The secret to fighting creative block
In this article, we’re going to reveal and teach you how to create great ideas for a comic book. The secret to combat creative block, and produce like a pro. It will suit you, but, you will have to lower the level of self-criticism, feel free.
Inspiration. Romantic idea about art if there is one. As if muses could come down from heaven to give us good ideas to tell a story, paint a picture or compose a song.
None of that exists. Yes, I know, but, the reality is that artistic production is mostly based on work itself; intellectual, conscious and strategic work.
Overcoming the fear of the blank page
One of the first things to do is to overcome the anxiety of starting! The neatness of the page can be overwhelming, like the fear inspired by a foggy cliff.
There are cases in which a wonderful idea comes to us out of nowhere and we start drawing or writing like possessed, this often happens. What happens in those cases is that, basically, we have a lot of confidence in an idea, regardless of whether it is good or not.
This usually happens when we are relaxed. Haven’t you ever had a great idea while you were in the shower?
The best idea to face a blank page is to relax. Make yourself a cup of tea, lie down in an armchair or bed, don’t watch TV or listen to the radio, leave your cell phone aside. Try to eliminate all stimuli around you and take a deep breath. Don’t get anxious, we will produce.
Do you want to generate ideas for a comic book? Lower the level of self-criticism
Humans are creative by definition. There is no one in the history of mankind who has not generated ideas for their survival or to improve their material condition.
Each person creates or solves situations according to his experience and the appropriate stimuli. There are people who work very well under pressure, and who produce much better the closer the deadline for a job gets, others, while they are in a boring meeting.
But there is one group of people who tend to have the greatest creative capacity of all: children.
They can make up stories or start drawing out of thin air with total confidence. Anyone who has seen children draw knows what I’m talking about.
Nothing supernatural happens with them, although it is something surprising on a social level, they don’t hold back, they have no self-criticism.
Imitate children and the ideas will come out by themselves.
Young children, when they start painting or composing stories, don’t think about whether people will like what they are doing, or whether they will make money and become famous. No! They have the enviable ability to take it as a game, and that’s what allows them to produce non-stop.
So let’s try to imitate these little geniuses. Let’s not think about the future of our work, or whether it should be a masterpiece.
Most of the masterpieces were not conceived as such, many famous classical musical works were composed as mere instrumental exercises.
Highly popular comics are the result of a silly joke of the moment. To take a concrete example: the Mona Lisa was a commissioned portrait like any other.
Think about the purpose: what is it? What do we want to create for?
Now that we relax and lower the level of self-criticism, let’s think about what we want to create for.
Should we do an illustration for a magazine contest, or a song for a beverage commercial, or maybe a mural for a hospital? Without knowing the “what for”, it will be difficult to imagine the “what“.
The purpose will give us an imaginary reader, and this will guide us as to what we want to show, no matter if the purpose is invented.
Let’s imagine that we simply want to produce something because we are bored and without a clear objective in mind.
It is very likely that nobody will know very well what to do if I give them a sheet of paper, a pencil and tell them: “draw”, but surely, they will know what to do if I tell them: “draw a magic tree to illustrate a children’s fairy tale”.
It doesn’t matter what comes up afterwards. The purpose will give us a good strength to start.
Guiding questions that will be of great help
Once we have a clear purpose, we can start asking ourselves concrete questions.
If I have to make an illustration about a healthy food, a yogurt, for example, I have to imagine what concepts are associated with being healthy. What is being healthy? The answers may revolve around being active, being slightly muscular, being balanced, and so on.
It is convenient to think about who is going to see what I am doing, it is not the same to target an audience of older adults than a young one. Each group has different values, codes and desires.
In turn, this can generate questions such as: Who is going to see my illustration? In what circumstances? What other things are associated with this concept that I have to illustrate?
It is necessary to think about all possible questions:
In advertising we talk about people’s basic desires (Loomis, 1947). These speak fundamentally about biological and social survival, maternal instinct, better living, pleasure, health, being attractive, freedom, receiving attention, productivity, etc.
Obviously these values are in broad strokes and can be questioned (since Loomis wrote this more than 70 years ago).
You only have to look at current advertisements to see that the assumed values remain more or less the same.
Even if you are not aiming to make an advertisement, these ideas are fundamental when thinking about any artistic production.
Practically every story, every illustration, every piece of music, has a foundation in some of these values, since, it is what unites us as humans and allows us to transmit common experiences and feelings.
Organize your time well, read carefully what was said mainly at the beginning of the article, because we will teach you how to generate ideas for a comic in an orderly and simple way.
Maybe you need an impulse to create a professional artistic work, well, in this case the impulse, or impulses, are the points we mentioned at the beginning and during the article, if you didn’t read them, go back to the beginning of the blog.
In case you don’t understand the points mentioned here, you can read it several times, that’s why we made this article, so you can read it whenever you want.
All these strategies are probably not infallible, and there are probably many other ways to incite creativity that are just as valid. However, they will be useful in almost all cases, and will give you the boost you need to create a professional work of art.
Loomis, A. (1947). Creative Illustration. The Viking Press: New York.