If you were looking this site earlier this month, you probably saw that some of my daily paintings were less inspired than usual (and, yes, there’s currently about a 2-4 week gap between when I make art and when I write each day’s article).
Don’t get me wrong, I used all sorts of clever tricks to disguise the fact that I was feeling uninspired (like using plain black backgrounds, painting landscapes occasionally etc…) but – even if it didn’t show – I still felt extremely uninspired.
But, rather than feeling like I didn’t have any ideas, this was a much worse type of uninspiration. It was the kind of uninspiration where making art just felt like a boring chore. It felt ordinary. It didn’t feel special, cool or creative. I didn’t feel like I was “really” an artist. To use a very vague-sounding phase, making art had “lost it’s magic”.
So, whilst this may just be an overreaction to an ordinary period of uninspiration, I thought that I’d try to think of any ideas for re-gaining that “magical” feeling that I get when I’m inspired.
I’m sure that I’ve probably mentioned most of this stuff before, but I thought that I’d share these thoughts with you.
1) Still life paintings: The only “uninspired” painting that I posted here this month that I’m seriously proud of is a still life painting that I made of a cute little stuffed tortoise that I got as a birthday present earlier this year. Here’s what it looks like:
“Adorable Tortoise And Aniseed Ball” By C. A. Brown
At the time, I didn’t know what to paint and I eventually thought “sod it, I’ll just copy something from real life and use a lot of artistic licence“. It was an uninspired and lazy artistic decision, but the painting was still a lot of fun to make and I ended up producing something that I was really proud of. Best of all, I actually felt like an artist that day.
Why? Well, making still life paintings can be a great way to recapture the “magic” of making art because you’ve literally created your own version of something that actually exists.
You’ve demonstrated to yourself that you have the ability to record the things that you see onto paper or canvas. But, not only do you have the ability to record things, you also have the opportunity to make them look better than they actually are.
In other words, making still life paintings or drawings can be a great way to make art feel “magical” again, because it reminds you of the sheer level of creative power (eg: being able to make things look better than they actually are) that comes with being an artist.
2) Parodies and fan art: The first painting that I posted here this month was a parody cartoon based on “24: Live Another Day“. Although this cartoon wasn’t that great in artistic terms, it was still a hell of a lot of fun to make. Best of all, I actually felt inspired before I made it. Here’s what it looked like:
[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “24: Live Another Day Parody” By C. A. Brown
There are a couple of reasons why making parodies and/or making fan art can be a great way to remind yourself of how magical making art can feel.
The first one is that, with parodies, you’ll usually end up starting with an idea. Whether you notice something silly in something you’ve been watching or whether you try to think of something funny involving the thing that you’ve been watching, all parodies have to start with an idea.
What this means is that you get to have the experience of turning your idea into an actual thing. This experience of turning ideas into things can be a powerful way of reminding yourself of how magical making art can be.
The second reason is that, if you’re making fan art, you have to engage with the characters that you’re drawing or painting. You have to interpret them in your own way. In other words, rather than just being a member of the audience, you’re part of the thing that you’re making fan art about. You’re having a conversation with the thing that you’re making fan art about.
In other words, you’re an unofficial part of a creative idea that is much larger than you are. Yes, you’re an unofficial part of someone else’s idea, but this experience can still make you feel like you’re part of an artistic community, which can revitalise your interest in art.
If “fan art” seems like it’s slightly below you or if you’re excessively worried about copyright, then try making a few studies of classic works of art instead. The effect is basically the same but, it feels more prestigious and – if the thing you’re studying is suitably old enough (do your research here, since copyright limits vary from country to country) – then you can even theoretically sell your studies, provided you clearly label them as modern copies that you made (otherwise they could be considered to be forgeries).
3) Read comics: This one is fairly self-explanatory, and it doesn’t always work, but one way to remind yourself of what a magical thing art can be is to read comics. Seeing art come alive as part of a story can remind you of how powerful art can be.
Often if you’re making “ordinary” drawings or paintings, it can be easy to feel like they don’t matter. After all, you’re just drawing or painting pictures of random landscapes, locations and people. So, seeing art being used as part of a story can be a good way of reminding yourself of how useful and amazing art can be.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂