Reading Time: 5 minutes
creativity header

Everybody experiences periods where their reservoir of creativity dries up. If you’re embarking on a career as a t-shirt artist having a wealth of artistic ideas at hand is going to be very important to your career. Even those of us that are bursting at the seams with creativity need to take a moment to clarify our vision and interpret through different eyes occasionally. Here are some unexpected ways to increase your creativity and keep your artistic aesthetic fresh and flowing.

Keep a box of treasured items– Have you ever been simply drawn to some trinket, toy, or literary quote that you find meaningful? Everybody gets enamored by objects or bits of whimsy so why not collect the things that inspire you and keep them in an inspiration box? When you feel stuck, open up the box and mediate on what attracted you to the memento originally. It will bring you to a happy place and help press the reset button on your creativity.

walking alone

Walk by yourself- Exercise and solitary thought can help you refocus on the task at hand. Having to entertain someone else with conversation can be distracting. Getting out and stretching your legs while breathing in fresh air has a soothing impact while also making you feel better about yourself as you’re improving upon your health and physique.

Make a handmade item- Sure, creating t-shirt designs is making something by hand but step out of your comfort zone and create with a medium you don’t normally use. Consider a do it yourself home improvement project, a sewing project, or even arranging flowers or creating a miniature succulent garden.


Grow something- There is something to be said about gardening. Cultivating and watching something grow from seed provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment. The physical labor involved in keeping a garden also helps to clear your head and create room for artistic inspiration. Lots of inspiration can be found in the natural world too. Think about the wonder of Fibonacci sequences that exist throughout the world of botany and how that symmetry can be incorporated into design.

listen to music

Listen to meta music- You don’t have to believe in the manipulation of alpha waves to gain an appreciation for music that is orchestrated to enhance concentration and creativity. If nothing else, it can be very calming which is great when you’re stressing about a deadline. Even ambient noise recordings can help you gain focus and energy that is needed when trying to channel your creative side.

talking to friend

Run your idea by a friend- Do you have a friend that’s always opinionated? Ask them about your project and see what they have to say. Even if their input isn’t the direction you want to go just having someone else to bounce ideas off of can help to reposition your thought process.

reimagine reality

Dissect and mutate an idea- There are creative games you can play that force you to push the boundaries of what an object is supposed to look like. Imagine this. You can start with a mountain but instead of drawing peaks with snowy tops, the layer that covers the peaks has the consistency of coral, the roots of the mountain are jellyfish tendrils and the clouds are waves instead of vapor. You can play this game by mixing forms, playing with size and scale, and replacing traditional patterns and surfaces with the totally unexpected ones. Even visualizing what an emotion looks like on paper can help. Going through practices such as this help your brain to escape the narrow construct of what the world is supposed to look like.


Try Zentangle- This is really great, it’s doodling but on a more elevated level. There are tons of pattern examples online and just giving your mind a rest while still “creating” can help you to break out of creative rut. Sometimes just forcing yourself to create can break the ice and help you to keep going in a more concentrated direction.

Drink up- We’re not exactly advocating that you get hammered but a lunchtime beer or wine can loosen up your mind just enough to get past whatever is constricting your creative flow.


Laughter is the best medicine- Feeling good makes everything better, even your creativity. Having a good laugh increases the release of endorphins which are nature’s happy pills. Happy people typically get more done but they are also more creative. Watch a funny movie or listen to a comedian and let loose with the laughter.


Daydream- As we grow up and the pressure of everyday life looms over our heads we forget how much inspiration comes when our heads are stuck up in the clouds. Daydreaming is the font of imagination and it not only helps with creativity, it can be therapeutic as well because we allow ourselves an escape from the burdens we face. Notice colors and textures when you daydream about your happy place.

Let go of the perfectionism- This is probably one of the hardest things t-shirt artists have to face when actually designing a shirt. Perfection is taught in art school as part of the learning process, and then only later are you allowed to explore deconstruction. It can be a challenge to let go and let it flow which is an integral aspect of creativity. Leave the perfection to your t-shirt screen printer when you have your finalized design.

Leave a Reply