Last updated on November 12th, 2020
Creativity is the natural extension of our enthusiasm. However, sometimes creative people such as artists, designers, illustrators, etc. find difficulty in keeping their creative spirit high. In short, they feel stuck with no idea what to do and create. This mental state is known as a creative block. For many artists, it is not just frustrating, but it may also be career damaging. While the lack of inspirational ideas is sometimes normal, artists must know how to efficiently deal with it. An AMA with Kevin Bagchi gives you some insight into this issue.
Nothing can be more frustrating for an artist than to go through a creative block. During this phase, an artist goes through a negative emotional block. But the worst part of it is that the artist starts having self-doubts about their own abilities. They are trapped in their view of the world and thinking.
It’s a kind of mental block that occurs when artists try to approach a problem with their presumptions. They usually do not succeed in creating something unique with those prejudices. That is when creative blocks set in, and sometimes it stretches for a far too long a period.
But, finding out a way out is not sometimes easy, especially when creative people have no clue about the problem and solutions. To address this issue, Designhill, the leading creative marketplace, thought of conducting an AMA on the topic: How to Overcome Your Creative Block on 31st March 2020. The guest speaker was the art director, Kevin Bagchi.
Kevin Bagchi is an Art and Design Director. He has worked with many big brands so far in his career journey. He is also active as a filmmaker and branding expert and is involved in digital marketing projects. With 10 years of experience behind working with global organizations, he is the right person to share his thoughts on the creative block.
Here Is The Video Of the AMA Discussion With Kevin Bagchi
Here Are The Key Tips Kevin Bagchi Offered To Deal With Creative Block Efficiently
Designhill: How to overcome creative block during quarantine?
Look for Creative Works
Kevin Bagchi: I spend a lot of time looking at what other people are designing. It inspires me during this quarantine time. There are so many creative people out there. It doesn’t matter how many followers they have. There are people right now in the chat section. I was seeing their Instagram profile, and they have amazing work. So, I go to Instagram and Pinterest to see their work, get inspired, and share their love. That is my way to keep my creative juices flowing.
Designhill: How can you be creative without taking any inspiration? Is this possible?
Look At The Whole Spectrum
Kevin Bagchi: It depends. As humans, we are social animals, and we always look for outside aspiration, inspiration, and recognition. I get inspired by doing something, but I think it’s always to be good at your art, and you should always look at what others are doing.
You should look at the whole spectrum from one end to the other end and don’t get stuck to your only bubble. Look at the whole spectrum of what other artists are doing. And I think that way you can get a lot more ideas and a lot more inspiration from the world.
Designhill: What advice would you give to anyone who really has a good idea but is struggling to execute it?
Kevin Bagchi: I will just answer that from my experience. When we would design something in our head, there are no boundaries. We think we can do anything, but that takes time and a lot of practice. That takes a lot of hours. Therefore, you should not be disheartened if you don’t get the design done at the first try.
Just Keep Trying
I would say draw something and do its first draft. Even if you see the first Mickey Mouse that Walt has designed, you will be amazed to see the difference between what its first design and how it looks now. So it’s a journey, it cannot come for the first time on the first day. All you need to do is to keep trying, start from the basics, and don’t give up. Then, you will be good at it by the time you have some experience.
Designhill: Would you recommend staying off social media during the creative block because many times we surf social media for inspiration?
Visit Social Media for Creativity
Kevin Bagchi: I will not recommend keeping off social media because right now as an artist you should always put yourself out there in these crisis times. Even if you have a creative block, you should always go to social media. Sometimes, I just take a break and see what’s going on in the world. I watch some random trailers as you don’t know where the ideas and when the inspiration can strike in.
So, the worst thing you can do during a creative block is to keep pushing your block as you will just end up getting frustrated. I always say take a break in such a circumstance. Go out there in the real world on social media and look for inspiration. Maybe, that will help you to overcome obstacles.
Designhill: How can you balance what we want to create and what the client wants to see?
Make Clients Realize Your Design Worth
Kevin Bagchi: As a designer, it’s your job to make the clients realize what actually looks good and whatnot. Sometimes we think that our clients can get angry, and it’s okay to get mad like people usually do. But at the end of the day, if you try any harder, it will show that you value your work. Also, you should value the client’s job at a very high level.
And I think it’s the number one step to make them understand why your design will work. But you should always listen to the clients. If you think that they’re saying something relevant for their business, and you see from a different point of view. So, it’s about keeping a balance.
Designhill: Do we need to design other things like home environments to feed the creativity?
Kelvin Bagchi: You can be involved in any form of art. I love cooking, and I think cooking is an art because it has a process and steps. So, if it works for you, you can do home decoration, clear your desk and organize it. That’s also a creative way to see through it, and it also gives you a break from your daily work.
Designhill: What is the best way to brainstorm on an idea when working alone on a project?
Kevin Bagchi: Brainstorm with yourself will mean that you will be drawing and writing a lot of stuff and then throwing it away. This is because the first idea will always be bad. So, that will be a constant fight between your art and the best way to see that. What you are drawing, designing, illustrating, and making will be better than the last one.
So, brainstorming is your past work. You should go back to past work and see what you have done already. Find out what you can do better that will help you move forward.
Designhill: How to stop being critical of your own work?
Avoid Over Criticizing Your Work
Kevin Bagchi: I think you should be critical of your work, but not that much. When you start your journey as a designer, you go to Instagram and Pinterest and see all the work and feel that I will never reach that level. You think you cannot compete with them. But you are just starting your journey. So don’t kill yourself trying to be on their shoes as that will be disheartening.
However, you should always be critical of your work so that you improve. I think you should be critical but not overkill it. Of course, you need to examine your work. You should draft and improve your work every time.
Designhill: How to deal with the creative block in the final phase of your project as it happens a lot?
Kevin Bagchi: When you reach a final phase, and you have already gone through so many steps, you still feel that your work is not looking that great. Maybe, I need to go back all over again.
But no, stop there. You have reached that point because you have done something really good. So, I will say, go for a walk. Just leave it and go for a walk. Then, come back, read a book, and help you get back to your process. There is no thumb rule to break your creative block.
Designhill: How do you look out for inspiration?
Kevin Bagchi: I find my inspiration depending on what projects I’m working at that time. Generally, I find my inspiration from films because I think the way they design their sets and how so much work goes on their storyboarding, I get the design inspiration from there. Also, I follow a lot of great designers across Instagram.
How would you prevent making a new style while in the art block?
Stick To Your Brand Guidelines
Kevin Bagchi: If you are working on a particular set of art, we call it a brand guideline. So at the very first stage, you decide what colors and fonts you want to use are. But that use of the elements should be consistent with telling the whole story of your art from point A to point B.
You should create brand guidelines as your first step in the whole journey. If you think that you are deviating, just go back and read your guidelines. You will find out what color palettes you have chosen and help you get there.
Designhill: How to keep up with the inspiration while working on a project with limited time?
Kevin Bagchi: Some jobs will help you put food on your plate and some job you will do for your satisfaction. So, you should have a clear distinction about it. When you are hired, there will be clients who want a lot of content in a short point of time, but that is okay sometimes. This is because, in the end, you don’t want to die of hunger, and you want to do that kind of job.
Then you will always get a job which will give you much more freedom. Such jobs give much more inspiration and joy. So you should always know this difference between the two types of jobs.
Designhill: How to keep the momentum for a personal project with a full-time job?
Kevin Bagchi: As a designer, you will always pick up projects from outside. You should dedicate a certain amount of time but avoid over promise and under deliver. So, you should take the projects that you can complete on time.
Designhill: Do you think it as necessary for an artist to have a personal or specific style?
Style Evolves With Your Personality
Kevin Bagchi: A personal style will help you stand out. But I don’t think it’s the number one thing that you should look for to achieve. There are different styles. Your style will not develop on day one.
But as you still keep doing a lot of work, you will not even realize that you will have a different style from every other designer. It will happen organically. You don’t have to look for it. You will have it because your style will be your personality.
Designhill: Do you surround yourself with lots of stuff or inspiration, or keep it clean and simple?
Kevin Bagchi: I keep myself surrounded by a lot of inspiration. Those inspirations can come from anywhere. I watch a lot of architectural documentaries. Sometimes my inspiration comes from what they’re designing, but I like the patterns and how they play around with colors, foreground, and background. So, it is always good to have a variety of inspiration from a variety of genres.
Designhill: How do we tell clients that bench ideas just aren’t good without using them?
Kevin Bagchi: The best way to do it is to design the design. You should just design what the client is saying. Then, tell him that, according to you, I have designed it, but I don’t think it’s going to work. Then, say to the client that you have another design according to the brief, but it is from my design sense, and I think it’s going to work. In this way, I think you can bridge the gap.
Designhill: If you would be an animal, what would you be in and why?
Kevin Bagchi: As a designer, right now, I would be a bird, maybe, so that I can fly around and see a whole lot of things. This is more so because we are all stuck in our houses.
Designhill: How do you get over self-doubt?
Kevin Bagchi: Self-doubt happens when you constantly get criticism from your peers, and when you keep bidding to your clients, and nobody says yes. But again, that’s the way of life. So, if you are a hustler, you will keep hustling, and you will break through it. But that happens a lot, and it’s just a way of life. If there’s a journey as a designer, always keep going never to give up.
Designhill: Many times, due to creative block, people go into depression and suffer from mental issues. So, how would you know that you are stressed?
Kevin Bagchi: It is normal to happen. For instance, I was working for a huge agency that would not say the name, but they kept giving me a lot of stress and deadlines. And I ended up suffering from clinical depression for two years due to that. I thought that I would have diabetes if I work like that. So I thought I’m not good at anything.
Take A break To Regain Confidence
I just left that job and went to the mountains for two weeks. And I started doing very basic stuff that I loved doing before I got the job. That is how I got my confidence back. Sometimes it’s hard, but keep hustling, and you will be okay.
If any job is giving you too much stress or depression, it’s just not worth it. As designers, we are loving and sensitive persons. And, we should take a step back at that time and think if it’s going to hurt your peace. Nothing is more important than your peace, as it is basic to creating great design stuff.
So, these are the tips that Kevin shared with creative people like graphic designers and illustrators. Make sure that you do not let the temporary phase of the block period overwhelm you. Just wait for it to fade away and in the meantime, take a break and come to the working table with energy and a fresh mind.
If you are a creative graphic designer or illustrator, Designhill is the marketplace to find plenty of work to keep you busy with your unique ideas. You will find hundreds of design contests in your field of interest and skills.
Since you will work on many contests, it will stimulate your creative brain to come out with unique design and illustration ideas. Just start working and use your creative energies to do something new and unique.
Creative block is something that artists, graphic designers, and all creative people have to confront regularly. To handle such a dreaded situation, graphic designer Kevin Bagchi advises to take a break and look for inspiration around. Also, avoid over-criticizing your work and make clients realize the worth of your designs or other work.