How to be more creative

Dan Olivier-Argyle is an entirely self-taught illustrator and artist and is the creative talent behind Dan Illustrates.

There comes a day where any designer, writer or artist hits a creative block. Sometimes these are overcome quickly but there are times when you’ll be stuck for what feels like forever and you have no idea what to do. In his latest addition to our blog, Illustrator Dan gives us a run through of what he does to beat the block and get creative again.

  • Mow the lawn / wash the dishes

Non-demanding tasks encourage divergent thinking. Taking a walk, having a shower, washing the dishes, they all allow the mind to wander – more so than doing nothing. Mindless tasks temporarily reduce activity in the frontal lobes, allowing subconscious thoughts to filter through into our consciousness.

  • Break the norm

Disrupting routine forces your thought patterns to become more flexible. Neural pathways become less rigid, and new connections can be formed. Take a different route to work, disrupt the order of your morning routine and approach your craft in a different way.

  • Try a change of perspective

Move rooms, set up shop in the shed, work at a friend’s house, or take a walk to the coffee shop. Doing things differently encourages the creation of new and original ideas.

  • Allow yourself to fail

Willingness to take risks is essential in the creative process. New and original ideas can only come about if one allows oneself to fail. The great thing is, if an avenue of thought doesn’t lead anywhere in particular, it has still been covered, and might trigger new lines of thought. Failure is necessary. Embrace the little failures, because they are stepping stones towards greater success.

  • Stop, collaborate

While it might not provide all the answers, collaboration provides a different perspective, fights stagnation, and can help generate new ideas. Spending time with like-minded creative people is encouraging and confidence boosting. While solitude is good for contemplation, company can expose new ways of thinking that might otherwise have been overlooked.

  • Question and observe

Curiosity and exploration can lead to wonderful creative insights. Taking the time to understand the world around us helps to inform us in the creative process. Fragments of information can be linked to create new and original connections. This process is at the heart of creativity.

  • Limit yourself

Yep. Contrary to what you might assume, limitations can really encourage creativity. Artists wishing to produce a body of work will often choose a very simple subject to focus on. Imposing limitations can lead to limitless creative ideas. Challenging yourself can be a great motivational tool – restrict yourself and see how many original ideas you can come up with.

  • Walk away

Good ideas take time to incubate. Walk away from the task in the knowledge that you’ll be coming back to it later. You’ve planted the seed, now give it time to grow.

Tattoo these on your pupils, print them out, and come back to them when you need refreshing. Good luck, and let the good ideas flow!

How do you spark your creativity again, let us know in the comments below.


Karen Van Zyl
15 Apr 2013 10:31
Great Advice
Tim Bailey
26 Apr 2013 11:06
Expose yourself to many different types of media, design, imagery, music and experiences. Always have something near you that you love ie. favourite designer's book, magazines etc, or if all else fails type in random interesting words in google and check out the images.
Stuart Glegg
26 Apr 2013 11:15
Definitely agree. I freelance and spend a lot of times working in coffee shops. I find you get a big boost in ideas and motivation changing location a couple of times through the day.

Add your comment

* denotes a required field

will not be displayed

include a link to your website

Go to Blog home

Limited time only!

To claim your exclusive offer just enter your email address below. We’ll send your code directly to your inbox so you can hit the presses, pronto! Be quick though, free delivery ends midnight 26 April.

SubmitNot interested