so this is something i’ve wanted to share my view on for a while about art block/mental illness/art guilt.
mostly it’s a note to self.
and i know i’m using visual art as an example here, but this goes for any kind of creativity because the process is the same. i have a friend who makes music, and his process is exactly the same as mine, the only difference is the medium.
i’ve come across many “how to make a comic/how to create X visual project” guides recently. every single one of them has the tip “just pick up a pen and start drawing” which is great, don’t get me wrong! if you would have asked me three years ago, i would have promoted and believed in the exact same thing. just do it! otherwise i’ll never get done!
but there’s a different side to that coin, that i have experienced lately with the accumulating depression, that for the first time since i started drawing about four years ago, suddenly has rendered me unable to produce. i mean, i’ve had my yearly depression bouts before, but i have never experienced anything that paralyses and snuffs out my creative sides so badly as it does now. i’m happy if i can doodle something a few times a week and produce a rendered piece once a month. (this is VERY slow for me, i understand if this is someone’s normal pace, we’re all different!)
drawing is so incredibly important to me so being without it is like losing a limb.
and that’s what i wanted to address.
i’m sure there are others in the same boat as me you WANT to draw….but that part of your brain is switched off. you have ideas, but you can’t tap into them. the accumulate in there and breed like bunnies but there is no way in hell you can reach it.
you see works that inspire you, come across pictures you want to use as reference. but nothing happens. the things that do happen, might be sloppy. typical “art block” works.
maybe you, just like i do, have a large project that you started. that you want to finish, but yeah, tough luck there pal, when you’re using all your precious energy staying alive and drawing/plotting/writing/scripting just saps the fuck out of your spoons right now.
you know what’s the most poisonous thing when you are in this mindset?
"just pick up a pen and draw"
because it just adds to the guilt, the self-loathing, the frustration. you start thinking “why can everyone else do it, and i can’t?”
sometimes you just gotta wait out the art blocks. especially when they are tied to mental illness. sometimes, the inspiration and will comes back when you’ve gotten a good therapist. maybe you need medication and support. maybe you need to get out of the abusive household/relationship.
the last thing you need is more weight on your back, more “shoulds” and start to question if you’re really just lazy and you brought this art block upon yourself for not pushing through it enough, when in fact, pushing is like bashing your head bloody into a brick wall.
sometimes, self-care is drawing all the time. sometimes self-care IS picking up the pen and just draw! because drawing and storytelling is amazing and wonderful and it’s a terrific escape from a hard daily life.
but sometimes, self-care is not giving a fuck about art. self-care might be to stop drawing completely for a few months while you use your precious energy to recover. maybe watch every season of every single series available on netflix, play through all the mass effect games and comforting video games from your childhood, let the creative part of your brain rest. you need rest if you suffer from any illness or if you’re in a bad life situation. don’t force yourself to do things because you “should” pick up your pen and draw
self-care isn’t about making yourself feel guilty for not doing “enough”
all those ideas won’t go anywhere. they’ll stay inside your head, maybe some of them will mature a little (insert vine metaphor) and become even better than what you first thought, that’s what happened to me. your comic is waiting for you, if you really wanna do it, you’ll do it when you feel better. it doesn’t matter if it’s a three year hiatus. don’t force yourself
don’t force yourself
don’t force yourself.
the stars just need to align your way, man. wait until all the knots and ties dissolves. we all go through rough creative patches. someday you will pick up a pen and just draw again.
i don’t normally reblog stuff on this blog (for obvious reasons) but this post is really really important