7 Ways To Make More Time For Art

By Nicole Tinkham

7 Ways To Make More Time For Art

Are there ever enough hours in the day? Chances are, you either work all day long with little time to get anything done once you get home, or you’re retired with even more work to do around the house. The work just never seems to end! One thing our artist friends have been saying they wish they had more of is time for their art. So instead of wanting the best art supplies out there (which would also be nice) they just want more time to create. Unfortunately, time is something we’re unable to give away. But we can help you work a little smarter and prioritize your time. Here are 7 ways to make more time for art and how to get started today. Grab a pen, paper, and your calendar because we’ll be taking action right away!

1.    Make it a priority

What you care most about comes first in your life, right? Maybe your full-time job comes first at the moment because that’s how you pay for important things like art supplies. Your family is probably also high on the priority list. That makes sense. But what are your priorities other than work and family? What do you do on your down time (when you’re able to get some)? We know it feels like you don’t have much spare time but there has to be some time leftover in the day. If what goes on your priority list gets done, why not put art on that list? It doesn’t matter if you have time for it or not. If it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it

Do this now: Grab your notebook and write down your top priorities, including art. Now organize your list by most important. See where art falls on that list and it’ll tell you how much of your time you should be dedicating to it.

2.    Schedule it!

Once you’ve made art a priority and you’re dedicated to making more time for it in your life, it’s time to schedule it. Don’t just say you’ll make time for it in the imaginary calendar in your head. Actually write it down on a calendar or in your phone. Act as if it’s an important business meeting you must attend. Remember, it IS important. It’s on your priority list!

Do this now: Grab a calendar, planner, or even a blank notebook. Plan when you’ll work on your art this week and how long you’ll work on it. Even if it’s only 2 hours a week, plan it out! And make sure not to schedule anything else in those time frames.

3.    Bring an art journal with you everywhere

One of our favorite things to do is squeeze in some art every chance we get. This may mean doing a quick sketch while on the bus or waiting in the doctor’s office. If you can’t fit blocks of creative time into your busy schedule, fit it in wherever you can. All it takes is a few minutes to draw a doodle, sketch, or jot down some ideas. But those few minutes add up to a lot of practice time!

Do this now: Invest in a small sketchbook and quality pens/pencils that you can take on the go. Finding a sketchbook that’s easy to carry around with you is key. Too bulky, and you’ll simply leave it at home.

4.    Attend an art workshop

There’s a magical thing that happens when you COMMIT to something (and pay for it). You actually do it! If you sign up for an art workshop, most likely you’ll pay ahead of time to save your spot, invite a friend to join you, write it down in your calendar, buy all the supplies needed for it, and mentally prepare yourself for that day. You are expected to attend the event and you will end up doing everything in your power to make it happen.

Do this now: Check out our list of art workshops on The Artist’s Corner and commit to one today! (Give us a call at 941-747-2995 to sign up)

5.    Make artsy friends

The people you surround yourself with will shape your habits. You’ll start to pick certain things up from them. So if you spend time with some artsy people, you’ll be more likely to spend more time doing art since that’s what they do. Plus, artsy friends are just more fun to hang out with 🙂

Do this now: Check out your local art clubs, events, meet ups, and groups. Start going to these things and meet new people. Then plan to do art together! It can be nerve-wracking meeting new people but keep an open mind. We’re sure you’ll find someone who you connect with.

6.    What can you do without?

You’re busy, we get it. We also get that life gets the best of us sometimes. There are days when you can’t think of anything better than coming home and watching your favorite TV show. But let’s go back to our priorities for a moment. Is TV time high on your list? If it’s not, replace that TV show with art. Stop and think, what can you do without?

Do this now: Grab your pen and paper again and now make a list of things you can eliminate from your life. Do you spend too much time on Facebook? Too much time glued to the TV? These could be your new times to create. Always remember your priorities when taking things out of your schedule and consider what’s most important to you.

7.    Set deadlines and goals

Maybe you just create for yourself for fun and that’s perfectly fine. Even if you don’t have set deadlines for your art projects, set them for yourself anyway. This will drive you to work on your art more often in order to reach your deadline. Always look at the big picture. Think about what you want to accomplish in the next year and set your deadlines accordingly.

Do this now: Write down a big goal you have for yourself this year. Break that goal down into smaller more achievable tasks and put those in your calendar. Next step is actually taking action on them!

Time is something totally out of our control. It ticks away whether we’re ready for it or not. There’s no pause button or chance to slow down. But one thing you can control is how you spend your time. Are you spending time doing something you’re passionate about? Are your priorities in line? Take some time over the next few days and ask yourself if you’re truly happy. Do you get excited every morning when your alarm rings or are you dreading all the stuff you have to get done? We strongly believe that by adding just a little bit of art into your busy schedule can make a huge difference in your life. Implement these 7 ways to make more time for art and let us know if these tips are helpful. COMMENT below with how this is helping you!

The 20 Day Winter Art Journal Challenge

By Nicole Tinkham

Are you up for a challenge? Although the first day of winter isn’t officially here for another few weeks, we consider the whole month of December to be the start of a new season. It’s getting colder and many things are changing around us. For instance, you’re probably staying inside a lot more these days, drinking hot beverages, and spending more time with friends and family as the holidays quickly approach. With the new season, we encourage you to explore new creative ideas which we know isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you have a blank journal page in front of you with no idea where to start, this blog is for you! Start now by taking the 20 day winter art journal challenge to spark some creativity this winter.

*** Print this challenge out so you can make sure you stay current***

Day #1: When you think of winter colors, do you think of cool colors like blues and greens? Today we want you to mix it up and use WARM colors. Portray a wintery feel using reds and yellows instead.

Day #2: Today draw one thing that changes in your lifestyle as soon as winter hits. Do you start reading more? Do you drink more hot coffee in the morning? Whatever it may be, get it in your art journal.

Day #3: Spring brings gorgeous blossoms, fall brings colorful leaves, and winter brings…dead trees! Winter trees need love too so find the beauty in them and bring them to life in your sketchbook today.

Day #4: We can’t do an art journal challenge without a little Zentangle! Grab your pen and go to town on a creative Zentangle snowflake design.

Day #5: Complete the sentence. When ___________ happens, I instantly get in the holiday spirit. Is it decorating the tree, holiday shopping, colorful lights, the shorter days, or waking up to colder mornings? Express that excitement in your art journal today.

Day #6: Get some fresh (and cold) air. You may want to stay inside where it’s warm but we challenge you to take your art out in the cold. Hint: It can be a quick (very quick) sketch.

Day #7: This time of year, we tend to be around other people whether it be family members, friends, fellow artists, or co-workers at an office party. Collaborate on today’s challenge by playing this simple game. Gather few people to participate. The first person chooses a theme for the sketch and begins a drawing. After a minute, the art journal gets passed onto the next person who adds on whatever they want. Continue until the journal has made its rounds.

Day #8: Now here’s a fun task. If you lived in a snow globe, what would surround you? Draw yourself in your DREAM snow globe environment.

Day #9: Tag day! Create holiday tags to use on the gifts you plan on giving. Here are some ideas to get you started: Scrapbook Ideas – Tags Christmas

Day #10: Choose a poem or make one up that makes you feel warm inside. Now practice your calligraphy skills in your art journal. Remember, this is just practice. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Hint: Here’s how to “fake” calligraphy: iMake

Day #11: Holiday ornaments and decorations often hold a special place in our hearts. Sketch one in particular that brings up the best memories and capture not only the ornament, but the memories themselves.

Day #12: Winter is all about hot food. Chili, soup, baked goods, hot coco, you name it! What’s your mouth watering over today? Draw that!

Day #13: When chilly, there’s nothing better than a hot cup of coffee. Head over to the coffee shop and have fun sketching people today.

Day #14: Sick of the cold weather by now? Draw where you WISH you were!

Day #15: Store bought cards are so overrated. Let’s make our own! It could be a holiday card, birthday card, or a just because card.

Day #16: Look out your window and see if there are any interesting animals out there. If nothing catches your eye, find pictures of animals that live in a cold environment. Think polar bears and penguins. Sketch away!

Day #17: Let’s play with fire. If you have the fireplace going, perfect! Get the flickering flames on your page (not literally). If you’re not looking at the real thing, use your imagination.

Day #18: Just for fun – Draw a self portrait of yourself as a snowman!

Day #19: You’re bound to have leftover wrapping paper lying around. Use it to create an interesting collage.

Day #20: Use this page to brainstorm and plan out your New Year’s resolutions. It takes more than just writing a list. What do you really want to accomplish in 2015?

You did it! You’ve completed the Winter Art Journal Challenge. Are you feeling a little more creative now? Spread the word and challenge your friends!

Do you want to see more challenges like this one? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page.

14 Stamp Pads that Actually Exist

By Nicole Tinkham

What we’re about to tell you may come as a complete shock to even the most experienced stamp artist. This is going to rock your world, so take a seat and get ready. Believe it or not, there are 14+ stamp pads available, not including various color choices and brands. We’re talking more than 14 types of INK. While reading this list, you’ll probably recognize the basics (India Ink, Distressed Ink, Alcohol Ink, etc.) but there are several specialty inks that we bet you’ve never had any experience with. As with most stampers, we’re guessing you LOVE to experiment which is exactly what we want you to do. Learn about the many stamp pads listed below, try them out, and share with us your experience/techniques!

These are your GENERAL inks that can be used on just about any type of paper. Find them with felt, linen and sponge surfaces in numerous colors.

How they work: Dye inks soak into the fibers of the paper. These aren’t made for use with embossing powder since they soak in so quickly. They also shouldn’t be used with glossy paper (ink may not dry at all) and clear polymer stamps (leaves a fuzzy impression).

1. Water-Based Inks
Water-based ink may be acid-free but can fade with time or if left in the sun. These are NOT waterproof so don’t use markers or watercolors on top of the stamped image! When used on highly absorbent surfaces, mulberry paper for example, water-based inks tend to bleed.

Here’s something cool: EXPERIMENT with water. You can use water-based inks as watercolor paint, you can mist the stamp with a spray bottle before stamping, and you can try them out on different types of cardstock or watercolor paper.

2. Distressed Ink
Tim Holtz Distress Inks from Ranger. This is what you want to look for to achieve a distressed look. These are water-based dye ink pads that get their desired worn look with antique-like color options. Because they stay wet longer, they can be played around with more.

Try this: Dab the ink pad on a piece of paper and spray with water. Watch as the colors blend and spread!

Walnut ink is another way to get a distressed look. It’s made by (no surprise here) soaking black walnuts in water to produce a browned antique paper look.

3. Waterproof Ink
And here’s the ink most loved by scrapbookers and art journalists! Since they are waterproof, these ink pads can be stamped and then spruced up with markers and watercolors. Bonus: Waterproof ink pads tend to fade less than traditional water-based dyes.

BEWARE: These are often permanent and shouldn’t be used on fabric. The ink can also be tough to clean off stamps but a solvent-based cleaner will do the trick.

4. India Ink
Used for outlines and illustrations, India ink is a rich black, quick-drying dye ink that works well with water-based markers.

5. Alcohol Ink
Alcohol ink is a permanent dye-based ink that comes in bottles rather than ink pads. They’re ideal to use for different techniques such as backgrounds.

Properties: Alcohol ink is fast-drying, acid free, transparent and can be used on just about any surface.

Look for: Ranger Adirondack (Hint: these can be used at full strength or mixed with an alcohol blending solution)

Pigment ink = no dyes. This type of ink is solid pigmentation and tends to be thicker than the dye inks mentioned above. Instead of soaking in and dying the surface, pigment ink dries on top of the surface and remains opaque. This means bright, non-fading colors! These are also great to use with embossing powders.

TIP: For use on glossy paper, pigment inks must be dried with a heat gun.

VersaFine is an oil-based AND water-soluble ink pad. It has the opacity of pigment ink but the quick-drying benefit of dye inks.

Shimmer inks contain shimmery and sparkly particles that offer a unique look. Some types to grab: metallic, pearlescent, and iridescent.

6. Fabric Ink
When heat set, fabric ink becomes permanent which makes them ideal for use on fabric.

HOT tip: Make a mistake? Simply wash the fabric BEFORE heat setting and the ink washes right off!

7. Chalk Ink
This type of ink strongly resembles chalk (without the dust, of course). These can be found in a range of pastel colors and when dry, have a matte finish.

TIP: Use on dark papers for a dramatic look.

8. Solvent-Based Permanent Inks
Solvent-based inks are permanent (once dry) without having to heat set. Use them on just about any type of surface (glass, ceramic, wood, metal, etc.). We recommend StazOn.


9. Hybrid Inks
It’s the mix between pigment and dye inks. Hybrid inks dry faster than pigment inks and are semi-opaque.

WARNING: These hybrids don’t provide as crisp of an image as pigment inks but their versatile properties make them worth trying out.

10. Washable Ink
These non-toxic, water-based inks are made to be used by children. Most will easily wash out of clothes with soap and water.

11. Embossing Ink
These clear ink pads are essentially the same as pigment ink but without the pigment. In order to use embossing powder, some type of ink must be used for the powder to adhere to the surface. Since no pigment is necessary, embossing ink pads are specifically designed for the purpose of embossing.

12. Watermark Ink
Watermarks need to leave a subtle image and a watermark ink pad does exactly that. Use this ink pad to create background designs.

13. Glue Pads
Alright you got us, glue pads are NOT technically ink pads but are still useful in the world of stamping. They can be used with a variety of fun craft supplies. Think glitter, gold leaf, powders, and whatever else you can think of.

14. Rainbow Ink Pads
You don’t have to settle on one ink pad color. Rainbow ink pads offer an array of colors which provide an interesting stamping effect.

Now it’s time to get your hands on one (or more) of these stamp pads and try them out! Our stamp expert Joey has a ton of tricks up her sleeve so feel free to stop in for stamping tips & techniques. Visit our Facebook page with any questions, comments, or tips you’d like to share!

13 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Art Journaling


Hi, I’m Laure Ferlita! As I’ll be teaching an Introduction to Art Journaling class at Keeton’s soon. I thought a discussion on what exactly Art Journaling really is might help. You may also be wondering what the “rules” are.

Here’s the short answer—Art Journaling is a combination of art and words on the same page. After that, it’s all up to you to decide! There really are no rules as you can use any medium, any materials, any combination of art and words. It can be full color or black and white. It’s really about what motivated you to create a page in your journal. Whether you add a lot of art and a few words or add a few doodles to your words, that’s Art Journaling.

Even the most intrepid journal keeper can be slow to start or get bogged down by some of the challenges of keeping a journal. Below are some of the thoughts that immediately bubbled up when I started thinking back to my beginning days as I learned to keep an Art Journal.

13 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Art Journaling

1. Begin. Today. Now.
All you really need to begin is a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. An open mind is very helpful as well as an eagerness to learn. Do not over think. Do not make this complicated. It’s not. It doesn’t have to be fancy or colorful. It just has to be on the page.

What are you waiting for? Go! Get busy!

2. The more you sketch the more you’ll learn, the faster you’ll sketch, the less fearful you’ll become and the result of this continued practice will be a much more enjoyable experience.
Bottom line—you have to learn the skills first and the only way to do that is to begin and to keep pushing through every so-called failure. Perhaps you’re the rare individual who enjoys the learning process. Most of us don’t. We want to be an expert the first time we make a mark on the page.

3. A blank page isn’t something to fear.
Chances are good you have at least 25 more chances. These chances are known as pages. If you don’t get it right on the first one, you still have 24 more chances.

Bengal tiger on the loose, a rabid raccoon…now those are something to fear!

4. Accept that you will make mistakes.
It’s how we learn and usually, it’s the lessons we make from mistakes that stick with us far longer than the lessons we learn from succeeding.

And the good news? Journaling mistakes are seldom fatal!

5. Don’t let the fear of making mistakes paralyze you.
Everybody makes mistakes, even so called experts or pros. No matter how long you sketch, no matter how many journals you fill, no matter how good you get, there will be mistakes. Rather than fear them, embrace mistakes for the learning opportunities they are.

Don’t sulk about making them either. It’s not pretty.

6. It’s okay to turn the page and holler out, “Next!” when the page has gone too far south.
It happens to all of us. There are gonna be days when every line goes wonky, every pigment turns to mud, perspective leaves the building and proportions just don’t work. Finish the page anyway (you might just surprise yourself!) and then begin again. See number 4.

7. Make art journaling fun.
If it’s not fun, why would we continue doing it? Art journaling is suppose to be fun and if it’s not, evaluate why it’s not. Chances are good it will have something to do with unrealistic expectations. Hmmm, what could those be? See Number 11. Remember, we learn quicker when it’s fun.

As my brother says, “If it ain’t fun, we ain’t doing it!”

8. Never, ever, Ever, EVER, NEVER compare your work to someone else’s work!
This is a biggie. There are few things more demotivating than comparing your work to someone else’s and to think your work coming up lacking. And no matter how long you sketch, if you look around long enough you will always be able to find someone else with work you like better than your own.

9. If you must compare, compare the sketch you created today with the one you did yesterday, last week or last month.
Use comparison to see how much you’ve grown, how your skills have strengthened, and what still needs strengthening.

10. Everyone started at the same place—the beginning.
No one got a free pass from learning the skills and techniques of how to sketch. No one came out of the womb with a pencil in one hand and paper in the other. So every time you’re tempted to use the excuse, “I’ll never be as good as so-and-so,” sit yourself back down and start sketching again. And no, you’ll never be as good as so-and-so, but you will be as good as you can be…and that’s even better!

11. Sketching is an evolution of skills but seldom a revolution.
Yes, I know, you want to know how to do it TODAY and you want to do it PERFECTLY. Ain’t gonna happen. This is another biggie—give yourself permission to make mistakes, learn, fail, and to not like every page. We create so-so sketches. Sometimes, they’re down right awful (to us). It’s okay, that’s what the next page is for. And the one after that. And the next.

12. Not every page is gonna be “all that.” They can’t all be masterpieces.
Is every endeavor you undertake marvelously, brilliantly done? No? Mine either. Don’t put this kind of pressure on yourself, it will kill the fun. See number 7. And if your inner critic opens his or her mouth, kindly tell them it’s not their day to complain and next month’s not looking good either.

It’s okay to have an off day…or month. See number 6 and 11.

13. Challenge yourself…to sketch something you think is beyond your current skills.
Even if you think you can’t, you may just surprise yourself. And it’s how we learn, how we get better. And if you fail (gasp!), count it as a success anyway—because you had the courage to try.

This is in no way an exhaustive list, however, I hope it gives you courage (to try), comfort (if you’ve suffered from mistakes) and inspiration (to get out of your comfort zone) to try something new and fun. Art Journaling is an immediate way to add art to our lives while we capture the moments of our lives that sometimes go by unnoticed.

I hope you’ll join me on Friday, October 24th for An Introduction To Art Journaling: An Imaginary Visit To The Bakery! We’ll be learning about drawing, page layouts, lettering and as an added bonus, we’ll get to eat our subject matter afterwards. Yum!

36 Art Journal Tips For When You Run Out of Ideas

By Nicole Tinkham

Art Journal
Image from Flickr Creative Commons by alicia bramlett.

Keeping a journal of your life can have many positive benefits. If you did so as a child, you know that reading it years later would bring up thoughts and emotions and memories of your childhood. In the same way that journals remind us of our past, they can also be great tools of encouragement and motivation for the future. The same goes for art journals. Whether you’re starting your very first art journal or just need a few new ideas, we’ve got you covered with these 36 tips.

1. Get inspired through books, magazines, Pinterest, Instagram, art blogs, art museums, etc.

• Top 12 Pinterest Boards for the Artist
• 15 Instagram Pages Every Artist Should Follow

2. Gather materials: You want to have a variety of fun supplies such as stamps, ink pads, paper (in a variety of colors and textures), an assortment of pens, ribbon, paint, stencils, and more on hand. Also start collecting scraps like ticket stubs and hand written notes.

3. You’ll need to make space to work but a full art studio is not necessary.

4. Focus on the process, not the end result. Don’t try to copy other art journal pages. Your journal should be 100% YOU!

5. Experiment with color by switching up your palette. Choose colors that you wouldn’t normally work with.

6. If you’re not sure where to begin, change it up and start with a border.

7. Experiment with water-soluble pencils. These are so fun to play with!

8. Challenge yourself. There are many art journal challenges made to help when you’ve run out of ideas.

9. Journal everyday! You don’t have to spend hours on your journal everyday, although we bet you’d like to. It’s important to have some “you” time and focus on something you enjoy, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.

10. Try something new and journal on canvas. You will find that you end up with a totally different look!

11. Use your foot as a stamp because why not?

12. Ask yourself “what if” and create something you would never have thought of.

13. Create a travel journal. Bring what supplies you can on vacation with you. Being in a different place is the perfect opportunity to get creative.

14. Don’t forget the cover! You may be so concentrated on the inside of your journal that you completely forget about the most important part, the cover. Tip: Make sure the cover expresses what’s inside.

15. Learn new techniques. There are so many techniques that can be incorporated into your art journal. You can learn new tricks through art blogs, Youtube videos, and even art groups in the community.

16. Have projects ready to go. You can work on other projects that can later be used in your art journal. Use sketches, paintings, handmade cards, even poetry in your journal.

17. Journal to organize all those creative ideas bouncing around in your head.

18. Be patient. One art journal page can have many details and may take awhile to complete.

19. Practice Zentangle, the art of organized doodles.

20. Work on your writing. Art journals are often a combination of image and words so unleash your writing skills!

21. Learn the art of lettering. Since you’ll most likely have some type of words in your journal, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your calligraphy skills.

22. Art journals tend to be random but think about the composition of your layout and where you want the focus to be.

23. Prep work: Prep every page with masking tape and a coat of gesso. This will prevent paint from leaking into the binding of the book.

24. When you’re all out of ideas, work on interesting backgrounds.

25. While painting in your art journal is a great idea, don’t over saturate the pages. The wetter the page gets, the more it will curl.

26. Experiment with different paper. If you tend to use a lot of watercolors, consider using watercolor paper in your journal to avoid the issue in #25.

27. Think of your art journal as your diary and make it personal.

28. There is no wrong way to art journal. There are many techniques for art journaling but don’t count on yours looking like everyone else’s. You don’t want to anyway!

29. Failure is not an option. If a page doesn’t turn out how you expected, you can always keep it to learn from or gesso over it and start again.

30. Art journaling is a way to experiment and get messy. It’s not supposed to be perfect.

31. Never give up. We feel that everyone has a touch of creativity in them. It’s just a matter of getting it to come out. Don’t become frustrated, just keep trying and you will eventually find your niche.

32. Schedule time if you need to. We live in a busy world and sometimes we actually need to schedule time for ourselves.

33. Get involved by taking art workshops (there’s always something new to learn that can be used for your art journal) or join art groups in the community.

View The Artist’s Corner for upcoming workshops at Keeton’s.

34. Get advice from friends and artists to learn and share new techniques and tips.

35. Choose the right journal for you. There are many different sizes and types of journals out there. You can even make your own! Check out your options before making any commitments.

36. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Have an art journal tip to add to the list? Comment below and we’ll add it on! Also, connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter for new product info, great resources, inspiration, and more.