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!

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 🙂

6 Quick Photoshop Tips For The Non-Digital Artist

By Nicole Tinkham
photoshop-tips

Have you tried to explore the possibilities of Photoshop only to give up after 10 minutes over how complicated it seemed? We hear you artists! Photoshop is an absolutely incredible program if you know what you’re doing. But for the newbie, the numerous tools can be overwhelming. If you’re an artist who just wants to adjust a few reference photos or simply get your feet wet in the program, this blog is for you! We’ll go over everything from sizing to saving in this super basic Photoshop crash course. Read on for 6 quick Photoshop tips for the non-digital artist.

1.    Adjust the angle

Adjusting the angle of the image is rather simple but you may want to use the ruler tool (in the left hand tool bar under the eye dropper icon – Click and hold the icon for other options to come up and make your selection) to draw a straight line to compare. When you draw your straight line with the ruler tool, you can hold the “Shift” key while you click & drag to create a totally straight line. See the screenshot below for how to make your angle adjustments.

Angle

2.    Sizing

See image below on how to open up the resizing options. When you go to resize your image, a helpful tool is the “Constraint” symbol which will keep the image in proportion.

sizing

3.    Enhancing the color

To play around with the color of your image, you want to go to “Image” at the top of your screen and then hover over “Adjustments”. There are many options here (we briefly describe them below) so the best way to discover what they do is just to play around with them. Have fun with this and don’t panic if you don’t like something. You can always go to “Edit” and “Undo” to take a step back if you don’t like it.

enhance-color

Brightness/Contrast: Adjusts the tonal range
Levels: Adjusts the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights to correct an image
Curves: Allows you to adjust the tonal range in more detail
Exposure: Allows you to adjust the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights
Vibrance: Adjust saturation of all the colors or selective colors
Hue/Saturation: Allows you to play with the saturation on a particular color
Color Balance: Bring out specific colors in the image
Black & White: Turns the image grayscale
Photo Filter: Applies different color filters like “Warming Filter” and “Cooling Filter”
Channel Mixer: Tints the image
Color Lookup: Different styles added to your image which are already created for you
Invert: A negative of the photo
Posterize: Produces a poster-like look
Threshhold: Creates a black and white version of your image
Gradient Map: Creates different gradient fills for the image
Selective color: Allows you to select a color and then change it
Shadows/Highlights: Easily adjusts shadows and highlights

4.    Sharpness

If your photo doesn’t look perfect when you get it into Photoshop, don’t worry. You can always sharpen it for more detail and crispness. See screenshot below for how to do it!

Sharpen

5.    Adding text

If you want to add a title or quote to your image, you simply click the “T” icon on the sidebar and your type options (font, color, alignment, etc.) will be along the top bar. Draw out a text box and begin typing. Then you can format that text however you like.

Text

6.    Saving files

When it comes to saving your file, you have many format options. You can find these in the drop down menu “Save As Type” when you go to save. Below we’ve listed some of the most commonly used formats and what to use them for.

saving

PSD: Photoshop format, the default format that you can open back up and edit in Photoshop
EPS: Encapsulated PostScript, rasterized image that can be transferred between applications
JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group, compressed file used to display photos in HTML docs
PDF: Portable Document Format, A cross-platform format that preserves font and page layout.
PNG: Portable Network Graphics, Used for web graphics

We know this is a lot to take in all at once but take your time to explore Photoshop. There are so many creative things you can do with it. If you ever get stuck, there are a ton of resources out there that you can reference. You can also reach out to us (leave a comment below) and we’ll do our best to answer your Photoshop questions or at least point you in the right direction. Now over to you! We can’t wait to see what you end up creating with this incredible tool.

Blending Stumps Vs Tortillons And Other Tools To Blend Like A Pro

By Nicole Tinkham

Blending-tools

Whether you draw or are a makeup artist, you know that blending is essential. For drawing, you have many blending tool options from tortillons to stumps and many others. The right tools can make a huge difference in your artwork and when it comes to blending, you definitely have to think about your supplies of choice. Every artist is different and prefers a different tool. In this blog we’ll talk about the difference between a blending stump and tortillons and more tools to help you blend like a pro.
Blending Stumps

What they are: A solid “stick” made out of soft paper with a point at each end. These can be sharpened with sandpaper and also cleaned with a kneaded eraser which is super convenient! Since these are available in a variety of sizes, they’re great for many different projects.

Tortillons

What they are: Tightly rolled paper with a point on one end ideal for blending small areas. We recommend using it at an angle to keep that nice pointed tip in tact.

Tip: Have many of these in use at once. Once dark graphite gets on these, you won’t want to use it in a lighter area. Tortillons are inexpensive enough that you can be using several for different shades in your piece at once.

The difference

Tortillons can be a little more difficult to use since that aren’t made with the same soft paper that of blending stumps. This makes it difficult to keep a consistent tone. However, tortillons are perfect for precision! Our suggestion: Have both!

What you can achieve with BOTH options

1.    Blending: Push graphite around the page to blend tones together.

2.    Shading: Pick up graphite with your tool of choice (use scrap paper to scribble on and then rub your blending tool over the graphite to pick it up). Now you can apply that graphite to your drawing and layer it on depending on how dark you need it to be.

3.    Light values: A clean blending tool is key for blending light values!

4.    Dark values: When working on a dark area, it’s typical for tiny specs of the white paper to shine through. Using a blending tool can cover up those areas.

Other tools

Chamois: Not for detailed work but this cloth is perfect for a soft blend when using charcoal and pastels.

Makeup brush: We’ve heard from one of our artist friends that makeup brushes are excellent for blending!

Q-tip: Use for larger areas, not precise spots.

Paper towel: Fold in a triangle so you get some nice points on the ends.

Facial tissue: Wrap it around your finger to prevent the oils from your finger to get smudges on your artwork.

Cotton swab

Don’t use..

Your fingers! The oils from your finger can make the graphite impossible to erase.

If you aren’t already blending, you need to be! It can definitely transform your artwork if you do it right. Play around with it first though as it takes some practice. There’s no right or wrong answer here either. Try a few different blending tools out and see which one you like best. Every artist is different so we can’t really recommend blending stumps over tortillons or anything else.

Let us know, what’s your favorite tool to blend with and why? Please leave a comment below!

4 Unique Ways To Get Children Interested In Art

By Nicole Tinkham

children-art

Artists tell us all the time how important it is to pass art skills, techniques, or even opportunities down to younger generations. Many schools nowadays don’t have art programs anymore and money is being spent elsewhere, but we believe art is essential for growth, learning and creativity. For those of you fighting the good fight to keep creativity alive in kid’s lives, we just want to say thank you for what you’re doing! It’s inspiring! And if you’re looking for some ideas on how you can keep the curiosity flowing, read on for 4 unique ways to get younger people interested in art. And no, you don’t have to be an artist yourself to do these things!

1.    Visit an art museum

You don’t have to know the fancy art terms or anything like that to take a child to an art museum. Let them explore, examine art and make up their own opinions about the work. Ask them questions that get them thinking about the artwork and their thoughts on it. Just looking at creative pieces promotes them to actually want to create art themselves. You’ll find that some museums even have programs for children where they can learn a little more in areas that you may not know much about yourself.

Here’s a great little trick to have even more fun at an art museum.

2.    Stop and admire street art

Help children notice art in their every day lives. It’s all over the place! Many cities have beautiful installation pieces as well as graffiti art. When you see an opportunity, stop and take a look at it with the kids. Other things to keep an eye out for are architecture and nature. Pull over and take a picture. Make sure to look for special events in your area too like chalk art festivals where professional artists come in and create incredible images on the sidewalks and streets.

Everything around us was created by some sort of artist. Point out the designs on cereal boxes and let them pick out bright clothing choices. Anything you can think of to really get them noticing art in their surroundings so they can use that as inspiration when creating their own art.

3.    Learn & create together

When children see you doing something, they’ll want to join in whether you’re an incredible artist or just starting out with them. Let them make mistakes and try new things. Remember, there is no wrong way to create art. You can also learn a lot from them. You’ll notice that they aren’t afraid to dive right in and get started. We should all be a little more like them in various areas of life.

One idea we love is to not let them use an eraser. When they can easily change their creations, they could second guess themselves and not get anywhere on their project. Try using something more permanent like markers and paint when creating with children.
And let them get messy! This encourages them to let loose and have fun rather than worry about the clean up that comes along with it. It helps if they have their own creative space with plenty of supplies. When they notice the designated space with art tools, it will trigger them to want to get creative more often. If they aren’t showing interest on their own, make special art time that they can look forward to.

Also encourage them to use their imagination and gain creative ideas from that. Children are already very imaginative and as we get older, we tend to lose that. Keep it going and have them use their imagination more often. Ask about what they’re creating and come up with fun stories about their creations together.

You can even make a party out of it! Have some of their friends over for a creative day or a birthday party with an artsy theme. They can learn from each other and work as a team which brings in a whole new level of engagement to their artwork.

4.    Showcase their creations

When you make a big deal out of anyone’s artwork (kids and adults alike), it encourages them to continue creating. Point out what you love about the piece (lines, texture, color, etc.). Ask them questions and get them talking about the meaning behind it.
Be sure to hang up their artwork and you can even have it framed which will really make them feel special. You can talk to our custom framer, Mark for some ideas (941-747-2995 and ask for Mark).

When getting children interested in art, it really comes down to 3 main things. Expose them to art, get them creating, and praise them for it. Whether you’re a professional artist or not, anyone can walk through these steps with their children or grandchildren and teach them in importance of art. Plus we bet you’ll learn a thing or two from them! Take the time to connect with them and build a relationship around creative activities. That quality time together is most important for you both.

Tell us, how have you introduced art to a child in your life? Please let us know in the comments below.