A Simple Tool to Ease Creative Anxiety


I recently discovered a random selection of stencils buried beneath a pile of miscellaneous art supplies. I had forgotten all about these interesting tools. In the never ending quest to continue developing my drawing skills, I usually focus my efforts on free-style drawings. Due to my hectic schedule, I don't always have the opportunity to draw. When I am not working or volunteering as an art therapist, a good portion of my days are spent on the computer writing, designing, and creating graphic art. So when the opportunity arises to use traditional mediums like pencils, pen, and paper I tend to just jump right in and start drawing.

However, as much as I usually enjoy the creative process, every once in while a blank piece of paper or canvas makes me feel anxious and overwhelmed. This anxiety occurred just the other day. To relieve this feeling I looked for a distraction. That is when I began sifting through a pile of art materials to find anything that might spark an inspiration or my imagination. To my surprise finding the stencils helped to ignite my creativity. In the past, I have dismissed the stencils and tossed them aside. But not that day.

Thinking back to that day, maybe the repetitive nature of drawing along the boundaries of the stencil helped to ease my anxiety. I think the overwhelming and anxious feelings might have come from too much freedom. Often my creativity is focused around a specific goal or an agenda. On that day I had endless possibilities and no goals. These simple tools were helpful in starting my creative process and easing my anxiety.

More stencils

More stencils

The creative process turned out to be simple and fun. In the end, I made a variety of doodles, patterns, and unplanned designs. Eventually I used markers to add color to the paper. I hope this experience benefits others who might need help igniting their creative flow.

I am always curious to learn what others do when they need help igniting creativity or to get over a creative block...what do you do?