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Many of the designs we screen print here at DesignAShirt are straightforward. Like some text and perhaps a piece of clip art that represents an idea such as a pink ribbon and the name of a marathon to raise funds for a cause. However, we do print for some serious artists and designers that market their designs on  personal websites or group eCommerce sites such as Etsy. For the most part, the members of our art department spend their work hours cleaning up and enhancing customer submitted art. But we do have some very talented artists on staff that sometimes experience inspiration drain when working on their own projects.

We asked our colleagues to share how they combat creative block and here’s what they had to say along with some featured pieces they have created.

“Sometimes you just need to take a step back and do something else for a bit. It helps if I can find art or designs that inspire me so I’ll take a look at what my favorite artists are doing. Finding art I admire usually brings the inspiration I need to start doing my own stuff again.” Karisa K. 

Photomanipulation by Karisa K.

Acrylic Painting by Karisa K.

“If I get blocked, I start cleaning because a really clean environment helps me think and tap into my creativity.” Lalo V.

Long-exposure Photography by Lalo V.

Indie Custom Screen Print by Lalo V.

“When I get blocked, I just start working on a piece of a project. Like elements that don’t require an overarching vision. I might use these elements immediately or I might use them in a piece years from now. At least it keeps me working and sometimes just being busy creating leads to greater motivation.” Anita K.

Mixed Media by Anita K.

Acrylic Painting by Anita K.

“When it comes to being artistic, I would call my style “simplistic tinkering.” I am not a professional artist, but enjoy creating simple designs in Photoshop that make people feel inspired, motivated, and happy. I started an Etsy store as a fun hobby where I could put my professional experience to use. If I can contribute to a person’s favorite t-shirt collection, that puts a smile on my face. 

I have a few ways I combat artist’s block: Nature, shopping, and Pinterest. 

The easiest way for me to clear my head is to get away. I will take off to the lake, go kayaking, go hiking, or simply go for a run. Being outdoors makes me feel rejuvenated. 

At the mall, whether I am browsing the various window displays or people watching, seeing the different styles that appeal to a wide range of people is refreshing. Plus, seeing different patterns, textures, and styles will often trigger a design concept. 

At night, I will scroll thru different categories on Pinterest. I find Pinterest intriguing and convenient. It’s an easy way for me to get my wheels to stop spinning while I attempt to fall asleep. I can easily pin something that gives me an idea for a t-shirt design knowing that I don’t have to dwell on the idea or try to make it come to life right then and there. I can just come back to Pinterest once I feel refreshed enough to start tinkering in Photoshop.” Jessie E. 

Custom Screen Print Designs by Jessie E.

Every artist whether great or small experiences creative block from time to time.  Here are some quotes from famous artists on how to stay inspired:

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced” – Vincent Van Gogh

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution” Paul Gauguin

Steve Jobs even gives us permission to borrow and expand on other’s ideas.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” – Steve Jobs


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