Well, the day before I originally wrote this article was an uninspired day. It was a really uninspired day. It was the kind of day when the first painting I made was so terrible that I actually tried to make a second daily painting… only for that painting to turn out just as bad, or worse! Even after a lot of digital editing:
Here’s a reduced-size preview. Which, ironically, looks better than the full-size painting (to be posted here in March) does.
It might have been that my imagination was slightly burnt out from making all of the webcomic updates that will appear here this month (and early next month) within the space of a single fortnight, but it was still an uninspired day. Perhaps the worst uninspired day that I’d experienced for a while.
Making art felt like a difficult, meaningless chore. When I’d actually finished the day’s excuse for a painting, I didn’t feel a sense of accomplishment. I felt disappointed. I felt like a failure. If you make art regularly, then you’re going to have days like this every now and then.
So, here are a few things to remember when something like this happens to you. Although some of the points on this list are things that I’ve mentioned before, the ending of the third point on the list is certainly worth reading!
1) If you keep making art, you’ll get inspired more quickly: If you make art regularly, then the most important thing is to keep up with your art schedule – regardless of how uninspired you feel or how cringe-inducingly terrible the awful uninspired painting that you’ve begrudgingly made looks. Even if it feels like a chore, you still need to make that next painting!
The thing about uninspired times is that, if you keep making art regularly, then they don’t tend to last as long. If you’ve worked out how to make paintings or drawings even when you’re uninspired (eg: if you use an ‘easy’ genre of art like landscape painting, minimalist art, remakes of your old art, fan art etc.. on uninspired days), then uninspired times won’t last as long.
After a while, the heavy cloud of uninspiration will lift and/or you’ll find something that inspires you again. Uninspired times don’t last forever and, if you keep making art regularly, then they can even only last for as little as 1-4 days.
But, the thing here is to keep making art and to remember that your uninspired time will pass.
2) It’s all about contrast: Remember that the sense of bitter disappointment that you feel after producing a crappy painting on an uninspired day is the exact opposite of the sense of pride and satisfaction that you feel when you make a great painting on an inspired day. They’re two sides of the same coin.
In other words, without one, you won’t be able to truly appreciate the other.
When you’re feeling really inspired, the idea that you could ever have a miserable, uninspired time seems completely impossible. When you’re uninspired, the idea that you ever had a highly energetic, inspired time seems equally impossible.
This feels really depressing and/or frustrating when you go from inspired to uninspired but, when it happens the other way round, it is one of the coolest feelings in the world. But, it’s a cool feeling that you’ll never get to experience if you don’t have uninspired times every now and then.
So, see your uninspired time as a sign that you’ll get to experience the awesome feeling of being inspired again at some point in the future.
3) Being uninspired means that you ARE an artist! : When you’re feeling uninspired, it can be easy to look at other artists and feel jealous of the fact that they appear to be “inspired all of the time”.
Likewise, it can be easy to compare yourself to other artists and feel like you’re a “failure” or “not a real artist” because you aren’t currently feeling as inspired as they are.
I’ll let you in on a secret, no artist is inspired 100% of the time. The only reason why some artists might appear to be inspired literally all of the time is because they’re very selective about which paintings or drawings they actually show to other people.
Yes, they probably have days where they produce nothing but absolute crap – but they hide it away in order to give the impression that they only produce great things. Even so, being uninspired is an integral part of being an artist.
So, and this is the most important thing to remember, if you’re genuinely upset about the fact that you’re currently feeling uninspired, then this means that you are an artist!
If you’re frustrated by the fact that you can’t think of any good ideas for your next painting, this means that YOU ARE AN ARTIST! I cannot emphasise this enough. If you weren’t an artist, then you wouldn’t care so much about the fact that you were uninspired.
Caring about being uninspired means that you care about making art, which means that you are still an artist!
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂