How to Develop Something New

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You went to animation school, and created many animated projects. Suddenly, you’ve run out of ideas. It’s not easy to come up with consistently fresh ideas for animation. Sometimes you hit a writer’s block of sorts with the feeling that you may not come out of it.

It definitely helps if you constantly sketch ideas and keep them on file. Even if you feel that you’ve run out of ideas it’s always good to go back and revisit the old ones you’ve put on the side for they can come in handy.

After I graduated from animation school, I managed to work on a variety of animations that did pretty well. Then I was trying to create something new and I felt like I hit a wall. None of my ideas worked, everything looked cheap and corny and wasn’t at the same level as other things I’d designed. I went back to my files and looked up old sketches and concepts, but nothing inspired me. Even sitting down and drawing new things didn’t work. It was as if my creative streak had come full stop.

If something like this happens to you, the first thing to do is to take a deep breath and relax. You can’t force an idea; in most cases if you force something it’s not going to be what you want which will make you even more frustrated. Best thing to do in this case, if you can swing it, is to take a break and clear your head. That’s often easier said than done, because of other obligations you might have, but even the greatest writers, musicians and filmmakers have experienced this.

After a few weeks of clearing my head, I forced myself to go through my files of sketches and unused characters, thinking I might find some form of inspiration. A few of the drawings intrigued me and I remembered what I was taught in animation school about never throwing away any sketches or ideas. So, I tinkered with some of these ideas and eventually came up with a few ideas for some animations. I wasn’t happy at first, yet I kept at it and eventually came up with a few rudimentary tests that I would later expand upon.

There’s nothing wrong with recycling an idea. In animation school it was made clear that old ideas can be the source of new, even better ones. It’s also a matter of having the patience to go through old ideas that you may think are lame and thinking how to improve upon them. It’s the same as if you’ve been writing a script of a novel; you get tired of it and put it away, only to return to it and finish it later.

Sometimes revisiting old ideas can be a liberating experience. The pressure of having to create something can be bewildering and constricting in your ability to create something new. Animation schools want you to create new and inventive ideas, but if you’ve having trouble creating new ideas, you should take the time to revisit any old ideas you may have lying around as they can inspire you to tweak them and design something new.

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