The eternal question of every artist: how to make more art??
Modern adult life means a) always working, b) always tired, and c) always wondering what happened to that creative spark we had as a kid.
I’m majorly bummed that I don’t seem to have the same energy I did as a kid. So I’ve been working on getting some of that back!
One way: I’ve SCHEDULED time for making art each week.
Younger me would’ve never had to do this– she just went for making a gluebook spread or an art journal page whenever she wanted to. But the me of even 10 years ago no longer exists, and it’s time to stop wasting energy complaining and just get started doing something, already!
“My invitation to you is to begin living every moment as though you are miraculous and deserve to live an extraordinary life. Fake it if you must and keep faking it until it’s real to you. the gift you will be giving yourself is a lifelong journey of discovery, one that is infinitely rewarding. Begin the journey. Today. This moment. Now.”
— Robert White
It’s never too late to start a new habit. You’re never too old to start making art. Being too busy is NOT an excuse– if you really want to make art, you’ll figure out a way to make it work.
Making time for art
As far as I can tell, there are two major ways to squeeze a little more art into your life:
Do a little bit each day, whenever you have a small amount of free time.
Wait until you have a LOT of free time, and do a LOT of art.
Whichever way you choose will depend a lot on what your life is like, and what you want to get out of your art. If you have a big family and lots of errands to run each day, you may want to dedicate a half hour in the morning to making an art journal page, for instance. If you have a demanding job and work lots of overtime hours, try doing something on the train home each day.
Weekend art warrior
I work a full-time job that takes up almost all of my daylight hours, and some of my evenings/weekend. On the other hand, I’m single and don’t have any kids or pets.
So I thought I’d be more into the first option– I could squeeze some small art pieces before or after work, and get a lot done throughout the week by taking smaller art bites.
And I actually DID try it! But…I really hated it.
My style of creating mixed media art is to pretty much do one page from start to finish, in one session. Spreading out the creation process over several days for one page meant I actually LOST my inspiration and didn’t want to finish anything. It became a struggle to finish ONE page, because I didn’t want to even start back up again if it meant not being able to finish “in time.”
Also annoying: I don’t have a dedicated craft table/room, so I have to set everything up and put it away again, over and over. This meant that whenever I get ready to do a big art journal page, I have to spend enough time on it to make it worth the effort of dragging out all my supplies.
What I’ve decided to do is set aside part of my weekend to ONLY do art. It means setting aside a bigger initial chunk of time (3 hours minimum), but I feel MUCH better about it. I can get more into the flow of each page, and having to set up/take down my supplies only ONE time is fantastic.
That’s just me, of course! Your art style might be different.
An actual daily solution
So trying to do multiple pages in my preferred art journal over the course of several days didn’t work for me. But I still wanted to try to do a little bit of art every day. I truly believe that doing daily art is good for the mind and soul!
If a big art journal wasn’t working, what about a SUPER TINY one?
First, I created a bunch of small 8-page pocket-sized art journals. Then I stuck a few of them in my mini art journal kit, and I made sure to carry that thing around with me to work.
Finally, and most importantly, I made sure to block out time to do a (mini) page. Right now that’s my lunch hour, but I could also do it early in the morning before work if I needed to.*
Because I’m squeezing in a tiny amount of art in a tiny amount of time, I try to stick with doing something that I can pick up/put down quickly. Usually this means gluing images into a gluebook. But if I felt okay leaving a wet art journal sitting out to dry, I might try bringing inks or paints to do backgrounds.
*I recommend making sure to block time out for whatever time of day you think best and have the most energy. If you’re a morning person like me, that’d be super early. Night owls might try blocking out an hour in the evening.
Other options for smaller-sized art journals: Dyan Reaveley’s 5×8 journal (great pages for mixed media paint/ink sprays), Dina Wakley’s 8×8 white page journal (ditto), ARTEZA 3×5 watercolor journal (pocket sized!).
More tips and ideas
I’d recommend trying both techniques to see what you like best. Maybe you’d like to do 1-2 hours over two weekend days instead of 4-5 on one. Or maybe you like to batch create, and can do all your backgrounds on one weeknight and your stamping on another.
Another good idea: have a space where you can set up your art supplies, and LEAVE them set up. Carving out space for an art studio is one of my goals for this year, not least because it’ll help me keep track of all my art supplies. If everything’s in one place, I can’t misplace it, right? (If you’ve seen my acrylic stamp block, plz let me know because it’s been missing for WEEKS.)
How do you squeeze in more creativity into your week? Any tips or tricks that have worked for you? Leave a comment below!