Ever been stuck in traffic. If you need to go home or to work in Atlanta, then that is a daily thing. You just sit there, waiting and waiting to move an inch. Then when things feel like they might start moving, you are stuck again. Why? Maybe an accident or just bad drivers. In Atlanta it is because of the overwhelming amount of people on the roads.
What does any of this have to do with art? Well a traffic jamb in Atlanta is very similar to artist block. Artist block is equal to writer’s block, where nothing is getting through to the paper. My theory is that this happens, not because there is nothing inside you to draw. But, like a traffic jamb in Atlanta, you have so much stuff to draw or want to draw nothing is able to move out. How do you get past this? Letting one car out at a time.
Every person wanting to be a great artist should have two things with them at all times. A pencil and a pad of paper. I do mean at all times. Have one next to your bed at night to write down or sketch out a quick idea, in the car (but not while driving, you do not want to be the one who starts traffic) while waiting for your coffee or lunch in the drive through lane, even in the bathroom (you are sitting down anyways.) I recommend a pocket size to carry around easier. I tell my wife, when in doubt for a gift for me, get me a sketch book. I can go through them quickly. I have tried to make it a habit to draw during commercials when I am watching TV or on my lunch break. It is great practice and helps me keep the ideas flowing.
Here’s the thing, if you get it out of you and on paper while it is fresh on your mind it will not block the other ideas. So instead of having 5 or 20 things in your mind, struggling on what and how to draw first, you sketch them on paper right away. Do not be accurate or try to make it a finish project, just get it down on paper. Then you can go back through them and sort out the ones you like, throw out the ones you don’t, maybe save a few for later.
If you ever get an opportunity to look through someone’s sketch book, it would probably make no sense to you at all. Some things will look like a 5 year old did it, some will look like they could be hanging on a wall. Here are a few pages from one of mine. It goes from doodling a picture of an old women I saw at the beach, to practicing drawing super heroes, to working on a kitten for a possible children’s book, and to some new logos for myself I might change to. Totally random, but at least they are not jamb up in my head.