How to Succeed in the Mid Winter Slump

It's winter, and everything I draw comes out looking blah.  Any suggestions?

This question is a good one, because it's one a lot of artists seem to struggle with, even if they don't make the correlation between winter and art slumps.

First off, I want to point out this is a perfectly natural phenomena.  Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, many also suffer from a lack of sun based Vitamin D, and of course, cold weather makes it harder to get outside and get fresh air.

Many mammals hibernate all winter long.  Mammals that don't hibernate often spend most of their time during the winter sleeping to conserve energy and stay warm.    Humans have this same instinct to sleep and conserve energy during long winter months, even if we don't heed it.

Sometimes it helps to just accept that this is going to be an issue during the winter, and stop blaming yourself.  You can use this winter downtime intentionally- use your free time to enjoy friends, family, or attend fun events and refill your mental tanks.  You can also use your time to stock up on inspiration- like a chipmunk or squirrel creating a winter stash- and consume a lot of media that inspires and enriches your artistic life.  This time can also be spent doing non-creative drawing tasks like drawing skill drills, studying figure drawing or perspective, or practicing a specific skill set like folds.  This is also a great time to do style tests and refine elements of your style.

This is a wonderful time of year for reflection, and doing art redraws is a wonderful way to appreciate the progress you have made skill wise, even if you feel creatively tapped.  Redraws are simple- pick an image from 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even earlier in the year, and focus on using your new skills and techniques to redraw it.  Fix up the character design, redo the pose, actually draw the hands- use this as a chance to focus on demonstrating your improvement, and worry less about being creative.

If you do have creative ideas, don't push yourself to make something finished and perfect- keeping things light, sketchy, and in a thumbnail stage is a good way to capture the idea without furthering your winter burnout.  This is a great time to work on research or development for projects, since the production quality isn't important.


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