Overcoming Blank Page Overwhelm - Creative Tips by Joanna Baker

Overcoming the Fear of a Blank Page…

There are times as an artist where a big, blank sheet of paper feels liberating. It can be a fresh start – a big open canvas ready to fill with ideas and beauty. But other times, staring at a blank page can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? What happens if you mess up? How are you going to fill all this space? Keep reading for some helpful tips I use to overcome my fear of a blank page when it crops up.

Here are my top 3 tips for overcoming the fear of a blank page:

1. Start Small

If the idea of a huge canvas or big sheet of paper is intimidating, cut it up into smaller pieces. Sometimes just reducing the size of the blank page makes it easier to get started. Starting off with something as small as 4×6 or 5×7 can feel like a more approachable size. Then work your way up slowly to larger sizes of paper.

2. Commit to play

Sometimes setting out with the intention of practice over perfection is all you need to overcome your fear of a blank page. Designate a big, fancy sheet of paper as “just for practice.” Create a bunch of marks, make repetitive patterns, or try new techniques and colors without the pressure of making your practice work resemble anything – keep it abstract.

3. Create a Pencil Roadmap

When you’re just getting started, sometimes thinking about everything at once – color, value, positive and negative space, proportion, line quality, shape – can be intimidating. Eliminate the need to plan out everything at once and first just focus on lines and shapes. Create a roadmap for yourself in pencil first, get your shapes and proportions down, then map out where you’d like certain colors to go to create a balanced composition. Do all of this before adding a single drop of color to your page.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by a blank page? What have you found that helps to break through the creative paralysis and start creating? I’d love to know!