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conquering creative block: unleash your inner muse

Updated: Apr 2

This is the final post in my creative block series. And let's all admit it: you're here for the results, right? Have all of my tips and tricks and fatigue-inducing battles helped? Am I still in the mire; a black hole of half-formed ideas and crises of confidence? Have I finally told this creative block that it has no power over me?

An illustrated owl, fox, moth, hedgehog, full moon and crescent moon sit on a background of dark blue/black. Around the animals and moons are diamond patterns of dark green leaves, little orange flowers and white stars
'Night Garden' a pattern by Nicola Howell Hawley

Well, I've definitely been firing on a few more cylinders, that's for sure.

It started with a pattern. I drew a rabbit pattern for another maker called Creatively Emmy a while back, who makes beautiful kids clothes by hand, and sources patterns for, and prints her own fabric. After that, I got a bit of a pattern bug, but I just couldn't pull anything out of my head. It felt like everything I did failed. But as I started using the tips I posted Tuesday, and the other tips I've posted the previous Fridays, something began to emerge from my brain: the 'Night Garden' pattern above. It took a long time to come, and I felt rusty, but it got somewhere in the end. After that, another pattern emerged, using my previous mushroom art, which you can see here. It felt like a quick win, and I finally started gaining a bit more confidence.

An illustrated robin, blue tit, wren and long-tailed tit alternate in this pattern.  Behind them sits a bright blue-green background with elegant mint green leaves. There are little dusty pink heart shaped flowers and white ox-eye daisies all around the birds
'Evie's Garden' a pattern by Nicola Howell Hawley

Then, along came the Fungi Festival at Emmett's Garden in Sevenoaks, where I was selling my work and something clicked. I had the idea for this pattern above, which I drew for my daughter, Evie, who really suits this shade of green, but absolutely no one makes clothes in this shade for girls! It was driving me mad, so I designed my own. Out of that came another idea I'm currently working on, with the same shade of green, but featuring beautiful, fun, colourful fruits instead. And that led me to draw a yellow gourd I found at the festival, which I really enjoyed. That snowballed into a ginko leaf piece I'm still working on, after I saw a ginko leaf sticker from another creator, realised how much I loved them, and thought it was time I did my own ginko response.

Grass green ginko leaves with yellowing tips rest on a background of light blue-grey, as if they have fallen on water. Around them are white swirls.
A partially finished ginko leaf print

It's not the greatest, I'm still working it out, but I'm just grateful to be having ideas again. Needless to say, with all of this happening, Inktober fell by the wayside a bit, but I have no doubt that it helped me surface from the creative block.

But what you're really wondering, is can I give you a definitive answer? Have I conquered the creative block?

The answer is: partially. Mostly really. For the moment. But have I been entirely successful? I think it's something I'll have to keep working on. I mean, nothing is ever perfect, right?

As always, thanks for reading,


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