Our Best Tips For Sketching Every Single Day For 30 Days Or More

By Nicole Tinkham

sketching

We hear from artists all the time who have gorgeous sketchbooks with little to no actual sketches in them. The reason? It’s the lack of time and motivation to keep up with the daily sketching habit. It’s really a shame but we completely understand how easy it is to fall behind on your sketching goals. We see the same exact thing happen when it comes to a healthy diet, exercise, reading, or any other daily task. It works great if you’re consistent but as soon as something interrupts that consistency (like a vacation or family emergency) and you miss a few days, it’s so incredibly difficult to get back on track. We don’t want you to give up or let that beautiful sketchbook collect dust though. So here are our best tips for sketching every single day for 30 days or more.

1.    Get a sketchbook you love.

Of course, this is only the beginning. Just because you have a killer sketchbook doesn’t mean you’ll actually use it. But it does help with the initial motivation. Be sure to pick a size and style that works best for you. Spend a little extra money on something nice that means a lot to you.

2.    Set your goals.

Will you take on a 30 day sketchbook challenge? Maybe a 365 day challenge? Determine what your goal is before you get started. If you need help coming up with daily ideas, just Google “sketchbook challenge” or “drawing challenge” for prompt ideas. Have your start date planned out and be sure you are ready to go.

3.    Set aside time to sketch.

Let’s be realistic, many people don’t have an hour or more of focused time every single day where they can sketch. Maybe you have a full time job, a family, or other art projects to work on. That’s totally fine. What you can do is think about how you can work in mini sketch sessions throughout your day. It could be while waiting at the doctor’s office or on the bus. There is nothing wrong with a quick sketch. You can always spend more time on your sketchbook during those less busy days.

4.    Bring your sketchbook everywhere with you.

You have got to start bringing your sketchbook with you everywhere you go. You just never know when you’ll have a little downtime or when a creative idea strikes. Start by carrying it around with you from room to room in your house so you’re used to carrying it. Eventually you’ll feel lost without it and that’s the feeling you want.

5.    Form an accountability group.

It’s great to make a promise to yourself that you’ll sketch for 30 days or more but if you miss days and fall off track, no one will be there pushing you to continue. We’ve found that checking in with someone else (a friend or a group of people) is helpful in staying motivated. You could form an online group or a group of local friends to take on the challenge with you. Be sure to check in with them often and help each other stay on track.

6.    Keep learning.

Always look forward to the next sketch you’ll be doing. Think about certain techniques you want to learn and focus on them until you feel comfortable with your skills. This will keep you coming back for more because it eliminates the boredom and challenges you. For example, if you’re struggle with drawing hands you may want to do some research and watch some videos first. But then you can practice the new techniques learned.

7.    Do something different.

Switching up your medium, adding some color, exploring a new location or focusing on a different subject will also keep you from getting bored and giving up. Always keep it interesting!

8.    Give yourself time to form the habit.

Forming any new habit takes about 2-3 weeks of consistency. This being said, it may not come naturally for you to pick up your sketchbook in the beginning. Set a little reminder for yourself every day until you are able to get your daily sketch done without thinking about it. You can also replace another habit with sketching. Maybe instead of watching TV after dinner, you use that time to sketch.

9.    Celebrate often.

You don’t have to complete 30 days or more of sketching to celebrate your accomplishments. Every single day you open up your sketchbook is a huge win! Celebrate daily and be proud of what you are achieving. That kind of recognition is what will keep you going for the long haul.

10.    Don’t strive for perfection.

The whole point of daily sketching is to improve your skills. Of course you won’t be perfect from the start and if you are, you aren’t challenging yourself. This is your personal sketchbook. No one else has to see it. Get rid of that fear of imperfection and just do it!

The very last thing we want to leave you with here when talking about our best tips for sketching every single day for 30 days or more is just to have fun with it. Don’t overcomplicate things, just get creative whenever you can and put that sketchbook to use. We know any new habit is difficult but it will be so worth it when you grow and improve in your artwork and really every area of your life. Once you pick up one good habit, you’re more likely to get involved in more habits and goals. Keep up the great work on your sketchbook challenge and please let us know how it’s going over on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to see those sketches!

8 Reasons Why Being A Night Owl Works To Your Advantage

By Nicole Tinkham

Night-owl

We often stress the benefits of being a morning person (there really are many!) and have even provided tips on how to act like one even if you aren’t a morning riser. However, we normally get an earful from our artist friends on this topic. It seems that many artists prefer working at night and swear by it. In fact, we’re always blown away when we hear how late they stay up working on their art (4am???). Instead of stressing the power of being a morning person, we are inspired by the night owls in the world and wanted to feature the benefits of being productive in the evening hours. Read on for 8 reasons why being a night owl works to your advantage.

1.    They’re productive

Sometimes waiting for the last minute or at the end of the day can give you a boost of productivity. You’re under the clock and motivated to get things done versus dilly dallying all day long and wasting your energy on non-important things.

How this helps you: You’re able to get more important things done.

2.    They’re more flexible

Early risers tend to be very routine people. They go to bed and wake up in the morning at the same exact time every single day. If their schedule is thrown off, it’s difficult for them to adjust. Night people on the other hand, can adapt more to different sleeping patterns.

How this helps you: Changes are always happening but they won’t affect you as much as the early birds. You’re able to go with the flow easier and get through the change.

3.    They don’t need as much sleep

They say night owls actually don’t need as much sleep as early birds. Of course everyone is different but a study shows that after sleeping 7 hours at their normal sleeping time, night owls were more alert than early birds. Interesting!

How this helps you: More time in the day for art 🙂

4.    They tend to be more creative

Now we understand why our artist friends are always up so late! Evening people tend to be creative and think outside the box. This may not always be the case but it’s shown in many creative people and we’ve seen it with our own eyes too.

How it helps you: You can produce a ton of creative ideas at odd hours of the night.

5.    They love people

Night owls tend to form communities with other night owls and communicate online often in the late hours. Of course not every night person is like this. Some prefer the quiet that the night brings.

How it helps you: You have so many like-minded friends who can relate to your odd sleeping hours.

6.    They make great parents

When it comes to newborns that wake throughout the night, a night owl will already be up and alert to get them back to sleep. It seems to be the perfect schedule for new parents.

How it helps you: You’re already prepared to handle the not so fun tasks of parenthood that early morning people dread.

7.    They have more time for hobbies

Night owls typically spend their nights working on their creative skills and hobbies more so than early birds. We think that’s because there’s less distraction at night and more time to really focus on the important things.

How it helps you: You are improving and learning every single day.

8.    They could be smarter

You wouldn’t think your sleep schedule has much effect on your intelligence but when two groups of people (night owls and early birds) took the same test in the morning and at night, both performed about the same in the morning and night owls took the cake in the evening test.

How it helps you: You have a sharp mind no matter what time of day.

Night owls and morning people are two very different species. We learned a lot through writing this blog and although we strongly believe that there are so many benefits of being an early bird, we can’t say those people are better than the night people. Both have very unique and special qualities that make them who they are. So instead of trying to be the opposite of who you really are, embrace your strengths and be proud!

Tell us, are you an early bird or a night owl? And what do you like about it?

3 Simple Abstract Paintings Anyone Can Do

By Nicole Tinkham

abstract-paintings.jpg

Do you want to create something personal for your home but have never painted on canvas in your life? Or are you an artist who never dabbled in abstract art and don’t know where to begin? We’ve come up with a few fool-proof ways to create incredible abstract art that any newbie can accomplish. They’re simple to do, require little supplies, and don’t take up much of your time. The only thing you need to do is have an eye for is color. Pick an accent color in your home and use that as inspiration to get you started. Play around, have fun, and create real art you can be proud of. Here are 3 simple abstract paintings anyone can do.

THE PAINT BLOB METHOD

Materials:
Acrylic paint in at least 3 colors
Blank white canvas (any size)
Paintbrush
Cup of water

Directions:
1.    Create little blobs of paint all over your canvas. Make some larger, some smaller, use all of your colors and make them totally random.
2.    Now using your paint brush, begin to blend your blobs of paint and move the paint around on the canvas.
3.    Clean your brush in the water periodically as you work across your canvas so the colors don’t get muddy.
4.    You can always add some more paint where needed.
5.    Once you’re happy with it, you’re done!

THE STRING METHOD

Materials:
Blank white canvas (any size)
String (enough to wrap around your canvas several times)
Spray paint in a few colors
Gloves to protect your hands

Directions:
1.    Take your string and wrap it around your canvas from top to bottom. Keep wrapping it around and around, overlapping and crisscrossing to make a unique pattern. Make it fun and make it random.
2.    Following the spray can instructions (shake it up and spray at a distance), spray right over your canvas and strings. You can use different color spray paint for different patterns and get creative with it. *Make sure you have your gloves on for this part.
3.    If you don’t like the way a color came out, just spray right over it.
4.    When finished spraying the entire canvas, remove the strings which will leave the white canvas exposed and admire your abstract artwork!

THE OMBRE METHOD

Materials:
Acrylic paint: One darker color and white
Blank white canvas (any size)
Wide paint brush
Palette for mixing colors
Cup of water for cleaning your brush

Directions:
1.    Start with your main darker color. Load your paintbrush up and paint a straight line (or as straight as possible) down the left side of your canvas. It does not have to be perfect. Your line doesn’t have to reach the edge of the canvas unless you want it to. You may notice your brush running out of paint towards the end of the line and that’s totally fine. We love the way that effect looks!
2.    Mix just a dab of white paint to your darker main color and paint a line down your canvas right next to the one you just made. Make the lines touch and they can even overlap a little.
3.    Mix yet another dab of white paint to the mixture to make the color even lighter and create another line next to the previous. Keep doing this until you reach the other side of the canvas and complete your painting.

You don’t have to be a professional artist to create incredible artwork. We believe that every single person has a creative side whether they think they do or not. Use these 3 ideas for abstract art anyone can do to get your feet wet in the world of art and then explore and find out what you enjoy doing. Of course, we always want to see what you’ve been up to so please head over to our Facebook page and share your abstract art creations!

You Don’t Have To Quit Your Day Job To Live The Dream Life

By Nicole Tinkham

dream-life

SO MANY of us do this and I’m totally guilty of it myself. We put our dreams on hold and wait for the “right time” to go after them. It sounds logical but that perfect timing may not ever happen which means you just wasted a whole lot of time doing absolutely nothing. We come up with all sorts of excuses like “when I retire, I’ll do the things that make me happy” or “when I have some more money I’ll start working on my goals”. That’s great that you want to make some big things happen in your life but while you’re daydreaming about them, time is passing you by. Maybe you can’t just leave your full time job tomorrow to focus on your art but you can start focusing on your dreams right now. Here’s how!

1.    Make the most of your free time

I often hear people say they would love to work on their art, go to different events, do some writing, travel and many other things. The one thing that’s holding them back (so they say) is time. I get that most of your days are spent working but there are several more hours in the day that you could be doing something that you absolutely love. Think about the activities you’re doing after work. Are you watching mindless TV or are you exploring your passion?

2.    Do something special for yourself

Do you ever feel selfish just thinking about spoiling yourself? Maybe you feel like you don’t have the extra money or you don’t think you deserve a massage or fancy dinner. To me, these extra little things sounded so luxurious and I always thought “when I’m successful, that’s how I’ll spend my days”. But who says I can’t pamper myself right now? Sure, it may cost a little extra money that you should be saving up for other things but it’s also important to live a little and enjoy yourself.

Note: Your “me” time doesn’t necessarily have to be extravagant and expensive. Quiet time to yourself in nature could be your little escape.

3.    Go on vacation

How many times do you use your vacation days for some work around the house, to visit family, or just stay home and do nothing at all? There is nothing wrong with doing these things but every once in awhile you need to take a real vacation. Get away to somewhere you’ve never been, go on an adventure, explore, and gain some new inspiration. You will return a changed person.

4.    Change up your day job

If you’ve been in your 9-5 job for awhile doing the same thing every single day, you probably feel like you’re in a never-ending cycle. No matter what the job is, it gets boring after awhile! But there are ways you can make it interesting again and get more enjoyment out of it. You can explore different departments within the company or look for new tasks to do in your current position. Even just moving things around in your office (we suggest sitting near a window and bringing in a plant) can go a long way. If you can, see if you’re able to work from home or cut back your hours to part time. All of these changes can improve how you view your full time job and make it more exciting.

5.    Make a difference

There’s no greater feeling than being able to help someone else out. I always said that if I had the time I would volunteer more and if I had the money I would donate more. I think many of us say these things and we don’t follow through as often as we’d like to. Remember that every little bit counts so do what you can! Even chatting with a friend when they’ve had a bad day is helping someone else and it feels so rewarding to be able to do that.

6.    Do things that scare you

When you think about the “dream life” it probably doesn’t include things that scare you but when you get stuck in the day to day grind, there’s nothing more exhilarating than doing something totally insane. Maybe you jump on a plane next weekend and visit New York City for the first time on a whim. Or maybe you sign up for a cooking class when you’ve been using your kitchen as your art studio and haven’t cooked a thing in ages. By doing these crazy things, you will gain so many experiences, meet incredible people and have amazing stories to share.

Don’t let life get boring before you dare to have fun. You only have one life to live so you better start doing all those things you ever hoped and dreamed of right now! You are never too old, too young, too broke, or too busy to enjoy life. You can live the dream life without quitting your day job and you can start right now!

Top Tips For Traveling With Art Supplies

By Nicole Tinkham

travel-art-supplies.jpg

It’s that time of year again, time to vacation and travel!! So many artists we talk to love exploring new areas and taking in all the beautiful scenery as inspiration for art. Many will even bring their art supplies with them and get creative while vacationing. Sounds like the dream, doesn’t it? But the one thing holding artists back from doing this is the hassle of lugging all the supplies with them. You can ease your mind though because there are super easy ways to travel with your art supplies. Read on for our killer tips and start preparing for your next trip!

First, let’s talk about why you should create while on vacation. Not only will you be excited and relaxed while away, but the different scenery will spark new creative ideas. We bet the pieces you create while traveling will be like nothing you’ve ever done before. You’re in a different state of mind and a new state (or country). Things will be a bit different. Now that you’re sold on the idea of bringing your art with you, let’s make it happen.

The simplest way to create art while away is to take an art workshop, preferably one with all supplies included. You could even visit an open studio with an artist in the area. Sometimes it’s nice to observe and learn from a different artist.

But say you want to actually get outside and create on your own with your own supplies. You’ll need to know what to bring and how to get it there. We can help…

•    If you’re flying on a plane, you’ll have to be careful with your oil paints as some can be hazardous. Artist grade oil paints are made from vegetable oil and are totally fine to bring on the plane. Make sure you let the security guards know this.

•    You cannot have any sharp tools or knives in your carry on luggage. Pack them in a checked bag instead.

•    Be sure you have all the original labels on your supplies.

•    You will not be able to bring anything flammable onto the plane, checked or carry on. This includes solvents, fixatives, mediums, etc. Instead, purchase these in small quantities when you get there. Look up an art supply store ahead of time and make that your first stop if you need these items. Another idea is to ship these type items where you’re going ahead of time if there aren’t any art supply stores in the area.

•    All manufacturers have a Material Safety Data Sheet that would be a great thing to have on hand while traveling.

When traveling in a car, you have more freedom to bring what you want but that doesn’t mean you can just throw everything in and go. You still need to do a lot of planning and organizing.

•    Anything you can prep ahead of time will save you space and time once you get there. For example, if you have paper that needs to be cut down in size, you can do it before leaving.

•    Plan your projects and only take the supplies you absolutely need. We believe it’s better to be short a tube of paint and have to purchase it when you get there than to have 11 extras that you don’t need at all, just taking up space. Think about the paint colors you have and what you can mix on your own. You probably don’t need every single tube. Also take a look at your brushes. Do you have one in particular that can be used for various techniques?

•    If you don’t need full tubes of paint, buy a really good palette with lid and fill the pan with watercolors before you leave.

•    Having the perfect storage containers goes a long way. You don’t need to throw all your supplies in a bulky cardboard box. Instead, take a look at the various options ArtBin provides. They have very specific containers made just for art supplies. A really good brush bin is essential! We also love the crates on wheels or art backpacks when walking/exploring the area.

•    Think of supplies that you can use for more than one project. For example, Matte Gel medium could be used as glue and for collaging. Ink could be used as watercolors or with a pen. There are so many things like this that can cut down on the number of supplies you bring with you.

•    If you’re used to working in the studio, you’ll have to consider what you’ll be working on when you get there. There are some really nice travel easels available or large boards to lean against depending on the project.

•    Have some projects in mind before you get there. Will you be doing a few drawings and a watercolor painting? Map it out in your head and then group supplies together based on type.

Whether you’re driving or flying, you’ll also have to consider how you’ll transport your finished artwork back home. You may want to consider working on a smaller scale to make transportation easier.

One last important thing you must remember is to expect the unexpected. When traveling, you really never know what will happen. You can have everything planned out (which we encourage) but remember to be flexible if something doesn’t go your way. Do not let some rain or anything else totally ruin your trip.

A huge mistake we all make when going away on vacation is stressing out over packing the right things and becoming upset when things don’t go according to plan. Remember that this is your time to relax, soak in some new scenery and get creative. You can most likely find whatever it is you forgot when you get there or make do with what you have so don’t even worry about leaving your favorite color paint at home. Even if you only bring a sketchbook and pencil, you’ll be well on your way to creating incredible pieces while on vacation.

3 Popular Art Subjects That Sell

By Nicole Tinkham

Art-subjects-that-sell

Are you struggling to sell even your absolute best pieces of artwork?? We’ve written so many blogs on the subject (Like How To Price Your Artwork To Sell) because it’s one of the most common struggles we hear among artists. One thing that you may be curious about is “what does sell?” That’s our topic in this blog but honestly, we’ve had mixed feelings about writing it. Sure, we could tell you the subjects in art that tend to sell but how will this impact who you are as an artist? Will it change your own personal style? Or will it help form new creative ideas? Since these things could help your business, we decided to share. Of course you don’t have to incorporate these ideas into your work. You should always strive to be yourself! But take them into consideration and let us know your thoughts on whether or not an artist should implement them. Read on for 3 popular art subjects that sell.

1.    Landscapes

We see a ton of absolutely brilliant landscape/seascape paintings here in Bradenton, Florida. We also get to see beautiful northern landscapes as well from the snow birds that flock down to visit us so we really have the best of both worlds! Local scenery of a street, shops, or towns tend to be popular too as the buyer is most likely to purchase the painting after recognizing the location. It brings back memories and that’s something really special to capture in your painting.

2.    Pets (in particular, dogs)

We think pets are a common theme in artwork because people can connect with their furry friends on a deep and personal level. Detail and personality of the pet can shine through in a painting and make the work really fun. If you love painting furry creatures, consider getting into custom pet portraits!

3.    Abstracts

Here’s one that’s really not for everyone (artist and viewer alike) but a talented artist can have much success with abstract art when marketing to the right audience. Keep this in mind – not everyone appreciates abstract art. Many people see the talent and emotion behind it but not everyone does. This is why you must get in with the right people for it. Once you hit the right crowd of abstract lovers, you’ll be golden.

Should you paint based on which subjects sell?

After talking about the different art subjects that typically sell, the big question now is “will you follow the trends?” To be honest, there never really is a correct answer when it comes to art and we’ll tell you why. Everyone has a different motive. Some people will purchase a painting from you to match their couch and others will find a deep connection with your artwork. You just never know.

You also have to be true to yourself. Just because landscapes, dogs and abstracts may not be your cup of tea you can always give it a try anyway and see what happens. You may end up falling in love with the subject and selling it right away! But in the end, it’s important to go with what you enjoy doing.

In our opinion, what will sell is something you’re passionate about. The more passion you have for that subject, the better the piece will turn out and the more likely it is to sell.

With that being said, we’d love to know your opinions! Please leave a comment below and let us know whether or not you think an artist should follow what typically sells or just do their own thing.

3 Quick Tips For Mixing Summer Colors For Your Next Painting

By Nicole Tinkham
SUMMER-PAINT

When we think summer, we think COLOR with beautiful blues in the sky and water and bright greens in the foliage. It really is an incredible time of year (minus the bugs and hot sun) for a landscape painting. If you’re planning to get out there and do some plein air painting or even if you’re painting from a photo, your colors must be on point to really make the work pop and get that summer feel. To do this, you’ll have to get really good at mixing summer colors. Here are 3 quick tips for doing so.

1.    Define your blue

As you’re probably aware, not all blues are the same! There are cool blues, warm blues, blue-greens, dark blues, light blues, and many more. In a summer painting you have the blue of a clear sky on a nice day, the blue of the ocean, and the blue of pool water. You must first figure out what type blue you need.

For sky: You may want to use a mix of warm blue near the horizon and a little cool blue further away from the horizon.

For ocean: Use a cool blue and a little cool yellow for deeper water and then add in more yellow for shallow water. Make sure you have a smooth transition from deep to shallow in your painting. Using a mix of the same colors, create waves and details. You may even consider taking some of your sky color to create a slight reflection.

2.    Locate your greens

As with your blues, your greens will also vary. When it comes to summer foliage, you have to take into consideration the placement in your painting. For example, something closer to the viewer will not be the same shade as something further away. This will create depth in the painting.

Distant green: Use cool greens with elements of blue for shadows and greenery in the distance.

Close green: Mix in warm greens throughout the greenery to prevent the painting from looking flat. Mix in some yellows or oranges for variety.

For BRIGHT beautiful summer greenery, keep the colors you are mixing close to each other on the color wheel. The further apart they are, the duller and grayer the color will be.

3.    Color inspiration

Of course blues and greens aren’t the only summer colors you’ll see this time of year. Think watermelon red, sunny yellow and brightly colored umbrellas as well. For inspiration, take a ton of summer photos throughout the season. It doesn’t have to be a subject you want to paint. Just try to capture the colors of summer you love. Pinterest also has a ton of ideas for this.

Now it’s time to play! Have fun recreating those colors in your painting. It may take some experimenting to get it just right but don’t become frustrated, this is a learning experience.

Make summer a time to have fun with your art. There are so many brilliant colors that pop up this time of year, so make the most of them. Explore and try new things! You can head to the beach or the park for an artsy day. Enjoy the great outdoors and capture the beautiful scenery. If you want to experiment with colors more, take a bunch of photos and head to the studio to mix your paint. As you get used to mixing the perfect summer colors, it gets much easier to do.  Keep it up artists, and be sure to show us what you’re working on this summer! Head over to our Facebook page and share with us what you’re creating 🙂