5 Ways To Beat “I Don’t Know What To Draw” Syndrome

1. Use your own photography as reference imagery.

What Is It? Most of us keep dozens—if not hundreds—of pictures stored away in our smart phones without ever doing much more with them besides flashing a few to a family member on holidays. Using your own photos for references are an amazing way to preserve your art as your own, and being able to continually enjoy the moments that may or may not end up stuffed away in a scrapbook. The greatest thing about this is that you can pull out the image anytime to start and stop drawing as you please. Plus: no copyright infringement!

How Will It Inspire Me? You usually only preserve images of the things that you love or find aesthetically pleasing, so picking even just one of your own pictures to draw should be especially easy. It’s also a great way to work on bettering your drawing of faces and the human form, as many of us photograph our loved ones on a regular basis.

What’s Next? 1) Choose another photo and draw some more! 2) Start taking more pictures with the intention of drawing the imagery. Who knows, you might even realize a love for photography!

Hint: Use the settings in your phone to disable automatic shut off so that you don’t have to keep taping the screen while you draw from your reference photo. Just make sure to re-enable it when you’re finished.

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2. Participate in #DrawThisInYourStyle.

What Is It? Draw this in your style is a trending online movement where artists post their own original content and characters, in hopes that other artists will love it so much that they too will want to recreate the content or character with their own twist. Currently, there are 200,000+ results on Instagram for #DrawThisInYourStyle, so there is plenty of content (and characters) to pick from! These artists are lending their creativity to you, so you’re free to do with it as you please

How Will It Inspire Me? This challenge lets you create without having to make hard decisions. Of course, the real fun is not in copying, but altering, which means that you can change poses or facial expressions, for example, without needing to have “big” ideas. Plus, it lets you connect with new artists, which is a pretty awesome bonus!

What’s Next? Why, create your own something for #DrawThisInYourStyle, of course!

3. Compose Your Own Still Life

What Is It? Still life consists of drawing or painting inanimate objects, most commonly associated with fruit or flowers. But it does not have to be fruit or flowers, of course, which means it could be literally anything laying around your house! Your favorite mug next to a knickknack next to a rock from your yard: draw it! A pillow under a novel under an ink pen: draw it! Still life drawings are more challenging than drawing your own photographed images because your perspective can change, the lighting can change, and you’ll never be able to assemble the objects in the exact same way, so choose this option carefully.

How Will It Inspire Me? Being able to choose the objects that you will find the easiest (or hardest) to draw means that you can make the experience as enjoyable as you please in a way that best fits you.

What’s Next? Change your perspective! Stand over the still life subject, go to the other side of it, or even just rearrange the objects. Fully understanding perspective is one of the hardest things about drawing, and you’re seriously improving your ability by drawing something from multiple angles.

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4. Re-Draw Your Own Art

What Is It? This idea is very similar to #DrawThisInYourStyle, but gives you a lot more control over the art that you’re creating. Because you are redrawing your own art, you may feel more comfortable with altering more of the content, as it is your original creation, after all. Not only that, but redrawing your own art makes the content more marketable, if you are in fact creating in order sell.

How Will It Inspire Me? Redrawing your own art tends to make an artist realize how much they’ve actually improved their artistic skills. You’ll not only be creating something, but also proving to yourself the time you’ve invested in your artistic ability hasn’t be for naught. You might also discover a new-found love for the original piece.

What’s Next? Once you’ve realized that your abilities have improved in some areas, you may find that some areas could still use a little work. Try focusing on these less improved areas, whether it be shading, individual facial features, or understanding of perspective. Dont be afraid to redraw something that you’ve already redrawn before!

5. Self Portrait

What Is It? A drawing of yourself! You are the perfect subject because you’ve been looking at the subject your entire life. You also have complete ability of posing your model and know just where to find them when the drawing mood strikes! Several artists are well known for self portraits, and all you require is a drawing utensil and a mirror.

How Will It Inspire Me? Although not every artist wants to draw people, understanding human anatomy and facial structure will lend itself to understanding anatomy of animals as well. That being said, a lot of artists lean toward human beings as their main subject matter, and knowing the simplest form of your face will be useful when drawing any face in general. Not only that, but hey look: you’re a model now!

What’s Next? Your face can make some really great (and bizarre) expressions, so why not try out a few? You don’t have to draw the whole face to draw stretched lips around a smile or scrunched up nose. Focus on doing a few different expressions and you’ll soon have an entire page for future references.

Self Portrait as a Painter

Self Portrait of a Painter, oil on canvas, 65.1 cm x 50 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

ArtSnacks: November 2018

Unboxing and Speed Paint

What is (and is in) an ArtSnacks box?

ArtSnacks is a monthly subscription box, which I have been receiving for just over two and a half years. The subscription costs $240 annually or $24 monthly. The box contains four or five art supplies, plus a few other goodies, and is delivered once per month. These supplies usually include a drawing utensil and one or more ways to add color. Besides a pencil or fineliner, ArtSnacks boxes usually include markers or colored pencils, and less frequently, watercolor, acrylic paints, and bottled ink. Sometimes ArtSnacks supplies will be branded with the ArtSnacks logo and teal color; branded items have included pencils, a bag, small sketchbooks, and a pencil sharpener. Along with art supplies, subscribers also always receive a piece of candy, a sticker that portrays the company’s logo, and a “menu,” describing the contents.

Swatching the November 2018 ArtSnacks supplies. Copyright EmK Wright

Why Subscribe?

As someone who owns too many art supplies, I continue to purchase ArtSnacks for a few reasons. The ArtSnacks box continues to surprise me with supplies that I have never seen or used before. The box may also include exclusive items, which has included sets of pencils and pens curated for ArtSnacks. The subscription box is also usually a higher value than the amount paid per month, when referencing the retail value of items included within the box. This value does not include the candy and sticker, or “bonus” items which can be included in the box, such as paper samples. Unless ArtSnacks begins to send too many repeat supplies (this has happened only a couple times) or my studio space becomes limited, I’ll happily continue my subscription! There have only been a few boxes that have included supplies I found myself dissatisfied with, and usually they are coupled with other supplies that keep me excited.

ArtSnacks November 2018 "menu" and orange plaid sticker. Copyright EmK Wright

ArtSnacks Box of November 2018

This month, the ArtSnacks subscription box included four art supplies, the candy and sticker, and no extra “bonus items.” The four art supplies were:

1) Liquitex Professional brand acrylic gouache, quoted by ArtSnacks to be a $10.99 retail value. The price of Liquitex’s acylic gouache is one that is reliant on the pigments used in each color of this paint. Buyers can can also find themselves paying $14.99 per 59 mL (2 fl oz) bottle, especially if you’re like me and have your eyes on the fluorescent set of six. Unfortunately, my favorite color made by the brand, Naples Yellow, is not available in this line of gouache, so I have hopes that the color selection will be expanded by Liquitex.

Close up of Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gouache in color Primary Red. Copyright EmK Wright

2) A Galeria series paint brush by Winsor & Newton, with a retail value of $8.49. This brush is a round size of 3. It is made for acrylic paint, short handled, and has synthetic bristles. ArtSnacks claims that it is “developed to provide…shape retention,” a necessity when working with heavier supplies like acrylic paint.

Close up of the bristles on the Winsor and Newton Galeria paintbrush in a round 3. Copyright EmK Wright

3) Sakura brand fineliner style pen, quoted by ArtSnacks to be a $2.79 retail value. This pen is from the Microperm line, and multiple different tip sizes were sent out among ArtSnacks subscribers. I received the small 01 size, which measures out to be a .25 mm. The Microperm has a waterproof ink and is advertised to be usable on non-porous surfaces, including metal, glass, and even diamonds. I loved the size of this pen nib as well as the rich black color of the ink. However, I did find the ink cartridge inside of the pen body to be loose enough to hear and feel when moving the pen from side-to-side.

Close up of Sakura brand Microperm pen in size 01. Can be used on glass and metal. Copyright EmK Wright

4) Cretacolor brand MegaGraphite pencil [no official purchasing site], quoted by ArtSnacks to be a $2.30 retail value. It is true to it’s name at a whopping 10 mm diameter…and only fits in my universal XL pencil sharpener by force. The pencil that I received had a graphite grade of 6B, but other ArtSnacks subscribers received a variety of graphite grades. For me, this pencil is competing with the Faber-Castell Jumbo 9000 series pencils, and held up pretty well. However, I prefer graphite with less sheen, such as the General’s brand Kimberly 9XXB pencil, which is a matte graphite and came in an earlier ArtSnacks box.

Close up of Cretacolor brand MegaGraphite pencil in grade 6B. Copyright EmK Wright

Each “menu” in an ArtSnacks box has a call to action, which is called the ArtSnacks Challenge. It asks subscribers to create a piece of art with the supplies that are included in the box. For this month, I created a drawing of a pomegranate. I sketched with the MegaGraphite pencil, painted with the acrylic gouache—using my Galeria paintbrush, of course—and used the Microperm pen to add texture and shading to the art. I also used an eraser and blending stump to create this artwork, two items that were not included in the November ArtSnacks box.

Pomegranate painting created with the November 2018 ArtSnacks box. #ArtSnacksChallenge Copyright EmK Wright

This month, the box was a value of just 57 cents over the $24 price point, but I have seen it much higher. If I were to purchase these items individually, I would probably forgo the pencil and pen, simply because of how many other pencils and black fineliners that I currently own. However, I would recommend the pen to someone looking for a waterproof fineliner. As for the more expensive items, I love the acrylic gauche and plan to purchase more bottles in the future! The paintbrush is a little expensive at almost $9, but if it survives what is sure to be constant use, then I will find it to be worth every penny!

Pomegranate "Idea, Sketch, and Realization" painting created with the November 2018 ArtSnacks box. #ArtSnacksChallenge Copyright EmK Wright

If you’re interested in purchasing ArtSnacks for yourself or a loved one, I recommend it for sure! As an artist with too many art supplies, I still think it’s a great monthly treat. You can click HERE to visit the ArtSnacks website for more information. Please note that I am in no way sponsored by ArtSnacks or the brands found in ArtSnacks boxes.

Season of Color!! (Blog Hop)

Oh where, oh where has EmK gone? Mostly vet offices, unfortunately. Two sick little boys have been keeping me busy these past couple of weeks, and I’ve become a full-time pancreas for one of my furbabies. Unfortunately, blogging had to take the back seat for a while as I got into the groove of learning how to watch insulin levels and convincing fuzzies that not-so-tasty medications are worth the far tastier treats and cuddles. (The only sugar level that I was ever used to watching was the decent of Ben & Jerry’s as it slowly disappeared from the pint.) But I’m happy to say that all surgeries are scheduled, I’ve become a master medication granter, and I am so ready to get back into the studio and share my love of all things creative! Starting next week, I’ll be back on the following schedule!

I’m beyond thrilled to share with you that this post is more than just a recap on where I’ve been—it’s also part of something MUCH BIGGER! This is stop number three of nine on a rainbow road, aka The Blog Hop of Color! The Creative Team for the art journalling community Get Messy is connecting today to celebrate Season 15: Color! We are sharing spreads today from our personal art journals…featuring specific colors of the rainbow! I am sharing a yellow page with you today, the happy color of life, warmth, and enlightenment. I think we all could use a little more yellow in our lives, so this spread was just the kind of art that I was needing to make!

Yellow Art Journal Spread

If you just ran through the old “ROY G BIV,” you may have realized that there are seven colors of the rainbow, not nine.  But what about the combination of all to create white and black?! Every color combined in the visible spectrum creates white, and every color of pigment combined creates black. Two very talented Creative Team members have been granted these colors to portray in their art journals, and I’ll be the first to admit they have fabulously succeeded!! Want to know how? Stay on the train and get off at the next stop to follow the links!

Yellow Instax Instant Camera

As you can see in the picture above, my yellow spread features a photo in a golden hue and a yellow instant film camera. That’s because I took the photo with that camera using a golden filter, and then adhered the picture to my spread with a liberal amount of matte medium. I specifically purchased this camera for instant photos that could be used in my art journals. So far, it has been a perfect fit! The photos are small enough to fit on any page without giving my spreads a scrapbook look. I even found a set of physical filters for the camera, which clip to the lens and change the  hue of my photos, guaranteeing any photo that I take to match my style of limited color schemes!

Do you have any new supplies that you’re in love with?! I’m always on the lookout for fun and unexpected supplies like this camera! Thanks for visiting me, and don’t forget to follow the rainbow by hopping along for the Get Messy Celebration of Season 15: Color!

NEXT on The Blog Hop of Color:
The beyond talented Vanessa aka Dans Mon Crane!

 

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Finished Spread: Radioactive

This spread was created an in an altered book, Odysseys and Photographs (2007), and was specifically produced onto these pages due to the unsettling imagery that was already printed on the spread. Somehow these images, unaltered and bizarre, seemed to speak to me in a time of frustration. The photos on these pages originally displayed a restrained lab mouse being injected with a steel syringe, and a man controlling a robotic arm in order to place makeup onto a subject’s face—strange, right?  I took the liberty of adding my own peculiar imagery, paired with a color palette inspired by the word visible on that syringe: radioactive. Though it may appear a bit eerie, I actually really like how the spread turned out!

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“Radioactive” Art Journal Spread

As I’ve mentioned before, I often find that my art journal spreads are more chaotic and detailed whenever I create while angered or distressed. These types of emotions affect me strongly, but I am also able to pour out frustrations onto a journal spread more easily. It’s therapeutic for me, almost as if I’m removing the negativity—piece by piece—with every stroke and line. This spread has been halfway finished since the end of last year, but I somehow found the inspiration to complete it. I began this spread when I was overwhelmed by some feelings of anger, and the subject matter definitely does not hide this!

 

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (3)

Radioactive” Closeup, Left

Although this spread may not depict the most cheerful of illustrations, I was honestly pleased with line work that I created when drawing these skulls. These illustrations are studies of northern american rodent skulls, sketched with a soft lead (Faber Castell 8B lead, jumbo) and inked with a black brush pen (Kuretake No. 7). The original drawings were found in a vintage nature book, a gift to me, and my attempt at replicating them was almost perfect! I’m slowly advancing my drawing skills, and am always delighted whenever I discover that I’m making progress.

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (4)

“Radioactive” Closeup, Right Top

This spread was started in order to deal with intense negative feelings, but I was able to achieve a sense of accomplishment for the illustrations! The positive feeling of success in my abilities as an artist outweighed my anger. Although I don’t like to leave art journal spreads unfinished, my change in disposition was probably why I was able to close the book on this spread for so long. Creating in my art journal is always such a positive experience for me, and it’s one of the reasons that I love to share this niche hobby with others! I promise you, I haven’t been keeping an art journal for 13 years without benefiting from doing so!

Radioactive Art Journal Spread www.MadeByEmK.com copyright emk wright 2017 (2)

“Radioactive” Closeup, Right Bottom

This journal spread might be finished, but there are about 10 more in this altered book that are only just started! I’ll be working on some of them this weekend, but I’ll definitely be starting a new art journal spread during my Instagram live stream on Sunday at 8 pm EST. If you’ve got the time, don’t forget to join me! Until then, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below!

 


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making art through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) All other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

 

Floral Tutorial & Freebies

It’s the very first FREEBIE WEDNESDAY, and I could not be more delighted to share what I have in store for you today! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the hand drawn floral pattern that I shared last week. It was inspired by this Get Messy season, Art 101! Last week, my very first post and tutorial as a Creative Team member went live on the private site. (You can totally check out the site and see if you’d be interested in becoming a member by clicking HERE.) I was extremely excited to see what it would inspire throughout the Get Messy community!! The feedback and art that came out of it was 100% awesomeness! Because of all the pen play happening, I was inspired to create some florals as a simple and quick way to get my pen to paper. The result was unexpectedly beautiful! One flower became two, two became three, and suddenly I had filled an entire page with a gorgeous pattern!

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Partially Drawn Floral Pattern from 3/9/2017

If you look through my art, you’re bound to see a lot of abstract shapes, silhouettes, eyes, and animals, but I tend to steer clear of florals. While I find flowers lovely (there’s a fresh bouquet on my desk right now), they just don’t seem to be a good fit with the imagery that I usually produce. However, these roses are special to me. My grandmother was absolutely obsessed with roses, and taught me how to draw them at a very young age. This rose shape is very close to the way that my grandmother taught me, starting in the center and building petals outward with overlapping sections. The image below is a quick tutorial on how I draw these roses, even though—if we’re being honest—they look quite a bit more like begonias or carnations.

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4 Step Rose Drawing Tutorial

As you can see in the image below, I remark my lines two or three times so that there is more detail and character to each petal. This makes the edges of each petal appear folded and more natural. You’re more than welcome to try out this design and add it to your archive of floral drawing knowledge! Its just as easy as the simple daisy illustration that so many of us are guilty of doodling! It only took me about thirty minutes to fill an entire 8.5″ by 11″ page. The pen used, as seen below, was one that I received in my Art Snacks subscription box in July ’16. The fine tip, a 0.3 mm, and smooth gel ink  a pleasure to work with! It is the Pentel brand Arts® Hybrid Technica used on 67 lb vellum Bristol paper.

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Finished Floral Pattern from 3/9/2017

With the wonderful power of technology, I was able to color in the flowers with soft pink and purple hues and invert the line to whites. (This created a pattern that I liked so well it is now the wallpaper for my phone.) I also recolored the flowers with a more traditional red, and  then adjusted the hue to green, which made the flowers appear to be succulents.

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Preview of Rose Pattern Freebies

All three of these recolored patterns and the drawing in black and white are available to you for download for your personal use! They are HD images available as full page PDFs. I advocate using them as collage material for your own arty goodness!! Just click the links below to print and/or download the PDFs! You can print them out, collage them in your art, or use them as a new desktop wallpaper! Just get creative and have fun. The only thing that I ask is that you not redistribute these freebies or claim an unaltered version as your own. You do not need to credit me if you use these freebies in your art, but I definitely wouldn’t turn down a shout out!

Click links to download…
Roses Coloring Page (Black & White): PDF Here
Roses Collage Paper – Pink & Purple: PDF Here
Roses Collage Paper – Green Succulents:  PDF Here
Roses Collage Paper – Red: PDF Here
Entire Collection: PDF Here

 


 

Disclaimer: I have recently become an Amazon and Get Messy affiliate. Amazon links and Get Messy links are affiliate links. I will receive a small portion of the sale if you use these links to purchase the art supplies or subscribe to the Get Messy community for an annual membership. You support this blog and my ability to continue making art through the use of these links! (And also gain my unending gratitude!!!) The Art Snacks website and all other links included in this post are not affiliate links; they are included for educational purposes and for your convenience.

Announcing: NEW Schedule & Freebies!

EDIT: INSTAGRAM LIVE STREAMING & PRINTABLE FREEBIES ARE POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

I’ve been gone from the blog, but only because I’ve been working SO hard to share more and better content with YOU! Yes, you. No, seriously, you. Okay, okay, I’ll stop being creepy and give you the specifics…

I’ve been recently doing live streaming on my Instagram (@emmykait) every Sunday, and the feedback has been so inspiring that I’ve re-realized my passion for sharing and encouraging others to create! Because of that, I’ve jumped back behind my desk, and developed a NEW schedule for this blog.

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Schedule for MadeByEmK.com

Here is the breakdown:

  • Sundays at 8pm EST, I’ll be live streaming the start of a new art journal spread; on rare occasions, I may also work on other (perhaps more impressive, even) art. Live streams will last for at least one hour.
  • Mondays, I’ll be HERE on the blog with a new post, recapping all of the lovely things that came out of the Sunday live stream. Monday’s post will include photos of the artwork and a quick discussion on the tools, techniques, and/or questions that I answered during the live stream.
  • Wednesday is the day that you definitely don’t want to miss!! I’ll be sharing an in depth discussion on my favorite tools, techniques, or supplies. I’ll also be giving you free printables for you to have and use! Which means: WEDNESDAY IS FREEBIE DAY! 
  • Thursdays will be art show and tell day here on the blog. I’ll be sharing with you one of my newly completed art journal spreads or other artwork! If you’re a fellow Get Messy member, then you’ll probably want to swing in on Thursday, because many of my pages are inspired by the prompts and tutorials created by my fellow Creative Team Members!

I’ll be working diligently in my studio on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Although I won’t be posting here on the blog, feel free to check Instagram and my Instagram story, because I am constantly updating my social media followers on my artistic happenings. I also LOVE to interact on Instagram, so feel free to say hello or drop me a line!

If you have questions about commissions, want me to come guest blog for you, or anything of the like, please use the “Contact” tab at the top of this website, or click HERE.

This post contains an affiliate link to the Get Messy website. If you click the link above and sign up for the Get Messy community for a year, then I will receive a small portion of the sale to help support my artistic journey, including the upkeep of this blog. However, it is available on a month-to-month basis, and even per season: if you choose to go that way, I receive no payment, but totally support your interest because I love Get Messy, and want you to enjoy its benefits the way as it best fits you!!

Giveaway! 1 Year of Get Messy & Watercolor Set

To help me start off my year right as a Creative Team Member for the beautiful community that is Get Messy, I have been been granted the privilege to host a giveaway for an entire free year subscription of Get Messy to a lucky random winner! To make things even more fun, I’ve decided to also giveaway a set of Prima brand watercolors!! The watercolors that I discussed last blog post (click HERE to read) have made me so happy, and I really want to give another individual the opportunity to work with them! This giveaway is totally free and taking place on my Instagram. Details below!!!

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So how do you enter?
• Set 1: Go to my Instagram page.
• Step 2: Follow me @emmykait and @getmessyartjournal.
• Step 3: Like the photo that says GIVEAWAY! (It looks just like the one above.)
• Step 4: Comment on that photo by telling my your favorite art supply.
• Step 5: Wait until I announce a winner on Wednesday 25 January 2016.

This giveaway is located on my Instagram: @emmykait and admission will end 23 January 2017, 11:59pm EST.


PS: I am now an affiliate through Get Messy and am able to receive a small payment in return for you becoming a Get Messy annual member. By clicking the link above and purchasing an annual membership, you are supporting me and this blog—and I am beyond thankful if you choose to do so! That being said, I know that not everyone wants to jump into a whole year membership, so no hard feelings if you just want to try it out for a month. The community is awesome though, and I really think that if you enjoy art journaling, you’ll love being a Get Messy member too! Here is a review that I wrote about the community before becoming a Creative Team Member of affiliate. The site also offers a free class for you to get a taste of the things offered in the community. You can check out the Get Messy official Instagram, and see if that doesn’t get your creative spark…well..sparked!

 

Instagram Takeover!

This week is pretty cool for me, as I’m taking over the Get Messy Art Journal official Instagram, @getmessyartjournal. Until January 8th, I’ll be curating the Instagram with photos of my own art, re-posts of Insta photos that use the hashtag #getmessyartjournal, and be responding to questions and comments on any of the photos that I post! I’m still going to be active at @emmykait, my everyday Instagram home, but I’ve been hoarding photos of my art journal spreads specifically for the Get Messy takeover! Here’s a little taste of the photos I’ll be posting on the ‘gram:

This honor was bestowed upon me as a Get Messy Creative Team Member (which I totally posted about HERE), and I was so lucky to be the first to takeover in 2017 and I got to post the 1,000th Instagram photo for Get Messy! I know it’s not like I won a world series, but seeing as how my sports knowledge starts and ends with the fact that “World Series” is a sportsball term, this is way cooler to me!  I quit my 9 to 5 at the end of 2015 in order to pursue my passion of creating, and it seems like that choice was made with perfect timing! Working with Get Messy this year is a dream come true, and starting it off with this takeover is just the icing on the cake! I hope you come visit me there this week!!

Links!

Huge News! Art Journaling News!

I’ve finally taken a break from jumping up and down in excitement to write this post, so let me start out by saying I’m ecstatic to be telling you all my good news!! Are you ready? For 2017, I will be pushing myself to be as creative as possible for my new position as a Creative Team member! I’ve been chosen to be a part of the Get Messy Creative Team for next year, and will be creating videos, tutorial posts, and sharing images of my art work for a group of 1500+ beautiful people who share my biggest passion: art journaling!

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Art journaling is the one thing that has been with me for the majority of my life, before I knew that such a thing even had a name. I could not be happier to share my love of arting between the pages of a bound sketchbook, altering coffee table books, and getting my hands colorfully messy!  I feel like my artistic style has come such a long way in the past couple of years, and finally defining my method of creating—with certain techniques, supplies, and tons of emotion—has not only helped me find my artistic voice, but is now letting me share it with others. (It sounds goofy, I know, but I’m in happy-shock, so please bare with me.)

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A Sampling From My Art Journal Collection

When I was younger, before “art journaling” was defined to me, I called my art journals “my souls,” because that’s what it feels like: pouring my soul onto the pages of these once empty pages. While I may not be an emotional exhibitionist, I’ve always considered myself an open book, and oddly enough, it seems like sharing my “souls” is allowing me to prove it. So, let’s start with my most recently finished spread, one inspired by another Get Messy Creative Team member: Vanessa Oliver-Llyod, aka Dans Mon Crane!

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“Altered Dimension” Art Journal Spread

Vanessa hosted an hour long live event on the private Get Messy Facebook page last week, and while I wasn’t able to participate in the fun during the event, I happily re-watched the video at my desk, following along with her process. I can’t say that this spread turned out looking even remotely close to Vanessa’s beautiful journal pages, (which you should totally check out HERE) but I’m still very happy with my end product! It was so odd to not begin my spread with blocking in shapes of acrylic paint, but starting as Vanessa did instead. I stuck true to all of the suggestions made during the live event, but I just couldn’t stop myself from making all of the wild doodles and drippys that I so love to add to my journal spreads! Her ideas plus my ideas turned up making a pretty unique spread.

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“Altered Dimension” Close Up, Bottom Left

My spread ended up featuring a poker card, the queen of diamonds, which was altered to be far creepier than originally intended; her skin was painted green, her hood turned into a homage to The Bride of Frankenstein, and a third eye added to her chakra point. I’m not complaining by any means, as I fan-girl over weird and creepy pretty frequently, but the contrast of theme from that which was created during the live event is pretty extreme. The photo below is a close up of this altered card, presented next to a queen of hearts from the same deck for a better understanding of how much altering occurred.

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“Altered Dimension” Comparison to Unaltered Playing Card

I had so much fun with this exercise, switching up my process, and doing new things in my art journal that I would have never done without Vanessa’s input! I wasn’t alone either, as this exercise got a lot of the Get Messy community members in the mood to create. Seeing everyone’s pages was pretty awesome, as each member applied the suggestions to art journal spreads while guided by intuition and staying true to their style! As you can see in the close up’s below, I also didn’t stray too far from my usual aesthetic.

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“Altered Dimension” Close Up, Top Left

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“Altered Dimension” Close Up, Top Right

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“Altered Dimension” Close Up, Bottom Right

I’m so excited to not only work with Vanessa, but continue learning from her—and my new team members—over the course of this next year! If you haven’t joined this group, feel free to visit the Get Messy website and check out the FREE class, so that you can see if it’s right for you. I’d LOVE to see you there!! (Note: Even if you decide not to join, I’ll still be sharing a lot of stuff here, and I’m not going anywhere!)

Art Journal Speed Process: “Enlighten the Untransformed”

I (finally!) got around to finishing a spread that I’m currently recording the process of, and I’m sharing it with you today! I don’t know how excited about this you are, I’m pretty stoked, because it’s a rarity that I can focus myself long enough to make sure all aspects of a page get recorded. If you’re like me and leave your art laying out, you probably find yourself stepping past, only to double back in order to make a mark or two. I often can’t cram everything onto a page in one sitting, simply because a completely detailed art journal spread usually takes about six or more hours to finish. I know many other artists can bang pages out in just an hour or less, but my aesthetic is all about clutter and chaos, so I love lots of little designs and details…which can take a LOT of time.

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This journal page, which is all about trying to enlighten those who are unwilling, is both a statement about myself and others. I think that everyone should strive to have an open mind and an open heart, and even though many people believe themselves to be ‘open minded,’ I’m not quite sure they’re correct. The Socratic paradox says that a wise man knows that he knows nothing, and to accept that you have ignorance is to accept that there is always more to learn and understand. This page speaks both to my personal beliefs and to my political beliefs. As an American, I think that this message is especially relevant right now, during the 2016 presidential election.

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Although this page was not specifically created in response to anything, this is one of those spreads in which the meaning developed as it took form. I’m a strong believer that inspiration comes most often when we aren’t looking for it, and sometimes my muse doesn’t speak until I’ve already started working; this was one of those times.

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Anyways, lets get past the heavy stuff and enjoy how our minds can take the ugly and form into something beautiful, which, in this case, is providing me with reason to reflect and create! Being able to create another art journal spread (where I can meditate and breathe easy for a while) is great comfort for my anxious mind. I invite you to watch this process video, take a moment to unwind, and even play in your own journal! Enjoy! (If the video below doesn’t work for you, click HERE.)