3 Ways to Spark Creativity

Updated: Sep 19, 2021

We’ve all been there: you sit down to create and nothing happens. It’s almost as if all the ideas in your brain evaporated the moment you decided to make something. So you sit there, feeling frustrated, staring at a blank canvas that now seems to be mocking you.


But you don’t have to deal with that horrible feeling. You can get your creativity flowing again. And, to help you get back to making, I’m giving you three ways to spark your creativity!


Keep an Idea Book

One of the best habits for artists is to keep an idea book or a sketch book. Not only does this help you form a daily drawing and brainstorming routine, it can also serve as a reserve for your creativity when you feel completely drained.


Now which one you choose to keep is totally up to you. If you are more of a list-oriented person, an idea book might be your best friend! Just keep a small notebook handy and jot down ideas that come to mind throughout the day. This helps prevent those awesome ideas that pop up at inconvenient times from slipping away. You could keep a simple list or build out a categorized book chock-full of descriptions and themes. Just make sure it makes sense to you when you look at it later on.


If you’re more of a visual person, you might be better suited to keep a sketch book. I love the idea of having a small pocket/purse-sized sketch book to keep track of amazing ideas. It’s a very simple way to create quick thumbnail drawings when you don’t have access to your studio! Additionally, your daily sketchbook might have gold lurking within the pages already. Even if your primary purpose for your sketchbook isn’t taking note of new ideas, a daily drawing habit can be really helpful when you’re not sure what to work on next. So flip back through and see if anything you were sketching sparks your creativity. You never know - that random sketch you made last week could be your next series!


Go Outside or Somewhere New

This is one of my absolute favorite ways to spark my creativity! When I’m feeling really stumped, frustrated, or uncreative, taking a walk helps calm my nerves and allows my creativity to start flowing again. For me, feeling uncreative is usually a sign that I need to refill my tank and tend to my mental health. So I make sure to get time in my schedule to head outdoors as often as I can. Thankfully we have awesome trails within walking distance of our home! When you start to feel art block coming on, try to go outside. It might seem silly, but your next great idea might come to you as you gaze at the clouds.


In a similar vein, going someplace new can be an easy way to jumpstart your creativity! Think about it: how refreshed do you feel after taking a trip someplace you’ve never been? I know after our honeymoon to Scotland, I felt so inspired when we got back home! And it doesn’t even have to be a super exotic location to get that artistic energy back. It could be a trip to a new art supplies store, a new restaurant, or maybe that local bookshop you’ve always wanted to visit. Now, I understand we are in bizarre times right now, so this might not be viable just yet. But once we are able to safely get back to exploring new places, this could be something that really helps get your creativity flowing again.


Create a Mind Map

When I was in college, one of my art professors used to have us make mind maps for every single project. At first, I found this exercise really boring. I didn’t see the point, and I just wanted to get started. However, as time has gone on, I’ve come to understand just how valuable these word associations can be!


Let’s say you want to create a painting about animals, but you aren’t sure where to start. You feel stuck and like every idea you come up with is too generic. This is the perfect time to start a mind map! In the middle a piece of paper, you would write “animals” or whatever you feel stuck on. Then draw lines coming out from this central bubble leading to an associated word. For this example, let’s use “bird”. Then for each of these associated ideas you draw more lines leading to other words. For “bird” you might write “cardinal” or “migration”. After you’ve exhausted every related idea, review your mind map and see if anything is speaking out to you.


In my experience, this exercise has been really helpful in fleshing out okay ideas into projects that are brilliantly creative and original. You can even set a timer to really get that brain working! Either way, give mind maps a try the next time you can’t spark your creativity. You might be shocked at what you can come up with.

 

I hope one - or all - of these ideas helps you spark your creativity again! I know how frustrating art block can be, but I don’t believe we have to stay blocked. Tuck these into your artist tool belt so you have them the next time you feel your creativity floating away.


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Thanks for reading and happy creating!