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Breaking out of a creative block!

Hi, I’m Lex from @lexstudying on Instagram!

Keeping an art journal is often really daunting. While it's a really fun way to express your creativity in whatever format, medium, or style you like, staring at a blank page and drawing that first stroke is pretty scary. Oftentimes I find myself at a loss for ideas and absolutely clueless about what I want to draw or make; even though I find myself really wanting to make something!

It gets a little more stressful when you go on Instagram or Pinterest and see thousands of stunning art journal spreads and people who somehow are always able to keep those creative juices going, filling journal after journal with paintings, poetry, collages and more. I wish I was one of those people, but more often than not I find myself drawing a blank.

Today I’m going to share with you my favourite method to get out of a creative rut! Whenever I get stuck on what to make, I make mini thumbnail sketches! These are basically very quick, simplified drawings that artists usually use when they’re testing out different colour palettes or compositions for a larger piece. You really only need two things: a drawing utensil and something to draw on. Of course, you still have one big problem -- you still don’t know what to draw!

Here’s what I usually do -- as I’m scrolling through Instagram, I tend to save photos that I really like (usually sceneries, since I’m really partial to urban sketching) and keep them all for later. Then, when I’m looking for something to draw, I choose a few and make rough sketches of them just for practice! These take a few minutes each- don’t worry about making mistakes since they’re just rough drawings, like a warm-up. You can make as many sketches as you like, and usually once I’ve drawn a few from a reference photo, I start making up my own sceneries and drawing from imagination!

Here’s an example of what those sketches could look like. I used these beautiful watercolour pencils from Koh-I-Noor and they’re really smooth to draw with!

You can be as realistic or unrealistic as you want. You can draw the house across the street, or the shelves on your wall, but you can also draw your dream beach house in Hawaii or a little cottage on the shores of a misty lake- it’s a fun, low-pressure exercise to just get those gears turning and creative juices going!


Lex runs the bullet journal/ study account @lexstudying on Instagram. She uses a bullet journal to stay organized while still being creative! She also loves to create and sells her own stickers on her Etsy store, Lexie’s Desk. Check her out on Instagram, Youtube and Etsy!

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