Overcoming Artist's Block: Reboot Your Creative Brain in Three Exercises | Octavia Bromell | Skillshare

Overcoming Artist's Block: Reboot Your Creative Brain in Three Exercises

Octavia Bromell, Illustrator, Designer, Curator

Overcoming Artist's Block: Reboot Your Creative Brain in Three Exercises

Octavia Bromell, Illustrator, Designer, Curator

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5 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Exercise 1: Throwing Shapes

    • 3. Exercise 2: Going In Blind

    • 4. Exercise 3: One Minute Time-Bomb

    • 5. What if You're Still Stuck?

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About This Class

Illustrator Tink works through three short exercises to break out of a creative funk and inject some life back into your art.

The exercises are fun, a bit wacky, and designed to help you stop overthinking things and start letting your head cool off, and reboot. In this class you will practice turning abstract shapes into objects, giving yourself a very short time limit, and even drawing without looking at the paper!

Suitable for any level of illustrator or artist, Tink shares her passion for drawing while delving into the unpredictable and enjoyable. All you need for this class are some basic art supplies - all the exercises can be completed with just a pen and paper, but Tink uses gouache paint and coloured pencils for variety in her sketchbook.


What To Expect:

  • Introduction. Tink talks through what artist's block is, how pesky it can be, and what to expect from the class. Watch this clip for a teaser of the full class.
  • Exercise 1: Throwing Shapes. You'll paint or draw abstract shapes on the page, and the go in with a fine liner and add those all important details. Turning blobs into living, breathing people or objects is so gratifying, and is the ultimate doodling exercise. Watch Tink paint her page and then create movement and depth with some fun sketches.
  • Exercise 2: Going In Blind. A blind contour drawing involves not looking at the page until you've finished the entire drawing! This wacky lesson is designed to switch off any frustration, and turn on the disco music. See the results, and the process, as Tink draws from an interior design book and shows glimpses of her sketchbook, to illustrate some times she's used the exercise in the past. Your sketchbook won't ever be the same after this true stretch of hand-eye coordination.
  • Exercise 3: One Minute Time-Bomb. In this lesson, Tink will talk through - and then draw through - one minute of speed drawing. You've got a very limited amount of time. What will you get down on the page? Why will you priorities that? This quick little sketch will stop your mind from worrying about perfection, while highlighting the parts of your chosen scene that really stand out to your artist's eye. Invaluable to people struggling with a creative block, watch Tink speed draw a scene and then learn about why perfection is the enemy of creation, and how to approach work you aren't 100% happy with.

Meet Your Teacher

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Octavia Bromell

Illustrator, Designer, Curator


I'm an illustrator and designer based in Dorset, England. I love using bright colours to draw nature and people!

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1. Introduction: Hi. My name's not take you Brummel today. I'm gonna be teaching you a few exercises to be Artis Block and get your creative brain back in gear. I worked as an illustrator. Is Tink on? My work has been printed in magazines made into enamel pins and other accessories on I use etc. As a platform to sell prints on products with my work on, you can find me on Instagram at think outside the box or had to take out loud. Don't cut UK to see more of my work. Most of my illustrations use a lot of bright colors and I really like to have a lot of fun with my work. So the worst thing for me is often artist block because it stopped being fun on personally . That's kind of the whole point of why I do it. So when it stops being fun and I find myself stressing about particular project or lacking in inspiration creatively, I do have a few exercises that I like to fall back on. That really kind of get me out of my own head. Artist Block is often when you have a fear of failing or you're worried what other people are going to think of what you're doing on. I think it's really important to try and get back Teoh creating art for yourself and also getting back to that place where you are enjoying it as well. So I'm gonna be talking through four exercises that I find really help me get out of a funk in this video, I'm gonna use techniques that will probably feel really weird to people that haven't used them before. But this is kind of the point. I really want to get you out of your comfort zone on into that sweet spot where your creative brain kind of dazzle the work for you. If you think about it when you make a positive creative decisions half the time, it's just a mark that you made instinctively or a direction that you knew you were gonna take from the beginning of that project. So I think it's really important to get back to being yourself as an artist at the end of this class. I hope you have a few pages off freethinking, probably odd looking but completely amazing art that is also completely unique to you. This is doing on steroids on the people do not have to look like people. Thanks so much for taking my class. And I can't wait to see all your amazing projects below. 2. Exercise 1: Throwing Shapes: So this first exercise is one that I really love doing. I've actually ended up working it into probably a weekly routine that I do Where once I finished one project or have a bit of time for a moving onto the next client, I just want to kind of like, shake out all the dust from my brain. Basically, on this one really taps into that slightly mindless state. Well, your brain is just kind of taking over in the background. You're not really thinking about it too much. We're going to start off by painting some abstract shapes on the page on. Then, once the paint is drive, we're gonna go in with some fine liner and adding details to turn them into objects or figures. All you need for this class is lovely, clean spread in your lovely sketchbook that we're gonna fill with meth. Some paints. I really, personally, I love using Windsor, and I don't even see that Windsor Newton gouache. But you can use wash color acrylic oils. Honestly, whatever. Whatever works for you really on, obviously, you'll need some water, a paint brush on a fine line, it and in those or important details. So let's jump straight in. Let's get started. So I just thought out with I'm really I'm just gonna be making some blobs on the page. I think I'm probably gonna try and keep a little mine. Kind of like oval shaped because I know that I'm going to try and tournament funny looking people, so yeah. Yeah. So I know I'm just gonna wait for these to dry, and then we can start putting on some details. So now this is dried. And I know that my pen won't bleed into any pain marks I've made on the page. I'm going to go back in with my fine liner and start adding in a few simple details. I think for this excites, I'm probably gonna end up turning them all into people because I just think it could be fun to see what wonky little shapes they look like. But again, you can turn them into anything. No pets objects in a room around you whenever you want. So I am going Teoh, jump right in there and try and turn these blobs into people. Let's see what happens. Try So there you have it. These are my blobby people. I really I'm really glad that I just uses brush because I think it gave them a lot of movement and character on because it was something I wanted to do quite quickly. I didn't want to have to worry about any of the fine details. So it's a lot easier to just kind of make a few marks and then pretend the that represents a face. Um, that's just my style, though. Obviously you can spend a lot longer and yours if you want. Teoh. I think it's just quite interesting is like looking at a blank page. You just look at a cycle than you think. How come I turn this into a person? Um, and I just find this exercise really useful when I don't have a clue what I'm saying, and I just need Teoh escape. I don't really have a technique for turning them into things, but at the moment I'm really loving growing people. So I think that probably influenced how ended up for your project. You could look at the objects around you. You just have to pull from that kind of creative point inside of you. The inspiration comes from The whole point of this is to really try and work with what you've got on. Try and stretch your mind to fill these blobs with. Interest is kind of like looking at clouds and trying ton little plane or is that kind of principle? So there you go. That's this exercise done. I hope you really enjoyed it, man. If you fancy having a go, be sure to upload your project into the my class section below so that you can check out other people's work and I can have a look at all the glorious work you're doing. 3. Exercise 2: Going In Blind: now, in this lesson, we could be drawing a blind control. Or, in other words, you're not gonna be looking at the page while you draw. Um, no, this is not a joke. I certainly thought it was first on my heart. So this second exercise is, I would say the weirdest one. I do. You remember the first couple of times I tried it? I found it very hard to stop worrying about what's gonna look like in the end on, Even though this is the strangest one, it's also the one that I've ended up doing the most. I actually built into my daily practice quite often. A So I start my day, I'll do this one of the warm up because I do find this one incredibly helpful to get out of my own head on. Just start the day with some fresh space toe. Find inspiration from other things. The results of this are gonna look really weird. And some of you probably won't like what you've done. But that's okay again. We're not trying. Teoh achieve a masterpiece here. We're just trying to walk away from that constant goal of perfection that I find is a real pressure on myself as an artist, and we're just gonna let ourselves really make a mess. Eso just to let you know what you're in for. I have dug up a few examples off the first kind of times that I really did this. So there's this guy which is actually my mom. Not that she would like me to admit that. Um And then there's this one which I did off a friend I actually really loved in this one. We're friends, especially friends that claim they can't draw because it's always just absolutely fascinating to see what ends up a man. Oh, yeah, He's kind of really wiry ones. Once they did of my mom again, so might have, actually, mostly been people. So far. So today, I think I'm gonna try something different on I'm going to draw an interior scene, which is something that I do love painting generally. But I've never tried to do it buying control. So I'm going to do that. Um and hopefully that will get me out of my own head as well. I would say that this one is probably working a couple of times just because it could take a while to get into the hang of it and kind of see the purpose of it. You're almost training your eye to measure out space between one object and another without kind of instinctively making that connection with your visually. So I'm gonna be drawing a scene, my exercise, But feel free to draw people. If you prefer the urge to look at what you're doing is gonna be really strong. So I would recommend, actually kind of physically blocking like I find it useful toe kind of hold this above my hand while I draw because that reflex to just look at what You're boring. It's gonna be incredibly strong. And even though you're trying not to, you will probably end up trying to look at it. Um, So I find useful to hold a bit of paper or just a card or a Burke or Well, what have you got lying around? Really? So this is the scene that I'm gonna be boring. It's actually from a really old interior design, but by Laura Ashley that my mom has had for years and years and years, I really loved drawing inspiration from I'm just gonna go and see what happens. I'm gonna be using this fine line of brush pen. And this is my trusty little book that I'm gonna be using. Teoh, stop me from seeing more Android. Let's give it again. So I can already tell that some of the lines are kind of going over each other. Obviously, I can't see them. It's kind of desk. You thing with these red clothes exacts that just gonna be, - um right now, I'm just gonna try and maybe out in a little bit of this table in the corner with this kind of leaf bowl, and then I'm gonna see what happened. So let's see what the damage is. Okay, So straight off the bat, you can see that this is a very weird looking piece. But that's exactly what I wanted to end up with. Um, obviously, I know that this curtain is ended up going everywhere, but I'm kind of surprised at how the doors are kind of in the right perspective. To a degree. Give me some slack. I'm gonna have another government on this page. See what happens this time. I'm just suddenly thinking maybe I've actually drawn this door and already I can't remember . Well, on a gun off the page, that's very good. Places so public, I think I actually prefer the 1st 1 You know, I think that I was a lot kind of less imposing This one seems a lot more kind of squished together on Do you know how I said that? I quite like the fact that the doors were kind of on the same scale, and obviously this one there No, uh, on this current house kind of just blended into everything else. But Paul said he d like I guess I do still really like these strong zigzags. And actually, this'll exact desk is something that I could end up working into something that I do for a client or just a personal project on also spoke of this chair again. I like the fact that it flows of them on the fringe on the bed, I think pretty funky. Well, yeah, this whole kind of section is it's been a disaster, but that's okay. That's kind of what I was going for. So the aim of this exercise is to really loosen up on, not make perfect shapes which you could definitely see that I have achieved here. I have not made perfect shapes, but again, I quite like it. I think it's a really, really fun exercise to do. I really have you got something out of this exercise? I know that I always do is particularly useful. I find when dealing with artist block because of the completely bizarre structure of the exercise. If you can't see what you're drawing, then you can't correct yourself. You can't critique yourself. You just have to kind of keep going with what you're working with. And also, if you can't see what's wrong, you can't be blamed for one ends up like So you can't feel that fear of failure because in a way, you know you're gonna fail. You know, it's not gonna look like what you're looking at. Make sure you upload all your projects below so that we can see the weird, wonderful world around you as apparently how you see it on. I can't wait. See how different and awesome ever on sketches 4. Exercise 3: One Minute Time-Bomb: So this next one, anyone that works as an artist will have done in some form or another. Because if you have work to a deadline is going to kind of have that same feeling. I call it the woman a time bomb because it takes one minute. But essentially, it's gonna be a time restricted exercise. I'm gonna draw the same scene that I did for my blind control because I think they were actually gonna make a really interesting comparison between two exercises. This is another one that I love to do at the start of projects because it really just kind of gets the composition down on the page on. You could instantly see what parts of it are important to you with parts of really gonna bring out the character of what you're trying to create. So again, we're trying to loosen up those creative muscles. Think of it as kind of interval training for your pencil. We're going to try and get the whole scene down. So don't worry about details or anything too complicated until you've got the whole scene down really on. I guess if you find yourself about the time left over then feel free to start adding him any details. So this is a scene that I'm gonna attempt. Yeah. So this is the one I'm gonna try and do. It's the same that I did in the last exercise. It's from this now cut old. But on Laura Ashley Bedrooms that my mom bought in the eighties, I think I just think we'll make a really interesting comparison between the two pages I'm passing. You gonna use a colored pencil this time? Because I quite like drawing with that. But again, you can use whatever you want. Pen, pencil. But you can use paint if you want to. Really? Doesn't matter. The only no, I will say is, obviously, if you use a graphite pencil, make sure that you don't use a rubber because we really don't have time to be doing that on also, you're not allowed. Teoh, make sure you don't. So let's see how much of it is like I should get down in the next minute. So this is the scene I'm gonna be doing again in this exercise. I'm gonna be using my pencils. These are today with my mom as well. Uh, north, So I think I'm gonna use blue just because there is No, Because I have absolutely no reason. I'm scared. Um, again, Feel free to use whatever you want. If the first mark you make is a complete disaster, just try and work with it. You've only got a limited time on. It's all about seeing what happens. Also, I think you'll probably be surprised at just how quickly a minute goes. So I really can't stress enough. Teoh kind of get the building blocks down before you do anything else. So that is actually the most minute up. So, as you can see, I have not managed to get the whole scene down. I think I've got kind of very, very basic shapes, I guess. But it's nothing to write home about. This is another exercise that I love to do more than once. So to kind of demonstrate this, I am actually gonna use different colored pencil on go over the during that I've just done on draw the exact same scene again on see what happens. So I'm actually gonna use Red as a really strong contrast to the blue. I think that they worked really well together and I like that whole free D by Yes, I'm gonna jump straight in with the next minute. So that's the end of the second minute on again. I have not managed to get the entire thing down, but I was never expecting Teoh. What we're trying to do is really get you to see the big, strong lines in it. What makes a first impression? What? You maybe not notice? So the first time I did it, I didn't even do this. This little table here is you can see all this little guy with a knee full that I put so much emphasis on in the last exercise. Why do you think I can take out of this ISS Getting movement off the curtain, I think is really strong on. If I was gonna develop it, I think that I would definitely be focusing on the texture here and how it how it works into the chair. I think there's definitely the strongest part of it. Whereas to be honest, I might focus more on just itself. I think having the chair here really worked well. So if I was gonna end up developing this into a piece like proper painting. I think it's just a really good exercise to shake out any cobwebs on and again, just loosen up. Generally, I don't think there's any way you could get to the end of doing this exercise. I feel like you. I haven't tried your best because even your one minute, 60 seconds is a long time battle. I'm also just gonna touch on how much there is on the page, considering those only two minutes of drawing. I think that because I'm normally a painter as well, I think quite often two minutes could go by and I haven't made a single mark on the page because I'm still thinking about my next move and, you know, waiting for something to dry. So, yes, it does look a little bit like a two year old is drawn it, but I have actually managed to get the whole scene. I think it's amazing what your brain could do under pressure in terms of office block again . This has that kind of amazing, mindless quality to it. I wasn't trying to added any style or quirks because they're physically wasn't enough time to worry about that. But having said that I would definitely say that. I think I've ended up with a character full page in my sketchbook, so I don't think it's without character. You can really do this exercise with anything a close up of a plant, a portrait of someone, maybe, or a more complex interior or exterior. See, I guess, like I did what you decide to draw on, how much of it there is well, really dictate how much detail you can get down. Obviously, if I was only drawing the chair or the curtains or the bed or something, I would have been able to really try and add in a bit more detail. But personally, I do really like this Parsons off it because it then gives my mind the space to kind of fill that with what I guess would say is my normal style. Make sure that you post your one minute marvels to the class section below so I can see all your speed drawings. In any case, I can't wait. See what you've done 5. What if You're Still Stuck?: So that brings us to the end off this school share class. I really hope you've enjoyed it on to end. Just talk through a couple of non arty things that I find quite helpful sometimes when I'm struggling with artist block. So it's kind of the same sort of thing for any procrastination. Really? I find going for a walk or having a conversation with someone about anything other than the rt, right? You trying to do or yeah, going on watching a film, just trying to do something. Teoh, get out of that head space where you like. Oh, I can't do that. I'm gonna fail every I was gonna think that one drawing is really rubbished because the reality is that everything you create is amazing. Even if it's something that you draw not even looking at the paper or you've only got a minute to draw it or some crazy lady on the Internet makes you painted a problem the page and turn them into interesting things. So one front of say is don't stress out too much. I know that that's one of the hardest things to do. But for me it is about having fun. Uh, hopefully, that's what you can take from these exercises again. I really can't wait to see whatever has been working on in the project section of your class below. So make sure to upload a few wacky page and I'm personally, I'm really excited to see them. Thanks so much again for taking this class. I can't wait to see what.