When you are drawing do you ever feel stuck or aimless, so much that you can’t draw anymore?

“I’m drawing the things that I love, but it’s not working for me”. Then you are probably in some form of writers’ block, or let’s call it “artists’ block” here.

But how do you bump into these blocks when you are drawing the things that you are good at?
Here, I will introduce the causes of these obstacles.


What is a writers’ / artists’ block?

What is a block anyway?

The word “block” refers to a temporary hiccup.
In the case of illustrations, it means that you are temporarily unable to draw illustrations of the same quality that you normally can.

But why do you get stopped by a block when you practice diligently?
Let’s take a look at the causes.


2.[Cause 1] I’m in a hurry to get better.

The desire to draw better illustrations is of course an important drive for progress.
However if this turns into impatience, you may lose your cool as well as your drawing skills.

“I want to draw well! I want to draw well!
“What do I want to do?
“What SHOULD I do?
These thoughts are unhealthy signs of impatience.

How to fix this:

You maybe in such a rush for progress because;
・When you’re not satisfied with what you create.
・When you find more flaws in your art than strength.

In such cases, look for the good points in your painting.
・”I like this color scheme.
・”I drew this part pretty cute, etc.
It can be small, try to find something that you like about your painting.

You may also want to compare your old drawings with your new ones.
I am sure that you will find something in your past paintings that shows you improved.

And if these advices don’t satisfy you, it’s a good idea to put down your pen and take a break too.


3.[Cause 2] I’m tired

When you’re tired your concentration drops and you tend to draw lines and apply colors in a sketchy way without knowing it.

In addition when you’re tired you tend to notice more of your artwork’s flaws and you lose further confidence in your skills.

How to deal with it

When you become tired, it is best to put down your pen and take a good rest to refresh your mind.

It’s nice to watch anime, manga, or movies that you can immerse yourself in, or hang out with friends.
If you still can’t get back into the swing of things, you may want to take a break from drawing for a few days.

Refreshing yourself will allow you to work on your illustrations with a fresh mind.
In addition, illustrations that you thought were not good when you were tired may start to look better.


4.[Cause 3] Imbalance between input and output

If you can’t think of a composition for an illustration, or what exactly you want to draw, you may have an imbalance between input and output.

<What is input?
Watching your favorite manga, anime, magazines, movies, illustrations, beautiful scenery, or cute animals.
Studying how to draw, compose, and color illustrations, and practicing by copying them.

<What is “output”?
To draw your own manga and illustrations.

How to deal with it
When drawing illustrations, we tend to focus on the output part, but the input is just as important.
If you can’t come up with any ideas for illustrations, try increasing your input.


5.[Cause 4] Comparing yourself with others or worrying about evaluation

When you post your illustrations on social media, they will be viewed and evaluated by many people online.
However, you may feel depressed if the likes are lower than usual, or if your friend’s drawings get higher ratings than yours.

Sometimes it would be ideal to say, “I’ll try harder next time!” But your motivation will only take you so far and sometimes because the cause of your artists’ block.

How to deal with it

If you find yourself comparing yourself to others or worrying too much about your reputation, it’s a good idea to avoid social media for a while.

Even if you don’t get good reviews, you can always say to yourself, “This time I didn’t get a good review, but I improved over here! It’s also a good idea to list the strength of your illustrations before you post them so that you can evaluate those strength later.


6. Summary

It is no exaggeration to say that everyone bumps into some form of block.
So, you don’t have to be in a hurry and think, “What if I can’t draw anymore?
Learn the causes of the artists’ block and how to deal with them, and escape your block at your own pace, and enjoy your drawing life!

(Text and pictures by sakaki)