Artists block and solutions to get over it

Being creative in some shape or form tends to mean there's an increased likelihood of having the occasional 'bout' of this 'affliction', this artists 'curse', for which there is no known 'cure', and to which kith and kin alike are all subjugated, forever wandering the landscape howling at the werewolf's artists moon. It's not something artists particularly relish either ('artist' is used in the broadest sense to mean anyone that paints, draws, makes, models etc.. etc.. something 'real' or 'virtual').

3D models of street lights

So whilst its not an especially painful experience (unless you happen to be a wereartist), it can cause the sufferer quite a bit of anguish, for want of a better word, as it throws a seriously large, heavy chrome vanadium spanner in the works of the creative processes associated with thinking, doing and making content for games. It can be set off by a multitude of things, from 'real' world stresses to 'virtual' (fake'?) concerns over work simply "just not working right".

This is of course the curse of 'artists block' euphemistically referred to by an infinite number of colourful and not-so colourful euphemisms (and the occasional epitaph) synonymous with the same fundamental problem that has plagued artists for centuries, possibly even as far back as the first hairy homosapien to pick up a muddy stick and mark a pattern the nearest flat surface (later to become known as 'tagging'), thus giving birth to 'real' art, the results of which being explained with the same unintelligible meanderings, grunts, whistles and motions much beloved and used by today's creative establishment elites (steady... a topic for another day perhaps. Ed.).

Computers, and the making of 'virtual' content, unfortunately doesn't equate to an immunity to the universal truth that at some point the artists faithful old gray-matter will conk-out and seize up, with the result that the artist in question will question their art, reverting them back to a state not too dissimilar to that very first aforementioned monkey with muddy stick, replete with grunts and screams. And of course, once the artist is in this 'place' it can be tricky to get out of as it has its own 'feedback' loop that in severe cases it can lead to "Emo-ism" - dressing in black, using "meh" as a universal conversational device - a condition artists and creative types seem especially prone to, meh.

How to fix the artists block

3D telephone/graph poles

So, how to fix this problem, keeping in mind that being in a funk isn't exactly conducive to actually doing much of anything, if anything at all!. It just so happens, funnily enough, that it's easier to fix than the afflicted artist may realise, requiring just a few simple exercises or remedies that can be broken down in to two distinct 'types' of action; one being 'passive', the other 'active' - whichever is chosen depends generally on the artists overall temperament, personality and current mood.


'Passive' remedies are actions that require little, if any, work (mental or otherwise, so good news), zoning out in front of the TV for example; watching movies, playing games, browsing the web, listening to music, going out, talking the pet goldfish for a long walk, and so on, all of which serve the same basic purpose of taking the mind off subject by distracting it so any apparent blockages are literally forgotten about. The process can be further encouraged by strong emotional responses to whatever is being used to kick-start recovery (not quite sure how one would get that sort of response from taking the goldfish for a walk. Ed.). The key however, is to be to fully submerge in whatever it is that's being done. There's a caveat though, don't get 'caught' doing this, it's troublesome enough as it is to explain why you're "always playing games" or "watching too much TV", without replying that you're doing it for a reason that may not be entirely understood by non-creative associates, "uh huh, right, so the leash around the goldfish is to stop it doing what exactly?".


'Active' solutions on the other hand usually mean taking direct action, a painter staring at a blank canvas for example would load a big brush with paint and dash it across the surface in the hopes of thus smiting the hold that vast expanse of white has on the brain. For 3D artists a similar approach to this is to make something, the key being to keep it simple, crates, barrels, box's, street furniture (lampposts, telephone poles) and so on. The specific reason for doing this is that simple, uncomplicated shapes allow the mind to focus on the technicalities of building objects, it's purely a matter of 'how' rather than necessarily being one of 'what', these simple objects are all items that require little more than basic creative thought processes; a barrel is a cylinder; a crate, a box primitive, and so on; focusing on doing something that's not a challenge helps to distract the brain and trick it back into action.


There are obviously numerous ways for the artist to get back on track and over come these bouts of polygonal fecundity, the more successful generally tend to have either/or or both of the two common traits described above; "simple" solutions that "distract" allow the mind to literally switch off it's abstract creative centre and the processes associated with 'higher' brain functions that manifest themselves as fallen angles, monster machines or massive game environments. Instead the mind needs to rely on the 'lesser' fundamental motor skills associated with the artist being on auto-pilot, the muscle-memory of simple object construction.

Artists get into trouble by over complicating the matter, both metaphorically and literally - modeling complex objects and models doesn't always help, it certainly doesn't make for a quick efficient recovery, so pushing to hard may result in a "go to Jail" card issued by the brain for an indeterminate amount of time. Don't force the matter, let the brain zone out from time to time - there's a lot more to this creative lark than people realise and it uses a surprising amount of gray material in the process.

Now where did that "how to crochet a blanket" book go?

Simple 3D oil drum barrels to get the brain matter back on track