1. Who are you and how long have you been working as an artist?
My name is Doug Hills, and I have been working as an artist for 19 years.
2. How do you personally define art block? How often do you get art block?
I define art block in two ways:
1) The moments where what I have in my head won’t translate to my hand. Basically, when what I have in my imagination runs into the limitations of my current artistic skill set.
2) The moments when I have absolutely no idea how I want to approach a subject (commission, page, etc).
I get artist’s block fairly frequently, especially when I feel like I’m not in an artistic groove. I’ve also had it happen when I see someone else’s work and push myself harder to be what I perceive as “that good.” Then, I become frustrated when I don’t get the epic idea I was going for.
3. What are some specific strategies you employ when dealing with art block?
For starters, I stop comparing myself to others (or at least try). Then, I slow down — usually I work at a break-neck pace, and try to produce art as fast as possible. This has resulted in times where I try to rush through an idea, only to get stuck on how it is coming out. What has helped was to take a step back, and focus on the foundations of my skillset. As a result, I approach the source of my frustrations from a different angle, and result in a better (or at least more acceptable) result. The truth is, I’m never 100% satisfied with my work. So in the absolute worst-case scenario, I just accept that what I’m working on is not going to match what I envisioned, and I move forward.
4. Describe the biggest obstacle / challenge you’ve encountered working as an artist and how you overcame it.
I’ve had two obstacles: creating what I consider dynamic looking pieces, and getting likenesses of real people down. I don’t feel I’ve overcome either of those, pre se — rather, I keep learning & experimenting. That way, I might not achieve what I was going for in one piece, but I’ve learned a bit more that I can apply to the next one.