Start the Process and The Ideas Will Come

I think the most important thing that has saved me from art block so far is my process. After years of being a full-time artist (one of which I did client work), I developed a bullet-proof way of walking through an illustration - from start to finish. I can always rely on it, even if I don't have any ideas before I sit down. But as soon as I start going through the motions, things fall into place.

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
― Pablo Picasso

I described my process in detail in this interview with TOR. Of course, this is MINE. Yours might look entirely different and it's up to you to figure it out.


The Art You Like Looking At vs. The Art You Make

Learning the distiction between The art you like looking at and the art you make is incredibly helpful in building your confidence! Let's say your work is highly stylised and cartoony, but everytime you see a realistic painting, you feel like you should rather be doing THAT.

But if you're clear about who you are as an artist (what your influences are and how they reflect in your work), you can look at other art styles with admiration rather than jealousy or guilt. Learn to stay true to yourself and don't go chasing everything you see.

Of course, experiment and play, but don't try to become someone else.

Play to Your Strengths.

Often, we don't trust things that come easily to us. So we stop and do something difficult and painful instead. But it is very likely that that thing we're naturally good at, is the right thing to do and that will make us happier in the long run.

Djamila KnopfComment
Don't Worry too Much About “Good Ideas”

So many people are afraid that their ideas aren't clever enough or new enough. But just the fact that you have your own point of view makes your ideas valid – simply because it's different from everybody else's. Focus on what you can bring to the table and stop measuring yourself against others. If your art is authentic to who you are, it is original enough.

Djamila KnopfComment
What Would You Paint if You Didn't Have to Worry About Money?

Imagine all financial burdens were lifted off your shoulders. You're suddenly free to do whatever you want with your life. Would you still paint? And what exactly would you paint? Is there something that you've always wanted to work on but it somehow wasn't practicle or marketable?

You better go ahead and work on that thing right now! DO NOT WAIT.

Djamila KnopfComment