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Creative Block: Get Unstuck, Discover New Ideas. Advice Projects from 50 Successful Artists

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  482 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Creative block presents the most crippling—and unfortunately universal—challenge for artists. No longer! This chunky blockbuster of a book is chock-full of solutions for overcoming all manner of artistic impediment. The blogger behind The Jealous Curator interviews 50 successful international artists working in different mediums and mines their insights on how to conquer s ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 18th 2014 by Chronicle Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  482 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Jul 17, 2014 rated it liked it
There’s a sort of pretension that comes with early success. It makes me kinda stabby. Many of these artist don’t offer much in the way of exercises because they haven’t really worked out a working practice for themselves. And there is something so disingenuous when offering exercises for creative blocks but hastily claiming you’ve never experienced it yourself. Anyway, some nice pictures of very current (read: not enduring) illustration art. There are a couple of artists in there that do seem ad ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, 2014
I fully expected to love this book. I've been reading (and loving) The Jealous Curator for many years and Danielle has featured a bunch of these artists on her site. What I didn't expect was to read this book, cover to cover, in sequential order, in a matter of days. I thought I'd leave it there on the coffee table and just sort of pick it up and peruse through it occasionally, when I felt like looking at pretty pictures, being inspired, or, yes, when I needed a bit of unblocking. Instead I open ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is more of an artist showcase than a project collection. The artworks shown are not related to the project ideas, and there are no examples. This is definitely not a how-to book or one I would use in a creative workshop. There are much better books out there to stimulate the actual production of works.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I borrowed this book from the library and held on to it far too long because I was savoring every bit of artistic advice and every gorgeous work of art contained within. I will now purchase this book.
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice book. The interviews, though a little flawed, show you a little of the world and process of 50 artists and give you some ideas on interesting exercises to make when you're feeling stuck or if you want to "feel like an artist". Great coffee table book. ...more
Ian Kloester
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fantastic to see and read how other people help themselves find their ideas when it's a struggle. Beautiful to look at and easy to read. A keeper for your library. ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art
i don't really know what the use of "lack of sleep is good" advice is anymore but there it is in the first interview. lol. ...more
Lisa Steadman
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I got really bored with the interviews really quickly. It became repetitive and i started to just breeze over a lot. But i thought the prompts were fun and the occasional question/response.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
The format is tedious and exhausting due to the fact that many of the artists had the same or similar advice. Nearly all the artists interviewed are white(just noting).
Leslie Leffers
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
After finishing a dense literary classic, this book was a great pallet cleanser. Reading about and looking at different artists' work through their own perspectives inspired me to start projects I've been putting off. It's reassuring to know that even professional artists get "stuck" sometimes, and I loved reading about how they get themselves out of a funk.

My only critique is that the book uses a nearly identical interview format for each of the 50 artists throughout, so reading it from start t
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This title was not as rewarding for me as A Big Important Art Book, but I do enjoy and find value in learning about other artists' studio practices and life experiences. I found it more valuable to read a few bits at a time and then set it down/come back to it, whereas I read A Big Important Art Book cover to cover in one sitting. ...more
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the artist interviews, even though I wished they were longer and more varied. The ideas to overcome a creative block are hugely varied and inspiring!
Molly Ann

Interesting to see different artists and their struggles and successes in art. It would be cool if at the end the projects were listed.
Teri Temme
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great ideas and motivation.
Tara Panrucker
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book and still use it to keep on creating!
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
these quilt blocks are too artful for me to actually make.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did like reading through the artists’ prompts for overcoming a creative block. I was reading through every interview question until about halfway through, then I started skimming.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
Some very nice work here.
Ada Selçuk
Sep 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved the projects. Some of the artists were amazing as well.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
There is a really wide assortment of artists featured in this book (just like the website it was inspired by), so only the rare person is going to resonate with ALL the artists, but it is a really cool coffee table book that also offers a lot of inspiration, motivation and down-to-earth, easy to do "creative unblocking" exercises. Be sure to have your laptop at the ready while reading, because every other page had artists, books and ideas I wanted to look up and learn more about. Rarely does the ...more
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Creative Block? You are not alone.

“Have you heard that people who study psychology are often trying to work through creative issues of their own?”

It’s perhaps the reason that Danielle Krysa, author of the art blog, The Jealous Curator, decided to write a book about Creative Block.

Her aim was to create something beautiful – a contemporary art book filled not only with stunning images, but also inspiring words, advice and tips to help amateurs and professionals alike find their way through those d
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I recently went through a three month creative block in which I didn't hand embroider a single thing. Since I have a small business creating hand embroidery, this isn't a good thing to have happen! What I gleaned from this book is that I'm not alone. It happens to all of us at one time or another.

I will often think that I'm not good enough, who am I fooling> I'm not an artist! I can't do this, or this, or that, so I must be a fraud, and I should just give up. My embroidery hero, Jenny Hart, is i
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-design
I recently discovered Danielle Krysa's blog The Jealous Curator and really appreciate the artists she features.

Creative Block doesn't break any new ground as far as the concept goes, there are other books that use a similar format of selecting a group of artists, asking them each a similar set of interview questions, and featuring their answers along with some samples of their work.

What sets Creative Block apart are its beautiful design, the selection of the 50 featured artist and the great
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
The contemporary art was interesting, but the interviews were repetitive with most of the artists answering the same questions in similar ways. The suggestions for "creative unblocks" all concern visual art (which makes since considering the artists), but they're not that creative or interesting. There was a lot of time spent on the design of this book and not the editing. In the end, it's an art book; look at the pictures and skip the interviews. ...more
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, nonfiction, art
This is a fun one -- featuring the work and working lives of 50 current, trendy artists. I cannot pretend to be a fancy lady here. I don't have a lot of background with fine art. But I'm a consumer of art nonetheless, and I create many things myself. I found a lot to enjoy about this book, including a few exercises. Even if you don't try any of the creative unblocks the artists suggest, it's cool to read about their processes and draw inspiration there. ...more
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other-nonfiction
I really loved this book - the author interviewed fifty artists of varied craft and mediums about their creative processes, included their original artwork, and then each artist can up with an 'unblocking' project to help the reader work on their own creative process. I found it fascinating and incredibly inspiring. ...more
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: creativity
Most of the art in this book was amazingly ugly! At first I found it off-putting, but the more I read, the more I found it be something that gave real permission to go create. I also came to really appreciate some of the art. I loved the bits about each artist and how they had found their way and what drove them. The exercises were often excellent. Definitely worth the look.
Apr 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: creativity, art
If I had to rate this on originality, I'd give it maybe a two. The author asked mostly the same questions to each artist, making it feel rote, dull after a while. None of the artists really said anything all that different, so it got monotonous.

But as an introduction to many new artists, four stars. Was googling and falling down art rabbit holes.
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I especially liked the variety of artwork featured, for inspiration, as well as each artist's "unblocking" strategy. The interviews got a bit monotonous, with the same questions cycled through 50 artists, so I didn't always read them fully—just skim the bio and enjoy the artwork.

Found two typos without really looking, which gives off the impression that this was done in a hurry or something.
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
[Updated] This is a quick read; the Q&As with each artist were fairly light.... some of the unblocking exercises were brilliant, others not. The book design is lovely, visual eye candy; I'm hoping in the future the author will do a deeper dive as she does in her podcast [which I enjoy]. Overall I enjoyed this book and I have found myself re-reading some of the sections, which is a good sign. ...more
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Danielle Krysa has a BFA in Visual Arts from the University of Victoria, and a post-grad in design from Sherian College. She began her career as a painter, but her love for graphic design quickly changed her interest from painting to mixed media - specifically collages filled with narratives, negative space, and pop cultural references. (Danielle Krysa is also is the writer behind the contemporar ...more

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