Beating artist’s block – 10 ideas I’ve found helpful

Don’t you just hate it when you don’t know what to paint or draw or create?

I found myself in that situation today and thought I’d remind myself what I could do to reinvigorate my creativity!

  1. I keep a sketchbook with me at all times. Jotting down the ideas as soon as they come. If I’m stuck what to do I have a look through it.
  2. I play with different media – using the opportunity to try a new technique can really help spark an ideas.
  3. I go for a walk with a sketchbook taking time to stop and sketch anything which catches my eye.
  4. I looking through books and magazines. I found a really good book on abstracts recently “Painting Abstracts” by Rolina van Vliet and there are loads of exercises to help inspire creativity.
  5. I visit a real Art Gallery – seeing another artist’s work can stimulate an idea.
  6. I visit art websites and galleries online. Lots of sites such as Painter-online and Empty Easel have online tutorials. I might not wish to reproduce the image they demonstrate but they are a good source of advice and can be inspiring. Even if it’s only “I can do better than that!” It can be fun to do a subversive version instead.
  7. I rip up a magazine or seven and make a collage. BeIng surreal or funny if the mood takes me e.g. Kerry Katona’s head on K9’s body. Oooh, I like that idea!
  8. I doodle! Making a mark on a large piece of paper and fiddling with it. It helps free up your mind and sometimes you get a great idea for a project.
  9. I go out and take photographs. I play with exposure, cropping. Go in close and personal. Focus on details. Look for different angles.And so on…
  10. I got stuck with artist’s block here!!!!!!!! Then I remembered. I hoiked out an old sketchbooks, flick through and pick one page. Then look at it upside down, sideways or squinting.  I then sketch or trace some or part of an image. Using a limited colour palette, I paint the new sketch

In all this, I don’t worry about how it will turn out.

My advice? Look on it as an exercise. Be patient, inspiration will come.

So, which option did I resort to?


and here it is.


I’ve called it “Potential” I love brickwork, I might have said so before! I was playing with ideas to create brickwork and this sort of evolved. The signature as the artwork.

Been looking at too much conceptual art methinks!

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The Master of Masking and the Sultan of Splash Manchester born artist, Cathy S R Read draws with masking fluid to create distinctive mixed media paintings inspired by urban architecture. Much of her work is of Manchester and London. She is a published author and her book, "The Milton Keynes Project" is available on Amazon

2 thoughts on “Beating artist’s block – 10 ideas I’ve found helpful”

  1. Hi just over from ArtBiz Blog. I am currently in a rut so came to see your suggestions. I know what I want to do, and have 2 pics with barely started outlines tacked to wall, but do not have the motivation to continue either of them. After lunch, I think I will do your 3 & 9 whilst the weather is still cool enough to walk about (I’m in the Middle East). Thanks for your suggestions.

    1. Thank you for dropping by Sue. I’m really pleased you found the suggestions helpful!
      Happy Sketching/photographing!

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