Creative Block: Book Review / by Leslie Fandrich


By Leslie Fandrich // Themes: Books, Artists, Creativity // Category: Inspiring Ideas

I'm so excited to share this book with you! You might remember the author, Danielle Krysa, from the profile I did on her in October of last year. Her new book Creative Block is available pretty much everywhere starting TODAY and what an amazing book it is. Filled with stories, confessions, art and inspiration from 50 different fabulous artists, in it's pages you will discover many insights and strategies on how to deal with creative blocks.

I usually have five to ten pieces in various stages of progress, so if something isn’t flowing with one, I just switch to another.
— Leah Giberson

The book is written in a Q&A format with Danielle posing similar questions to each artist about criticism, inner critics, self-worth, process, inspiration, success, overcoming creative blocks and many of the feelings and challenges surrounding making art and being a working artist. It's so interesting to see all the different perspectives. There are as many strategies as there are artists! Not only does each artist describe their own experiences and insights with blocks, but each of them also assigns a project that will help you break through your own moments of being stuck.

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I love my inner critic. I became friends over the years with this spunky little voice. It keeps me in check, even though we argue once in a while (I usually win).
— Amy Friend

I am certain I will be revisiting this book over and over again, not only for inspiration, but also for camaraderie. It's so helpful to realize that I am not alone in my occasional struggles with making art. Despite how successful or well-known an artist becomes, they still deal with blocks. We all run into problems at some point and we all have to do different things to get through it. Being patient, walking away for a while or doing something else that fulfills us are all great coping strategies that are shared in the book. If you make art, you need this book to keep the creativity flowing.


"I think I might get creative blocks all the time, but I haven't thought of them that way. I frequently have nothing interesting to say. Those strike me as great times to keep creatively quiet. I think we're too hard on ourselves if we expect an uninterrupted procession of meaningful creation. Let it be. But lay in wait." - Amanda Happé


For me, making art is a process of remembering and I feel like I am slowly beginning to piece the puzzle together.
— Shannon Rankin

Danielle brings so much of herself to this book. I see her sense of style in the artists she has chosen and I see her down-to-earth, honest point of view about making art. There are no pretenses or egos here. This book feels like you are sitting down and casually chatting with each artist, sharing your deepest insecurities and then building yourself up with confidence about what you can do. It's awesome.


There is more information about the book and the artists featured in it's pages on the Jealous Curator site. Danielle also has a few book tour dates coming up. Mark your calendars!!

  • March 5th in San Francisco at Little Paper Planes from 7-9 pm (Danielle will be doing a few of the unblocking activities from the book in the back studio room.) ↦ more information
  • March 22nd in Los Angeles at Skylight Books from 5-7 pm (This one will have a Q&A panel before the signing with Danielle, Stephanie Vovas and Jenny Hart.) ↦ more information
  • April 2nd in New York City at WeWork (Charging Bull) from 6-9 pm (Tickets will be $25 and get you a book, drinks, snacks and a Q&A panel with Danielle and 4-5 artists from the book.)
  • May 15th in Vancouver at Hot Art Wet City from 6:30-8pm (Talk and signing with a few artists from the book.)
  • More to come!

Chronicle Books has been amazing enough to give me a copy of Creative Block to send to ONE LUCKY READER! All you have to do is leave a comment telling me something about your own creative blocks. What triggers a block? How do you feel about being stuck? What are your strategies for getting past it?

Giveaway Details: I will accept all comments left below on this article until 11:59pm EST on Thursday February 20th. Only one comment per person please. I will assign each comment a number and use a random number generator to select a winner. Winner will be announced on Friday February 21st here and on my Facebook page. This is open to readers in the USA and Canada only. Please be sure to leave an email address so I can get in touch with you. Good luck!

To purchase the book you can shop online at Chronicle or Amazon, and it's also available at Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Urban Outfitters, Powell's and lots of independent shops.

Best of luck to Danielle with her first book! I know it's going to be a huge success.


First, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone for all the amazing comments. There are so many great ideas here about how to deal with Creative Blocks. I was so thrilled with all 50 entries that I decided to draw a 2nd and 3rd place winner as well! The runners up will be receiving something fun and arty in the mail from me. A surprise! (You can access the drawing on with the email address you provided. If I didn't have an email address, I used the name you provided.)


1st Place Winner of Creative Block is LINA 
"I find my perfectionism triggers creative blocks for me in a big way. One way that I work to overcome blocks is to picture or think about writing, making or designing (whatever I'm doing) for my best friend, favourite past teacher. It puts me at ease to think about a positive, encouraging audience and puts the gremlins out of mind!"

2nd Place Winner of Fun & Arty Mail is Katie Anderson
"I get blocked when immersed in negativity, self-pity, anger... my emotions play a big role in how blocked I am. When I meditate, send gratitude to myself and others, release resentment, and begin to feel calm and centered, I begin to open up to the creative flow."

3rd Place Winner of Fun & Arty Mail is Kerry
"I've been working with a group of 5th graders helping them to replicate a Monet for a school auction. And I've realized I have so much grace and encouragement for them naturally, when they feel so judgmental about their abilities. So to unblock myself, I've realized that I need to show that same level of grace and loving support (not aggressive belittlement) to myself."


Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who entered! If you didn't win, be sure to pick up a copy of the book, it's amazing. xo