Art Hacks To Overcome Creative Block : The Power Of Series | Margarita Bourkova | Skillshare

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Art Hacks To Overcome Creative Block : The Power Of Series

teacher avatar Margarita Bourkova, artist | dreamer | infp

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Intro

      1:20
    • 2. Series in Art History

      1:53
    • 3. Series with Subjects

      9:24
    • 4. Series with Shapes

      4:50
    • 5. Series with Patterns

      3:17
    • 6. Inspiration Boards

      0:42
    • 7. Final Words

      1:29
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About This Class

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When I struggle with creative block but still want to be productive, I use drawing prompts. My favorite types of drawing prompts are those involving S E R I E S.  

Here's a quick overview for this class : 

Series in Art History - i'll talk about a few famous artists who have created series. You'll see that series can feature portraits, landscapes and still life studies in many different art styles.

Series based on Subject - i'll show you 3 different exercises to practice creating series inspired by your daily life

  • using photo references
  • using live references
  • using only your imagination

Series based on Shapes - i'll show you how i prepare my drawing exercises in advance; a series of colorful watercolor circles and how to use them when you're facing a creative block. (Also bonus lesson : how i draw mushrooms)

Series based on Patterns - i'll show you an exercise to practice creating series with different patterns and where my inspiration comes from; you can also have a look at the list of drawing prompts and the exercises for this lesson (check out the Class Project section).

Resources : Drawing prompts, exercises and a few of my own drawings for inspiration. 

You don't need any special supplies for this course -- only your usual sketching tools (pencils, pens, markers, whatever you like) and a piece of paper or your favorite sketchbook. If you're interested, here are the supplies I used for the series in this course : 

  • ink pens (Staedtler Pigment liner) 
  • watercolor brush pens (Ecoline) and a water brush pen
  • some of the examples from my personal portfolio are mixed media done in Photoshop

More drawing courses :

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Margarita Bourkova

artist | dreamer | infp

Teacher


I'm margaw, a freelance artist based in rainy Belgium. I'm self-taught, and i really believe anyone can draw if they really want to! I created this channel to share my drawing techniques, my personal tips and tricks, and to support others on their creative journey. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if there's a particular technique you'd like me to teach -- i'm always interested in your feedback!

Ballpoint pens are one of my all time favorite art supplies, i really enjoy using them for almost anything : rough sketches, stylized drawings or even photorealistic illustrations. They are easy to find, cheap and, once you've got the hang of it, really fun to use. Sadly, most people aren't familiar with them... that's why i teach several... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Intro: No matter how experienced you are, as an artist or creative person, you're bound to find yourself struggling with creative block from time to time. It happens to everyone and it's completely normal. It may feel like you can't stop overthinking everything or maybe your art is not improving as fast as you'd like which can be pretty frustrating. If your art block persist for a long time it can be really disheartening and you may even feel like giving up on your creative passion. The good news is that there are many ways to easily get out of your own head an come back to your craft with renewed enthusiasm. You can take long walks in nature, for example, spend time with good friends, go to the movies or to a museum. The list is endless. But you can also train your creative skills with different types of exercises. In this class, I'll show you how following drawing or sketching prompts can help you overcome Arches block and improve your creative process. I'll show you how to create your own drawing prompts and how a few special restrictions can do wonders for your inspiration, so grab a piece of paper, a pencil or a pen and let's begin. 2. Series in Art History: When experiencing creative block, you might feel like you don't know what to draw, like you're lacking inspiration, or your mind could be swarming with too many ideas, so many in fact, that you end up doing nothing. In both cases, the problem lies within your mind. When using drawing prompts, especially if it's something you prepared in advance, you can relax and draw without worrying about the outcome. Drawing prompts, no matter what form they take, are always about restriction, and I'll show you different examples of this. You can restrict the time you are allowed to create a drawing or the number of drawings you have to create. In this course, we'll explore the concept of series. Many famous artists have created series throughout history. To name only a few. Claude Monet, a French painter from the 19th century, known for his series about the Rouen Cathedral. He would paint this cathedral over and over again at different times of the day with different lighting and colors. Andy Warhol, the superstar of modern art, has also created a lot of series featuring different subjects from Marilyn Monroe to cans of soup. Here's also another one, Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter from the 20th century. You can see that he has painted a series of pictures with the same tree but with different colors and art styles. The keyword here is repetition. In this class, we'll explore repetition through subject, shape, and pattern. 3. Series with Subjects: When I experienced creative block, I always end up creating series. It really is my favorite type of art prompt. Since I work from home, my drawing proms usually look like this. I have entire sketch works filled with art prompts, really random things I found in my house for example, like plants or mugs or pieces of furniture. I once started the series called random objects from my house, where I would draw an object with ink, add some pencil shading, and then I would use a flashy color for the background. These were the three self-imposed restrictions I used for this series. I really have a lot of these and even ended up drawing some of my beds in the same style. Another small series I created was about drawing some of my Polaroid pictures. I usually take a lot of pictures and it was really a fun concept. Finally, one of my favorite series, I once decided to draw all my favorite types of tea, and I actually ended up creating a zine about it. Here is some Asian tea, Jasmine tea, green tea, strawberry. I used to have a lot of fun pals. Some of them were sending me types of tea I can find in the country I live in. So that's where the idea came from. Drawing prompts inspired by your own day-to-day life will feel more personal. That is mostly where my inspiration comes from. So for this class, I decided to create a series of plans from my house. I really do have a lot of them, so I decided to draw only my favorites. I basically put them all in front of my desk and started drawing. Something to really have in mind when creating your series. It's really not about the quality of your sketches, or the details, or your level of experience. It's not about the final result. Focus on the fact that you are creating a collection of something. You're gathering information, almost like a scientist collecting data. It's important to make it fun for you. So even though my lines are wobbly and the perspective is completely wrong, I make sure that the shapes of the flower pots look more or less like the ones in front of me, and that the plans are recognizable. But I don't care about the shading, for example. I also don't waste time adding any details. As soon as the plant is recognizable and looks at least a little bit like the reference I have in front of me. I start working on the next one. The only detail I actually end up adding is a Japanese inscription, I believe, on my bonsai tree pot. I have no idea what it means but it's really pretty so I did my best to try and recreate it in my drawing. In this type of series, the most important part is observation. You'd to recreate reality exactly as it is. For example, there's this fall part on a broken plate here. It's not very pretty, but I still draw it as it is. Remember, I focus only on collecting information. Now I have a collection of house plants. For the second exercise, I decided to spice things up a little bit. So not only do we have a restriction on the subject this time, I'll only be drawing from my house. I added a time restriction as well. I gave myself three minutes to sketch as many lamps as possible. Now usually I will go from room to room with my sketchbook and draw each lamp. But since I had to record my process, I take some pictures in advance and that's what I'm drawing. With a time restriction. It's even easier to let go of any expectation about the visual outcome. I really don't care if my sketches are pretty or not. I'm just trying to draw as quickly as possible to be able to finish on time. In the end, I wasn't even able to draw all the lamps I wanted to. So three minutes is maybe a little bit too short. For the third exercise about series based on subject, I won't be using any references. This one is all about imagination. I wanted to create a fun playful series, so I decided to use socks as my subject. The goal here is simply to draw as many different socks as possible. There is no time restriction and I don't have a specific number of socks I want to draw. I'm just filling in the blank piece of paper and it's so relaxing to not think about the outcome. Feel free to create your own list of things to draw. So the next time you are experiencing a creative block, all you have to do is pick up your list and start drawing. 4. Series with Shapes: Now that we've seen how to create a collection of drawings on a particular subject, let's focus on shapes. I have a special sketchbook for my experiments where I often create small sketches with the same shape. I find it really relaxing. I like to create these watercolor circles in my sketchbook because they're really fun to make. When I'm struggling with creative block, I come back to the sketchbook and I draw random objects inside the circles. Now I'll show you my process. Obviously, if you prefer working with acrylics or colored pencils or something else, you're free to do so. The technique itself doesn't really matter here. What I want to do is to create a few really colorful circles, something that will make me want to draw even when I don't feel like it. Pink and blue, always look good together, also I make these two colors. I used a couple of watercolor brush pens and a brush to add water, because I didn't have my usual set of watercolor paints with me. I only painted three of those to show you how I mix the colors, but I already have a few pages of colored circles. Feel free to paint as many circles as of many colors as you like. The more circles you create, the more fun you have afterwards. I drew the circle as the shape I have been working with, because it's an easy shape to draw and there are a lot of rounds objects I can think of. It will be trickier I think, with a square or a triangle but you can give it a try if you want. Once this little experiment is dry, I can start doodling on top of it. I'll use these three circles to show you how I draw mushrooms. I start by drawing the outline and then another smaller circle, that's the gap of the mushroom. I also draw two smaller circles at the center for the stem, and now all I have to do is draw the gills, which from this angle would simply look like a series of lines. Here's one of my older series of circles. I make them in advance whenever I have the time, because well, they're fun to make and when I don't feel like drawing or when I'm uninspired, I choose one of these pages and I make myself draw something inside each circle. Even though it's just a series of small sketches, it feels good to finish the whole page. It gives me a small boost of confidence to know that I'm able to finish something even when I don't feel like it. For these series, I drew a flower, a cookie, this one quite look like a cookie, the moon, half a lemon, a football, and a ball of yarn. Of course there are a lot of other things you could draw in a circle; a clock, the Earth, half a kiwi, a lollipop, there just so many possibilities. You can even make a list of things to draw if you need it, so you won't be distracted when you do this exercise. 5. Series with Patterns: In the third lesson, we'll explore patterns and how to create a series with them. Just like with the previous exercise as I showed you, it's not the quality of the drawings that really matter. It's the quantity. It's creating collections. Something that shows you in a very visible and tangible way that you can do it. It's really important to know that if you want to overcome your creative block. What I usually do is I choose a shape that I like. For example, a leaf. The shape can be as simple or as complex as you want. I draw a few outlines who have the same shape, and then I fill them with different patterns. This exercise is the least time consuming, the least demanding. You can really relax and enjoy dealing with zero pressure. It reminds me of my childhood when I used to draw in coloring books a lot. It's a good memory. I mix with my love for patterns. I really hope you give it a try. I created a few different worksheets that you can use for this exercise. You can really come up with any type of pattern that you like. When I'm out of ideas for this exercise, I simply start looking around in my room and I start paying attention to the textures on the walls, on the furniture, on my clothes. If you do this, you realize that there are patterns everywhere actually. Here are just a few of them to get you started. The shapes you create can be really simple. If you like, you can develop them and turn them into characters for example. 6. Inspiration Boards: Inspiration boards; I can't recommend this enough. Whether it's a virtual board on Penn's arrest, or your favorite sketchbook filled with ideas for rainy days, or even an actual inspiration board hanging on your wall, this will keep you motivated through the good and the bad days. It can be a collection of things you like to draw, or pictures of artists you admire that make you want to get better at your craft, or even quotes that inspire you. An inspiration board is always a work in progress that constantly evolves following your mood and your likes. 7. Final Words: Let's have a look at some of the resources I've put together for this course. If you feel uninspired, you can use the lists of drawing prompts for each exercise. I've also added some of my own drawings so you can have a better look at them if you like. As I said before, don't worry about your drawing skills. This course really is about encouraging you to draw even when you don't feel like it because consistency is key to improving your creativity. Something you can do to keep track of your progress is to use a special folder for all your series, for all your drawing prompts. That way whenever you're feeling stuck, whenever you're facing creative block, you can have a look at your folder at all the drawings you've already created. Some of them, even when you didn't feel like it, and hopefully this will make you feel better and will help you get motivated. Creating series might even inspire you for your own art. Here for example, a few illustrations I created that were all inspired by drawing prompts in my sketchbooks. I hope you enjoyed this little course on drawing series. If you feel like it, share your drawings or your list of drawing prompts in the class project section, I'd love to have a look at them. As always, feel free to introduce yourself in the comments. Let me know if you have your own tricks for dealing with creative block or simply ask any questions. Thank you for watching, and see you soon.