Current Inspirations: Geometric Patterns!

Hi friends! Today I wanted to start a new type of blog post, where I share a gallery of various things that are currently inspiring me in my art! This could be certain colors and color schemes, shapes, subjects, styles, anything! These inspirations can not only be art prints from other artists, but wallpaper, fabric, even three-dimensional items. I will post a new collection of inspirations whenever I find myself using them in my own sketchbook. I hope this new series inspires you as much as these things do me 🙂

Current Art Inspirations

This first inspiration round-up is focused on pattern. I’ve been playing around a lot lately with the idea of mixing both abstract and technical aspects together in the same artwork (you can read more about that here), so lately I’ve been working in my sketchbook playing with lines and shapes.

I’m really loving triangles and inter-meshing them into crystal-looking patterns, and I also like how that can lead into looking like constellations and adding circles and dots to break up the sharp lines.  Playing with this and using these deliberate shapes within abstract, organic, free-flowing painting is really making me happy! I’ll have lots to share with you soon as I finish up a couple pieces, (and if you’re on my mailing list then you got a free digital wallpaper of one of those paintings at the beginning of this month! You can sign up in the right sidebar if you’re not already getting my monthly Studio Notes, and get my free 8-week e-course as well!)

So I’ll be sharing a few finished paintings soon, along with some sketchbook pages coming up, where you can see my own interpretation of some of these inspirations (and I got a new sketchbook too! I’ll have a reveal and review of it coming soon! Happy days!)

So without further blabberings, here’s a compilation of some of my current inspirations! I hope you enjoy them, and maybe they’ll spark some creativity in you as well!

Sources: Feather-inspired lines | Stained Glass Look | Pastel Patterns | Colored Triangles | Layered Triangles | Circles | Geometric Mountains

So that’s it for now! Leave me a comment below if you’re liking this new type of blog post, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

Current Art Inspirations

Free Wall Art: Never Dull Your Sparkle!

Hi friends! Happy Monday! Today I wanted to share another free wall art printable I made using Creative Market’s free goods this week. I am loving the rise of geometric shapes in today’s contemporary art, and using geometric designs is something I’ve had in my mind for quite a while.  Today, Creative Market released a gorgeous set of geometric rose gold shapes for free, so I scooped them up and got to work! Here’s my little printable you can hang on your wall (I’m personally going to print this out on photo paper and frame it for my studio!):

geometric free wall art

And here’s the close-up of my design. Click below to download the high resolution JPEG file. It’s sized 8×10″, but you can print it smaller or probably a bit larger if you want to:

free diamond wall art
Click the image to download the high res image!

How I Made It:

  • I downloaded the free geometric shapes here
  • I downloaded the “Never dull your” font here (also free this week!)
  • I opened the shape I wanted to work with in Photoshop (I picked one that looked like a diamond) and I layered a gold texture over it because I wanted it to be yellow gold instead of rose gold (I used a texture from this pack).
  • I did the same to my text, and for the “sparkle” text I used my favorite font, Bonjour, with a glitter texture I had laying around in my computer.

These beautiful geometric shapes really open the doors for me in art I’ve been wanting to make, so I hope you’re looking forward to seeing what I do with them! I’ve have some ideas in my head about spirit/forest animals and geometric shapes and whatnot, so I think it’s time to start putting pencil to paper and making them happen!

So that’s all for now, guys! I hope you enjoy the free art, and remember to really never dull your sparkle. What makes you you is what makes your art unique, so embrace it and shine bright! Thanks for stopping by, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links to Creative Market, and while the free items this week are free, any further purchase made using my link will result in a small commission to me.  This is no extra cost to you, and helps me keep this site running and the free art and tutorials coming, so thanks for your support! <3


Why Your Drawings Suck.

Hello friends! Happy Monday! I want to quickly preface this post with a little clarification. I’m not saying your drawings suck, you’re saying your drawings suck. So before anyone starts throwing tomatoes at me, let’s get into what I mean by this (trust me, there’s a point I’m going to make, haha!)

why your drawings suck

So first, I chose the title of this post very carefully.  I didn’t call it Why You Think Your Drawings Suck, I simply called it Why Your Drawings Suck.  And if you’re reading it, then you’ve clicked on the title because maybe…just maybe…you agree? (Either that or you came to say some choice phrases to me!) So let’s think about this for a minute. You came to this post to find out why your drawings suck, and probably to find tips on how to improve them.  In doing this, you’re admitting that you believe your drawings do, in fact, suck.

I chose the work “suck” on purpose too.  I didn’t say your drawing are “not where you want them to be” or “need more refining”, I said they suck. I said this because it’s what we tell ourselves when we’re looking at an artwork we’re  disappointed in. We don’t tell ourselves, “this isn’t quite where I want my drawing skills to be”. We say, “crap, this drawing sucks!“. The little voices in our heads can be harsh.

It’s that little nagging voice that we have to get over if we’re going to improve our work.  That little voice that is constantly telling us we’re not good enough, we’ll never get to the skill level we want, we’ll never make art that has a wow-factor to it, and even…our drawing sucks.

It was that little voice that made you come read this blog post today.

Because, in some way, you agree with it.

But I’m here to tell you that that’s not necessarily a bad thing! The fact that you feel this way means that you’re capable of being better.  That you know you can do better. I could go on about how to do this, but there’s a quote by Ira Glass that I feel sums up everything I’d want to say, so I want to share that with you:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

-Ira Glass

This obviously pertains to writing, but it’s true for any creative work.  And when I heard this quote for the first time, I was something I really needed to hear at the time.  So I hope sharing this quote helps you out, too.

So the answer to why your drawings suck? Because your skills simply haven’t yet caught up to your taste.  So keep making art, and one day it will, and you’ll be more satisfied with your work.

I’m still struggling with shutting the doubting voice in my head up, and I think most artists still struggle with it from time to time, even the super amazing ones. So know that it’s normal and as long as you don’t give up, it’ll start getting quieter and quieter.

Leave a comment below if this quote speaks to you as much as it does to me, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3


Finding Time to be Creative

Hello friends, Happy Monday! Today I wanted to talk about something that’s been very close to my heart lately (well, it’s always been important, but the time constraints of a new mom to an ambitious toddler has made this topic much more important to me 🙂 ). Today I want to talk about finding time for creativity.

how to be creative in a busy life

We all know the old motto of practice makes perfect, but I feel like a much more important question is, how much practice is needed to improve?  What can we do if we’re feeling like our entire day consists of tasks and responsibilities that constantly pull us away from our easels, sketchbooks, and journals? You may start to feel like you just don’t have time to pursue your creative interests, but I’m here to tell you that yes, you do.

How Much Time Is Enough?

So first let’s talk about how much time, exactly, is enough to get better at whatever it is we want to do? Well, at the risk of sounding cheesy and cliche, I’m going to tell you that whatever time you can make is enough. Do what you can, with what you have. If all you have is 15 minutes while you’re waiting for dinner to finish up in the oven and your kids are content playing with their toys for the moment, then use that time. Open up your sketchbook, sit at the dining table, and draw a little sketch while your kids are content. If that’s all you can do that day, then that’s enough.

The most important question isn’t how much, but how often. Skills aren’t developed by devoting a ton of time to them at once, but by devoting a ton of time to them in succession, over a long period. After all, we’re trying to become better artists here, not binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix (cough).

Let’s think about how much time we can create for ourselves in a day, and then look at the big picture.  Maybe you can devote half an hour per day to yourself to work on your creative outlet of choice. This could be art journaling, drawing, painting, or even just reading a good book. Perhaps you can find more time on the weekends, but let’s not worry about that for now. 30 minutes, 7 days per week. That’s an extra 15 hours per month. Bascially a week’s worth of hours at a part-time job! Think about those 15 hours. A whole lot can be done in 15 hours! And you get that every month to do your thing. That could be a couple books read, an art journal filled, a painting or two created! And you can do that much per month. This means you could paint 1-2 paintings per month, for a total of 12-24 paintings in a year. That’s certainly enough paintings to improve your painting skills! That’s enough to fill a room with paintings! And you can do that with just 30 devoted minutes per day. Now think about what you could do with an hour a day! Or 30 minutes per weekday, and 90 minutes on weekend days!

How to Carve Out The Time For Creativity

I hope I’ve inspired you with a look at what you can achieve if you put a little effort into something every day. Remember, it’s not the amount of time per session that’s important, but the frequency of those sessions. Now let’s brainstorm some ideas for finding that time.

First, the time has to be right for you. When are you most creative? In the morning? Try waking up half an hour earlier to have some “you-time” before the rest of your day begins. Are you more creative at night? Maybe stay up half an hour later, or start multi-tasking. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching your favorite show in the evening, have your sketchbook or notebook beside you, and do some doodling or writing while watching your show, or even just during the commercials. An hour-long show has about 20 minutes worth of commercials, so that’s almost your entire half an hour right there, and you won’t even miss any of your show!

Aside from adding extra time to your day, look at your daily routines and try to find some down-time where you’re not doing anything productive, and instead of having that be “dead” time, try to insert some bursts of creativity. Maybe you have to commute to your job, so do some writing or drawing on the train/subway/taxi/carpool. Maybe you’re meeting a friend for lunch/coffee and they’re running a bit late. Pull out your sketchbook and do a little doodle for the extra 10/15/20 minutes you’re waiting for them. This is one reason I love having my Midori notebook in my purse at all times. It’s got my schedule and a mini sketchbook in it, complete with drawing inspirations, so I’m ready to grab my pencil and do a little drawing whenever I find myself with unexpected downtime.

These little opportunities and pockets of time really add up, which is something I’m becoming more and more aware of as a new mom.  At first I felt like I had no more free time, as my little guy kept me busy all day long.  But then I started noticing that there are little chunks of time here and there when he can be on his own and drink his bottle, play with a few toys, have a snack, and he doesn’t need me to be devoting 100% of my time to him at that moment.

And if all else fails, these little humans can’t stay awake forever. Bedtime is coming.

What do you do to find time in your day for creativity? Share you tips in a comment below, and thanks so much for stopping by! Till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3


Artist-Inspired Halloween Costume Ideas

Hi friends! Happy Monday! I wanted to share just a fun post today with you guys, as I was browsing the Internet for some halloween costume ideas, and found these really fun art-related costumes. So if you’re looking for a fun costume for halloween, check these out! Click on the picture to be taken to their sources, enjoy!

Roy Lichtenstain’s “Oh Jeff”:

The original artwork
The original artwork
The awesome costume!
The awesome costume!

There’s step by step instructions, supplies, and photos to create this entire look for yourself! I think it’s so clever and fun! And the best part is, even if no one “gets” what you’re really dressed up as, they’ll simply think you’re a comic book character or some pop-art/Andy Warhol creation.  So it’s a pretty safe costume if you’re worried that going too “artsy” will leave people not understanding what you’re dressed up as!

…and if you simply want to go the comic book route, there’s this:

Pop Art/ Comic Book Makeup Tutorial:

It's not a drawing, it's Promise Phan!
It’s not a drawing, it’s Promise Phan!

Promise Phan is popular on YouTube for doing “transformations”, changing herself to look like different famous people, and even your favorite Disney characters. In this video she shows how to make yourself look like a comic book drawing! You can watch the video here:

I’m subscribed to Promise, and I love watching her videos, so as soon as I knew I was going to write this post, I tracked down this video and knew I had to include it!

…so next let’s talk about some adorable baby costumes! I’ve got one for both a little girl and boy.

Frida Kahlo

So cute!
                                            So cute!

Oh my gosh, how adorable is that little girl?! The website gives full supplies needed to create this look for your little one!

Vincent Van Gogh

This is too cute!
                              This is too cute!

Haha, I love this.  There’s something about putting facial hair on babies that is too funny.  Again, you can click the picture to be taken to the site where you’ll find all you need to make this costume.

So that’s it for now, guys! I hope you got a little kick out of this post, I thought these costumes were so clever! What are you being for halloween?? Let me know in a comment below, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3