Preventing Creative Burn-Out

Even if I’m enjoying a project on which I’m working, if it’s a project which takes a long time, I’ll sometimes take a break, just to get a change of pace, otherwise I may burn out from working on the same thing.

So I’ll get away from my work for an hour or so and create something quickly, just for fun, which doesn’t have to meet anyone’s criteria or deadline. Usually it’s just a character design like this, or it might be a loose little environment doodle. I used to drop illustrating altogether and would pick up an electric guitar, but I haven’t done that for years. The point is, even when you enjoy your work, you still need a break from it to clear your mind or rejuvenate your batteries, so to speak.

I’ve spoken to artists who work in animation, yet they’ll have a little booth at the San Diego Comic Con, and they’ll show their personal work there. When I ask them why they do so (given that they already have a well-paying gig with a studio), they say that they want an outlet to create their own stuff, even though they may enjoy working on the studio’s intellectual properties. I guess that’s what I’m talking about with these kinds of sketches. It’s a way to get away from a “job” and just create for fun and recreation.

I’m sure there are other ways to change pace from work-related art. Maybe going through a different creative medium works as well. Maybe you want to get away from illustrating and try sculpting, or writing, or making music, or work on crafts. The point is, your mind just needs to switch gears to clear the dust-bunnies that begin to gather when it’s been on autopilot for too long.

So what do you do when you need to switch gears mentally? Do you work on something different? Change mediums? Or do you just drop your brushes altogether and go watch a movie?


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