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?

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.

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.

7 Benefits Of Painty Clothes That Only Artists Will Understand

By Nicole Tinkham

painty-clothes

There may be a handful of artists who stay nice and tidy while working on a project but the majority of artists we talk to mention getting paint, glitter, and ink everywhere. It doesn’t matter what kind of art it is, getting messy while creating seems to be the common theme. Another thing we’ve heard through the artists on our Facebook page is a new fashion statement known as “painty clothes”. These are a combination of clothes you paint in, clothes that you paint on, and clothes that accidentally have paint on them (even nice dressy clothes.. whoops! 😉 ). We think the painty clothes trend can really catch on. Read on for 7 benefits of painty clothes that only artists will understand.

1.    They’re colorful

Look at the average person’s closet and you’ll most likely see many black and gray pants, even tops. And when there is a bit of color it doesn’t really pop a whole lot. Artists are a bit different though. Sometimes you’ll see painted clothes on purpose with beautiful designs and other times you’ll see random paint splatters. No matter what, it’s sure to be colorful and fun.

2.    They put others in a better mood

How can you not look at an artist with fun paint all over their clothes and not smile? You’re being totally unique and it just puts people in a better mood!

3.    They’re comfy

Most artists work in nice comfy clothes, the way everyone should dress more often (in our opinion anyway).

4.    They’re always changing

The exact t-shirt you wore last week may not be the same this week. The more you wear painty clothes and the more you create in them, the more and more different they will become. Who else can say that about their wardrobe??

5.    You don’t have to be perfect

Keeping up with the fashion trends and all the rules (who says you can’t wear white during a certain time of the year??) is just too much work. However, when you have your painty clothes on, you don’t have to worry. They go with everything (in our opinion) and you can mix and match them.

6.    You’re free to be you!

Forget name brands and what’s currently popular. In your painty clothes, you are unlike every single person out there and that’s a good thing. Life would be boring if we all acted and dressed the same.

7.    They eliminate clean up

Have you ever tried to get paint out of your nice top? It’s not an easy task. Luckily if your goal is to create some new painty clothes, you can totally eliminate this step. This means less hassle and more time to get back to work on your project.

If you weren’t sure about wearing your painty clothes out in public before, we hope that this blog has changed your mind! Be fun, be creative, be funky, be yourself. No one else has style quite like an artist and it’s time to share your painty clothes with the world. Be proud of what you do and who you are. Stop hiding under plain clothing that anyone can buy at the store. Mix it up and add some color. We are always so inspired by our artist friends and we thank you for lifting us up and making us smile every day.

How To Get The Best Deals On Art Supplies

By Nicole Tinkham

art-supply-deals

Art supplies can be pricey. Let us rephrase that. Quality art supplies can be pricey but they make all the difference in your artwork. You really do get what you pay for. We heard you out about the struggles of affording the supplies needed for your numerous projects which is why we put together this blog to help you get the absolute best deals on art supplies possible. Read on for the inside scoop of the best day of week, time of month, and times of the year that you can make the most out of an art shopping spree.

Best day of the week

We’re going to let you in on a little secret. Our art department is filled with quality art supplies on sale every single day. Seriously, just about every single item is marked down on a daily basis. So when it comes to the best day of the week to buy art supplies, can we just keep it simple and say every day??

Best time in the month

Once a month (usually mid-month) Keeton’s hosts a Super Saturday Sale. This event includes select items with a huge markdown plus a 40% off coupon that you can use toward any single item not already on sale. Most of the time, the items on sale relate to the free demo also featured on the sale day. We bring in a talented artist for a few hours to provide free tips and tricks that anyone can use in their artwork. These sales are more like events that you won’t want to miss.

Best time in the year

The BIGGEST sale of the year that we have here at Keeton’s is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s similar to our monthly Super Saturday sales but is a much bigger sale. This is when you can get the best deals on art kits which make perfect gifts for the holidays as well as our most popular items (like Arches watercolor paper).

Throughout the year, we’ll also have quick 2 day sales for various holidays so watch your email for updates on those!

In addition to the sales hosted here in our Bradenton location, we also like to show up at popular events such as the Florida Watercolor Society Annual tradeshow. We bring a ton of our favorite supplies with us and offer them at great prices. Check our event calendar to see upcoming events and sign up for the Nook emails to receive updates right to your inbox.

We love working with artists, getting them the supplies they want at a good price. That’s why we always offer discount prices and special sales throughout the year. We don’t want a lack of supplies to hold you back from your next masterpiece! If you’re one of our non-local fans, just give us a call at 941-747-2995 and we will do our best to get you what you need.