Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On a Typical Day...

One of my friends asked me what my days were like now that I am self-employed, so I thought I’d share my answer here with you, in case anyone else was curious.

*I never set an alarm.  I have had issues with sleep in the past, and I realize how important sleep is in general, so I love the fact that I am able to sleep as long as I want to and wake up naturally.  This is certainly one of my favorite things about working for myself!  That said, I usually wake up around 9 or 9:30.

*I take the dog outside, make coffee, and sit under a blanket reading blogs and business articles/books for about an hour.  Usually Rachael Ray is on in the background.  My “office” (laptop, iPhone, to do list journal, sketchbook, planning book, etc.) is on the couch with two TV tray tables set up.

*After I drink my two cups of coffee, the office moves to the dining room table.  I start listing things on Etsy, editing photos, working on the website, writing future blog posts, painting, drawing Goslings, and basically attacking my daily to do list. 

*Lunch is usually something healthy like a hummus wrap that I make at home and eat in front of the computer while reading blogs, watching TED talks, or watching Hulu.  Sometimes I meet my mom or one of my girlfriends out for lunch, then I run errands like the post office or bank while I’m out.

*After lunch, I get back to it. This is where I get the bulk of my work done. More listings, website stuff, blogging, drawing, etc.  Sometimes I will devote some of this afternoon time to taking photos outside in the daylight, screenprinting, painting, creating tutorials or videos, etc. 

*Dinnertime!  Sometimes I have friends over and we cook stuff, or I go to my parents, or I meet a friend out for dinner.  It takes me away from the computer and is a fun, social time.  Then it’s right back to work.

*The office moves back to the couch after dinner, usually, and I will work until I get sleepy, usually around midnight, and I’ll watch Project Runway All Stars or some other shows that I like while I work.

All in all, I am usually working…like, all the time.  And you know what?  I’ve never been happier!  I am never bored, I am always coming up with new ideas, and I take time to draw/craft/paint/screenprint at least once a day.  I can’t believe how happy I am with my new career! 

Thank you so much for reading about my day!
What is your favorite part of your typical day?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Baby Tattooville Art Jam Video!

I just realized I hadn't posted this here yet!

This is the Baby Tattooville 2011 Art Jam at the Mission Inn at Riverside, California. Please excuse my bad filming/editing skills... I hope the art speaks for itself!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Photo Dump

1. Ruby Roo
2. Sketchbook
3. New painting
4. Ruby Roo, of course...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Quotable

Mari, a screenprint on vintage book pages

"Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth. And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." 
- Paul Cohelo
(I found this quote over on Kelly Rae Roberts' blog, and it really resonated with me.  I hope it speaks to you too.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

The "How to Draw" Series, Part Three: The Inner Critic and Blind Contour Drawings

(The images above are from my book, How to Make Art.)

The Inner Critic

You have to acknowledge your fear of your inner critic, or, that little voice that tells you that you can't/shouldn't make art or do anything creative.  That’s the first step.

Yes, the artwork could turn out badly.  Yes, it could disappoint you.  Yes, other people might not like what you make.  Yes, it could discourage you from making more.

Yes, yes, yes, yes.  I know, I know, I know, I know… 

Then, you go and you begin making something despite those fears: you pick up the pencil, the paintbrush, the guitar, or the camera, and you just do your best.

You just get it done. 

Because you want to, because you need to, because something inside of you is telling you you have to…

So you let go, let loose, let yourself dive into your creativity fully…

And you realize this: no one can create something quite like you can. 

It’s really true.  Your voice is unique and beautiful and fully your own, and there are so many ways to express yourself.

It’s time.

 Experiment: Blind Contour Drawings

Remember those continuous line contour drawings from last week?  We are doing them again, but this time we aren't allowed to look at our paper while we draw!  Wait, what?  That's right, no peeking!  Do the same continuous line contour drawings without looking at your paper to see how it's going.  If you're having trouble not looking, tape a big piece of paper over your hands so there's no chance of peeking.  This is a common exercise in art school that teaches your eyes and your hands to work together.  You'll be surprised: a lot of these drawings turn out really cool, and you learn a lot by doing them.  Below, you'll find an example of one I did a little while back in my sketchbook.  I did the portrait blind then added the gold leaf and black paint later.  Portraits are so fun to do as blind contours!

These drawings are great, because your "inner critic" won't judge you so harshly - I mean, you weren't even looking while you were drawing! I hope you enjoyed this mini lesson. Again, these are just experiments, drawing exercises, and they shouldn't look like perfect finished drawings - it's just practice.  I hope it will be fun for you!

Keep following the blog -  next Friday, there will be another drawing lesson.  The lessons will become a bit more in depth each time.  These lessons are totally free, but if you enjoy the lessons and plan to follow them, I would really LOVE it if you would follow the blog and/or add a comment below to say hello...  I love reading and responding to comments, and they totally motivate me to keep posting!  
Thanks so much for joining me!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A New Creative Space in Town, Photobooth Pictures, and Some Mid-Week Link Love...

 I tried to take a picture of my fancy shoes, and all I got was this adorable puppy photo...

First off, I want to tell you about my weekend.  I have been a workaholic lately working on my website, blog, Etsy, eBay, drawing, painting, as well as a few top secret projects and things that I can't talk about yet...  Needless to say, I don't get out much these days, ha ha.  BUT this past weekend, I did take some time off and went out to my friend Kim's opening party for her new sewing and craft studio space, Sew Make Do.  Here is a quick photo I snapped at the opening, right before enjoying a delicious mini red velvet cupcake, yum...  

I am so excited for Kim and her awesome new space!!  I was flattered that she even had a piece of my artwork up - so cool to have a piece of my work in such a great, inspiring place.

Here's a quick snap of what I wore:
Dress: Francesca's; Necklace: I made it!, Shrug: Thrifted

After the opening, my friend Amber and I decided go to The Top, one of my favorite bars/restaurants in town.  We were about to leave, but on the way out, we passed the photo booth, and neither of us could pass up the opportunity to sit in the little booth with the red or blue backgrounds and have some vintage looking photos to take home with us...  I think planning the four poses ahead of time was a winning move.  (We did "shocked," "scared of each other," "super happy," and "plain.") 

I also wanted to share some fun links today that I have been looking at lately.  I have been finding so much inspiration online lately; it's wonderful!

Jenny Owen Youngs has a new video out, and it's amazing - both the visuals and the music. I can't wait for her new album!!

I stumbled upon the show Cash & Cari for the first time last week.  It's all about estate sales.  I'm hooked.

Did you know that Martha Stewart has some new office products coming out?  They look great!

This post by Abby Kerr is from last summer, but I just discovered it, and it really resonated with me and makes me want to read the book this post is based on.

Another great discovery this week for me was Creative Living with Jamie, a great series of talks with talented and creative people that I have been listening to constantly. 

The Alt Summit just wrapped up, and I would love to go one year! In the meantime, I am drooling over the speakers list and am clicking on all the links in their bios to find out more about them - what a group of inspiring people!

I have loved The Jealous Curator (one of the speakers at Alt Summit - so cool!) blog for quite some time, and I am so excited about the new Girl Crush project - where you can meet some awesome artists!  I wish I could go to one; the lineup is fantastic!!  It was all based on this post and the comment reactions to the post, a must read. 

Want some video inspiration?  Check out The Future Belongs to the Curious...

And finally, check out this post on Art House Coop's Tumblr!  See my sketchbook in the group?  So exciting!  Lots of love to Art House for posting my sketchbook video's Vimeo link on their Facebook page the other day - I was so flattered and excited!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

People You Should Know... MacKensie

I met MacKensie while we both worked for a t-shirt company here in Gainesville, FL.  MacKensie had just finished college and was working on social media for the company.  I was doing creative projects around the company's new office, like reupholstering chairs and sewing curtains and making beanbags out of t-shirts, and MacKensie was always there to lend a helping hand.  We had a lot of fun working together and bonded over our love for crafts and creativity.  Since neither of us work for that company anymore, we keep in touch via our blogs and Facebook.  I think you will love getting to know MacKensie and reading her awesome and inspiring blog that is full of great photos, recipes, outfits, crafts, and tons more!  You can visit her blog here, and be sure to follow her blog so you don't miss a thing. :)

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a 22-year-old art lover from Florida. I graduated with my journalism degree in May and now I'm back in school to become a physical therapist. I love running, singing, writing, reading, dancing, crafting and blogging.

What is your favorite way to express yourself creatively?

I have recently started making jewelry, which is something that used to really intimidate me. It started when I needed Christmas gifts for my friends and family, but considering my unemployed status, was on a serious budget. It's really fun and interesting how many unique pieces of art I came up with just using things lying around the house. I also really love painting, drawing and crafting in general.

Where do you find inspiration online? In real life?

Just like everyone else, I love Pinterest (mackensieg on Pinterest). It's overwhelming sometimes how many fabulous and creative ideas are out there, all on one site. As a blogger, though, I have drawn so much inspiration just from discovering other blogs. I love watching people transform something old and ugly into something new and beautiful. As far as inspiration in the world goes, I think it comes from all over the place. I have been reading a lot more lately, and suspiciously enough, I started incorporating book pages into my jewelry designs. I am also a HUGE music lover and I definitely find inspiration through music.

What are some of your creative goals and aspirations for the future?

One of my new year's goals was to start an Etsy shop where I could sell my jewelry and art, but I need to work up the courage. Hopefully I'll get that going in the near future, and way down the road I just hope to continue to express my creativity through my blog, which is a huge outlet for me.

What completed creative project are you most proud of in your life so far?

For Christmas I made an advent calendar (totally winged it) for a friend in the Marines and even though it's silly and has tons of inside jokes painted into it, I think it meant a lot to him and it certainly turned out better than I expected it to. (See the full post here.)

Name a few creative individuals you admire and explain why.

Tessa McSorley!! I admire her because she is always creating new and wonderfully unique pieces that are very representative of her style and she has the courage to show off her creations and take chances on edgier stuff as well as simply beautiful things.

I also really admire Tim Burton because of his ridiculously creative and innovative visions. He also has a very signature style, so it's easy to recognize his work and I just love all the movies he's produced.

What are some of your current obsessions? (Art, craft, musical, or completely random.)

I am obsessed with books lately, as I mentioned earlier. I love book pages and newspaper for decorating with (and even doing my nails with).

 One of my favorite bands right now is GroupLove. I am definitely obsessed with them.

Do you collect anything?

I used to collect keys as a kid. I love the way keys look, especially old-fashioned ones. There's just some sort of wonderful mystery about a key and not knowing what it unlocks.

Recommend some inspiring books/websites/music/movies to us...

If we're going with the art theme, I would DEFINITELY recommend the book "Faking It" by Jennifer Crusie. It is sexy, mysterious, very well written and so fun to read. As far a music goes, I have so many recommendations. I often do a "Song of the Day" on my blog to show readers what new/old/favorite songs are on my mind on a daily basis. I somewhat recently discovered the band Rilo Kiley(even though they just broke up..) and I love, love, love them.

Do you have any advice you could offer to someone who wants to start expressing themselves creatively but doesn't know where to begin?

I would say start a blog. It has helped me to be more creative every single day. It makes me want to try new things and share them with the world. At first I had no clue what I would be blogging about or how often or anything, but eventually it comes together and the next thing you know, you have a major creative outlet just waiting for you on your computer. Not to mention a plethora of other creative individuals just waiting to cheer you on and inspire you in ways you didn't even realize they could.

A huge thanks to MacKensie for being so wonderful and for doing this interview!  I hope you enjoyed reading about this awesome girl. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

VIDEO: My Submission for The Sketchbook Project 2012

To start the week off right, I wanted to share  a short video of my submission for The Sketchbook Project 2012.  If you haven't heard of this project, please visit Art House Coop's page explaining the project here.  You can join in the fun with their new Sketchbook Project: Limited Edition.

Here is what I did to my blank sketchbook:

1. I added masking tape to the pages randomly to work as a design element and to strengthen the thin paper of the sketchbook.  This paper is fine for drawing, but I knew I wanted to paint with acrylic + water, so I needed my pages to be thick and sturdy, especially at the gutters of each page.

2. I chose a three color palette and just played with color and acrylic paint and water, not thinking about the end result.  This created the backgrounds for each of the pages.  Super fun!

3. Next, I drew the rope that continues throughout the entire book with a thick sharpie and a thin sharpie.

4. I wanted to draw on something that had some tone and was a bit translucent, so the backgrounds could be seen through the drawings.  I chose my cream colored tracing paper.  The theme I picked from Art House Coop's options was "Time Traveler," so I picked out some photos from my massive collection of found photographs and family photographs, and I sketched them in pencil onto the translucent paper.  Then I inked them up with my sharpies and erased the pencil lines.

5. I cut out my drawings, pasted them in, and called it a day.  I am so happy with the finished piece, and I hope you enjoyed watching the video!

What will you draw in your sketchbook this week?
Leave a comment below and tell me!  I'd love to hear...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Photo Dump

1.Ruby Roo got a haircut.
2. The lights at Chopstix Cafe.
3. The view thru the window at Chopstix, with reflections from the lights...
4. Maribel.
5. Ruby Roo hates going outside on a rainy day...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Quotable

“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”
-Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye

Friday, January 20, 2012

The "How to Draw" Series, Part Two: Motivation and Continuous Line Contour Drawings

Thanks so much for joining me for part two of my FREE E-Course, How to Draw.   Today we will be talking about motivation to get you going, then we will do an exercise called the "Continuous Line Contour Drawing."  Grab you sketchbook, your pencil, and let's get started!


I think that, for me, getting motivated to make art is pretty easy, but STAYING motivated...well, that is the hard part.  I get motivated the most by seeing other people's creative work of any kind, usually through seeing art online, since my town doesn't have a huge representation of the types of art that interests me.  You can read more about getting inspired by looking at art online in How to Draw, Part One.  

So I'll be online looking at all sorts of great stuff, then, all of a sudden, I will slam the laptop closed, run into the studio, and... And then sometimes that motivation will die there.  I'll stupidly talk myself out of artmaking, using really lame excuses like: "Oh, I don't want to have to get all the paint out." or "I can't find my favorite brush/pencil/palette."  I'll let things like laziness and self doubt get in the way.  

If I start thinking like that, I have to basically decide to stay in the studio and not leave until I at least take out the supplies.  That pretty much does the trick for me: once the supplies are out and I see them all laid in front of me, I usually get so excited that I will start drawing or painting or doing whatever project it is I was thinking of doing in the first place.  Take out your sketchbook, run your hands over the paper, sharpen your pencil...  Motivate yourself anyway you can and figure out what works for you through trial and error.

Right now, I have a daily log that I made for myself where I can check off if I did any of the following things: "draw in sketchbook, write in journal, clean the house, exercise, tweet, blog, post on Instagram, etc..."  I don't have to do these things every day, but it helps me keep track of my progress and see what I am neglecting.  Maybe making a little chart of some kind will help you out too if you want to make drawing part of your daily routine.

Rewarding yourself is a great motivator too.  For example, let's say if you draw in your sketchbook every day for a month, you get to go and pick out some great new art supplies to play with at the art store!  Pencils and pens and paper...yum.

Experiment: Continuous Line Contour Drawings

A continuous line drawing is a drawing that is made up of one long line that never stops.  Basically, your pencil will start touching the paper, then it won't leave the paper until you are done.  

A contour drawing is a drawing that has no shading and is basically an outline of the object you are drawing.

A continuous line drawing + a contour drawing = a continuous line contour drawing! This means that you are going to pick an object, set it on the table in front of you, put your pencil to the paper, and never stop until you get all of the outlines of the object drawn.  When you are finished, it will look something like this:

Try a few of these until you get the hang of it!  They are fast and fun and sort of weird looking sometimes, but they really teach you to observe the edges of things, and that is a good thing to pay attention to! Remember, these are just experiments, drawing exercises, and they shouldn't look like perfect finished drawings - it's just practice.  Also, don't forget to think about proportion while you are drawing...

Keep following the blog -  next Friday, there will be another drawing lesson.  The lessons will become a bit more in depth each time.  These lessons are totally free, but if you enjoy the lessons and plan to follow them, I would really LOVE it if you would follow the blog and/or add a comment below to say hello...  I love reading and responding to comments, and they totally motivate me to keep posting!  
Thanks so much for joining me!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

E-Course Envy

If there is one thing I am sure about, it's that you should never, ever stop learning.  I've taken several e-courses and several in person classes since I have graduated from college, and they have been some of the most valuable ways I could have spent my time and money.  

This post is about how much I would love, love, love to take the following e-courses, but I most likely will not be able to since money is so tight right now...  Oh, and there is one amazing in person class I'd love to take on the list too.

*Mindy Lacefield's "Paint Your Story" Class: I've been a huge fan of Mindy's artwork ever since I first stumbled upon her shop a few years ago while trolling around on Etsy.  Her paintings are so honest and raw, and the way she uses color is so sophisticated and simply breathtaking.  I don't think I've ever seen a painting or a print of Mindy's that I didn't want to own and proudly display on my walls.  I've purchased a few little things from her over the years, and I cherish each work so much!  You can check out her Etsy shop by going here.  I am so thrilled that she is offering a class to show you how she goes about telling stories with her paintings and how she is able to make marks so fearlessly.  If I could choose just one e-course to take this year, it would surely be this one...  Even just the promo video alone gives me goosebumps and makes me want to start making things immediately!

*Art Journal All Year with Elsie and Rachel of Red Velvet.  I recently found Elsie's blog, A Beautiful Mess, while looking through the photos of my Flickr contacts.  Elsie has been a contact of mine for a long time, and I always admired her lovely photos, but I didn't realize she had a blog until a few months ago.  I'm probably the last one on the planet to discover her blog, ha ha!  Anyway, this e-course looks wonderful, and it will keep you occupied and full of new writing and art ideas for your journal for the whole year!  I'd love to take this class.

*Mondo Beyondo.  I took this last year, and it was amazing!  I'd love to take it again this year, especially now that I am self employed and could spend more time truly absorbing each lesson!  So great.  I have already crossed two things off my Mondo Beyondo list that I made last year... I quit my day job and met my favorite artist, Sabrina Ward Harrison.

*Kelly Rae Roberts' Class, Hello Soul, Hello Business.  I took Kelly Rae's Flying Lessons course the first time it was offered, and I loved it.  It was so inspirational, motivating, and informative, and I can only imagine how great this new class will be!  The roster of people contributing to the class is amazing in and of itself!  You can check out the list and see for yourself by going here.

*Six Weeks to a Creative Business by Apri Bowles-Olin of The Blacksburg Belle.  I first found out about April's site from the Etsy Success Symposium, and I couldn't believe all of the great information April offers on her site to help artists succeed in their businesses.  She is a gifted and knowledgeable speaker, as you can clearly see in the videos she puts up on her site.  I can only imagine how wonderful and inspiring this class would be!  She also has another great class available online, ARTrepreneur, and you can check it out here.

*Angela Ritchie's Ace Camps with Camilla Engman in Sweden!  This is the one in-person class I'd love to take this year, especially because I'd love to go to Sweden!  Oh, how I wish I could afford to travel more this year in general...  Whining aside, Camilla Engman makes beautiful things, and I am sure she would be an amazing and inspiring teacher.  Have you seen her Suitcase Series book put out by Uppercase?  It's SO fantastic - one of my very favorite books in the whole world.  And I cannot say enough wonderful things about Angela Ritchie's Ace Camps.  I had the privilege of attending Sabrina Ward Harrison's Ace Camp last year, and it was truly the trip of a lifetime.  The instruction, the accommodations, the connections I made there, the food....well, everything was pitch perfect, and I couldn't have imagined a better trip.  It is seriously one of the best things I have ever done for myself - right up there with getting a dog (and if you know how much I love my dog, that's saying a lot!).  I long to go on another one, and I hope that I will be able to again at some point in my life.

If I could take ALL of the above classes, it would be a dream come true!  Hopefully I will be able to take some of them in the near future.  I'll keep you posted.

And in case you are curious, the photo at the top of the post is a picture of the book you will make in my PDF Tutorial Class, The Tiny Book of Memories.  It's a work-at-your-own-pace class full of art and writing prompts that will inspire you and get you creating!  You can learn more about the class by going here.

If you are like me and can't afford to take a paid class but still want to learn some creative stuff, check out my free tutorial videos here or pop in every Friday for a free drawing lesson.

What classes are you taking online right now?  What classes do you wish you could take?  Leave a comment below and tell me what your dream class list would be...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tutorial: How to Antique Paper, Fast and Easy!

Making things look aged in my art journal or sketchbook used to be one of my very favorite things to do!  I don't use this technique too much any more, but every once in a while, I decide to bust out this old trick, and it is still a lot of fun.

Here's what you'll need:

*Paper or a xeroxed photo (or whatever you want to "age")
*Gel wood stains
*A paintbrush
*An old t-shirt or paper towel (for wiping away the excess)

Thanks for watching, and if you enjoyed the video or have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Vintage Dreams

Yesterday, my friend Amber and I got up super early and went to the flea market!  We had a great time and found some goodies.  Here are some photos of what I found:

 Vintage frame and pendant:
Antique album from the Victorian Era:
 Inside the album:
A modern album with some great photos, like a pumpkin carriage for the prom!

 A child's set of dishes:
I've been going to flea markets since I was a tiny thing.  My parents have always loved antiques and used to drag me to early morning markets and antique auctions for as long as I can remember.  I used to really hate the auctions, and so my parents would bribe me with candy and quarters so that I'd go and sit quietly and draw, ha ha.  But I guess all of that exposure to old stuff started to wear me down, and pretty soon, I had caught the collecting bug!  

It all started with Snoopy.  My mom had collected Snoopy and Peanuts stuff before I was born, and once she showed me her little collection one day, I was hooked.  So I finally had something to look for when my parents took me to the flea market...  And I found tons and tons of Snoopy goodies.  I still have a few things today, packed away in the garage somewhere.  

It's interesting: all that "early training" really paid off, and I now know a lot about antiques.  I also have an appreciation for older things much more than most people my age do...  My house is an eclectic mix of old and new, antique and modern, vintage/repurposed and new/shiny.  I'm going to post some fun photos of where I live soon, but for now, here is a little shot of my favorite room (decor-wise), the dining room:

The first photo is old and dark, the painting in the middle is unfinished and from a garage sale, and the final little piece is a Camilla Engman postcard I framed.

Since I have so many vintage goodies, sometimes there is an overflow, and those things go in my Etsy vintage shop, Nostalgia Factory.  I am planning to add a few new items to the shop this week!

Monday, January 16, 2012

What I'm Working On This Week

Making a mess on the floor...

*I'm wrapping up my contribution to The Sketchbook Project 2012 today and hope to be taking some photos of the finished piece either today or tomorrow!

*I'm taking photos of my flea market finds to show you soon!

*I'm working on my Gosling Project every day....and finalizing the ideas for my next 30 day long project.

*I'm updating my website and adding new photos of current work.  This is a tough one, since I don't enjoy building websites so much, but it's essential.

*I'm thinking of offering some custom item listings on Etsy...custom portraits, custom tote bags, etc.

How about you?  How is your week shaping up?  What projects do you have in the works?

Leave a comment below; I'd love to hear what you're up to.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Photo Dump

1. The sky outside of Boca Fiesta.  
2. Little Roo got a haircut.  
3. Ring from eBay.  
4. A few new mini drawings in the fine art shop + my Missoni for Target mug.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday Quotable

"Doing what you love is the cornerstone to having abundance in your life."
-Wayne Dyer

Friday, January 13, 2012

The "How to Draw" Series, Part One: Inspiration, Materials, and Gradients

Hello, and welcome to my new "How to Draw" series!  I'll be posting a new, totally free, drawing lesson every Friday, and I'm so glad you are here!  I used to teach drawing for several years right after graduating from art school, so it's nice to be back in a comfortable place: getting people motivated and ready to start drawing!

Before we get into anything too technical, I wanted this post to be talk about inspiration in order to get your creative juices flowing.  I want you to be excited and ready to start putting pencil to paper!

There are many ways to get inspired to make artwork, but for me, going online and bookmarking my favorite art pieces done by other artists is a fun way to get inspired.  Even if you don't use their works as references in any way (Please be sure not to copy the work of another artist!), just seeing all that talent online is a great way to get your creative juices flowing, and it will definitely get you to motivated to start making things.  Sometimes the inspiration isn't very direct, for example, sometimes I will see a painted landscape in a beautiful color scheme, then I will become inspired by the colors and use a similar palette in a portrait I am drawing.  Try using Flickr, Pinterest, or Instagram and start "favoriting" away.  If you want to see some of my favorites, my Flickr favorites are here and my Pinterest "Art Obsessions" board is here.

Another great way to get inspired is to go out and see art in your community.  If you don't have a good art gallery in your town, maybe you can meet up with a friend who is creative and inspire each other with good conversation about arts and crafts.  Or, you could go online and look up some galleries and artists whose work speaks to you. 

Something else you can do would be to go for a walk with your camera and take pictures of anything that catches your eye.  When you get home, you can print out those photos and draw what you saw using the photos as reference.  It's also interesting to see what the photos have in common to find out what your eye is naturally drawn to...


I love bookbinding, and I also love to buy pretty leather covered sketchbooks I find at the bookstore...  The only problem with this is that the books I have made myself and those pricey leather sketchbooks become too precious at times.  Since they are such special books, I want the drawings in them to be SO GOOD.  I notice that if I haven't drawn in a while, I get super intimidated by these "precious" books, and instead, I grab a cheap sketchbook instead.  The cheap books are full of cheap paper, and that is way less intimidating than the imported Italian papers in the leather sketchbooks...  So I'm able to let loose and let go in my cheap books and work my way up to using a book that is more special.  So, if you haven't drawn in a while and are feeling a bit intimidated, grab the cheapest sketchbook money can buy, and let's get started!

First things first, let's make a sketching kit...

Here is mine:

It contains:

*mechanical pencils
*ballpoint pens (not your typical sketching tool, but I love drawing + shading with these!)
*Sharpies (both fine and bold)
*good erasers, big and small (the small one is the click eraser)
*a set of black ink pens in different size (I have Microns here.)
*white-out pens (in case I make a mistake with ink or if I want to draw with white...)
*a glue stick (you never know when you will find some inspiration you'd like to paste right into your book)
*scissors (maybe you'll want to cut a window in one of your pages or use them to cut something out that you'd like to paste in)

I keep everything together in my little pink squirrel zippered pencil case that I made for myself by hand.  I have another one just like it in the shop right now here! :)

Experiment: Gradients 

Grab a pencil, and draw a long rectangle, and split up into eight different boxes, like this:

Leave the first box blank, then make the last box as dark as you possibly can by pushing really hard with your pencil and coloring over and over your marks.

Now go to the second box and make marks with your pencil as light as you can.

Now fill in all the middle boxes as best as you can to create a gradient:

You've now learned that your pencil can create at least eight different values!

Next time you draw, think about all of those values you made with your pencil, and try to work them all into your drawing.  You could try this little exercise out with some other drawing materials too, like charcoal or your ballpoint pen...


Keep following the blog -  next Friday, there will be another drawing lesson.  The lessons will become a bit more in depth each time.  These lessons are totally free, but if you enjoy the lessons and plan to follow them, I would really LOVE it if you would follow the blog and/or add a comment below to say hello...  I love reading and responding to comments, and they totally motivate me to keep posting! 

Thanks so much for joining me!