Well, a while before I wrote this article, I almost had a case of artist’s block. I could still start sketching out possible ideas for paintings but, after a while, I’d look at my sketch and think “that’s completely random – it makes no sense. I should sketch something that means something.”
But, eventually, I managed to produce a painting – and, yes, it was fairly random:
One of the things that helped me get over this sudden lapse in self-confidence was looking back at a lot of my old art from last year and realising just how random, nonsensical and downright weird most of it was. Like this old picture:
I realised “well, I’ve produced lots of weird stuff before. So, people won’t exactly be surprised if I produce some more“. And, well, this also started to make me think about the role of weird art in an artist’s development and about how – for want of a better word – useful it can be to produce weird art sometimes.
You see, if you’re practicing making art regularly in order to become a better artist, then the most important part of this is actually making the art. So, if -for example- you’re making one drawing every day, this means that you are going to have to come up with 365 ideas for different drawings every year.
Now, even the most intelligent and imaginative creative genius in the world is probably going to struggle with coming up with a meaningful, comprehensible and profound idea for a picture literally every day, without fail.
So, what do you do?
If you spend all of your time sitting around and waiting for inspiration or even just a “good idea”, then you’re probably not going to stick to your regular practice schedule. Yes, you might get a good idea every day for a week, or possibly every other day – but you’re unlikely to have a good idea every day for an entire year (or more).
So, one of the things you can do when you can’t think of a good idea for a picture is to just start sketching randomly and see what appears – yes, it might be something random, something bizarre or even something hopelessly generic. But it’s an idea, it’s a start for a picture.
But, if you think “that sketch is too random to bother doing any more work on” and sit around waiting for inspiration instead, then you won’t have the beginnings of a picture in front of you. You’ll have nothing.
Remember, you’re making art regularly in order to learn how to make art. So practicing making a completely random and nonsensical picture is a hundred times better than not doing any practice at all. The point of practice isn’t to show off what a creative genius you are, it’s to get yourself used to creating things and learning through sheer repetition and experimentation alone.
In fact, if you’re serious about learning how to make art, then you’re going to produce some bizarre drawings and/or paintings when you don’t have any good ideas – it’s a normal part of the learning process. It’s a way of showing to yourself that you’re committed to making art even when you don’t feel inspired.
And, as I’ve said a few times before, it’s a hundred times better than doing no practice at all. Weird art is better than no art at all.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂