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The Secret to Beating Animator's Block

ben marvazi 2020

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Even if you love your career in the animation industry, it’s common to feel overwhelmed every once in a while. This can cause an animator’s block, a temporary lull in creativity that hinders you from producing animation content.

When you’re going through a creative block (or an animator's block), it can be difficult to get inspired and follow through with a project. The added pressure of not getting the work done can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that it is only temporary.

In this article, we will cover the causes of animator’s block and 5 ways to overcome it.

Top 3 Causes of Animators Block

cartoon characters checking up on their friend going through an animators block

GIF by Spongebob Squarepants via GIPHY

1. Work-Life Imbalances that Cause Animators Block

an animator going through work life imbalances causing animators block


Some people are able to work well under pressure, while others may crumble under stressful conditions. It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on around you. 

When you’re faced with a stressful situation, your creative process may come to a halt. Sometimes your personal issues can overlap with your animation career.

Being an animator is only part of who you are, and you’ll have responsibilities to tend to in other aspects of your life. When there’s a work-life imbalance, you may not be able to give your all to your animation projects.

2. Decision Fatigue that Leads to Animators Block

decision fatigue that causes animators block

GIF by Fleischer Studios via GIPHY

When you have too many ideas and are indecisive about which to go through with, you may end up shutting down. Decision fatigue is defined as the emotional and mental strain caused by the burden of choices.

As an animator, you may become hasty with your decisions when you’re overstressed. If you don’t manage your stress well, you may shut down altogether.

When your mental energy runs low, you may choose the easiest option, even if it’s not the best one. If you’re not passionate about your decisions, you may run into an animator’s block.

3. Perfectionism and Procrastination that Affects Animators Block

an animator flawed with perfectionism can deal with animators block

GIF by Hey Arnold via GIPHY

Perfectionism is easily one of the main obstacles that animators struggle with. The root of perfectionism is failure and fear of not living up to your animation clients’ expectations.

This fear is common for people within the creative field where you’re constantly required to produce and put yourself on the line. When you’re in a headspace filled with self-doubt and worry, it becomes nearly impossible to be creative. 

It’s true that there’s a correlation between perfectionism and procrastination. As an animator struggling with perfectionism, you may find yourself waiting for conditions to be perfect in order to start or complete a project. 

However, it’s important to remind yourself that everyone’s idea of perfection is different. The standard you set for yourself should be attainable or else you’ll end up in a constant cycle of delaying tasks because of pressure you put on yourself.

How to Overcome Animators Block

an animator getting an idea on how to overcome animators block

GIF by Laff via GIPHY

Animators may also emotionally distance themselves and feel unmotivated to complete projects. A lack of interest in work is a big indicator of burnout which can be caused by an animator’s block.

When you’re going through animator’s block, you will view your job as stressful and frustrating. You may become cynical about your work and clients.

When you feel that you aren’t good enough to complete a task, it will be impossible to deliver a quality project within the deadline.

There are many factors that can lead to these overwhelming feelings, such as unclear expectations from animation clients, hectic workloads, tight deadlines, work-life imbalance, and lack of control can all lead to burnout.

Luckily, animator’s block isn’t permanent, and you will find the inspiration to continue doing what you love with these 5 ways how to overcome animator’s block:

1. Take A Creative Sabbatical for Animators

an animator enjoying their creative sabbatical

GIF by Alaska Airlines via GIPHY

The pressure that animators face to produce high-quality work within tight deadlines may stifle productivity. Pressure to be creative, combined with a heavy workload can lead to animator’s block, which increases the risk of burnout. 

The best way to cure and prevent burnout is by taking a creative sabbatical. Taking time off from work to rest allows you to refresh your mind and take a step back to reflect on your work habits and motivate you to improve.

2. Exercise Regularly as an Animator

an animated character exercising on a treadmill

GIF by Disney Pixar via GIPHY

The physical benefits of exercise are proven to help individuals improve their mental health, reduce fatigue, and give us an emotional boost.

As a full-time animator, you might not be able to always squeeze in an hour at the gym every day, but you can still reap the benefits with mini-workouts from home or short walks in the neighborhood.

Whatever you decide to do to get your body moving throughout the day will improve your mood drastically. 

3. Identify Changes You Can Make in Your Animation Routine

animated characters identifying changes to their routine

GIF by Spongebob Squarepants via GIPHY

After taking a creative sabbatical and implementing exercise into your daily habits, it’ll help you get perspective about your work.

You may realize that you had your hands full with too many time-consuming projects that made you work overtime.

Sometimes it may be that your animation clients aren’t providing clear expectations (in which case, you should learn how to deal with difficult clients), or it could simply be caused by a work-life imbalance.

Once you recognize what it is exactly that’s stressing you out and making you feel overwhelmed and unmotivated, it’ll be easier to overcome the animator’s block.

4. Set Boundaries with Animation Clients

an animator setting boundaries with their animation client

GIF by New Girl via GIPHY

It is necessary to set healthy boundaries with animation clients. Dealing with animation clients comes with the job, and they are most likely the main cause of these high-stress levels you’re experiencing.

You should always communicate timely and honestly with your animation client. Updating your clients during each step of the animation process will make them feel involved.

As much as you would do anything to keep your animation clients happy, it is important that you communicate your boundaries with them so their expectations and revisions won’t run you into the ground.

5. Take Back Control as an Animator

an animator taking back control to overcome animators block

GIF by A24 via GIPHY

Animator’s block can make you feel worthless as if life is rushing past and you’re unable to keep up. This can lead to a work-life imbalance.

To take back control, you should prioritize your tasks. Some tasks can be put off until you have more time and energy.

You should leave work at work. However, this may be hard to do if you’re a freelance. Instead, you should give yourself deadlines each day, and once you’re off the clock, you stop working and step away from your workstation.

5 Ways To Overcome Animators Block as an Animator

Everyone suffers from creative block, even if you love your job. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed from time to time, but the way we deal with it makes all the difference.

Animator’s block is a temporary lull in creativity. This can be caused by many reasons, such as unclear expectations from animation clients, hectic workloads, tight deadlines, work-life imbalance, and lack of control can all lead to burnout.

Reduced performance, exhaustion, and incompetence are all signs of an animator’s block. To counter these symptoms and get you feeling motivated to make animations again, there are 5 ways to overcome animator’s block:

  1. Taking a Creative Sabbatical
  2. Exercising Regularly
  3. Identify Changes You Can Make
  4. Set Boundaries with Animation Clients
  5. Take Back Control

For more tips on overcoming animator’s block and dealing with life as insight into the business side of animation, watch our free masterclass and download a copy of our free marketing handbook!

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