If you’re creative in any way, then you’re probably going to run out of ideas from time to time. It happens to all of us. Sometimes you can just wait this out until inspiration finally strikes again, but if you have a deadline of any kind, then things can become a bit more complicated.
One of the best things you can do when this happens is to find a cunning way to “recycle” some of the things that you’ve already made.
Since the question of how to recycle something depends heavily on both what it is and how close your deadline is, I can’t offer any specific advice. But I can give you a recent example of the strange (and slightly evil) thought-processes behind a time that I worked out how to recycle something.
Who knows? This story might inspire you….
A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about abandoning my daily “How To Draw” series altogether. I’d thought about this once before and, when I did, it had led to the start of my ill-fated and short-lived “Damania Lite” webcomic. Anyway, after that, I’d managed to stagger on and produce another month of daily “How To Draw” guides before running into problems again.
The main problem was that I’d already drawn everything that I could think of. Occasionally, I’d think of a new idea for just one drawing guide and I’d also sometimes come up with a joke drawing guide to fill out another day’s blog entry – like this one:
But I knew that, at the rate I was going, I’d run out of drawing guides on the fifth of this month. And, to be honest, I wasn’t really feeling that keen about trying to produce any more of them. After all, every time I tried to do this, I usually just ended up sitting in front of a blank page of my sketchbook for an hour or so and, if I was lucky, I might produce one of them. Whatever happened to the good old days when I could churn out seven or ten of them in an hour or two?
So, I did nothing and carried on with other things. After all, I had about seven days before it would become an issue. Then, one night, I was feeling pretty dejected and I felt like the whole world was against me (and, to be honest, I don’t know a single person on the planet who hasn’t felt like this every now and again).
So, looking thorugh my mental list of things to do when I feel miserable, I eventually settled on reading some inspirational and esoteric new-agey articles and I found this list of “politically-incorrect” affirmations compiled by Jeanette Maw.
Not only did they make me laugh (especially when I saw John C. Parkin’s famous two-word affirmation on the list too), one of them stuck in my head too. It was something like “The universe is my b****”.
I don’t know why, but it was just the thing I needed to hear at that moment and it wasn’t long before an extremely funny (and more than a little bit evil) symbolic image of myself holding a large whip and chasing the planet Earth away appeared in my imagination.
In fact, I found it so funny, that I decided to make a little animation of it:
After watching it a couple of hundred times and laughing at it, I went to sleep and had some of the most vivid and surreal dreams that I’ve had in a while. The next day, I watched the animation again and suddenly, something clicked in my mind “Hey! Wouldn’t it be cool if my ‘How To Draw’ guides were animated” And then….
Plus, because I was doing something new with my drawing guides, I quickly realised that I could turn some of my old drawing guides into animations without feeling like I was cheating any of my readers.
Best of all, even though it takes slightly longer to produce an animation than it does to produce an ordinary drawing guide, I was able to make seven of them in a single day just because I already had a ready-make supply of ideas.
So, if you’re short of creative ideas, it might be worth looking at everything you’ve already made and seeing if you can find a way to make it fresh and new again.
Anyway, I hope that this has been inspirational 🙂