5 Surprising Things That Make A Sketch Great So You Can Proudly Show Off Your Sketchbook

By Nicole Tinkham


Have you ever looked at another artist’s sketchbook thinking they make it look so easy when yours always seem to be a struggle? Why is that? Often times when we compare ourselves to others, we walk away feeling defeated and ready to throw in the towel. “Is this whole art thing even worth it”, you ask yourself. Ok, time to take a deep breath and just STOP for a moment.  It’s completely normal for you to feel this way. Thinking you’re the only one who has their setbacks is ludicrous. This is exactly why we need a community of artists who aim to spur each other on. If you’re looking for ways to develop a sketchbook that you can show off with pride, read on to find out things that make a sketch great- the answers may surprise you!

Let’s start with the definition of what a sketch actually is just so we’re all on the same page.


noun: sketch; plural noun: sketches

1.    a rough or unfinished drawing or painting, often made to assist in making a more finished picture.

“a charcoal sketch”
synonyms:    (preliminary) drawing, outline;

We wanted to first make that clear because so many artists beat themselves up over simple sketches when really, sketches are meant to be rough and unfinished! While they don’t have to be perfect, there are a few specific qualities that make good sketches good (in our opinion, anyway). Read on for what those 5 qualities are and how working on them can improve your sketchbook.


In any piece of artwork, the main thing that catches the viewer’s eye is how creative it is. When people see a bunch of the same things over and over again it becomes dull and they don’t think twice about it. But the more creative a piece is, it stands out and causes people to stop and notice. This works with paintings, sculptures, photography, digital art, and anything else you’re creating. Good artwork can often be subjective but one thing we can pretty much all agree on is that it must be creative.

2.    Perspective

Perspective is such a tough thing to master and we know many artists who struggle with it. Unfortunately, if the perspective is off even by a little bit the entire sketch looks a little strange. Take the time to learn and practice perspective to strengthen your skills.

3.    Emotion

When you sit down to sketch, your feelings and emotions show through in your work. If you’re just doing it to say you got it done, people will notice. There will be a lack of enthusiasm in your line work. But put passion into it and your sketch will jump off the page. It’s the same thing when talking to someone else about your artwork. Your confidence and excitement is all in your tone.

4.    Roughness

Your sketches should not be perfect. That is not the point of a sketch! They should be loose, rough, and quick. We love sketches for one simple reason; we can see the way the artist thinks and works through the piece all within the lines. Your sketch lines are the most important part so don’t go erasing all of them. Be confident with the lines you put down. When you’re unsure, that also shows through in your lines. Be loose, have fun, and don’t stress out over whether or not your sketches are any good.

5.    Progress

Sketching is all about learning and improving. Most often the point of looking through old sketchbooks is to see that progress. To see how far you’ve come between the very first pages to the end of the book. You’ll go through a lot as an artist, many difficult times, struggles and failures. Use your sketchbook as a way to share the journey with others. We’re all at different points so you really can’t compare your sketch to another artist’s. Focus on your own journey and you’ll discover that your sketches are more incredible than you gave yourself credit for.

You may not be where you want to be in this creative journey of yours but you are getting there. When it comes to your sketches, or any type of artwork you do, keep learning and practicing. Come up with some super fun and creative ideas, work on your perspective (take a class if you need to!), put emotion into your work, get your line work on point with a nice flow, and track your progress along the way. You too can have amazing sketches in a sketchbook you love showing off.

6 Reasons Why You Should Adjust What You’ve Been Told And Start Talking To Strangers

By Nicole Tinkham


How many times in your life were you told not to talk to strangers? Like any child, I was told this all the time growing up and even today by my husband. Of course your safety is always the main priority. Before getting into the 6 reasons why you should talk to strangers, we must stress the importance of talking to the right kind of strangers. Use your common sense and stay away from anyone who looks suspicious. Also, don’t give your personal information to any strangers you talk to. In this post, we’re referring to friendly small talk to people you come across in your day to day life like while on the bus commute to work or in the grocery store. Avoiding contact in these types of situations is silly! There are so many benefits to wishing a perfect stranger a nice day. Read on to see what they are.

1.    Learn from others

When you engage in conversation with someone new, you’re not only learning more about that person but also other valuable info that may interest you. Maybe it’s the weather forecast for the week, an interesting statistic, or a trick on preparing your spaghetti squash (if you happen to be at the grocery store buying one). You never know who you will meet and what type of things they have to offer you.

2.    Make new friends

When we’re in school surrounded by our peers, it’s so easy (or at least easier) to start talking to them and making new friends. But once we enter the adult life, things change and it’s more difficult to get out there and meet new people. I speak from experience after leaving my childhood friends in Pennsylvania to move to Florida. One way I was able to make some new friends is by meeting up with like-minded people through a website called meetup.com. We choose an activity and get together as a group, all of them being strangers at first. You don’t necessarily have to do this group method but the point is you have to get out there talking to others if you’re looking to make new friends!

3.    Build confidence

Talking to complete strangers is terrifying at first! Although it’s extremely uncomfortable, the more you do it the better you will get at it. Aim to talk to one new person for every day that you venture out of the house. Engaging in conversation almost every day will build your confidence even if you’re shy and it’ll make interacting with others come more naturally to you.

4.    Become a better listener

Remember to be all ears when talking to others. This goes for both new people and people you already know. Ask questions and actually listen. You will get the most incredible information this way plus people love talking (especially about themselves) so it’s a surefire way to get others to like you. Do you have the tendency to cut people off mid sentence and put in your two cents? Talking to strangers and practicing your listening skills can help you control that habit and understand people on a deeper level.

5.    Improve someone’s day (including your own)

I find it rare these days to run into friendly people. Everyone seems to be lost in their own little world or they’re in such a rush that they don’t even notice you. But when I’m out and someone smiles and says “hi”, it’s so refreshing and instantly puts a smile on my face. If you feel the same way about friendly people, it’s time you pay it forward! Spread joy and you’ll not only make others happy, you’ll also be working on your own happiness.

6.    Make everyday tasks more interesting

Do you ever feel lonely even when you’re surrounded by a ton of people? Time seems to stand still and you become bored out of your mind. Think about the frustration of waiting in a long line or the dreaded commute on a bus. We don’t like these things because it takes up time in our day and we get nothing accomplished during that wait time. However, if you start a conversation with that person behind you in line it makes time fly by and the wait will be worth while. Make life interesting by talking to more people!

You don’t have to be a chatty Kathy and talk to every single person you see to reap the benefits of talking to strangers. Start small by just smiling and saying “hello” to a few people. Then work your way up to small talk in your every day life. Before you know it you’ll feel comfortable chatting with more and more people. Don’t turn this into a chore. Have fun getting to know new people and always wear that smile of yours. It’ll help you light up the room and spread positivity.

Tell us, what are some of your best tips for talking to strangers and how has doing so made an impact on your life?

A Step-By-Step Guide to Moving Your Crafts

guest blog
Photo via Pixabay

You enjoy crafting. You often draw sketches, make paintings, engage in pottery, and knit scarves. You can’t imagine moving your entire craft room. The time, however, has come to move. You aren’t sure where to start.

Follow these six steps to packing, moving, and unpacking your craft room. Whether you’re moving to another home, or simply moving upstairs, you’ll be happy with the results.

1.    Organize Your Belongings

The first step is, of course, to organize your belongings. Crafts, artwork, and supplies are often strewn about in a haphazard manner. With garage sales and nearby craft stores, it can be easy to bring home far more than you actually use. Take this time to go through your supplies and determine what you actually need to keep. Bekins has a great article that can help you downsize and organize your craft room before the big move. You can also learn about de-cluttering your art room through Shiny Happy World.

2.    Contact a Professional

It’s never a good idea to go through this process alone. Contact a professional to learn more about moving your artwork and supplies. At the very least, you should ask your family and friends for assistance. The more stressed and overwhelmed you are, the more mistakes you could make. Mistakes when moving a craft room could end with something important breaking. Since you obviously don’t want this to happen, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed or stressed. Ask for help. According to The Card Castle, communication is key throughout this process. Keep that in mind as you move forward.

3.    Obtain Necessary Equipment

You’ll need a number of items before you can begin packing. Carrying cases, organizers, packing tape, shipping supplies, bubble wrap, packing paper, cardboard, and packing peanuts are just a few of the many pieces of equipment you’ll need to get started. Learn about the function of each piece of equipment and make sure you are using everything properly. You don’t want anything to break before you’ve even started moving.

4.    Move Piece By Piece

If you have multiple pieces of artwork to pack in boxes, take it piece by piece. Don’t try to multitask, or something could get unnecessarily damaged. Instead, set up a table or floor space for wrapping. You can also use a countertop. Whatever you choose, make sure the space is large enough for your heftiest piece of artwork. You’ll want help during this part of the process. It can be difficult to wrap artwork alone.

5.    Hire Experienced Movers

You are trusting these professionals with your entire craft room – including all of your supplies and artwork (unless you choose to move certain pieces in your personal vehicle). Make sure you hire a company that truly cares about your belongings. Some companies only care about getting the job done and going home. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak with managers at moving companies until you feel you’ve gotten it right. Some moving sites will allow you to compare labor prices, so keep that in mind as well.

6.    Unpack ASAP

As soon as the moving process is over, begin unpacking your artwork and supplies. High or low temperatures can affect your belongings. You also don’t want to find out several days too late that a packet of paints has exploded on your favorite sketchbook. As you unpack, consider this a new opportunity to organize your craft room. Brit + Co recently published an article that can help you come up with useful, fun ideas for your new space.

Moving the artwork and supplies within your craft room can be nerve wracking. However, if you make the process organized, fun, and flawless, you’ll be grateful for the experience.

Author: Aimee Lyons

Aimee Lyons loves crafting, refurbishing furniture, remodeling rooms, and landscaping. She is passionate about DIY projects and sharing tips about them. Aimee runs DIYDarlin, which provides DIY project resources and tutorials.

This Art Supply Is YUMMY – Find Out Why!

By Nicole Tinkham


We don’t often describe our art supplies as “yummy”. We might use the words funky, creative, or exciting but never “yummy”. Not unless of course, we’re talking about Gelatos by Faber Castell or the supplies that go with them. If you’re not familiar, Gelatos are acid-free pigment sticks that glide and blend easily on paper or canvas. We’re really in love with the vibrant colors; they’re simply delicious. While they sound good enough to eat, we’ll actually be talking about the icing on the cake today in what is known as “Whipped Spackle”. Read on to find out why this art supply is so yummy and how you can use it in your next project!

What is it?? –> Designed for mixed media projects, whipped spackle is a textured gesso without the weight of heavy gesso. It’s ideal for creating dimension in mixed media artwork on any surface.

Just a few ways you can use it…

•    Swipe Whipped Spackle over a stencil for a raised texture design

•    Press textured items into it (bubble wrap comes out really cool), and it will hold that texture

•    Add COLOR to your Whipped Spackle creation by using powders, inks, Gelatos, and more

•    Use for art journaling, cards, mixed-media canvas, and just about anything else you can think of!

Best way to apply it: Palette knife! This is ideal for mixing in color and spreading it over a stencil.

Can you eat it??

NO! Unfortunately, Whipped Spackle is not edible. It does look delicious though with it being light and airy with an icing or whipped cream-like texture. We know the temptation to take a taste but we urge you to save it for your project 🙂

Don’t believe us that you may be tempted to eat Whipped Spackle?? Just check this out. YUM!

Want to try out Faber Castell Whipped Spackle for yourself?? Just stop into Keeton’s in downtown Bradenton or give us a call at 941-747-2995 to place an order. By the way, you might want to try out Gelatos too while you’re at it!

Have you used any of these YUMMY Faber Castell products before? Please let us know in the comments what your experience has been with them.

4 Types Of Books Everyone Should Be Reading And Why

By Nicole Tinkham


Growing up and throughout school, we’re typically encouraged to read books often. Whether it’s a history book or teen fiction novel, it was always stressed to read more (in my school anyway). We had trips to the library, book clubs, special events and more. As we get older, reading books becomes a choice rather than a requirement. When this happens, it’s easy for us to slack off a bit and stray away from these good habits. Let’s face it; living in such a hectic world, it’s easy to find every excuse possible not to read. And if we’re not in the habit of making time, it feels nearly impossible to squeeze it in. If it’s been some time since your last book and you don’t even know where to start now, listen up. We’ve come up with 4 types of books everyone should be reading and we’ll tell you why. But first, let’s talk about the importance of reading so you understand the value before diving right in.

The Importance

Still need some convincing that we should all read a little more? Fist of all, reading teaches us the important lessons which help us survive life’s obstacles. This is true for any type of book you read (more book types next). You can learn so much from others. Reading also helps you communicate better, become a better writer and boost your creativity. If you haven’t done it in awhile, it’s time to expand your knowledge and soak in some highly valuable information. Ready to get started? Here are the four types of books you really need to be reading.

1.    Personal development

Personal development books are so important and probably not the type of books you read in school (although I really think they should have been). I didn’t even know what a personal development book was until a few years ago. Since then, they have changed my life. These are the kind of books that will get you thinking differently. They can help with your confidence, your self-belief, and with figuring out what your bigger purpose in life is. Basically, they help you become a better person overall. Since reading these types of books, I’ve grown as a person and in my business, I’ve become more positive, happier, and I’ve gained better relationships with those around me not to mention new friends who encourage me. Seriously, these books are a total game-changer.

2.    Instructional

Instructional books are the ones that’ll help you learn or improve on a skill. You can find instructional books on just about anything, from watercolor painting to dog training. While personal development books will help you grow on the inside, instructional books will help you grow on the outside as you learn how to do new things. There will always be something new to learn about so open up to new projects and ideas. If you’re looking to start your own art business, for example, there are a ton of skills you’ll need to learn such as promoting yourself, building a website, business finances, and more. These topics may not excite you right off the bat but remember the bigger picture and what learning these things can do for your future.

3.    Fiction

I’ve found that reading of any kind improves my writing but when it’s a fiction book, it instantly puts my mind in the creative zone. Reading a story (a really good one) forces you to use your imagination and paint a picture of what’s happening. It takes you out of reality and puts you in a whole different world. This can drastically help you with your artwork plus reading fiction is so much fun anyway and there are a ton of different stories out there. Find a genre that you really get into and enjoy 🙂

4.    History

Learning about the past helps make improvements in the present and future. Expanding your knowledge of history really opens up your mind and gets you thinking. To be honest, history puts me to sleep but it is pretty incredible to learn about the past. I think everyone can benefit from exploring and learning from it.

Your homework now is to pick a book (any book) and start reading again. You can hang out at a Books-A-Million, a used bookstore, a library, download an eBook or borrow one from a friend. Just get started. If you can’t seem to get through the one you chose, pick up a different one. Choose something that speaks to you. Select a book that you need in your life at that moment. And once you find a good one, drop your recommendation in the comments below!

9 Ways YOU, The Artist Can Change The World

By Nicole Tinkham


Can we take a moment to show you some love? We feel that artists (like you) really don’t get the credit they deserve. You are absolutely incredible! Sometimes people who don’t fully understand the impact art makes on our lives, assume that being an artist isn’t a “real” job. This can get any artist down but our goal is to lift you back up and let you know how much of a difference you really do make. Your artwork isn’t just something pleasant to look at. Your artwork HEALS. It challenges and inspires us. It provides peace when everything else is in chaos. It’s truly incredible just how special your talents are! Read on for 9 ways that you, the artist can change the world.

1.    You inspire

You inspire more than just the artist. You inspire everyone to do something they’re passionate about. Others see you and your love for art. They see you having fun, enjoying what you do and they want to feel that way about something in their lives too. Your artwork can encourage them to take the leap and try something new.

2.    You make the world colorful

Literally! Can you imagine how dull the world would be without art? Even gorgeous buildings have a creative architect behind them. Art floods the streets in billboards, museums, graffiti, signs, fashion, and so much more. It’s something not everyone appreciates enough (being too busy in this hectic life) but if it weren’t there, we would all notice.

3.    You make people happy

It’s not just those crazy sand sculptures or chalk art events that make people happy. It’s anything that the viewer can relate to. It’s bright colors, something clever, something useful, something they just get. It doesn’t matter what type of art you do, you’ll always have the power to make others happy if you choose to.

4.    You heal

You may not have a doctor title but you’d be surprised by how much artwork can heal. We just mentioned that you make others smile. That alone has healing powers not to mention other emotions that artwork can bring up. When people are dealing with depression, your artwork can help them cope. Again, you are improving the lives of so many people.

5.    You make people think differently

Your artwork may portray your point of view and maybe the viewer is able to see that through your work. But maybe they see a different point of view and that’s ok too. No matter how it’s done, artwork that gets people thinking differently is considered brilliant work in our books. It’s not always easy to do but it can be so powerful.

6.    You challenge others

As you get others to think differently, you’re also challenging them. The challenge could be finding a deep meaning in the artwork or relating it to each person’s individual life. Challenges are presented all around us. They allow us to learn and grow. If your artwork presents a challenge, it’s helping every single one of us.

7.    You share your story

The best way to connect and relate to someone else is to hear their story. You might not think your personal story is very exciting but you have no idea how much that story can change someone else’s life. When you open up to others and share personal things about yourself, others will realize they’re not alone. You’re proof to the viewers that they can make it through the tough times too. You are right there with them and when you can tell that story through your art, incredible things start to happen.

8.    You provide peace

Some artwork is peaceful and some aren’t but the really cool thing about being the artist is that you can decide what kind of emotions come through in your artwork. How incredible does it feel knowing that you can bring peace in someone’s life simply by creating? That just blows our minds every time we think about it!

9.    You give

When you produce your artwork, you’re not just giving to one person. You’re giving something of value to every single person who looks at it. People need what you have to offer! Stop hiding in the shadows and show your work off to the world. Not sharing it would only be selfish.

If you ever doubt yourself, which we all do at some point, grab this list of 9 ways you, the artist can change the world to remind yourself of the true power of your artwork. It’s so easy to forget these things and to forget why you’re an artist in the first place. You all have a huge heart and we believe that you create for others. You want to make a difference and you can do that through your art. You are capable of incredible things. Never give up on yourself.

May Goal: 6 Ways You Can Be More Generous

By Nicole Tinkham


I always like starting a new month with an overall goal in mind to improve who I am. Every day I strive to do one small thing that gets me closer to that goal. For example, January was all about showing love to others. I had on my to-do list to compliment at least one person a day, reach out to an old friend just to see how they’re doing, help someone else out, and just to be friendly. Little things like that add up and make a huge difference. Plus as you do these things daily, they become a habit and you’ll start doing them anyway without having them on your to-do list. If you were to focus on one area of improvement every single month and just kept adding to it for the entire year, can you imagine how many different things you’d be really good at? It’s incredible what small tasks, done daily can produce. For the month of May, we’ll be focusing on being more generous. Read on for 6 ways you can be more generous this month, broken down into small manageable tasks that you’ll actually enjoy doing.

1.    Become a great receiver.

This may sound odd but hear us out. When you’re uncomfortable receiving (compliments, favors, gifts), you’re carrying around some sort of doubt. You don’t think you deserve these things. You may also feel that you don’t have anything valuable to give either. Work on your receiving skills to become a better giver. Here’s how:

Accept compliments. When someone notices you did something well, simply say “thank you” instead of mentioning the things you didn’t do well.

Appreciate gifts. Instead of turning them down, let the receiver know how much you appreciate the thoughtful gift. The more you receive, the more you’ll be able to give.

To do: Be aware of opportunities to receive this month and practice accepting them. You deserve these things and they will give you the power to start giving back.

2.    Give to a cause you’re passionate about.

The idea of donating money is always a great one but can often fall through the cracks when you realize that you may not have much to give. You have a big heart but no funds to make it happen. This month we’re focusing on the small things so here’s what we recommend you do:

Set a small amount of money aside each day for the entire month. If you start today with one dollar, you’ll have $31 at the end of the month. That’s a lot! Now think if you were to get a friend to join you this month, the two of you could double that amount.

To do: Choose a cause you’re passionate about and set an amount of money to save up each day.

3.    Give love.

I mentioned that January was all about giving love for me but the things I did in January could easily apply to becoming more generous this month. You can give love in many different ways. Here are 7 ideas so you can do a different one each day of the week.

Pay a compliment.
Call an old friend.
Set up a lunch date with a friend.
Smile and greet everyone you see.
Tell someone how much you appreciate them.
Offer to help someone.
Send a “just because” card to someone in your life.

4.    Give a small gift.

Little things go a long way. Choose someone this month that has made a difference in your life and find a thoughtful gift to thank them for all they do. Choose something based on what you know about this person but don’t drive yourself too crazy trying to find the perfect gift. You don’t want to go overboard either. Choose something simple. It could even be a candy bar! I like to browse Amazon for small gifts because I can find just about anything, have it sent directly to them and include a message.

To do: Choose a person in your life who deserves a small gift and keep your eyes out for a gift they would love.

5.    Embrace gratitude.

I start every morning writing down three simple things I’m grateful for. Sometimes we move through life so fast that we forget to stop and really think about what makes our lives so special. These daily things range from big (good health) to small (my husband cooking me dinner). Writing these things down helps you appreciate the little things and show your appreciation to others.

To do: Challenge yourself to write down one thing you’re grateful for every single day this month.

6.    Give your time.

We mentioned giving donations, love, gratitude, and gifts. Another way to give that we often forget about is our time. This could be volunteer work or helping out a friend. But I don’t recommend doing something just to say that you did it. Really consider where your passions lie, what skills you have, and where you’ll have fun. I truly believe that the more fun you can have with something, the more of an impact it’ll make plus you’ll be compelled to help out even more. If you love pets, help out at a shelter. If you’re an artist, teach your skills to others. Find something unique to you that you can really thrive in.
To do: Brainstorm different ways you can give your time. Do the research and see where you can help out. Pick a day to dedicate your time to and go out there and do it! Even an hour on a Saturday afternoon can make an incredible difference.

If there’s one thing you take away from this blog, let it be that small things make a huge difference. Don’t let this month of generosity overwhelm you. Remember that you have 31 whole days to work on your generosity. Your daily to-do list could include something as simple as calling a friend. It doesn’t have to take you all day to do and you don’t have to do everything all at once. Make it simple!

Tell us, do you have a May goal to become more generous? Let us know in the comments what you plan to do this month to make it happen!