I would also just like to add; this is MY way of doing it, and it might not work for you, but it works just fine for me.
Now, onto my humble guide. In order to fight block, you must find the root or source of the problem, and then the route and sauce or substance of the problem, unless, of course you problem is to do with sauce, in which case the sauce may well be the source of the problem, and the route you must take in order to get to the root of the problem will most likely be a difficult, long, and rather ill tasting one. If you have a problem with the sauce a waiter at an odd restaurant gave to you, whilst repeating over and over odd things you do not understand, I suggest you read a different text, as I'm afraid I can't help you with that. You may do better reading Lemony Snicket's Unauthorised Autobiography.
However, we're missing the point entirely. We must first locate the root and/or source of the problem. Our first division starts here, as block whilst writing and block whilst drawing are separate matters entirely, and perhaps I should have made a separate article for such a thing, but that hardly matters now that I've already started. Complicate thing too much, and I'll find myself in a spot of block and that would ironically destroy the point of writing this.
Lets start with drawing. How about we brainstorm a word which, here, means 'list' some of the possible reasons for getting art block.
One of the main obstacles I came across, when drawing was when I had been drawing for around a year. In that year, I had improved so much, that suddenly I didn't know where to go. A little like a growing spurt. Over a few months you shoot up an inch or so, and then you appear to stop growing but if you measure yourself just after your spurt stops, and several months later, you'll find you have indeed grown, just not as quickly as you had been doing so. If we put this into drawing terms, you improved greatly, and now you feel as if you're not improving at all. Sure, maybe each new picture isn't vastly better, like it continued to be so for the past, however long, but you're still improving, just rather slowly.
Sometimes the block is a sign of improvement. Sometimes, you're drawing and the picture just doesn't look right to you. Something is off and it's bothering you. Doesn't matter whether you know what it is, or if you don't know and so on. All that matters is, is that there is an issue, and whatever it may be, you can't fix it. Maybe the head keeps looking too small for the neck and such. This is sometimes just that as you study more and more, parts of your drawing anatomically speaking are getting vastly better than other parts and thus; the picture looks odd, distorted.
Yet another reason, and a rather common one at that, is... You were just browsing the net or artbooks, and suddenly, you saw an amazing piece of artwork and you'll NEVER be able to be as good as that person is. You couldn't even dream of it! ...Even though that's exactly what you're doing right now. And then... And then there is, sometimes, just the sheer fact that you have no idea whatsoever of what to draw. You just can't think and even if you could think of something, chances are it would be well beyond your drawing ability.
Finally, there is one, that I'm very sorry to say is unavoidable sometimes. When we get stressed, anxious or depressed and feel highly negative emotions and feelings, drawing can help us get through it but one tiny mess up on the first or second picture and suddenly you don't feel like drawing at all. Everything is so bad in your life, and the only thing you want to draw is something sad. You can't bring yourself to do it.
There are almost as many reasons for any kind of block as there are people in the world, and I have neither the time nor patience to type each one of them out. My RSI (repetitive strain injury) has decided today would be a nice day to mess me around. Well, now that we've acknowledged the source, whatever it may be, we need to deal with it. Lets begin!
Listening to music. It can help some people and it can ruin others. If you are one of the people who like listening to inspirational music, I have a few suggestions. Even though I'm really not a fan of the following bands, I cannot deny that they help inspire me. I listen to them every night before I sleep so that I have action packed dreams full of emotion. Lets go through a list of songs and bands. I'd suggest most stuff from Fall Out Boy, except Dance Dance, which, actually being my favourite Fall Out Boy song, and possibly the only one I like, isn't very inspirational. Another few songs are All to Blame, and Pieces by Sum41. Straight-Jacket Feeling, Dance Inside and several other All American Rejects' songs are ideal. Disco 2000 and Common People by Pulp. Brilliant songs by a brilliant band. The Scientist and a fair deal more of Coldplay songs and then there are billions of fantastic-working Keane songs. You could easily say you don't like these songs and they won't work for you. Thing is. Yes. They will. That's a fact. Maybe not all of them, but let me promise you, at least ONE song on here will work in the slightest for you. Know why that is? It's about the chords. I won't go into details, but I'll mention a scale that I play over my own music called the Minor Pentatonic Scale. No matter whether the song is Major or Minor, the scale fits perfectly over it because at the end of the day the note A is still the note A whether it's Minor or Major. It may seem a little complicated, but just trust me on this. It's the chords in the song that make them powerful and sad. The melody is the memorable part, but the chords make the song. Songs that can be played in the key of A, with an F, C, G or D chord of some sort are so powerful and moving that if I could I'd write every song in the key of A. On that note, another song, Behind These Hazel Eyes by Kelly Clarkson. I hate it but it is so powerful and it's not her voice that makes it so, it's the chords. So just trust me on the songs. Of course, if you hate all noise when drawing, you might be better listening to nothingness.
Sometimes looking at amazing art, especially by artists such as *sakimichan, ~Toonikun, ~leventep, ~kidchan, ~kheleksul, *Kaze-Hime, ~David-Holland, ~iDNAR, ~Checkered-Fedora, *Ecthelian, *Roggles, ~nekoni, *DejiNyucu, *shilin, ~deland-fox and last, but certainly not least, ~Cushart. It's a lot, I understand. Sometimes looking at fantastic, popular artists can send you nutso and give you so much inspiration that you struggle to even draw one idea. In that case, sketch stick men of every pose you want to do! Even if you never do half of them. If you've done that and feel overly depressed about how bad your art is in comparison, go search anime boy or anime guy or hell, even sasunaru in the searchbox and I bet you will find a few good pieces and a million pieces of art worse than yours. And if everything there is better as unlikely as that is you have to look at everything to do with that picture. SOMETHING on that picture might be better, sure, but at least one thing will be worse than yours. So just remember you're not crap and if you are, oh well! Go buy a few anatomy books.
When it comes to not being able to draw things the way you want, you have to see what it is that looks wrong. Is the neck too thing? The head too small? The legs too long/short? Torso too long? Everything too long? Draw it. Observe it. Leave it. Observe it again. What you need to do is just practise that bit and that bit only. If the hands look odd, draw just hands and fingers. Wrists? Draw just wrists. Neck, in comparison to the head? Then that's what you work on. It'd tedious, but this is what it boils down to. If you're passionate about overcoming your block and improving, you'll do it. Simple as.
When it comes to the reason about being upset or anxious, there isn't much you can do. You can try and draw a lot of expressive eyes that sometimes helps me. Especially crying. If you look in my scraps you'll notice a lot of pencil sketches with a lot of tears and all. They date to when my computer broke. I had no music, no scanner, no Photoshop, no tablet, just an HB pencil and some paper. At one point I didn't even have a sharpener and was using an eyeliner sharpener. Didn't even have an eraser at the time. The one time I found some crayons, I drew a picture where the character didn't look depressed and just about ready to jump off a bridge.
And sometimes? Sometimes you just have to wait it out.
Now, onto writing. In order to explain this the best I can. I'll give you my story. A year or so ago I attempted to write a novel. I got to about twenty thousand words and was suddenly stuck. Very, very stuck. I knew my plot I knew everything. Or... I thought I did. It took me a damn time to work it out, but here's how it goes.
If your characters are good enough, you will never get stuck. Well, rarely. If you know your characters and they have a purpose even one as simple as 'They are my main character because I want/need one'. It's pointless have characters for the sake of having them. They need to each play a part.
I had a beautiful plot perfect obstacles and two characters who I thought were deep and human. But, when it came down to it, my characters couldn't carry the plot at all. They were too flat. I didn't know enough about them to even carry on. My characters, Matt and Lin were flat and two-dimensional. If the characters are deep and human enough the story will be interesting and can continue on.
My friend brought up an interesting point. What about two characters doing nothing? Two characters just sitting talking in a room. Well, let me tell you; The Five People You Meet In Heaven, by Mitch Albom is just that. The main character switching rooms where he meets the five people who influenced his life the most and he just sits and talks about his life with them. The main character is deep enough for it to work.
Your characters... You probably think they're good. And you know what? They are. They're good. You know everything about them. But you should write it down to avoid contradiction because it WILL happen and it can ruin the entire story. I've done that a LOT.
Another block is lack of plot. If your characters aren't good enough and you don't know what you at least want to happen in the end, you can get blocked, again. One way around this, is creating obstacles for the protagonists (the good guys) cue: bad guys and henchmen. Lots of. Or disease. Or a personal conflict from within, such as feelings for someone in relation to social status etcetera.
I don't want to turn this isn't a tutorial on how to write a story maybe I will do that some day, but until then, the main point for/of this, is that you need to write stuff down. Any ideas and just anything, really. Write it down and writing becomes a lot easier. Block is when you just haven't thought stuff through, properly.
Anyways, until next time~