Monday, March 28, 2022

Looking For Ways To Re-Discover Your Creative Mojo? Kidlit Artists Offer Tips

 by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

It's been a crazy couple of years, hasn't it? Not sure about the rest of you, but I found it a struggle to stay creative earlier during the pandemic. Things are gradually getting better, but I know many out there are still going through difficult times. In case it helps, here are just a few tips from KidLitArtist creators on how you can help re-discover your creative mojo:

Take the breaks you need to feed your soul. Molly Ruttan reminds us all to get outside, to experience the things we love, to be fully present in the moment. "Don’t wait to feel better, don’t wait for an anxiety attack! Get out there with an open heart — good feelings and inspiration will follow."

Get inspired by other media. Deepen your understanding of other cultures (which may in turn inspire your own work). Read Zahra Marwan's post about Understanding Culture Through Film and Literature: A Focus On Russian Animated Films.

Even if you only have a few minutes to spare a day, do something (even a small something) that helps you work on your craft. This could be doing a quick live sketch-doodle of something or someone nearby. It could be taking a closer study of a spread in a picture book (just pick a random page) and trying to figure out how the illustrator created an image. Do a mini-dive into a physical or digital art tool and learn or practice one new thing. If you use Photoshop, for example, see Robin Rosenthal's My Favorite Photoshop Tips And Shortcuts.

Dip your toes in something unfamiliar, suggests Tenaya Lena Gunter Brown. Experiment with drawing in a new style, try a new material or tool. Don't aim to create something for public viewing or for use in your usual work. See Tenaya's post for some suggestions.

Get together, either virtually or in person, with fellow book creators. I recommend smaller groups or one-on-one with someone you trust, to avoid just being a spectator. Talking with others about they are have or are still going through can help you gain perspective on your own situation. Always try to end your get-together with positive sharing or uplift, though. If you leave a conversation feeling more drained and anxious than before, then rethink your approach or the group dynamics.

The most important tip: BE KIND TO YOURSELF. Do what you need to in order to protect your own mental health. In trying to support others, don't spread yourself so thin that you are unable to support yourself or reenergize.

I found that giving myself permission to NOT be creative sometimes gave me the space I needed to gradually find my creative mojo again.

Do you have other tips that have worked for you or for others? Please do share them below!


Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s writing and art has appeared in over 20 books. She is the award-winning author and illustrator of Sam & Eva and Where Are My Books? (Simon & Schuster). Her illustrations appear in books by Judy Blume, Michael Ian Black and Linda Sue Park, among others. Debbie lives in Toronto, Canada. For more info, see and @inkyelbows on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, community is key! Thanks for the great tips, I’ll be checking out all the links. I totally get not spreading yourself too thin, but sometimes the feeling of obligation toward others (like a congratulatory book birthday graphic) has been the “lift” that keeps me going!