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So you want to create art? Become a true artist? Maybe you thought of going to art school or university? Sometimes we get blocked. Maybe life gets a little hectic. Maybe we don’t feel good enough. Maybe we feel stuck in the same old routine. I know that once I find something that works that I love, I tend to stick with it for months at a time, creating a large number of pieces using the same technique because it works and it’s exciting. That excitement eventually wears off and I end up feeling a little bored and stuck.  

Before you spend tons of money on expensive art classes, try these 6 steps. The 6 steps on the next page are what I use to create amazing art pieces and continue creating!

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6. Revisit old materials

Go art supply shopping in your own closet. If you’ve been making art for long enough and are a bit of a packrat like me, you have to have accumulated a handful of supplies you used that one time and left untouched because they didn’t feel quite right in your hand.

I have a set of gouache that I bought for a class a few years ago and never touched again that I recently started using again. Instead of painting with it (which I found incredibly frustrating) I’ve started to use it to draw, dipping a tiny brush in it as if it’s ink. There’s something magical about finding a way to make a tricky material finally work.

5. Revisit REALLY old materials

When was the last time you tried drawing with crayons? Or markers? Maybe even try picking up a coloring book - not one of those intimidatingly beautiful adult coloring books, but a kids coloring book.

Simply holding these materials again should spark something inside of you. There’s no pressure to make something incredible when you’re using such playful materials. It also serves as a reminder that art is allowed to be fun if you want it to be.

I know how easy it is to get stuck in your head with a million and one thoughts about what your art is doing and what it all means, but those thoughts so easily hinder production. It’s important to allow yourself to enjoy creating.

4. Create restrictions

I know, I know. It doesn’t sound too creative, but trust me when I tell you that restrictions allow so much room for the most exciting discoveries to happen. Art making is tricky. You’re allowed to do anything.

You could create anything you could ever imagine. That’s a little terrifying. When you set yourself a few guidelines to abide by, your brain does this awesome thing where it starts realizing different and exciting ways to do the same old thing. Rules like using just one color or creating one subject or only using one brush. Something new always begins to unfold.

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3. Paint or draw with a friend

Invite a friend over or better yet, pack up your supplies and head outside. Hand over your usual supplies and have them paint something. Give them restrictions if they’re nervous.

Paint with them so they don’t feel like they’re being watched. But definitely, pay attention. Seeing how another person chooses to create, especially someone who doesn’t do this very often is such an exciting thing.

To see how they hold a paintbrush, where they choose to begin on a page. Getting outside of your own head and learning how another person uses your materials is bound to have you thinking about things in a different way. At the very least it’s sure to be fun.

2. New materials

This is the most trustworthy trick that never fails me. Using a material for the first time always gets me excited to make new things.

If all else fails, go get that one material you’ve been curious about for ages and start experimenting. Thinking outside of conventional art materials is also super helpful. 

Glitter and sand are two materials that I never saw myself using, but were huge turning points in the way I started to create.

1. Artist interviews

Learning about how other artists work is crazy eye-opening. Especially the living ones. There are so many artists living today that have figured out so much from their own experiences that are bound to fuel your own practice as well.

The Jealous Curator has a podcast where she interviews contemporary artists and asks them all about their work and their process. Seeing art that inspires me is one thing, but learning about the stuff that goes on behind the easel is what really makes me want to keep going.

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