I know I haven't posted in awhile. I would like to say I've been drawing the whole time, but honestly, I've been in a funk. I can't seem to stay focused, I get distracted easily and I end up not drawing at all some days after work. Barring work itself and the other realities of life that demand time, I do have ample amounts of time to draw, but yet I don't.
Anybody have any advice on what to do when the mojo just isn't there? do you pray? eat? listen to opera? how does one get back in the groove?
Try aimless sketching while you go about life. You know, while commuting on a train, waiting on line at the DMV, talking on the phone, etc.
Keep your hand (and you mind) moving, and draw with no other goal than to draw. Sometimes when I focus too much on a project, or a reason to draw I get all locked up. But just drawing for they joy of feeling the pen/pencil move on paper is what is needed.
Another biggie is reading good imaginative fiction. I had so many images flash through my head reading books like "Les Miserables", "The Scarlet Pimpernel", "The Robe", "The Three Musketeers", or Johnston McCulley's "The Mask of Zorro". Great characters. Great adventures. Great drama. Great, great stuff. (Even David McCullough's "1776" gave me some cool images.)
Or you can try praying while you eat during an opera if all else fails! :-)
(Sorry, bad joke.)
I have been facing the same situation, but I've been doing aimless sketching just like Steve said and I managed to create 3 new comic book characters ever since I started doing that, but praying is also the key for every good and perfect gift comes from God who is the Father of all lights so he's able to direct your creativity, refreshen you and renew your strength for that purpose.
One idea too is to "crosstrain". Do something else that is creative. Music, if you do that. Or work in a different medium like sculpture or painting. If you have a computer and color program(Photoshop,etc.), learn how to color comics. Try something creative that has nothing to do with drawing and sketching.
You may think this may keep you further away from drawing, but crosstraining can help refire your drawing juices and creativity. And it may reveal another talent.
The encouragement to pray -- always the best first thing! Here also is a proverb that I love (the whole chapter is a favorite of mine)...
16:13 Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.
Naturally speaking, not sure I can add to what others have said except to share two experiences of mine.
First, shortly after I left the Kubert School in '84, for the first time in my life I stopped drawing altogether (even though I was being offered work and a path at Marvel). I had become so obsessive about correcting everything and learning all that I could in class, the white page had begun to paralyzed me. It represented way too much work and not enough play/fun. This went on for several months until one day at my job in a 7-11, I broke out a brown paper bag and a ball-point pen to scribble something for a customer. The materials allowed me to not be nutty about what went down. Soon after (many brown bags later), I graduated to napkins in all the local diners -- scribbling quick gestures (this is a great exercise, period -- at any time or point in an artist's life). The process helped me to relinquish my obsessive grip on getting it all right and soon after I sold my first job.
Second experience: Through the years of doing comics professionally, I've had down periods where I struggled to be as productive as I would have liked. What pulled me out of those down periods as often than anything else was to bring something new to my work that it didn't have. I'd seek for some new element-- from great comics, strips, films, anywhere it could be found -- that was lacking and begin to incorporate it into my work. Make a new challenge. In other words, when the work got hard, my way through was to make it harder - give myself a new mountain to climb. And in the narrative arts, there are more mountains than we have years to climb them.
Each time I have taken this approach, I would soon find myself renewed in my enthusiasm -- riveted to the board.
Renewal -- our lives are new each day in the Lord.
Move the hand...something will happen!
Blessings in Messiah,
Thanks for putting this up, I've been having a hard time focusing on drawing lately and i should have finished some of my newer comics by now.
One thing I always do is make an unofficial 'Soundtrack' for my stories and characters out of favorite songs. I listen to it a lot while working on the stories, and I find that when I don't feel like working on it, the soundtrack can put me in the mood. Doesn't always work, but when it does, it's worth the trouble:)