Step Away from Your Work To Do Better Work

Written By Mark Simon – Storyboard Artist


Photo taken by Mark Simon – Storyboard ArtistI’m often asked how I deal with artist block. I don’t really get artistic block because I give myself mini-breaks whenever I can.

There are times when I can’t come up with a way to break down a scene. I just don’t see it. Rather than sit and stare at my Cintiq, I get up and change my surroundings for a few minutes.

When I’m storyboarding on “The Walking Dead,” I’ll step outside and walk over to the sound stages and step through the latest sets. I even brought my electric skateboard to the studio a couple of weeks ago and took a ride through the backlot.

The other day I was storyboarding on a stop motion film and was about to start on a new sequence. I had most of the shots figured out, but I really wanted to come up with at least one really kick-ass shot to enhance a scene.

So, I took a mini-break, grabbed my camera and stepped outside my office and photographed nature. I’m lucky. My office looks out at a forest. I have deer and all sorts of creatures just outside my door. Seeing even a little chipmunk gives me a thrill.

So, what happens when I take these little physical and artistic breaks?

My mind keeps working on the problem. But I’ve broken the negative loop. Sometimes I get inspired by something I see. I get a fresh perspective.

But I always come up with the answer I’m looking for and I’m refreshed when I get back to my desk.

Staying glued to your desk is not a good idea. Give yourself little breaks. Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes. Grab a coffee. Talk to someone. Take some pictures. Walk in nature. Love on your dog. Do a mini-workout. Take some photos or risk your damn life (or in my case, risk your drawing hand).

So, step away from your work during the day. Stepping away keeps the blocks away.

Step Away from Your Work To Do Better Work

Mark SimonMark Simon is a 30-year storyboarding veteran amassing nearly 5,000 production credits. Recent credits include the movies Woody Woodpecker and Chucky 7 for Universal as well as Dynasty and The Walking Dead.



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