Art: Koosje Koene

A while ago, Sketchbook Skool co-founder Koosje Koene made a shocking confession: She was in a creative slump. (You’d never know it from the amazing Draw Tip Tuesdays she does every week.) Even though she was feeling blocked, she addressed this problem in typically creative fashion, creating Art Therapy Thursdays, a series of interviews with creative people about how they deal with slumps. (You can find those interviews here on the blog by searching Art Therapy Thursday.) The great news is that it worked—Koosje’s got her creative mojo back! She’s making at least a drawing a day. Here’s a list of things she learned from her Art Therapy interviews. Keep this list handy and your creative blocks won’t stand a chance!

  1. Be patient, spend time doing nothing, listen to your mind and body.
  2. Make some art with kindergarten kids!
  3. Have a creative object, or an item of clothing that you wear when you get stuck, like a "lucky sweater."
  4. Don’t share your work; just keep it to yourself for now.
  5. Visit a place or a museum where you never drew before.
  6. Watch this cool animated interview by The Atlantic with director David Lynch talking about ideas.
  7. Hop into a new art supplies shop and find some completely new art materials to spark inspiration.
  8. Take the pressure off drawing and try another creative pursuit, like sculpting, writing, playing guitar or piano...
  9. Try something really different, like a baking class.
  10. Go back to basics so you can rediscover your love of drawing. We have a kourse for that: How to Draw Without Talent.
  11. Lock away your art supplies. Don’t do any sketching or painting for a set amount of time. Before you know it, you'll be aching for your supplies and favorite activity. Don’t allow yourself until you can't resist any longer.
  12. Write Artist's Way "Morning Pages" and let your thoughts flow onto paper.
  13. Get rid of the preciousness. Go messy, in a cheap sketchbook. On bad paper.
  14. Try to illustrate your creative block.
  15. Take a break from a project. Watch tv, read a book, a magazine, go to the movies, listen to an audiobook.
  16. Recycle some ideas.
  17. Take time to look back at the art you've made before. You'll be inspired by your own work!
  18. Start a new plan: A drawing a day, first thing in the morning. New habits can help you shake a rut.
  19. Get together with a friend or a group to sketch. Meet regularly. Cheer each other on!
  20. If boredom is the issue, shake things up with a project, like making a book of your life story. Our kourse Storytelling shows you how to do that.
  21. Meditate. For a few minutes each morning, focus on your gentle breathing. Or go for a walk and be aware of each step.
  22. Get a pack of 64 crayons and be a kid again.
  23. Be true to your own awesome self; that's the most important thing. Try copying one of your own drawings, but copy it upside down.
  24. Then, mimic the style of another artist. Use their art tools and media. You can't make exact copies, and through your version, you create your own style.
  25. Give yourself permission to play and experiment. We've got a kourse for that too: Playing.
  26. Read a children’s book, visit a school art class as an observer. Watch kids playing.
  27. Sign up for a life drawing class.
  28. Narrow your focus. Choose a category, like food, and only draw food. Make a collection of food drawings for a week, or a month. (Check out Draw It Like It's Hot for a look at how beautiful and inspiring food art can be.)
  29. Relax, travel, read, sleep, rest, dance, and if the mood strikes you, do art for yourself and no one else.
  30. Release all expectations and stress about this creative slump. It could be the doorway to a new creative expression! And we'll have one for you on Monday...
Filed under categories: Draw Tip Tuesday, Fakulty, Inspiration, Tips