by Kathi Larsen

Sometimes life gets in the way and the creativity of an artist/photographer can be stifled. Sometimes fear that keeps us from stepping out of our comfort zone, after all, what if it no one likes my work? There many ways to successfully break out of a creative block. Writing and Drawing are two of them, and both can be done in a single journal.


Writing helps you to let go of stresses and struggles that may be the root of a creative block. Put down on paper those things that are weighing upon you. There are no limitations on what you can write, no required theme or idea, no specified number of words. Ask yourself questions and then answer them. Include quotes from your favorite artists, attach examples of work that inspires you. Respond to the words and images. Read and take notes from other sources such as lectures, articles, books, etc. Ask yourself how they can help.

When you are unsure what to write or have nothing left to say, revisit the words you have written previously. Rereading your thoughts may remind you of forgotten ideas or spark new ones. They may provide you insights into who you are as an artist/photographer or perhaps give you a glimpse into what may be holding you back. When you finish, list words that describe your ideas and insights.


You don’t need to know how to draw to use this technique. Create a graphic organizer to help put your words and ideas into a visual diagram; a Venn diagram, a word web, or word association can help to get you started with your drawings. Choose a word then use a thesaurus to find related words such as synonyms or antonyms. After a short time a connection, theme, or concept should emerge. Begin to explore all the visual possibilities of these in small sketches.

Simple shapes or doodles are all that is needed to unlock ideas. When you have a few compositions, look for them in your environment, use a cell phone to capture them. Print them, cut them up, reorder them to explore new compositions. Don’t be afraid to compose impossible scenes. Put them into your journal. Use them as inspiration for your next journal entries. Use them to create a new series of images. Explore every possibility, but most of all, have fun.

Discovery happens when you least expect it. Start a journal. Write then draw or draw then write. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Just experiment to see what develops. Having a tangible object to touch and see and read can help you to find your visual voice. Give yourself the freedom to explore even the most fantastic ideas. Be open to the change that may come about through your experimentation.