4 Techniques To Create Energy In Your Brushstrokes

By Nicole Tinkham


If you’re looking to do something a little different with your paintings, it may be time to add some TEXTURE! In some artwork, artists try to hide brushstrokes but other times visible brushstrokes can create a really unique effect that adds to the painting. The concept sounds easy but getting brushstrokes just right can be challenging. There are many different ways to achieve the look but here are our favorite techniques for creating energy in your brushstrokes.

1.    Use a palette knife

A palette knife is an all-in-one artist tool that’s great for both mixing paint and actually painting with. You can apply thick impastos for a unique texture. A palette knife is a great way to add layers (wet paint on top of wet paint if you want) and create brilliant texture.

25 Tips For Using A Palette Knife

2.    Use various brushes

PLAY AROUND with brushes! There are so many different sizes and styles (big, small, angled, round, flat, filbert, natural, synthetic, soft) and each one will produce a different effect. Experiment with various brushes, moving them around in different ways to make brushstrokes more dynamic.

3.    Use a thickening medium

Using a thickening medium gives your brushstrokes more dimension and creates a fascinating texture. If working with oils, we recommend Galkyd Gel which will hold your brush marks. Feel free to experiment with different types and see what gives you the results you’re looking for.

4.    Use the scratch through technique

This is an interesting technique with oil paints that is actually used to prove a wet on wet painting was done all in one session (artists often sign their artwork this way). To do a scratch through, use the tip of your brush handle and scratch through the wet oil paint, revealing the color underneath. It may take some practice but play around with it until you get it just right.

As you experiment and play around with your brushstrokes, remember that they should add to your painting not take away from it. Your brushstrokes should not be the subject of the painting. Quality brushstrokes should have meaning behind them. They should show a certain mood, emotion, or story. They should be done purposeful and not just to do them. Sure they could be loose, random, and fun as long as that’s the feeling you want viewers to get from the painting.

We know that every artist is different. Some try to eliminate brushstrokes and others try to accentuate them. We’re curious, which type of artist are you? Let us know in the comments!

You Made A Mistake On Your Ink Drawing – Now What?

By Nicole Tinkham


The biggest thing holding artists back from beginning their journey in the world of ink drawing is the fear of making a mistake! We tend to have this belief that ink is totally permanent and one little mistake can ruin the whole project. We agree, this can be a little overwhelming but keep in mind that ANY mistake no matter the medium can be worked around. An ink mistake can be tricky but we have 6 different solutions that could work for you. Read on for what to do if you’ve made a mistake on your ink drawing.

Be creative and draw over the mistake
Before you go removing that ink mistake with the following methods, think about how you can make it part of your drawing. Remember that “mistakes” are just happy little accidents. How can you incorporate that slip up in your artwork? What can you add to the piece to cover up the mistake?

Scan, Photoshop, print
If you’re computer savvy, removing the ink mistake in Photoshop is actually really simple. You do need to have Photoshop and know the basics of how to use it but all you’d have to do is scan the artwork, remove the mistake, and print it out.

Use a razorblade to scrape away the ink on heavier paper
Eeeek! Using a razorblade on your artwork can be a terrifying thing but this method actually seems to be the most popular among artists. Be sure to only do this on heavy paper and gently scrape the mistake out.

Use a Tombow Sand Eraser (for small stains)
Tombow offers a course eraser that can help with getting ink stains removed from your artwork. We recommend using this on a heavier paper so you don’t tear through it. We’ve also heard of artists using actual sand paper to gently rub the stain out.

Cover it with white out (if you’re using white paper)
Your typical bottle of white out can be used to cover up a mistake on white paper but be sure to get the right type! On very small details, you may want to use the correction pen vs the correction fluid with the brush.

If you are using an off white paper, you can cover the mistake up with paint but you’ll have to mix colors to get the perfect shade. You’ll probably have to add a tad of yellow to white paint. Even if the paper looks white, often times it’s not pure white.

Start over
If your mistake happened in the very beginning of a project or if you didn’t like where your ink drawing was going anyway and you didn’t spend much time on it, feel free to start over! That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it. Maybe you can do something with it at a later date but don’t frustrate yourself trying to perfect the mistake when it’s just as easy to start fresh.

If you’re unsure about starting your first ink project, you need to just dive in! Leave your fears behind, go into it with an open and positive mind, roll with the mistakes if they happen, and have fun with it. Don’t rush or put too much pressure on yourself. Practice makes perfect so we encourage you to do an ink drawing every single day, even if it’s just a quick sketch. You’ll quickly get over your need for perfection and improve your skills. But if mistakes do pop up (they always do!) remember these 6 techniques for what to do.

The Top 5 Best Types Of Paper For Ink Drawing

By Nicole Tinkham


Looking to improve your ink drawing skills? We know that working with ink can be intimidating but when it comes down to it, the supplies you use make all the difference. A simple shift in paper type can give you a totally different look and we’re not even exaggerating. Today we’ll be talking about paper and the types that we like using with ink. If you’ve been dabbling in the world of art for awhile now, you know how many options come with art paper (and just about every other art supply imaginable). As with anything else, not all paper is created equal and you certainly can’t use just anything with ink!  If you’re interested in playing around with ink washes, you’ll definitely want something with a harder surface. But it goes much further than that with many other options. Read on for the top 5 best types of paper we recommend using for ink drawing.

1.    Bristol Board

Description: Bristol board provides a stiff surface (heavier than drawing paper). Basically, it consists of many sheets of drawing paper together, forming multi-ply sheets.

Application: With the smooth surface option, use with marker, airbrush, pen, etc. With the vellum option, use graphite and colored pencils, mixed media, charcoal, and oil pastels.

2.    Mixed Media Paper

Description: Mixed media paper is a combination of both watercolor and drawing paper characteristics.

Application: Use the media of your choice. It’s great for watercolor, pastel, collages, marker, acrylic, etc.

3.    Watercolor Paper

Description: Cold pressed watercolor sheets in both 90lb and 140lb. We recommend Arches.

Application: Use for watercolor or ink painting.

4.    Illustration Board

Description: Illustration board offers a hard, durable surface that is only finished on one side. We recommend a hot press as it provides a nice smooth surface for pen and ink.

Application: Ideal for watercolor, pen and ink, and any media where a hard surface is needed.

5.    Drawing Sketchbook

Description: Just your typical sketchbook ideally in a smooth, fine surface.

Application: A sketchbook is perfect for line drawings done in both graphite and pen.

Not sure which type of paper to go with for your next ink drawing? Play around and try a few out! You’ll quickly realize what works well and what doesn’t for your particular project. Even though starting out in ink can be overwhelming (what if you make a mistake??) having a good quality paper will definitely work in your favor and eliminate a ton of frustration. These were our top 5 types of paper for ink drawing but we want to hear from you! What is your favorite paper to work on when it comes to ink? Leave us a comment below!

The Secret To Reaching Your Goals On Time

By Nicole Tinkham

It’s now October. Just let that sink in for a moment. That means there are only a few more months until 2016 is officially over! If you’re just now thinking about your New Year’s resolutions that you haven’t accomplished yet, you’re not alone. It’s incredibly easy to set goals for yourself in the beginning of the year and then put them off since you know you have a full year to accomplish them. But then when it gets to around this time, just a few months before the year is over, we tend to ditch the old goals and decide to start fresh in January again. But why give up on them now? You still have a few months to go!! In this blog, we’ll explain how to get in gear to reach those goals by January plus the secret to reaching your goals on time so you don’t run into this last minute situation again. Read on if you’re not ready to give up on your goals just yet.

We’ll admit, a couple of months is not a lot of time to reach some big goals you may have, but you can still make some headway before the New Year starts. For example, you may not be able to get your business up and running by January but you can save up the money for start up costs or create a business plan. Start thinking about smaller goals within the big vision you have that you can start doing right now. Breaking them down makes them seem more manageable and you’ll feel more accomplished when checking them off your list.  

Another thing you’ll have to do in these final months is get laser focused on those goals. You won’t be able to work on them just when it’s convenient for you. It’s time to get serious! This may mean making some sacrifices and working late into the night. But if you push through now, you’ll be in a much better place come the New Year. Plus, doing anything at this point is better than nothing at all! Just do the best you can and make the most of these next couple months.

Whether you’re setting goals to end the year out or looking to set new goals for next year, the KEY to actually achieving them on time has everything to do with the deadline. You absolutely must have a deadline for every single step in the process of achieving your goals. Realistically think about what it will take to reach that goal. What do you need to put into it? How much time will it take you? What type of obstacles will you possibly face and how long could they hold you back?

Once you figure out about how much time it should take you to reach your goal, move that deadline AHEAD! It could be moved up a week or a whole month. This will really help you push to get it done by the new date and if you don’t accomplish it by then, no worries because you’re still within your main deadline.

Shooting for an earlier end date really gets you focused. Sure, you may have to work harder but it also allows you the extra time to get started on the next goal. You mostly likely won’t procrastinate (as much), you’ll be more productive, and you’ll reduce stress.

However, we also understand that moving the deadline forward can easily scare some people out of getting started. That’s what your success partner is for. This person supports you along the way and holds you accountable in your journey so you actually reach those goals. You won’t want to let that other person down so you’ll be sure to follow through with what you say you’ll do! Here’s more on how a success partner can help you and how to find one.

Setting goals is so EASY! The difficult part, however, is following through with them and seeing them to the end. Don’t let the end of 2016 stop you from crossing some of those New Year’s resolutions off your list. There’s still time and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve when you really get focused. Side note: It doesn’t have to be a new year to set goals for you! As you reach your goals, start creating new ones regardless of what month it is. When you do go about setting your goals, get super determined and push the deadline up. This gives you a little wiggle room so you don’t freak out (and give up) as the deadline approaches.

We can’t wait to hear what you’re tackling for the end of 2016. COMMENT below and let us know some goals you’re going after in the next few months.

9 Super Easy Ways To Be A Nicer Person

By Nicole Tinkham


When we think about giving back, we often think about giving our time and money to the community. We immediately think of volunteering, helping out, and making a donation. These are all wonderful things but many of us can’t do them on a regular basis as we’d like to. There’s just not enough time in the day! But there are so many other ways you can make a huge difference to those around you. These things don’t cost you a dime and they’re so easy that you can accomplish several of them within one day. Read on for 9 super easy ways to be a nicer person. This will change your life!

1.    Compliment

Don’t throw out a compliment just to do it. Be sincere about it. Think about that person and the qualities about them that really stand out to you.

2.    Smile

If you’re in a bad mood, smiling will not only make you but everyone around you happy as well. Smile often and spread that joy. It’s totally free, so why not?

3.    “Thinking of you” call

Close your eyes and think about all the wonderful people in your life. The first couple people who come to mind, give them a quick “thinking of you” call. This can be a phone call, email, handwritten note, or a Facebook message. Just let them know that they were on your mind and ask how they’re doing. You never know, that person could really need you in their life at that particular time.

4.    Listen

So often we have conversations and while the other person is speaking, we’re going through in our head what we’ll say next. This is distracting and we may not get the full message from the other person. Instead, take some time to really listen. Be there for that other person without a hidden agenda.

5.    Hold the door open

It’s so simple but means so much! Holding the door open for someone, even a stranger, goes a long way.

6.    Stop complaining

The more you complain, the more you bring the people around you down! Take a full day without complaining, not even once. We bet you’ll feel a whole lot better and you’ll put others in a better mood too.

7.    Express gratitude

Let the other people in your life know how they have made a difference to you. It’s easy to forget about the small things someone else does for you consistently so take some time and really appreciate others.

8.    Notes of encouragement

Grab some Post Its and leave little notes of encouragement to anyone in your life. There’s nothing more powerful than the support of others.

9.    Forgive

This one is the most difficult on the list and it could take same time depending on the situation. It’s not easy to forgive and let go but once you do, you’ll both feel better.

It’s really not difficult to be a nicer person once you take the time to focus on other people. Smile more, have a positive attitude, listen to others, and just be happy. You can make a huge impact on others if you just keep these 9 things in mind throughout the day. Try it out for just one day (at least) to start and let us know how it goes!

How To Grow A Community Of Like Minded People

By Nicole Tinkham


I am so blessed to be part of two very special online communities; one being the creative, goofy, fun group on the Keeton’s Facebook page and the other being the positive and uplifting people on my personal Facebook page. So many of our friends are thanking us for this community where people can just be themselves but really, we should be thanking YOU. Without our fans, our page would be nothing! We wouldn’t have a community at all. Our Facebook friends are the ones who lift us up and inspire us each and every day. As mentioned, I feel incredibly lucky to be part of both communities and if you just don’t quite fit into a particular tribe, I want to share with you how to create your own. I’ll explain how you can feel comfortable just being yourself, how you can connect to others and build friendships, how to grow your tribe, and how to share content that people want to see. This is great for any artist starting their own business or for anyone who just wants to meet new people. Read on for how you can grow a community of like minded people as we have.

Being Yourself

This is so important! There are many artists just like you out there so you must show the world how joining your tribe is different than anyone else’s. What about yourself makes you totally unique? What can other people relate to? If you’re an artist starting a new business, keep in mind that there’s more to who you are than just your art business. What else are you passionate about? Cooking? Pets? Family? These are the things that will make you stand out from everyone else. Don’t be scared to let your true self shine because there is someone out there exactly like you and when you draw that particular person to your community, something magical happens. There’s a special connection that takes place and a lifelong friendship is built.

Building Trust

Building trust has a lot to do with consistency. Say you’re building your community on Facebook. You better be posting at least one thing every day. You can’t just disappear for awhile and pop up whenever you feel like it. People won’t follow you. They want consistent information that they can relate to. In order to form these relationships you must show up every day. Also be open to your community. Share your struggles and vulnerabilities. They can relate to that and most likely they’ll want to help you out.

Relate To Your Audience

Always share your story with your community. If someone mentions that they’re struggling with a particular thing and you can relate, share that story with them and how you overcame it. If you don’t have a story of your own that deals with their situation, share a friend’s story and how they went through the same thing. People don’t like feeling that they’re the only one’s going through difficulties. Support them and let them know they’re not alone.

Provide Valuable Content

Remember that your tribe is very similar to your own personality. When you’re talking to this person, think about what interests you. What is something you would “like” on Facebook? What’s a blog topic you would read about? What are some things you excel at and can teach to others? What are some things you want to learn more about? What is your community asking for? Be sure you’re providing great content and advice so they keep coming back for more.

Talk To A Specific Person

Don’t try to reach every single person. When you do this, you aren’t truly connecting with like-minded people. Once you narrow down your audience and speak to a specific person that you can relate to, that’s when the relationship really builds. Also remember that you have the choice on who joins your tribe! If you’re too broad with your reach, you may catch some people that just don’t mesh well with your community.

Encourage Growth

Once you start building your community, encourage them to invite their friends to join you as well. Make it clear who the community is for and if others have friends who fit, this is a great way to grow the community. Eventually their friends will start inviting their friends and from there it will really expand.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re running your own business or just want to be part of something bigger than yourself. Anyone can create and grow a community of like minded people. It all starts with you being yourself. Share your own stories, struggles, successes, and at least one thing that makes you totally unique. Be consistent and show up every day. Remember, growing this community should excite you! If someone lands in your community and they don’t seem to belong, hear them out. Start a conversation and figure out what it was that made them join in the first place. Most likely if it’s not for them they’ll leave and move on to something that does suit their needs. People will come and go but the strong friendships you’ll make in your community are the ones that will last forever.

Tell us, what’s one unique thing about yourself that you could share with your community?

8 Simple Ways To Get An Energy Boost In The Afternoon

By Nicole Tinkham

If you tend to feel groggy in the afternoon hours shortly after lunch, you are not alone. We’re sure you’ve heard the “get more sleep” speech before but maybe that’s not the issue. Even those who get plenty of sleep still get the afternoon yawns. Of course everyone’s different so your tired times may vary but the point is, at some time during the day you may feel yourself nodding off and we can help you get that little extra boost of energy that you need.

1.    Take a walk

Moving around and getting the blood flowing will definitely help keep you from falling asleep at your desk or whatever it is that you’re working on. Step away from your project, walk around, and stretch it out.

2.    Do something easy

Finding it hard to focus on your big tasks at this time? Instead do something that takes little thinking like sending an email, organizing your space, or calling a friend. I guess we’re saying to be productively lazy. Work but not too hard.

3.    Fuel your body with healthy food

Nutrition plays a huge part in how you feel throughout the day. Eat a healthy breakfast, keep it light for lunch, and munch on a small snack in the afternoon (almonds are a great choice). Too many carbs is said to really put you to sleep in the afternoon so try to limit them at lunch.

4.    Plan your day around your sleepy hours

We mentioned that everyone’s different and could have different times throughout the day that they feel tired. If you’re able, plan your day around your sleepy times. Aim to get important work done before and after that time so you can take a break when you need it most.

5.    Power nap

A short 20 to 60 minute nap can go a long way. If you are able, get a little shut eye but not much more than an hour or you may feel even groggier than before. Set an alarm and you’ll be surprised how refreshed you’ll feel after a good nap.

6.    Use peppermint oil

Just a drop of peppermint oil rubbed into your hands and a little on your face (not near the eyes) is sure to wake you up when you start dozing off.

7.    Eat dark chocolate

This is our favorite one on the list!! Be careful though, milk chocolate is not the same and the sugar in that could make you even sleepier after your sugar rush. But just a little dark chocolate makes you feel good and the little bit of caffeine will help wake you up.

8.    Do what you love

You will be more energetic and excited about working on a project you love than something that puts you to sleep even more. Get the not so fun tasks done first so you have something to look forward to in the afternoons.

When you just can’t seem to stay awake, you get absolutely nothing done. Then since you didn’t get anything done in the afternoon, you may have to stay later at work or stay up all night completing your project. The cycle starts again when you don’t get enough sleep and find yourself even more tired the next day. First thing’s first, get done what you can in the morning while you have the energy. Focus on the important things and get them done so you don’t push them aside later. Then play around with some of the ideas on this list and see which one works best for you.

Tell us, how do you boost your energy in the afternoon? Leave you tips in the comments below!