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10 Ways to Avoid Burnout as a Graphic Designer

As a graphic designer, you’ll need to stay on top of the latest trends within your artistic community.

Whether you are a recent art school graduate, a seasoned artist, or fall somewhere in between, the art world is ever-changing.

Developing and keeping your skills sharp for both yourself and your potential client is essential.

The following tips are small reminders I try to remind myself of each day to keep my work vibrant and growing.

Artwork is a huge part of every artist’s portfolio. You use it to present yourself to new clients and followers.

Apply these ten tips to keep yourself away from burnout while creating.

1. Stay loose and let yourself be inspired by anything around you.

How do we keep our creative juices fresh? Through inspiration, of course. There is a negative connotation to young artists that using reference photos is copying and not original.

However, looking through others' work may be the best way you can progress with your art style and keep your content fresh. Most things in life are often remixed versions of the past, so don’t shy away from referencing them.

Whether it’s a visual image, a sound file, or a piece of text—ideas are more likely to stick in your head when presented with something new and different. Great ideas usually can be fleshed out across a few days to weeks.

Pinterest, in my opinion, is an excellent source of inspiration. You can start by creating mood boards and bounce ideas across different photos, logos & typography work.

There are also many places to find inspiration online for art

  1. Pinterest

  2. Tumblr

  3. Instagram

  4. Behance

  5. Dribble

2. Do some artwork for yourself….. not the audience

Creating art for yourself is an excellent way to exercise your creativity. It can also be a perfect way to generate new intellectual stimulation.

This year there has been an explosion in the world of digital art. It has caused a shift in the way designers self-expression themselves and the way audiences receive their work.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, the notion of creating content for your own use can actually do more to help your artistry and make art a career.

The reason is simple: People like to see what you’ve made, and if you’re putting your all into your work, it will radiate through the design even more.

If you’ve ever had an idea in your head that you want to have a piece of art for but haven’t had the courage to pull the trigger on it — now is the right time. Go ahead and grab that sketchbook or tablet and start drawing (or painting) concepts of what you want to see printed on the final piece.

You don’t always have to post it, take some time each week and draw without anyone’s expectations.

3. The power of a good conversation

It’s easy to get wrapped up in what to post on your Instagram and Twitter. When you start sharing photos and videos, it can be tempting to look at the likes; how many followers you have, and what others are saying about you.

But the true measure of success is getting new people involved — encouraging them to tell their friends about what you’re sharing and making sure that you are building meaningful relationships.

The key takeaway is to start a conversation, share your thoughts about your art, inspiration, and opinions, and get others to share the ride with you.

5. Make it easier to paint by spending more time planning.

Creating is an art, thus time management is paramount in creating an engaging and appealing folio.

However, this may lead to artist’s block, which can be stressful if you aren’t careful. You can avoid art blocks by creating consistent schedules for yourself. Having regular deadlines, which can help push you towards creativity, as opposed to procrastination.

It’s a great way of getting to know your creative process and being honest with your own expectations of creating. You may find out taking more time in the inspiration step works best for you, or the opposite.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and stress of daily life and lose sight of the bigger picture.

It’s also about creating and sharing with the world in an organized way, so everything boils down to time management and planning.

6. Repetition is important

The simple truth is that it’s not going to be easy, and procrastination isn’t going to help you do your best art. I’ve been doing this for a while now and it’s taken me longer and longer to get better at drawing than I would have liked.

Drawing is an intricate process like anything else. Any hobby (especially something as simple as coloring) requires practice and patience, and sometimes (especially when you’re getting started)

You may find yourself having to take a step back and just breathe. Let the process sink into your brain, then come back and you will be way better than you started.

7. Developing your style

Stylistic content helps create a personality for your site and helps build brand authority. If you look at social media posts from businesses, you’ll notice they all share the same type of content- all short videos with captions. These are called templates and are based on the same design principle.

Every time you post a new image or type a new word, your interactions with other people affect how your content appears in explore pages. Artists and photographers have unique styles. Differentiating your work from others requires a lot of thinking and experimenting. It’s challenging to create something that stands out from the rest.

Still, with a certain mindset, you will create fresh artwork that people will want to come back to see your style, how you did it, and push you to create more.

8. Get feedback from others.

Artists are often responsible for a lot of the content on their social mediapagese, so it’s essential to consider the feedback you get. One of the easiest ways to do this is by asking others to leave feedback about what they like and dislike in your posts.

This will often encourage them to talk about things they actually care about, which can help you expand your thinking of what artwork gets others interested. Remember, they don’t necessarily have to be artistic or even nice about it. Take it lightly.

Another great way is to watch tutorials on Youtube & TikTok. There are so many artists showing you how to do things differently in Illustrator & Photoshop. Some like speaking about changing their workspace, or eating healthier. Yet it’s a great way to get feedback in a nonconventional way by seeing what works for others.

9. Find the right balance for you.

If you feel yourselves at odds with your artwork, spend some time with your friends, go for a walk or focus on another project in the meanwhile.

You will be surprised how refreshed and less stressed you will be when you return to your work.

If you’re committed to creating art for the long term, breaks can be a great way of increasing longevity in your career and seeing your art from a different perspective.

Taking care of your health is crucial to making your best artwork.

10. Never, ever give up!

Art is the purest expression of you. So express yourself!

If you’re an artist, then repeat this to yourself like a mantra. It’s not just a passion for some, it’s almost an obsession that consumes you, and the best way to keep that spark of inspiration alive is to keep creating something new!

Since art can consume your every spare moment if you let it, it’s essential to find a balance between time spent creating and time spent selling. If you’re an illustrator or photographer, you don’t need to be constantly creating.

But find some time every week, whether you’re at your desk or on the road, to think about new ideas, brainstorming processes, and find the next big thing.

The best way to avoid burnout is to make sure you have an efficient workflow and a regular schedule that keeps things moving forward.

Draw whatever your heart wants, and it won’t feel like work!

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