What if we come to a creative halt?  Bridget Marzo considers some causes of artist's block, and offers some tips to deal with it.

It’s happened to me at times. Years ago I lost my paintings in a fire, repairs, money to earn, a young son – all were excuses for stopping my art. My dad said I was ‘lying fallow’, which helped. I took a different direction – children’s books, you never know what’s next.

Creative bugbears


It's worst with competitions & portfolio preparation.  It can freeze me.  I’ll procrastinate, walk, cook, look at art.  Eventually curiosity draws me back, I'll focus on the content, to get over that ‘look at me’ syndrome. Hey, look at this – not me!

Style or ‘visual approach’ as art schools now call it. 

Kill that ‘find your style’ obsession!  I like playing with different approaches, others have one approach, both work.  An Art Director told me:  ‘style’ is just an inflection – sing, shout or whisper. We all have a distinct ‘voice’ and the key to it comes with doing what we love.


Most of us suffer this.  Worse when there’s no word from a publisher sitting on a project.  Will I ever get a commission?  Don’t look back - What’s next?  Who knows? Scribble rubbish!  It may lead to something new.

My tips  

Critique group –  for support & deadlines.

Morning Pages – (thanks to Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way)

Most days I handwrite three pages of whatever pops up into my head.  My hand moves fast, no time to perfect. It limbers me up – cuts out social media noise.

No ‘shoulds’! – Substitute that word for ‘I want to’ or ‘can’.

Time – It’s elastic & your friend. Set work aside, then look at it afresh.

Name your inner critic or ‘censor’ –  I’ve dubbed the ‘you’re rubbish’ voice in my head "Miss Fisher" after my art teacher.  She once said I could draw but I was not an artist. She can’t stop me, now I know her game!


Bridget (Strevens) Marzo has illustrated over 25 picture and novelty books for English, French and American publishers. The first ever SCBWI International Illustrator Coordinator, she returned to London in 2011 after decades in France. You’ll find her on Instagram @bridgimage_art and Twitter @bridgimage


  1. zippy, nippy, and above all the excellent advice: don't work for ideal audiences in your head. They may consist of people you've greatly admired but once you make them into a mental audience they become a flog 'em and hang 'em jury.

    1. Agree - best not to dwell too long over work. And yes to working with what you love rather than second guessing what someone else will love!

  2. Bridget this is such a delight to read and look at - love your pictures! Fun and inspirational xx

    1. Glad you enjoyed this short how-to Sally, thanks! Pics for this were certainly nippily done!


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