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A fashion illustrator's top 3 tips to manage a creative block

A blog by London Fashion Illustrator Elyse Blackshaw

Fashion illustrator Elyse Blackshaw
Fashion illustrator Elyse Blackshaw live at Selfridges & Co

We've all been there, frustrated by a desire to create and yet still no ideas seem to come. As a fashion illustrator, my creative block is more about not being able to create a piece of work that I deem valuable or of good enough quality. The pressure of needing to make every drawing or sketch a masterpiece is crippling to creativity. What I love about fashion illustration is the way it makes me feel, the movement of the body, the contact from pen to paper. If I'm not feeling that energy, neither will my work.

1. Take the pressure off

Fashion illustrations looks the most beautiful when you can see the energy, passion and enjoyment the artist had in creating it. If it doesn't feel fun and enjoyable in that moment, take a break. Whether it's 10 minutes, the rest of the day or for however long it takes. Sometimes I haven't drawn for weeks, but I know I will go back to it.

Fashion Illustration of Blumarine at Milan Fashion Week by fashion illustrator Elyse Blackshaw
Fashion Illustration of Blumarine at Milan Fashion Week

2. Reconnect with your inspirations

There's so much to see these days, especially online. Our brains are overcrowded by visual after visual. Revisiting physical artefacts that will forever inspire me, images, objects, books, places, remind me of the things I feel connect to. There's always that one artist, that image in a book, that one postcard I picked up at a gallery shop, that one place I went to years ago, that will resonate with me for the rest of time.

Here is a list of my forever inspirations. Why don't you make a list of yours?

3. Write down your thoughts and feelings

Clearing your mind and trying to discover the reason of the block can help you to move forward. I use a technique from the well renowned book The Artists Way called morning pages. (They don't have to be done in the morning!) The task is to continually write your thoughts and feelings for at least 3 pages, detailing everything and anything that comes to mind. This can help to clear your head of any worries, nagging thoughts, to do lists etc. that could be getting in the way of your creativity.

Creativity takes a lot of mental energy. It can come in bursts. It can vary in length. Having a creative block is natural, so don't fight it. See it as a way to overcome challenges, adapt to changes and a new starting point to move your work forward.

Did these tips help? Leave a comment below.

Next up - Illustrating The Met Gala 2024!


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