just work for one hour
every day and it’s all fine. So I wanted to start off with
that encouragement and let’s dive into the video. So as you know,
I recorded two videos before. One was about what I think art block
is and what I think it isn’t. And I wanted to, in that video,
take some of the unhelpful stuff that I see online and kind of flip it around
and make you look at it in a different way. And the second video was
about my story with art block . How I got art blocked. And, you know, it took years for
me to get out of it. I was art block for six years. You can watch both videos. The links are in
the description below. And today we’re gonna dive into
the practicalities of figuring out what the cause is
for your art block. If you’re currently
in art block…Your art block can be
long, can be short. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is figuring out
what’s holding you back. And like I said in the first video
in the series was that I think usually art block comes
from two things. It either comes from overwhelm
or it comes from fear. And those two are
very tightly connected. And this exercise might be hard to
do because it requires an honest look at your life and how you
do things, and your habits, but also what you need in order to be most
creative and what you need might be something completely different from
what somebody else needs. I’d recommend trying
out multiple things. It’s what I did as well. I really needed to figure out how I work
well and how I can see a big project through on my own. And it’s tough to do,
but it’s 100 percent possible. And I really hope you can find
a way that works for you. The best way to figure out the cause
of your art block is to stare it in the face and
ask a ton of questions. Make sure you don’t judge yourself
in this process and be honest. It might take some digging. It might take some thinking
over a few weeks, actually. But for example, I mentioned in my story
of art block that it took me a while to figure out
why I was art block. Because I was so…I was so focused on the fact
that I couldn’t make art. I was blaming myself. I had thoughts of like: you have all
this time, why are you not doing it. Those are not the
questions I’m talking about. Those questions are
actually not helping. What I’m talking about are questions
that would get you below the surface of your art block. I’m going to use some examples because
that makes it easier for me to talk about what kind of
questions you can ask. Obviously, the questions are
things like “why.” Why am I afraid? Why am I overwhelmed? Why am I unable to sit
down after work and work? And you might need to ask a
few questions multiple times to really get to the bottom of it. For example, if you…if you have a busy day job, you come
home from work, you have dinner and you have some family time or whatever,
but you have an hour every day to work on your art. But it’s very
hard for you to work on that. Or something you can
ask yourself, like…. The obvious answer like why am I not
able to do art in that one hour is I am tired because
yes, you will be. You will be tired after
a day of work. If you truly believe that your art
is eventually going to give you energy and it really feels
like a hobby for you…and you actually love doing it. There might be something
else going on. So another question you can ask then, is
like: but if I have an hour every day and making making comics and
making artwork gives me a lot of energy, then why am I
unable to devote that hour? Why am I too tired for art? You know, there’s often some
surface stuff going on. You’re not happy and creatively fulfilled,
so that’s not really the reason. Being tired is is a good reason
because being creative is is mentally taxing. But there are some things that
you can do that actually makes the idea of having to sit down
and work on your comic less intimidating. Because oftentimes being being
mentally tired is a sort of intimidation. Especially if you use the artwork in
a comic as something that gives you energy and fulfills you creatively,
being tired can actually mean “being overwhelmed”. So if you say something like I’m
tired, or, I’d rather sit in front of television. Ask
yourself “why” again. And then it’s like: I really
don’t feel like doing art. That’s a very big art block thing. Sitting down, like, I really don’t feel
like doing art and that’s a different thing than being too
tired to do art. Because if you’re really too tired to
do art, then stop all pressure. Go relax. You know, you need
to relax as well. But if it’s like day in, day out,
if you still keep saying: I’m so tired, I’m so tired. But oh, you’re actually not so tired
that you cannot do art anymore, then something else going on. So you say like, well, I’m
overwhelmed, you can ask why. And that’s why you get to the
good stuff of like I’m I’m so overwhelmed because you might actually
make your expectations too high. It’s usually your
expectations being too high. You might actually…if every day, if you’re too tired and
overwhelmed to work on your art, you probably make your
project too big. So the question of
I’m super intimidating…intimidated. Ask yourself why. Why am I so intimidated
and really get into it. It might just be like, I
need to pencil an entire page. If that freaked you out then you
need to make the page smaller. Don’t look at what
anybody else is doing. Yes, some people can, you know,
thumbnail 10 pages in an hour. It doesn’t matter. What matters is what you are able
to do and what the smallest step is. So you
don’t overwhelm yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s no use to beat yourself up, but
get to the core of what is going on and find a solution for that. I’m gonna talk about solutions in
the next video because that in itself requires an entire video. Because there are so many different
solutions for different kind of artist. I have heard about a lot
of struggles over the years from all of you, and there is…there’s very different kinds of solutions. So that’s gonna be
an entirely different video. You ask yourself the questions
as a friend would do. Don’t judge yourself. As a friend, ask the questions to kind
of figure out what is going on. Let’s go to the fear part. There can be so many different fears
when it comes to making comics, when it comes to
making your own art. Art is so personal. So there’s usually
some mental stuff going on just because it’s so personal. And it’s… It’s sometimes really scary
to put yourself out there. You might actually self-sabotage because you
are you are afraid to put yourself out there. That is
a very deep, very deep reason. Might not have to be that deep. When you’re…when you’re afraid of
doing your project. … People will have an
idea for a story. They will write on it. Sometimes
they’ll design characters, they will designed their worlds and stuff. Then you ask them like, oh,
you’re gonna make a comic? Yeah, I want to! And then five years later
they still want to. You know, this is not a
diss on anybody who has that. I know…I know a ton of people do
this and that used to be me. So don’t take this the wrong way. But that is what happens
to a lot of people. And usually there’s a fear. And that’s the fear of the
stuff you put out being imperfect. That is the cause of a
lot of you people’s art block. Perfectionism really is such
a big enemy. And I use that word not lightly. It is…really, it can be really devastating and and
can really halt your progress as an artist. It can
halt your projects. Perfectionism is really hard. It is fear based because usually you
have this idea for comic in your head. You have characters that you love
and you want to do them justice. You want to make a
really cool world that brings your audience in and makes them go, oh,
my goodness, this is so cool, you know. But you also feel that
you are lacking in skill. And that’s when people keep writing,
keep drawing, keep drawing, keep writing, keep writing, and maybe do
some tutorials, do some courses. But they don’t make the project
because the project is perfect and safe as long as you
don’t work on it. But it will never get
done if you don’t start. And starting is very hard because
you’re gonna run into your imperfections. You’re gonna run into issues
that you need to be solving. And that is a thing of
like, I know I’m get into solutions. I’m really trying not to
get to that right now. But I’m gonna talk about perfectionism
in the next video because it’s very important. About asking yourself questions, to
figure this out, because usually you might not know
that you’re afraid. I did that for a long time. I
did not know fear was the problem. I thought motivation
was my problem. I thought energy was my problem. I thought skill was my problem. I sought it more it in the
direction of: I’m just not motivated enough. Well, it just…It was fear. So when you ask yourself
these questions, be mindful of the fears that are in there. For example, the person who has the
day job and is tired in the evening. There can be fears
in that scenario as well. They might actually be afraid to work
and get nothing done in the hour because an hour feels
like a short time. You can get a lot of stuff done
in an hour, but it feels like a really short time. You put all
this pressure on yourself to produce results in that hour. There might be a fear underneath
there that you’re not getting results. The solution to that is
actually not to become super productive. The solution to that
is: don’t have those high expectations of yourself. Don’t expect to make a
masterpiece in an hour. Just expect to make a little bit
of progress every single day and then eventually you’re gonna
get the result. So a lot of the
times it’s adjusting your expectations. But when it comes to fear…Let’s say you’re one of those people who
wants to start that comic and has been trying to start it for the
last few years and it just doesn’t work. Well, again, why haven’t
you done it yet? And again, don’t judge yourself. But like, why haven’t
you done it yet? And usually there will be kind of
things like, well, other things got in the way or, you know, I’m waiting
to get better at writing or, you know, I’m still fleshing
out the characters. And then you ask yourself: but why
has that stopped you from working on your comic? Why are you… Why are you keeping yourself busy
with that stuff, when you could start making pages literally today. So why would it stop you? Why would it stop you? Just ask yourself. Not being able to write a good
story, Why would it stop you from doing a few tests comics? From doing a few comics
that are three pages long. Well, I’m not ready yet. Why are you not ready yet? Why do you feel you
are not ready yet? Well, I lack drawing skills. I lack writing skills. And that’s very practical. Because now you can
work on those things. If the why question doesn’t work. You can ask
yourself “what” questions? What do I need? What would I need
right now, for me, to start this comic? Ask yourself
questions of: What? Where? Maybe you don’t like… For me: I work
best when I’m outside. So the…the “where” The “who.” Do you surround yourself
with supportive people? And then there’s “how.” You can even
ask yourself: how is what I’m doing right now helping me? Or: how would I feel
if I would do it? You know, try to just fling a lot
of questions at it and keep kind of poking, without judgment. Keep poking and have
conversations with friends. I found this
really, really helpful. And especially, apparently, people who
don’t know anything about art. So keep going, keep pushing,
keep talking about it. Keep journaling. Keep writing. Make a collage, I don’t know. Just just go ahead
and dive into this. Like, don’t make it
this whole psychological analysis. But, you know, ask the questions. Ask the questions. And eventually you are going to
end up with an answer. As long as you stay honest,
it’s OK to not know things. It’s OK to not have the skills. It’s okay and really healthy, I think,
to see where you are lacking, even if it’s things like self-confidence
or, you know, fear or failure. Those are good things to know
because then you know what to pay attention to. There’s no right or wrong answers. There is no one
cut solution for everybody. You need to figure this out. But if you want to have some
help, then please go into the comments and just post where you’re at. You know, and maybe other people can
help you, you know, ask you the right questions. I know I will be reading the
comments, so leave a comment below. Also, and this is new, I started
a Facebook group that goes with this YouTube channel. It is specifically for
people who want to make comics. Find it on Facebook: if you
put in the search bar: Pencils & Stories. You can also find the
link in the description below, that’s way easier. So go
there and connect. You can also subscribe to my
email list for weekly inspiration. I send out a weekly email with
resources I find and all that good stuff. And you would get my new
free bonus, when you do that. My new reward, which is:
my comic quick tips. It’s 10 tips that will help
you instantly improve your comic. So go to description and sign up. I would love to have you on my
email list and send you all the resources and, you know, updates
and news that I can. Speaking of resources, I have been
working on a very big resource list. That’s a last new update,
I’ve been very busy lately. That’s the last new update I wanted
to give you in this video. I have made a resource list of
all the stuff, like books, articles, videos, courses that helped me out of
my art block and helped me create comics. It’s on my
website, Pencils&Stories.com/resources. And that link is also
in the description below. So I got all kinds
of stuff for you. I would really appreciate it if
you could check it out. I lost all of my work
due to the social distancing measures. Ever thought about, you know, buying
something for my store or signing up for e-mail list? I would really,
really appreciate it. It would really help me. If you liked this video it also really
helps me to give it a thumbs up. So I know that you liked it
and I know to make more videos like these. Also share it with a friend. If you know that they’re maybe sitting
at home and they can use some motivation to start working on their
own projects or if they’re just really interested in
stuff like this. And I would appreciate it if you
send them the link to this video. If you like making comics, if you
want to be making comics, then subscribe to this YouTube channel. And I will see you
in the next video. We’ll talk about solutions. Stay tuned.

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1 thought on “Art Block Help – Finding the root issue and fight back

  1. Are you currently art blocked? Post your where you’re at with your questions and maybe we can ask some of the questions for you.

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