9 Ways Animators Can Overcome Creative Block

Creative block happens to everyone from designers to animators. Sometimes you may feel like your world has stopped because of your temporary lull in creativity.

Luckily, you’re not the only one going through this. Many top artists have suffered from creative blocks and were able to get through them. You will get through your block too! Here are 9 ways you can overcome creative block as an animator.

1) Have Quiet Moments

man focusing on work

Image by Manny Pantoja via Unsplash

Some people aren’t able to focus or create new ideas when their surroundings are noisy. Loud and excessive noise can cause stress and reduce productivity. 

You can’t always escape from noisy areas, but when you can, it’s beneficial. Silence can help you solve issues with your animation project that you may be struggling with; it’s easiest to process information in a quiet or silent environment. Being surrounded by silence can even lead to the growth of new brain cells and aid your memory.

Working in silence will keep you focused, lessen your stress levels, and help you produce better work. If you can’t avoid noise in your office, buy earplugs or find a room where you can work alone.

2) Listen to Music

man listening to music

Image by Austin Disel via Unsplash

Some people are the opposite; sound increases their creativity. They can only focus and create when they hear noises like people talking or a movie playing in the background.

Others prefer to listen to music while working. According to a study, listening to happy sounding music can increase one’s creativity. 

Try doing this while you work on your animation project, and observe how listening to music can lift up your mood or calm you down. Pay attention to which environments, which noises, and which music inspire you, which sounds help you focus, and which sounds calm you. Understanding how sound affects you will help you construct an environment where you can create.

3) Copy and Create

woman copying a photo

Image by Thiago Barletta via Unsplash

When you find yourself stuck in a creative block, look at the works of other animators. Read books and consume media, including the animations of others; you never know where you’ll get inspiration from.

Creating original works may feel impossible when you’re facing a block or doubting yourself, but copying artworks that already exist could help you practice skills and regain some confidence. With copying you’ll still practice technical skills, and it can give you more ideas and make you feel less anxious about making art. Just make sure you never pass off your copies of others’ work as your own!

4) Relax and Change Your Environment

people relaxing in a park

Image by Ignacio Brosa via Unsplash

Sometimes the best thing to do when you’re having a creative block is to relax. It’s very easy to get yourself so absorbed in a project and forget to eat or sleep properly.

No matter how busy you are, remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to breathe. Sometimes taking care of yourself is the best way to recharge and get out of a creative block.

You can sit quietly and doodle, which can spark off animation ideas for future use. Take a paper and pen or use your tablet and stylus to draw whatever comes to your mind.

You can visit a museum, watch a show, or go to local shops to reduce stress. You can close your eyes and take a nap, or take a walk in a park to freshen your mind.

Leaving your desk and getting outdoors can be especially beneficial. Research shows that walking in a green space for half an hour will rest your brain and boost cognitive functioning. Being in nature can even enhance creativity and recharge directed attention when developing new ideas

5) Get Something to Eat

woman eating a meal

Image by Pablo Merchan Montes via Unsplash

Stuck in the middle of working on a new animation project? Make yourself a meal or go out to eat. Having a meal in a new place can awaken your senses and keep you creative. According to Virginia Woolf, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

What do you see in your surroundings? What colors do you see on your plate? What do you smell from the restaurant’s kitchen?  

Eating won’t just make you creative. It will also boost your energy through your day as long as you’re eating the right kind of food. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats give your body energy. Know what foods make you feel good and give you energy, so you can treat your body well and have the energy to focus on your projects and nurture your creativity.

6) Set Deadlines

creative person setting a deadline

GIF by Empire FOX via GIPHY

Setting deadlines is one of the best ways to overcome a creative block. If you’re struggling with a fear of failure or disappointing your animation client or followers, setting deadlines may help you push through your block.

It may be hard to be creative, especially if you’re treating your job as a hobby. But if you animate for a living, many times you’ll have to push through even if you don’t feel particularly creative. Set deadlines for yourself, and if you know you have trouble sticking to deadlines, find people who will hold you accountable such as your spouse, a colleague, or a friend. 

7) Organize Your Workspace

animators' workspace

Image by JC Gellidon via Unsplash

When you have a creative block, sometimes pressuring yourself won’t work you out of it. Take a break from staring at the screen or the paper and look around your environment. Your creativity could increase when you do productive tasks that both reduce your stress level and tidy your space. These things can be as simple as decluttering the area where you work, organizing your tools and drawing supplies, and doing simple house chores.

Beyond keeping your workspace tidy, personalizing and adding plants to it can help increase your inspiration and productivity. According to a research study by Texas A&M University, having plants in your workspace can boost creativity by 15% or more. Creating an organized workspace where you feel comfortable will relax your brain and help you better think of ideas for your animation projects.

8) Never Stop Learning

woman reading many books

GIF by WNYC via GIPHY

To keep creative juices flowing, never stop learning. You can read animation books and blog articles, listen to podcasts, attend seminars and conferences, and find mentors who can give you wise advice.

Learning is not just you absorbing and taking information. You can also learn with others by creating outputs about animation. For example, you can write your own books and blog post articles about animation, speak at conferences, and exchange tips and ideas with colleagues. 

By doing this, you can learn more about yourself as an animator, see what other people are doing, and become more aware of the trends in the animation industry.

9) Keep a Notebook

animator doodling and writing

Image by Tom Rogerson via Unsplash

Always keep a notebook where you can put your thoughts and doodles. You can even include quotes you hear, everyday life experiences, and random observations.

If you don’t have a notebook, you can use sticky notes or the Notes app on your phone. You will never know when good ideas will come to you. Looking back at your notes will help give you ideas when you feel stumped again.

In Summary

Getting through a creative block is really hard; maybe you’re experiencing a block because you’re tired, stressed, or feeling inadequate. Sometimes it will take you several ways and several days to overcome a creative block. And that’s okay.

Instead of pressuring yourself to get creative, look at your creative block as a learning experience. Feel free to take a nap, eat good food, declutter, change your view, and get inspiration from your surroundings.

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