Working Through a Slump

24 Oct

Creativity tends to come in streaks.  There are times when there are so many ideas that I can’t grab them quickly enough.  Inspiration surges through the veins, gets me so eager to create that I can hardly sleep.  It’s a wonderful feeling, these spurts of excitement and creativity.

And then, all at once, it seems to exhaust itself, and I’m standing there, pens or pencils in hand, with not a single idea of what to draw.  I may, in these slump-ish times, turn to my writing, thinking that there must be some sort of ideas to work with to defy the dreaded slump.  It can help, but I still glance longingly at my art table, fresh and clean and awaiting the next drawing.  It bothers me to see the fresh, crisp paper, the supplies all stacked and sorted nicely.  After I finish a drawing, I always tidy my art table a lot, make it clean and orderly.

But art should not be too tidy.

This has been a difficult slump lately, as I haven’t drawn anything “real” (that is, something that I take seriously and dedicate dozens of hours to) since I finished my Texas Longhorn.  The creative well runs dry sometimes, until something strikes me just right.  Then, with any luck, I can get back to that sleepless creative spree I mentioned earlier.

Anyway, in the meantime, I do quick stuff…sketches.  Most of them are abandoned in frustration and impatience.  Most of them just annoy me, because they don’t appeal to me like hours and hours of work on a single drawing do.  I suppose I’m a little bit picky about these things.

Since I am currently fighting through a slump, I thought I would post what I’m sketching these days as a small  way of saying “I’m trying to be creative”. 😉

So, here is what my latest looks like, until I can find that great spark of inspiration somewhere, somehow.  All of these are drawn on a Strathmore 400 series Field Sketch Book.  That is truly what this sketchbook is – it’s gone everywhere with me for a number of years.  I’m almost out of paper in this book, so I’ll need to go shopping soon. 🙂  The sketches are all within the 7×10 inch paper size, and all done with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens of various sizes.  Some of these are in sepia ink, and some are black.  All of them took an hour or less to sketch.

I don’t know why I’ve been sketching bulls lately.  I just love their massive heads and muscular build.  They are truly magnificent.

A young robin.  The original sketch has some sepia ink in addition to the black, but the scanner doesn’t seem to pick up the color with this one.

This is the only sketch in this post that I did from imagination; the enormous mane got slightly out of hand, as you can see.

This stately looking gentleman was too fun to draw.  I loved the polka-dotted suit and that stiff, tall shirt collar.  I found this fellow in a great book of Old Time images that I have.  The other things on this page came from the same book.  It’s very relaxing to draw and sketch quickly in ink!

This big bison (who seems to be missing his feet) was sketched in about twenty minutes.  Inspired by a painting I saw.

This one was very fun…I loved trying to capture the speed of the horse.  The paper is a bit thin, and you can see the bison from the above image through this sketch.  The feet got cut off because I drew this too low on the page; I tend to do that sometimes.

Thanks for looking. 🙂


Posted by on October 24, 2011 in All Artwork, Sketches


3 responses to “Working Through a Slump

  1. KatiesCameraBlog

    October 24, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    I am so glad your wrote this, Jenna, as it is just so frustrating when the slump hits and nothing good is coming through. Like you, I just keep working through it, and hope that some inspiration hits me again (and I honesty wish camera equipment cost the same as Strathmore paper 🙂 ).

    I love these little drawings. The bull looks like he’s self assured and has a bit of attitude. The Robin is just so sweet. The horse with the wild mane is just too much, but that is what makes it wonderful to me. I just looks wrong, but so right. 🙂 I like that polka dot suit too, and the structure of that work is different from the others, which is interesting. The footless bison is good, I like how he looks/feels round, but then there are all those straight lines. And the running horse, I like the dust up in the back and the smoothness of his gate.

    My take on all of your drawings. 🙂 They were fun to look at. I hope that your inspiration comes back soon, Jenna!

  2. janukke

    October 25, 2011 at 7:08 AM

    Wow, those sketches are great! Maybe it´s a good thing for you to be in a creative slump if this means you come up with doodles like that. They´re awesome!

    And don´t worry, your creativity will be back eventually. It´s how it goes. But then again, to me these sketches are full of energy and creativity. 😛



  3. Jenna

    October 25, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Thank you so much for the supportive and understanding comments on my slump, Katie. Slumps are a part of creativity, I suppose, just like writer’s blocks are a part of the author’s life. I do think that slumps help us to push ourselves further in the long run, though.

    Thanks much for the comments on each individual sketch. It means a lot. I had to laugh when I read your comments on the horse and its wild mane. You so nicely said “It looks wrong, yet right”. I like that. 😀

    I hope the inspiration comes back soon, too!

    Hi Jana, and thank you so much! I guess as long as I’m making marks of paper, it’s a good thing. 😉 I really appreciate your kind comments.


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