Why Dreaming Big Is Getting You Nowhere And What You Need To Start Doing For Success

By Nicole Tinkham

success

You’ll hear us say it all the time and it’s definitely something we believe in and stick by. It’s important to love this life of yours, to do the things that make you happy, and to dream big. You may have already started dreaming big by writing some goals down, creating a vision board, and visualizing your future. That’s great if you have and something we still encourage you to do. But what happens when you’re doing all this dreaming and nothing ever happens? If you’re feeling a little defeated and frustrated, this blog is for you. We’ll explain why dreaming big is getting you nowhere and what you need to start doing for success.

Dreaming big is the first piece of the puzzle. It’s figuring out what you really want in life and it’s certainly a crucial step. But if you stop at your dreams without taking action, you will never move forward. How do you expect these dreams to actually happen? Think they’re just going to fall into your lap? We can tell you from experience that’s not how this works. What you can start doing though is thinking big.

For example, it’s so easy to get lost in the excitement of a new career opportunity. You’re creating this new life for yourself and you have a list of things you’re dreaming of accomplishing. But the question is, are you taking those dreams and strategically planning what exactly will happen in your future? When you don’t have a plan one of two things typically happens. Either you get burnt out on this big dream or you fall behind trying to adapt to these new changes in your life.

What you need to do is get out of your head and get “all in” on the things you want to accomplish. You must give it your all. You must have a plan and take action. You must get focused. You may even have to make sacrifices like TV time, sleep, and extra vacations at least until you get things rolling. If you’re not 100% in it, it’s still all just a dream. You need to switch from dreaming big to thinking (and doing) big!

There’s no way of predicting the future but it doesn’t hurt to have a game plan either way. Know exactly what your next step is if you succeed and what your next step is if you fail. Sure, there will always be little surprises that come up along the way but you can handle them confidently when you have a strong plan. Don’t just wait around to see what happens. Be prepared.

So while dreaming big paints the picture of how your life could look, it’s also important to think big. Take action on those dreams, follow through with them, and plan for anything the future may bring (good or bad). It may be impossible to predict exactly what could happen in the future but think through every possible situation you can imagine and plan for it. If you’re a dreamer but feel stuck, start doing these things to finally see success in your life.

Interested In Conte Crayons But Don’t Know What They Are Or How To Use Them? Here’s Your Guide!

By Nicole Tinkham

conte

They resemble pastels and are even located in the same general area in your typical art store, but Conte crayons are actually much different. We’ve found that when the average person doesn’t quite know what a product is, how to use it, or what results it produces they skip right past it and move onto something they are familiar with. Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing? While that’s totally normal, we dare you to try at least one new thing this month. That’s right; we’re kicking off the year doing something completely new! And we will strive to bring you a new art supply guide each month to help you pick up a new medium and learn how to use it. This month is all about Conte crayons. Funny thing is, as we were browsing the Keeton’s art department, we glanced at these and instantly thought of pastels. So we did our research, found out how these differ from pastels, how to use them and then came up with this helpful guide. Read on to discover the possibilities of Conte crayons in your next masterpiece.

What are they?

Conte crayons (or sticks) look similar to that of a pastel but are much different. These are a drawing medium made up of compressed charcoal or graphite with the addition of wax or clay mixed in for the base as well as natural pigments for color. Conte crayons are actually commonly used for the initial sketch for a pastel drawing as the colors mix well.

Paper to use them on

You’ll want to use a rough textured paper with Conte crayons as this will hold the pigment better. You can also use a primed canvas for your drawing. Just keep in mind that Conte crayons are better suited for hatched work, not bold lines (as with soft pastels). You’ll notice that many Conte artists use a tinted paper for their drawings, something to consider for a different look.

Conte Crayons versus Pastels and Charcoal

Although Conte crayons look similar to pastels, they are harder and waxier. This means they produce less dust and are easier to control. They actually produce a similar line as charcoal but since they are harder, lines with a Conte crayon will be finer. You’ll also notice that Conte crayons come in different colors but are most commonly found in natural browns, reds, tans, black, and white (great for highlighting). This makes Conte crayons perfect for figure drawing and portraits.

Features

The square sticks are great for producing blocks of pigment, as you would with oil pastels. As mentioned previously, the harder crayon is also great for producing very fine lines. Conte colors are very easily blend-able (we recommend a blending stump) and since they aren’t powdery like charcoal, they work well in layers.

Sharpening

The typical Conte crayon is in a block stick form but it is possible to sharpen. Just use a little sandpaper to sharpen the stick to a chisel point. You can also break the sticks into smaller pieces that are easier to handle.

Working in a medium you’re not too familiar with doesn’t have to be all that scary. It’s important to understand what the medium is, how to use it, and the results it produces before you begin. We also recommend researching helpful techniques and example pieces for inspiration. So now that you know a little bit more about Conte crayons, will you be giving them a try? Let us know in the comments!

5 Planner Hacks That Will Change Your Life

By Nicole Tinkham

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It’s the beginning of a new year and if you’re gearing up to make the most of it, you probably purchased a brand new planner and you’re ready to go. Maybe planning and staying organized last year didn’t work out so well or maybe you’re just totally new to this. In either case, we understand the struggle of organization. It can be completely overwhelming looking at a book full of tasks that need to be done. Or maybe you forget to open up your planner altogether which makes having one pretty pointless. Don’t worry; we have 5 planner hacks that will change your life and help keep you organized throughout the whole year.

1.    Don’t include everything

There’s two types of people in the world; those who don’t (or rarely) write important things down and those who write every single little thing down. They key is to find that sweet spot. You have to write some things down but jotting down too much just becomes overwhelming. If there’s something you do on a daily basis without much thought, it doesn’t need to go in your planner. For example, you’ll want to have your dentist appointments marked down in your planner but it’s not necessary to schedule time to brush your teeth every day. You should hopefully be in the habit of doing that daily already.

2.    Plan to plan

We know you want to use your planner and stay organized but the problem normally lies in something as simple as forgetting to sit down and plan. You just need to get in the habit of doing so consistently. Schedule time to sit down and plan for the day, week, and month. It may only take you 15 minutes but it won’t get done unless you plan on getting it done. So how exactly do you plan to plan? We recommend setting an alarm to go off on your phone as a reminder. You should also schedule things into your planner at the same time every day. So for example, you can plan your day at 9:00AM daily, plan for your week every Sunday at 9:00AM and schedule for the month on the 1st of every month at 9:00AM. The more consistent your timing is, the easier it is to form the habit of getting it done.

3.    Use only one planner

If you think having one planner is difficult to keep up with, you’ll drive yourself bonkers with multiple books. Sometimes it may seem like a good idea to separate your home life from your career to-dos but we advise against that. You’ll find yourself flipping back and forth between the two planners which will only make the process more confusing. Plus this is exactly why colorful highlighters, pens and washi tape were invented. Instead of using a whole different book, color-code your tasks to keep them separate but all in the same spot.

4.    Personalize it

Your planner is a very personal thing and should be treated as so. It’s important to choose a planner that will suit your needs. For example, if you do a lot of traveling, a compact planner may be perfect so you can easily take it everywhere with you. But if you take a lot of notes, a larger planner may be ideal for you so you have enough room to write. Get a planner that’s your own personal style. Fall in love with it so you can love using it. Also consider a bullet journal for total customization.

5.    Physically check things off your list

Checking a task (any task, big or small) is so incredibly satisfying. It’s so satisfying that it actually pumps you up for the next task on your list. That being said, actually check off or cross out completed tasks. Oh and don’t stress over the tasks that don’t get completed. You can just move these over to a later date or make a separate list of these tasks to be completed whenever you have the extra time. Remember that you can only do your best so don’t beat yourself up over what doesn’t get done.

Make this year the year you don’t give up all hope on your planner! We know it’s not easy following a planner consistently. It takes some time to plan everything out and it’s so easy to forget to open it up and get planning. But once you’re on a roll with doing it, it’ll become much easier and planning ahead makes everything else easier too. You don’t have to be a super organized person to make a planner work for you. Just keep it simple, be consistent and don’t put too much in it.

Have you had success with your planner? Let us know your top tips in the comments below!

25 Art Careers You Need To Consider

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By Nicole Tinkham

If the reason you haven’t turned your passion for art into a career yet is because you don’t think you could make it as an artist, think again! You don’t have to do the scary task of quitting your day job to become your own boss as an artist. You can take a different route and still use your creative skills in a job that leaves you feeling fulfilled and happy. The following list of 25 art careers take a different spin on the typical painter or other art profession you have in mind. Some of these are out of the box but you may be surprised how well they align with your interests and skills. For example, you may have never thought twice about interior design but if you have an eye for color and placement it could be just the career for you. If you want to make art a full time part of your life, read on for 25 brilliant ideas that you need to consider.

1.    Writer – Gets creative with words in stories, poems, screenplays, and more
2.    Interior Designer – Beautifies indoor spaces
3.    Art Teacher – Teaches skills in universities or art workshops
4.    Art Appraiser – Determines the value of artwork
5.    Art Gallery Manager – Ensures that those who come into the gallery are looked after and oversee installations and exhibits
6.    Caricature Artist – Cartooning for parties and events
7.    Fashion Designer – Designs beautiful clothing
8.    Cake Decorator – Creates edible works of art
9.    Actor/singer – Let your talents shine!
10.    Set Designer – Prepares the stage for theater productions
11.    Museum Curator – Organizes exhibits at museums
12.    Tattoo Artist – Applies artwork in the form of a tattoo
13.    Lighting Designer – Creates lighting effects for production
14.    Restoration Artist – Brings back the original look of an old piece of artwork
15.    Landscape Artist – Designs the layout of plants in outdoor spaces
16.    Architect – The art and science behind designing buildings
17.    Product Designer – Designs the look of different products
18.    Medical Illustrator – Illustrations for medical journals and textbooks
19.    Muralist – Creates large scale paintings on buildings
20.    Screen Printing – Creates designs on clothing using a screen and ink or paint
21.    Textile Design – Designs the look of different fabrics
22.    Florist – Arranges flowers and plants
23.    Musician – Creates art for the ears
24.    Glass Blower – Shapes blobs of molten glass into vessels and shapes
25.    Woodworking – Creates artwork and functional pieces out of wood

Of course, doing your own thing as an artist and working for yourself is the perfect alternative to working for someone else. We love the idea and if it’s in your heart, we say go for it! But this list of 25 art careers may be the ideal stepping stone if you aren’t quite ready to be your own boss. Or it may help you discover exactly what you want to do. Whatever the case may be, the important thing is that you’re happy. Look over this list, consider some different options, then do your research and see if these would be a good fit for you.

Tell us, which of these 25 art careers stands out to you? Have something to add to the list? Just let us know in the comments!

9 Essentials To Living The Good Life

By Nicole Tinkham
good-life

As we go through life, we have our ups and we have our downs. The scariest thing of all isn’t going through difficult times, but just going through life without truly enjoying it. Have you ever woken up in the morning not wanting to get out of bed, just dreading the busy day ahead of you? That’s no way to live! Now’s the time to get your passion back and start living the good life. It’s simple: love what you do, do it with good people, give often, treat yourself well, continue moving forward, do the things you want (even if they’re crazy), keep smiling, and be yourself. Read on to see how you can make these 10 essentials a habit in your life so you can finally enjoy every single day.

1.    Wake up with passion

If you aren’t excited about starting your day, what’s the point of even getting out of bed? We understand that it can be a challenge to do exactly what you want every single day but you have got to find something you can get passionate about. Even a hobby on the side is something that should put a smile on your face. But if you find yourself constantly dreading your day, every day, it may be time to make a career change.

2.    Spend time with good friends

Laughter is the best medicine and a group of positive friends who you can be yourself around is sure to bring more joy to your life. Good times will allow your stress to melt away. You can relax and just have fun. A good group of friends will also lift you up and inspire you to do more with your life, things you may have never considered before.

3.    Give more than you receive

The power of giving far outweighs the act of receiving. You may be thinking that you don’t have much to give but we bet you have more than you realize. Something as simple as a helping hand or a compliment goes a long way. The more you give, the more you’ll put others in a better mood as well as yourself.

4.    Be good to yourself

You are so worth spoiling yourself! Eat healthy, be active, and you can even work on your mind while you’re at it. When you treat your body well everything else starts to improve in your life. You gain more energy, sleep better, experience less aches and pains, and just feel happier. And don’t forget to pamper yourself from time to time too! Get a nice massage or take a long restful nap to help you feel your best.

5.    Keep moving forward

So maybe you feel content with life and that’s a wonderful thing. However, staying in the same spot is just as bad as moving backwards and living an unhappy life. There are times to be happy where you’re at and times to move forward. If you never move forward, you’ll start to feel stuck. Sometimes moving forward means taking a risk which is scary. But you’ll never know what could possibly happen if you don’t make that change.

6.    Don’t miss out

Get out there and experience life! Don’t pass up opportunities when they come with lame excuses. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re ready or not. Some experiences are just worth it and may never present themselves again. Make time for the things that could possibly change your life.

7.    Do something crazy

We can get so wrapped up in what other people (and society) tell us we should and shouldn’t do. But this is your life and you have every right to make your own decisions even if they are a little out there. If you feel it in your heart, go after it. Do something different. Get out of your comfort zone and discover a new side of yourself.

8.    Smile even on the bad days

When you start the day off poorly, it’s so incredibly easy to let the whole day go downhill from there. But if you proudly wear a smile all day long no matter what, we can almost guarantee you’ll have much better days. Just try it today and see how you feel. A smile can instantly put you and those around you in a better mood.

9.    Be unique

You were born for a reason and you’re different for a reason. The world desperately needs what you have to offer so stop hiding in the shadows, afraid to be who you truly are. Some people may not agree with you and that’s totally fine. Just think about all the lives you can impact of people who can relate to you.

There’s a better life out there for you if you open your heart and allow it in! Stop closing off all new opportunities. Start taking more chances, keeping your own betterment in mind. If you’re not growing and improving as a person every single day, there’s something wrong. You need to pay attention to yourself more! If you’re feeling stuck, follow these 10 essentials for living a good life and put them into action right away. You deserve to do this for yourself.

6 Things To Do When You Feel Burned Out

By Nicole Tinkham

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Burn out doesn’t just happen when you’re overworked in the office. Listen up artists; it can happen to you too! And it could be even worse. You know those creative blocks you get when you just cannot think of any brilliant ideas or you’re at a loss when trying to complete a project? You’re most likely burned out and it happens so frequently among artists because when those creative ideas do strike, you’re in constant work mode jumping from project to project. We know many artists who work straight through the night on big projects. That’s tough on the mind and the body! It doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s a job you’re not fond of or one that you love. Burn out happens to us all and we’ve discovered 6 tricks you can do next time you feel this way. Read on for ways to clear your mind and get back in the game.

1.    Get out and stay active

Your first instinct when you need a break may be to sit yourself on the couch in front of the TV. While this may turn off your brain, there are better ways to disengage from work and really escape reality. Stay active and go out for a hike or a walk. Get out there and do something new and different. Go on an adventure and find a new park. Whatever you do, just get out of the house. Even if you’re at home doing nothing on the couch, your mind can wonder back to work related things. But if you’re staying active, you’re keeping your mind busy so you won’t worry so much about your stresses.

2.    Disconnect

Drama lives online and can easily find its way to your Facebook news feed. If you really want to clear your mind and get out of burn out, you need to disconnect. Turn the phone, tablet, computer, and TV off. Get connected with yourself. Read a self development book, write in a journal or get out and meet with friends (it’s different in person than online!). The length of time you choose to disconnect is totally up to you but even just a few hours can make a huge difference.

3.    Change your surroundings

Your surroundings can trigger your thoughts. That’s why they say not to have your home office in the bedroom. When you’re trying to sleep, your work in the corner of the room will remind you of all the things you need to and should be doing. Spending too much time in the art studio when you’re already burned out can become stressful. You’re putting all this pressure and stress on yourself. The best thing you can do is completely leave your work area even if you still have work to do. Head to a coffee shop or library to get some work done. Or meet up with a friend to swap creative ideas. Changing your surroundings tricks your mind. You’re in a new place and will hopefully have new ideas. If you don’t physically leave your space, just change it up. Clean it up, rearrange things, or get new furniture. Just make it fun and different! Even small changes can make you feel like you’re in a totally different place.

4.    Get more sleep

Getting more sleep will help you feel refreshed every morning, ready to get back at it. But that’s easier said than done, right? Here are a few of our tricks to getting better sleep:

•    Turn off your phone, tablet and any other devices ahead of time (they say the light from these will keep you awake longer)

•    No caffeine after 2PM – even if you don’t think it affects your sleep, it can!

•    Make sure the room is dark, cool, and quiet

•    Read something positive before bed. This will help you de-stress and wake up feeling better.

5.    Help someone else

The best way to help you is to help someone else. Plus switching gears and focusing on different problems other than your own will get your brain thinking in a different way. Then when you come back to your project, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go. On top of all that, helping others just feels really good 🙂

6.    Schedule downtime

It’s easy to say you’ll take a break, go on vacation, turn your mind off, and escape but we rarely actually do it. The problem is we have this long list of to-dos marked on the calendar. We make sure to get the busy work done but we don’t schedule in any downtime to just relax. We believe the key to enjoying time away from work is to act as if this downtime is an important business meeting. Put it on your calendar and follow through with it. This could be taking breaks throughout the day, planning for vacations, planning for relaxing weekend time, day trips, or visits with friends and family. Schedule these times in advance and actually do them! When you say you’re going to give yourself a break, follow through on your commitment. Getting the proper rest will actually allow you to accomplish more when you get back to your list.

Next time you cannot think of that brilliant idea for a project or the thought of going into the office to put in long hours makes you want to pull your hair out, simply take a break. You’ll be amazed by how much more productive you are when you get the rest and relaxation you need. Be active and try something new, put down your phone for the day, change up your environment, get more sleep, help someone else for a change, and schedule that downtime for yourself. You deserve it! These 6 things will definitely rejuvenate you and help get out of burn out. Give them a try and let us know how it works for you.

New Year Checklist – 10 Things Every Artist Needs To Do

By Nicole Tinkham

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Getting ready for the New Year doesn’t have to be crazy and overwhelming with serious goals and planning. It’s great to have some goals laid out, an idea of where you want to be by the end of the year, and to get organized too. But we also think it’s important to HAVE FUN!! On this list of 10 things every artist needs to do for the New Year, you’ll notice that something fun is included in more than half of the tasks on the list. And if you find a daunting task you don’t want to do, turn it into a game or reward yourself for completing it!

•    Have a new sketchbook ready to go (open it up every day!)

•    Get organized for peace of mind

•    Make a list of things you want to learn – Plan to attend an art workshop, save YouTube videos, buy a new art book, or subscribe to an art magazine

•    Plan something fun – we all need a break. Plan a vacation at some point next year or even a staycation if you have nowhere to go

•    Have your goal and action plan written down

•    Plan regular friend and family time! It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own little world that we forget to spend time with the ones we love

•    Have an open mind – Do something wild, crazy, unexpected, out of the norm, and anything that takes you out of your comfort zone

•    Buy fun colored Post-it Notes to write yourself positive notes and reminders

•    Change up your art room for creative inspiration and more room for new supplies 🙂

•    Get your artist portfolio in line

We believe that having fun is the best way to start the New Year, wouldn’t you agree? Doing something you enjoy is easier to stick with than something you don’t. Start doing some of the things on this list, have fun with it, and don’t stress about starting a new year. Tell us, will you follow this checklist when heading into the New Year?