How to Deal with a Creative Slump

I've been feeling a little down in the dumps.  Inspiration and creativity come and go, comes with the territory a bit.  I found an artist that completely inspired me but at the same time made me doubt what I was doing.  That's all my little protective positivity dam needed to spring a little leak and then a rushing river of negative thoughts came pouring through.  

I needed to make it stop and quickly so I thought about what I would do if this happened and I was still in college.  I would walk up to my professor and I'm pretty sure he or she would say, "What do you like the most about this other artist's work? Break it down and get back to basics."  So that's exactly what I did.  I took screen captures of this artist's work, put them all into a Word doc, printed it out in black and white.  

The thing that I felt the biggest slump about was composition and adding more elements to my pieces.  So I went back to basics, The Rule of Thirds, and I drew little grids over the artwork.  This was so helpful in showing me what I wasn't able to see on my own just by looking.  Bigger element here, smaller complimentary elements here and they are placed here because of where they fall in the grid.  The basics.  Once I worked on that for a bit, I started sketching again and ideas started to flow.  Not immediately but the point is that they did.

Always remember to push yourself, there is always something new to learn.  Even if it is the basics and you have "been there, done that", do it again.  And be kind to yourself.  I think artists have the worst negative self talk, we are brutal sometimes.

What do you do when you get into a negative funk spiral?  

Angel Bird - Watercolor Process Timelapse Talkthrough Video

I love birds.  They are so cute, cuddly and innocent already and then when they are decked out in super cute outfits, I'm in heaven.  I posted a pic of this guy with my Evan Healy cleanser on Instagram, tagged Evan Healy and they reposted it.  That was one of my highlights last week!  

This is my latest watercolor process timelapse talkthrough video of my angel bird from that post.  I share info about how I layer, my thoughts on colors straight from the pan and I really would like to know what you are interested in hearing about next. I go into more depth about colors and color mixing in my Carefree Color Mixing Video Course.

Definitely comment below and let me know if you love talk through videos, art supplies videos, talks about art technique, talks about how to stay inspired, etc?  I can't wait to hear from you!

Have a great day!

5 Ways Bullet Journaling Changed My Life

No, but seriously.  It did.  For a long time I thought having goals was being self-centered and never being happy with where I currently was in life.  Because of this I didn't organize my plans at all, I would just have things I wanted to do without plans attached, which is basically just wishing.  I believe one needs to be grateful and thankful for the whole journey but there is nothing wrong with pushing yourself in education, status, art, joy, etc.  Many many things didn't work in the past for me and day to day I would start from scratch on things I wanted to focus on, listed in my head or on scraps of paper all over the place.   That's when I turned to the bullet journal and now I'm getting closer to my dreams every day. There are key things I love about it.  Let's get into it.  

Brain Dump

I have ONE place that is my main spot for my notes, to dos, ideas, what have you. Last year I started to plan daily.  Writing the day of the week, the date, the hours in that day, and then I knew what time I realistically had to work with for the day.   Whatever I had dumped onto the page could then be prioritized and plugged into the available spaces of free time.  Once I completed the task, it was crossed off.  Nothing like ticking a box or crossing off an item on my list.  

Brings Order to the Chaos

I have an index in my journal so I actually know what page my notes are on, a project idea bubble chart, etc.  My thoughts have some sort of order that I can come back to reference when I want to.  When it's time to work, I can get to work and not waste time looking for my info.  It is awesome. 

Bird's Eye View of To Dos

Rarely do things sneak up on me, I put down everything that is happening during the current month and from a high level I know that I really don't have "all month to do  X".  There is a play date here, wisdom teeth appointment there, movies here, etc.  This helps to further prioritize my time and understand what really matters and what can probably be put off until next month or later in the year.

Flexible

I use a dot journal where I can write out whatever I want and change things up when needed.  It is a blank dot grid journal with page numbers.  The dots make it easy to draw lines when I want to.  This is one of my favorite things because if something isn't working out with the way I am journaling, I can change it.  No inked dates, grids, or calendars already printed on the pages.  It is literally a blank slate and it is freeing.  

Tangible

There is something about writing things down, pen to paper, that makes it more likely that you will actually do what you set out to do.  Having digital references are great, I use Google calendar and Evernote but when I write things down, I tend to accomplish more of what I set out to do.

If you have ever been curious about bullet journaling, I highly recommend you get into it.  Here are a few references that talk about the concept further.  It's all about baby steps and knowing what works for you and what doesn't.

I list out everything I use for journaling here

Ryder Carroll, the creator of bullet journaling: How to Bullet Journal

Rachel from That'sChic - Bullet Journal Setup for 2017

Do you bullet journal? What helps you stay organized?

P.S. I have a video course called Conquer Creative Challenges that outlines how to time manage and get organized in a way that will help you stick with and finish creative challenges such as Inktober, The 100 Day Project, etc.  Find out more here.  

Ink and Watercolor Wash Ideas - Mixed Media

I mainly work with pencil and watercolor, sometimes a bit of colored pencil is thrown into the mix as well.  I usually paint on the go because just sitting at my watercolor desk and working can be a bit of a daydream scenario when you have two little kids under 5 years old like I do.  

One of my goals for the last Inktober challenge (creating with ink for the whole month of October) was to combine ink and watercolor for my daily pieces.  That didn't work out because I had limited time for this kind of experimentation and I didn't want to have a ton of unfinished pieces for the challenge.  So, I broke it down here on what inks worked and didn't, but the ones that didn't could be happy accidents for you.  They were for me.

  1. Dr. Ph Martin’s Matte India Ink - an opaque matte ink that is my no. 1 favorite - no smudging
  2. Dr. Ph Martin’s Carbon Black India Ink  - another opaque ink but this is a little glossier than the matte version - no smudging
  3. Dr. Ph Martin’s Sepia India Ink  - a softer option if you don't want a harsh black - no smudging
  4. Dr. Ph Martin’s Pen Cleaner (mine turned black because of cleaning nibs in the bottle) - excellent nib cleaner
  5. Belle Calligraphy Starter Kit - found this at Anthropologie and I love the ink and nib w/holder even if the ink isn't completely smudge proof
  6. Daniel Smith Walnut Ink - this ink has a super soft look because it has various shades of brown when you use it.  This ink is smudge crazy but I let that slide because the brown is so gorgeous.  Could use this over dry watercolor washes as an option.

Do you know any inks that work well with watercolors?  No smudging, no budging?

Need help with color mixing?  I have a Carefree Color Mixing Course that shows how to mix all of the colors of the color wheel with just the primary watercolors.  

Top 5 Must Haves for Dry/Sensitive Skin

When I'm painting and showing my painting videos, the first thing I do is lotion up my hands.  (Thank you so much Midsummer Cream from Trader Joes).  You do not need to see any crypt keeper action when I show you projects I'm working on.  My hands and general skin is dry and sensitive, plus I live in Colorado.  Anything that works for me, I have to share with the masses because the dry skin struggle is real.  

  1. Evan Healy Blue Lavender Cleansing Milk - This cleanser is the real deal.  I feel nothing lurking beneath the surface of my skin.  Everything is soft, smooth, clean and moisturized.  Usually with cleansers I have to rush to get moisturizer on my face before I start feeling dry and skin starts cracking.  Does not happen with this and the scent is a calming experience!
  2. Evan Healy Lavender Facial Tonic Hydrosol - I spray this on my hand and press it into my face or I mist it on.  Super refreshing.
  3. Evan Healy Rosehip Treatment Facial Serum - I am scared of oils because I've tried jojoba, hemp and argan.  They all gave me some sort of reaction but this rosehip oil is heavenly.  I like to mix 3-4 drops with the hydrosol spray and apply it that way too.
  4. Evan Healy French Rose Clay Mask*- I use this once a week.  Just mix into a paste with some spring water and you're good to go.  I use a little condiment bowl I got from Target with one of the kid's baby spoons, perfectly does the job. *this is a bonus pick me up
  5. Avene Physiolift Eye Cream - This is the only eye cream I have used where I have seen a clear difference with moisturizing my under eye and reducing puffiness.  A little goes a long way, I only use a pea size for both eyes and it is so nice.
  6. Kate Somerville Nourish Day Moisturizer - I am probably on my 4th jar of this moisturizer and trust me, it is the bomb dot com.  It isn't heavy but it packs moisture like none other.  You press down on the top and the moisturizer comes out through a hole in the middle.  Here's a tip though, I didn't know the top opened until I bought another jar recently.  I thought it was sealed closed!  Oops.  So don't make the same mistake I did and open that top, get more of that product out, its gold.

Is there anything you absolutely love for dry/sensitive skin? Let me know. I like L'Occitane original shea butter cream for my hands when I'm on the go but I think I need something heavier at this time of year in Denver.

Reindeer Squad and Christmas Sweater Birds are Here!

On Dasher, on Prancer, on Dancer and Vixen!  On Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blixen!  Can't forget about the star, Rudolph too.  I had SO much fun sketching, drawing, painting and designing the little outfits for this Reindeer Squad.  They are now available as mugs, clocks, phone cases and more in my Society 6 store.  I'm working on another design with all of them together, the whole crew in full effect.  

My process started with figuring out how I wanted to draw reindeer in the first place so I played around with the heads and body proportions.  I wanted them to work together nicely visually so I picked a cohesive color scheme by color mixing primaries and focusing on red, blue, purple and green.  The clothes were especially fun because that is where their littler personalities come out.  I forgot there is only one lady reindeer, Vixen, and I had so much fun painting her dress with peter pan collar and striped stockings.  Of course I had to paint another girl reindeer (rainbow dress) who isn't part of the immediate squad but a friend all the same.  

The Christmas Sweater birds are listed in my shop now too.  They are rocking sweaters that say "Joy", "Noel", "Ho Ho Ho", "Peace" and "Hope".

This was fun and sparked new project ideas, which is the whole point of a creative challenge to me.  Had a blast.

Watercolor Project Update

Oh my goodness you guys.  I have been gone for a minute and I've missed you. I've been Periscoping pretty randomly and with the lack of daylight due to daylight savings, it's killing me.  I usually scope or film in natural light so since that's limited, I'm at a loss.  I have been re-focusing everywhere but this blog.  So, let's see.  I've been painting and when I finished the 100 day challenge I updated my Etsy shop with new watercolor prints from that challenge as well as adding new photos to show the prints themselves too.  I hope that helps with envisioning how they look in real life and they are super cute.  Could be a little biased though.  I joined Society 6 forever ago as well but I updated that too so now there are more cute characters on phone cases, totes, mugs, pillows and more.  I don't know when they made changes but it is so much easier to add products now.  Check them out and follow me there!  

I've been painting two side projects, The Reindeer Squad and Christmas Sweater Birds (birds in Christmas sweaters that say Joy, Peace, Noel, etc, eep!).  I've only shared little sneak peeks on my Instagram (@fluximagery) so far but I will be launching those designs very soon.  Join my newsletter so you don't miss a single update.  The prints and products available make great gifts!  After all, Christmas is right around the corner.  

Love this time of year!  

Conquer Creative Challenges

Creative challenges are so necessary.  Nothing lets you explore your artistic growth like committing to a challenge; be it 30 days, 52 weeks, 365 days, etc. When I participated in The 100 Day Project this year, I hadn’t come anywhere near completing a project like that before.  This year was different and one of the things that helped me was finding more ideas by incorporating them from other challenges.  There was a point where I didn’t know what to draw next and I thought I might have to stop participating.  I love learning sites, I’m a member of Skillshare and CreativeBug, so I just knew I wanted to paint a bird but had no idea what to actually draw/paint.  My solution was to look at a prompt from another challenge and mix the two prompts together.  An example would be my bird and a prompt of “birthday” from another challenge.  I added them together with a little story behind it (another goal of mine was to improve my storytelling) and I was on my way.  

I wanted to help other creatives with finishing creative projects they signed up for, personal or community based, so I created a video course showing the tips and tricks that helped me complete my own creative challenge.  It was an amazing experiment and I know my course, Conquer Creative Challenges, will help you out too.

The next community challenge I want to participate in is Inktober, creating art with ink every day in October and I cannot wait!  Happy creating!

Watercolor Painting Video - Owl Gets a Gift

Hi guys! How you be?  It is officially summer and I am LOVING it.  The 100 Day Project is going well, today marks day 67!  Creating consistently, no matter what, has been eye opening.  The weekends are definitely the hardest to finagle with two littles, swim classes and just stuff.  

I may do a post on how doing a daily challenge/project like this has made an impact with me overall.  Would you be interested in that?  I posted a new video showing how I painted Day 47, an owl getting a gift.  I have other watercolor painting posts here and here.  Let me know what else you would like to see on my channel, here on the blog or paintings/products.  Are you painting with watercolor and having any issues? Talk to me.

Oh and one more thing, my super talented and kind friend Christie is having her first art auction on Facebook this weekend starting Saturday June 25!  I can't wait to see all of her artwork sell out like I know it will, beautiful pieces in watercolor, oil or acrylic.  Just search "Christie Drahnak Art" on FB, like her page and you will see all the details.

Have a great weekend!