7 Ways To Have Fun With Your Art Again And Why It’s So Important

By Nicole Tinkham

fun-art

It’s possible you got started on this art journey for one reason: To have fun (so we’re guessing anyway). That’s how many artists begin their art career. They have a passion for art and they take the leap and start creating to earn an income. Doing what you absolutely love for work is the ultimate dream. But what happens when it begins to feel more like “work” and less like fun? We all get into these ruts from time to time so don’t get down on yourself for feeling this way. Maybe you’re stuck on a particular project, can’t think of any creative ideas, or just lost your spark. Don’t give up on that dream just yet. Before doubting yourself thinking you just weren’t cut out for the art life, read on for 7 ways to have fun with your art again and why it’s so important.

1.    Try something new

When it comes down to just trying something new with your art there are endless ways to mix things up. Need ideas? We got ‘em!

Try a different medium, take an art workshop, paint a different subject, work outside, work with other artist friends, learn a new skill or technique, change up your color palette, listen to music while you work, work in silence, work on a different size canvas, create something just for yourself, watch some art YouTube videos, pick up a new book for inspiration, take on a new challenge (like a 30 day sketchbook challenge), find a new tool to try out, sit rather than stand when creating, change your environment, work from real life versus a photo, and our list goes on and on..

One of the main reasons why you could be feeling less than enthusiastic about the work that you’re doing is because you’re burned out. You’ve been doing the same things for far too long and it has simply gotten boring. Any little shift in the way you work or what you’re working on can bring new creative inspiration and joy into your artwork.

2.    Work in a creative atmosphere

As we mentioned above about doing the same things over and over again, being in the same environment day after day can also wear you down. Your environment has a huge effect on your feelings and your feelings have a huge impact on your artwork. Maybe your studio needs a makeover. Rearrange things so your space makes you feel happy. You’ll notice a huge difference not only in your attitude but also in the quality of your artwork.
Our biggest suggestions when making adjustments to your art space are to get organized (yes, you may have to get rid of things you no longer use!), have plenty of natural light, lots of colorful inspiration, and some plants. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re comfortable in your space.

3.    Take a vacation

Just because you work for yourself as an artist doesn’t mean you can’t take days off! Plan vacations, weekends, and random days off. Do something new or something that you really enjoy outside of the studio. This gives you something to look forward to so you’re not just going through the motions every day and a nice break can bring on fresh, new creative ideas.

Be sure you get away for a bit even if it’s for a day trip. This is so refreshing and you won’t have work sitting around to worry about. Shut off your mind and actually relax! Another important thing to keep in mind is your daily business hours. Remember that you need breaks throughout the day as well.

4.    Loosen up and remember your why

Just when you’re about to give up and feel totally defeated, you must remember why you started in the first place. Remember that anxious and excited feeling when you were first starting out? You had so much joy and big goals for yourself. You started out loose and creating artwork for fun which showed in your work. As you go, you may become strict with your artwork and put more pressure on yourself. This is when the mood about your artwork shifts. You may start to resent the work that you’re doing. Instead, get back to the good ole days, create for the fun of it, and loosen up.

5.    Be yourself and trust your inner voice

It’s incredibly easy to slide out of your true personality and start acting differently once you get your art business rolling. You start to conform to what you think others want and what you see other artists doing. But it’s so important that you remain true to yourself. For starters, you’ll have fun being yourself. It’s much more difficult, draining, and time consuming trying to be someone else. Also, people need what you have to offer specifically. You were born to bring something special to this world so don’t just be a copy of someone else. Be your own unique self.

We recommend sitting down and really thinking about who you are, what your values are, and what you want to give to the world. Check in with yourself frequently to make sure you’re on point with your priorities and goals.

6.    Smile while you work

You don’t have to wait for something good to happen before you can put a smile on your face. Wear a smile no matter what, even if you’re having a terrible day. It tricks your mind and actually does put you in a better mood. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and try it 🙂

A simple smile makes you happy which helps you have fun in whatever you’re doing and also puts others in a better mood as well. You can attract better, more positive clients and just be happier in your business altogether.

7.    Work with people you love

You may think this sounds totally crazy but you do not have to work with negative clients who stress you out. Choose to work with the people you get along with and who make you happy. It makes dealing with clients much easier and a happier experience for you both. You can also gain a strong lasting relationship and build trust with them. It’s much better to have quality clients who stick around than flaky ones who cause you stress.

Why is it so important to love what you do?

Would you wake up on your days off, weekends, and vacations to scrub the bathroom floor and spend the day doing other miserable things you hate doing? Yes, these things need to be done but chances are you won’t be doing these things all day long on every single day you have available. With that being said, why would you wake up every day and spend your time doing things you don’t like even when it’s for work? What we’re trying to say is life is just too short to not like what you do and by the way, you do have a choice. You chose to be an artist for a reason, because it excites you and you enjoy it. Just because your flame may be going out doesn’t mean you should give up on that dream. You can easily bring that spark to life by applying the 7 ways to have fun with your art.

Remember, you were born for more than to just go through the motions of every day life. You may have to tweak your path but you should never give up on your dreams.

5 Ways To Wake Up That Don’t Involve Getting More Sleep

By Nicole Tinkham

wake-up

Do you ever find yourself falling asleep in the middle of the day and you just can’t figure out why? You feel like you’re getting plenty of sleep but it keeps happening and you aren’t getting as much done in the day as you’d like to. I know this feeling all too well since I struggle with it often. Believe it or not, there could be a solution to this sleepiness that doesn’t involve getting more sleep at all. So instead of wasting the day away being unproductive, you need to try these methods! Read on for 5 ways to wake up that don’t involve getting more sleep.

1.    Get enough Vitamin B

Did you know that vitamin B12 deficiency is actually really common? You may not think twice about it but Vitamin B is known for increasing energy and it really works. I had to mention this one because I know from experience that it’s a must for me in the morning. I take a pill but you can also get a great source of vitamin B12 from meat as well. Everyone is different though and the amount of Vitamin B that everyone needs can vary. If you’re still feeling extremely exhausted, you may want to see a doctor on other options.

2.    Drink more water

While water is essential and has so many health benefits, it can also help you stay mentally sharp. I find that cold ice water is best for reducing sleepiness but the important thing is to just drink it throughout the day. If you have a problem remembering to drink more water, get yourself a big water bottle that you love and set a timer to remind yourself to sip often. It’s recommended to drink water after waking up, 30 minutes before a meal (helps with digestion), and before bed.

3.    Take breaks

It’s so easy to feel burned out when working on a single project for hours at a time. You need a little variety in your day so get up and move around. I’ve found that getting outside in the sunshine helps to wake up and we could all really use more fresh air anyway. You don’t have to take long breaks throughout your busy day. In fact, just 5 minutes should do the trick. You can even be productive while you walk around by listening to some audio (an audio book, inspiring music, or a helpful podcast).

4.    Exercise

This one may sound like an oddball (how can being active give you more energy??) but just trust me on this. Exercise actually helps you produce energy during basic everyday tasks which means it will take you longer to tire out and when you do, you’ll recover much quicker. Remember that it’s ok to stick with a light routine. No need to train for a marathon here. Start your morning with a walk, some yoga, or even some simple stretches. The key is to get moving.

5.    Eat the right foods

You may think sugars and carbs spike your energy but they could actually make you much more tired later in the day. Try sticking with whole foods whenever possible with no extra junk added (think the outer aisles of the grocery store) and you’ll have more overall energy, better health, and  just feel much better inside and out. We recommend having healthy snacks on hand so you’re not tempted to reach for the junk when you get hungry throughout the day.

We just gave you 5 ways to wake up and feel more energized without the typical solution of just getting more sleep. Of course, sometimes sleep is the answer! So be sure to get your 6-8 hours of sleep every night, stick with a schedule, don’t have any caffeine after 2PM (it can mess with your sleep even if you fall asleep just fine!), make sure it’s dark and cold in the bedroom, and eliminate all distractions (phone, TV, computer) before bed. Get your sleep plus the things mentioned above and you should see a boost in your energy allowing you to be more productive and happier.

There are so many ways to live a life full of energy. Tell us, what method works for you??

Spring Clean Your Mind – 4 Methods To Getting Creative Ideas On Paper

By Nicole Tinkham

Spring-clean.jpg

We hear it just about every day and although we like to joke about it, it’s a serious struggle among many artists. Do you ever feel like you’re too creative? It may sound odd but there are simply not enough hours in the day to get all of those creative ideas out. Sometimes you’re in the middle of a project when new ideas strike or they pop up right when you’re trying to fall asleep. It’s really a blessing if you think about it, but we also know how frustrating this can be. We like to think of this overwhelming feeling as an art attack. So many ideas flood your mind at once and it becomes difficult to keep track of everything. However, we’ve found that getting it all out on paper helps to ease the mind a little and make room for even more brilliant ideas. If you’re familiar with spring cleaning, this is something much more fun. We’re going to show you how to spring clean your mind! We’ll walk you through 4 different methods to getting creative ideas on paper so you can start thinking clearly.

1.    Write it.

Have an hour or so long date with your sketchbook or journal. Start jotting down all the projects you’re currently thinking about and any details that go along with them. These are fresh ideas in your head right now. Now think back to some ideas you had awhile back (if you can remember them) and jot those down. From there, just open your mind up to creative inspiration and write down every single thing that pops into your head in the moment.

2.    Record it.

Are you a talker? Sometimes it’s just easier and quicker to talk aloud what your thought process is. If that’s the case, use a voice recorder. Use the same steps as above but instead of writing everything out, just record it. Later you can have it transcribed or transcribe it yourself. Sometimes it’s helpful having it physically on paper.

3.    Brainstorm it.

Get together with some artsy friends and have a brainstorm session. This will help produce new ideas you may not have thought of before, a new perspective on the ideas you have floating around in your head, a direction for where to start, and most likely brand new ideas to write down. Get everything written down or recorded during your brainstorm session. Remember, the whole idea of spring cleaning your mind is to get those idea OUT OF YOUR HEAD!

4.    Schedule it.

Getting the ideas out of your head and on paper is step #1. Now if you want to actually produce those creative projects, they need to go right in your schedule. Make time for your art or your ideas will never get done! Prioritize your projects and get started on them right away.

We know spring cleaning your home can be a hassle but there’s opportunity to have fun when spring cleaning your mind. Getting all those creative ideas out will free up you mind for even more ideas. Trust us this is so incredibly refreshing to do! No matter if you’re a “write it down” kind of person, a talker, a social butterfly or super organized, you can brain dump all of those ideas and actually begin to make them happen using the methods mentioned in this blog for getting ideas on paper. Now the issue of actually getting them done comes in. Don’t worry we have a blog for that too 🙂

How You Really Should Be Sharpening Your Prismacolors

By Nicole Tinkham

prismacolors
Have you ever had your colored pencil lead break off right in the middle of a project?? We hear it all the time and know how incredibly frustrating it is. Not only do you have to stop everything you’re doing to fix the problem, it’s also such a waste of a really good pencil! If you’re a Prismacolor pencil fan, you know just how vulnerable they are. You may think all hope is lost and your only option is to deal with the breakage, but there is actually a correct way to sharpen colored pencils that will help! Here’s how you should really be sharpening your Prismacolors.

Our favorite — The very basic handheld sharpeners

sharpener

Why we love them: They’re small, simple, inexpensive, and portable.

Tip: Don’t put a lot of pressure while sharpening! This could cause the lead to break. Instead be very gentle. It may be easier to sharpen the pencil vertically versus horizontally.

Check your sharpener: When your pencil shavings are short little bits, it means your sharpener blade is dull. Be sure to have nice long shavings when you sharpen. Sometimes the blades are replaceable and with others you’ll just have to buy a new sharpener.

 Go old school — Knife

Using a knife is a quick and easy way to sharpen your pencils but one drawback is that it’s the most dangerous option. Be very careful when doing this and always sharpen away from you.

Tip: Rotate the pencil so you get a nice shave all the way around.

Super simple — Sandpaper

sand-paper

Another different way to sharpen colored pencils (or other drawing tools such as charcoal and pastels) that we love is with sandpaper.

What to look for: There are special sandpaper blocks made for the artist which are basically layers of sandpaper stapled together on a wooden block (see image above).

Why we love them: They’re so convenient, you can take them anywhere, and just tear off a sheet after use for a fresh new one.

Tip: Be sure to rotate your pencil as you run it across the sandpaper surface so it’s a nice and even sharpen.

Electric sharpeners are debatable

We love electric pencil sharpeners for graphite pencils but they aren’t our top choice for colored pencils. However, every artist is different and we do know some that use an electric sharpener.

What we don’t like: You don’t have as much control and sometimes it can be too much force for the delicate colored pencil.

Another drawback: The wax from the pencils will eventually clog the sharpener.

Hand crank sharpeners — DO NOT USE!

These classroom style pencil sharpeners were not made for colored pencils. Don’t even try them because they can destroy your precious colored pencils!

DID YOU KNOW??

When your pencil lead is broken, you can leave it out in the sun for a few minutes. The heat will soften the wax lead and fuse the pieces back together.

Keep in mind that every artist is different so you may have to play around with a few options to see what works best for you. Some people have the magic touch using a handheld sharpener and others are really great at using the sandpaper method. Whichever you choose, always make sure to handle with care. Prismacolors are incredible colored pencils but so delicate. Treat them well and they’ll last awhile. We want to hear some of your top tips when it comes to colored pencils! How do you sharpen yours? How do you prevent the lead from breaking? Let us know in the comments 🙂

18 Office Supplies Every Artist Needs

By Nicole Tinkham

Office-supplies
Fun fact that you may not know about Keeton’s: We provide both office supplies and quality art supplies. Most people think we do one or the other but we’re actually very passionate about both areas. First of all, who says an office worker doesn’t have a creative side? And who says office supplies can’t be used by the artist?? To prove our point, we’ve created this list of 18 office supplies that every artist needs and how to use them in your next project.

1.    Tape

Masking tape works wonders for holding down your watercolor paper.

2.    Scissors

Every scrap booker knows that quality scissors are a must!

3.    Trimmers

These make life so much easier when working on paper art.

4.    Adhesives

Super glue, glue dots, glue sticks, rubber cement, spray adhesive, and hot glue can all be helpful in your art projects.

5.    Sharpies

With SO MANY colors, why are these even considered an office supply?? In the art world, they are solely for the purpose of creating 🙂

6.    Cardstock

A heavier paper is ideal for handmade cards.

7.    Colorful paper

Brightly colored paper makes any stamper or paper crafter happy.

8.    Pencils (& sharpeners and erasers)

You may not have as many options (HB is the standard) in office pencils but erasers and sharpeners are also a must!

9.    Bulletin board

Instead of office memos, use a bulletin board to post all of your creative ideas.

10.    Rolling storage crate

Business professionals use these to lug around catalogs and samples. You can use them to easily transport your supplies to workshops and art shows.

11.    Planner

Some artists love using a planner and others don’t. We think it’s a great way for anyone to keep track of their daily tasks and be more productive.

12.    Thumb drives

Whether you’re a computer artist or hands on, you’ll need at least one thumb drive. Use it to store creative inspiration and photos of your artwork.

13.    X-ACTO knife (& cutting mat)

If you’re cutting any type of heavier paper, an X-ACTO knife is essential.

14.    Notebook

Notebook, sketchbook, or journal.. No matter what it is you use, it’s important to get your ideas on paper.

15.    Packing supplies (boxes, tape and bubble wrap)

You may not think of these supplies but what happens when you sell a piece and have to ship it?? It never hurts to have packing supplies on hand.

16.    Sticky notes

We cannot stress how important it is for EVERYONE to use Post-it Notes! As ideas pop in your head, write down little reminders. Get assorted colors to make it fun.

17.    Photo paper

You can get quality prints with your home printer and quality photo paper makes all the difference.

18.    Ruler

A basic ruler is a must for every artist whether it’s used for measuring or for creating straight lines.

Here’s a little tip for you. Sometimes you’re better off getting certain supplies through an office supply store (like us) rather than a specialty art store. You’ll get a much better deal on masking tape through office supplies than if you were to get art specific tape that does the same thing. This is why we love having the best of both worlds. Are there any non traditional “art supplies” you use in your work? Let us know in the comments!

5 Questions To Finding A New Art Medium To Work With

By Nicole Tinkham

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Are you a brand new artist and have no idea where to start? There are so many different mediums you can take up from colored pencil to acrylic painting. How in the world are you supposed to choose? Or maybe you’re an experienced artist who wants to experiment with something new. You’re so used to what you’ve been doing and don’t know where to go from there. No matter what type of artist you are, these 5 questions will help you figure out what art medium you should work with next. Read on to discover your path!

1.    What is your goal?

Before starting anything new in life (art related or otherwise) you must think about your goals. What do you plan to accomplish by getting started in a new art medium? Are you a brand new artist looking to explore different avenues of the art world? Or are you an experienced artist looking to try something new and improve your skills? Will you be selling your artwork, keeping it for yourself, or using it to expand your art portfolio? Think of all these things before making your decision.

2.    How much are you willing to invest?

When we talk about “investing” we’re referring to time, money, and space. Space may seem like an odd thing to consider but one of the most common struggles among artists is not having enough room for their supplies. Although, this doesn’t seem to stop artists from gathering more and more supplies 🙂 Before you jump into anything, look around your art studio and house. How much extra space do you actually have? Some projects will take up more space than others so you’ll either want to make room or choose your art medium carefully.

There’s also a huge difference in time spent between Zentangle doodles and an oil painting. How much time do you have dedicated to work on your art? The main reason why people get started in something new only to quit shortly down the road is simply because life just gets in the way. Maybe you have a goal to spend more time on your art and that’s fantastic! Just make sure it’s a realistic goal so you don’t become overwhelmed or frustrated when it doesn’t work out.

You also need to think about the money you plan to invest in your artwork. Many mediums require several supplies and if you’re serious about your artwork, investing in quality supplies is key. If you’re just playing around for fun on the side and don’t feel the need to invest in quality supplies, that’s fine too. You’ll just want to choose your medium wisely and budget for it. Trust us, there’s nothing worse than starting a project and not having the supplies you need to finish it!

3.    What pieces of artwork inspire you?

Whether you’re looking to get started on your art journey or just exploring a new medium, there’s most likely something that inspired you to do so. Think to the most recent piece that you thought was absolutely brilliant. Now do a little research on the artwork as well as the artist. Find out what medium and tools were used and any special techniques the artist did. If it inspired you to jump into something new, take that passion and do something similar yourself!

4.    Where do your skills lie?

If you are just starting out and are a total beginner, think about the areas in which you are strongest. Do you have an eye for color? Are you detail oriented? Figuring this out will help you choose a medium that you’ll be great at right from the beginning. This is important because as a beginner, it can be very frustrating if you just can’t seem to get it right no matter how many times you try. When you first start out, you want it to propel you on this journey, not hold you back.

We feel the opposite is true for experienced artists. You’ve already gone through the struggles of getting started and now want to learn something new. This is where you can really challenge yourself. Think about areas that you are weak in. This will give you an opportunity to grow. Remember, if you’re the best one in the class you’re in the wrong class. Keep learning new things to improve your skills.

5.    How do you learn best?

We always encourage artists to learn from others whether that be through various art books, DVDs, artist friends or an art workshop. When it comes to a totally new medium, please don’t just wing it! Start off on the right foot by learning from others. This will prevent a lot of frustration. Now the real question here is how do you learn best? Some people are more hands on and others rather read from a book. It doesn’t matter what type of learning you choose as long as it works for you. Think back to the last time you were trying to figure something out and sought outside help with. What did you do and how did it work out? Once you have this figured out, you can find which resources are available to you. This could influence which medium you decide to go with.

If after you ask yourself these 5 questions and still don’t know if you made the right decision on what art medium to work with next, there is one final question to ask yourself. Is this something you’re passionate about? Does this medium light your fire and excite you to get started? If not, you need to do some research. You may even have to play around with a few choices to get a feel for them before making a commitment. This is where having artsy friends becomes handy. Borrow some of their supplies to play with or take a quick art workshop. This should also be fun so don’t overwhelm yourself with the many options. Sit down and ask yourself these 5 questions to determine which medium you should get into next and leave a comment below letting us know which one you’ll be choosing!

Why You Need To Stand Up For What You Believe In And How To Do It

By Nicole Tinkham

stand-up

How many times have you sat back and kept your mouth shut even if you didn’t believe in what was being said/done? We don’t blame you because it’s so much easier to keep your own ideas to yourself. You don’t risk getting put down, feeling judged, or becoming an outcast. But what if that one idea you have can change everything for the better? You shouldn’t keep that to yourself! Here’s why you need to start standing up for what you believe in and how to do it.

Let’s start with the why.

1.    It builds your respect.
This goes two ways. Sticking up for what you believe in builds your self- respect because you’re following through with your values. Going against what you believe in just because it’s more convenient is less than admirable. Standing your ground also gains respect from others, even if they view things differently than you. Just having the guts to stand up for yourself shows what kind of person you are. You aren’t a pushover. You are strong and independent.

2.    You will gain confidence.
At first, standing up for your beliefs isn’t the easiest task. You may be doubting yourself, you may be hesitant, and your words might not come out just right (like the perfectly prepared speech you have in your head). But the more you do it, the better you’ll get and the more confidence you’ll gain. You’ll be more willing to step out of your comfort zone in uncomfortable situations.

3.    It helps you discover who you are.
When you just go along with what others say, you’re letting them take control over a piece of your life. You’re allowing them to dictate how you should do or say something, even how you should think. This may sound drastic but every little thing that you sit back on impacts your life. By standing up for what you believe in, you’re expressing who you are and what you want out of life. Even if your ideas don’t change a thing, you are still putting your real, unique self out there. The more you do it, the more YOU will come out.

Now let’s talk about how you can implement these things in your life.

1.    Figure out what you actually believe in.
Before you stand up for what you believe in, you have to know what it is that you believe in! It sounds simple enough but when we sit back and let others take over, we sometimes forget or lose sight of who we really are. When you have a quiet moment to yourself, think about the following questions.

•    What is important to me?
•    What am I passionate about?
•    What motivates me?
•    What are my core values?

2.    Let go of your fears about what people think of you.
This is a tough one. When standing up for yourself, you have got to let go of your fears of what people think about you. Whatever you’re thinking is often way worse in your head. It always is. Remember that people are more concerned with things going on their own life than to sit there and judge yours. As we mentioned before, it takes practice but with time you will get better at it and you’ll feel better about doing it.

3.    Don’t doubt yourself.
Sometimes when you stand up for yourself, there will be people who try to change your mind or put you down. Always keep your beliefs in mind. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to hear others out and listen to their point of view. But that doesn’t mean you have to change what you believe in.

4.    Keep doing it.
There are so many ways in which you can stand up for what you believe in so don’t stop after one thing. Voice your opinion (in a positive way) when the timing feels right and you’ll get better every time you do it. When we mention to be positive, we mean don’t speak your opinion just to put someone else down. Hear them out and let them know your ideas as well.

We know that staying in your cozy little shell doing your own thing is comfortable but you have the power to change things for the better when you allow yourself to break out of your comfort zone and stand up for what you believe in. You’ll build respect for yourself, gain confidence, and discover who you really are. It may not be easy at first but it’s really quite simple to do. Start by finding out what your beliefs are, let go of your fears, quit doubting yourself, and keep practicing. You can do this!