Have you ever wanted to make something but weren’t feeling the whole plan-gather-execute process? Sometimes you don’t have the time or the energy to make a Project with a capital “P” – you just want the creative equivalent of comfort food. Yep, me too!
Digital Printables to the Rescue
Times like these are perfect for a digital printable project. Choose something that suits your fancy – I like tags and cards myself. Then, print, embellish as much or as little as you feel and Poof! You have a finished project!
It’s easy to make a printed tag or card super fancy with glitter, dimensional embellishments like crystals and stickers finished off with a glamorous organdy ribbon tie. It makes a great little gift all by itself.
The finished tags and cards are especially nice to have on hand for impromptu gifts or add-ons to something larger. They make practically anything more special.
What do you do when you want to create, but don’t have the juice for a big project? Drop me a note – I’d love to hear from you!
Do you sometimes wonder what it would be like to have your own shop? A little creative business of your own? Sort of a secret dream you haven’t told anyone about?
I’ll bet I got pretty close to the truth there. Most every creative person I’ve talked to has a dream of their own Creative Tiny Business. Something small, but fulfilling; manageable and sustainable.
Creative businesses are one of my passions. And, to help creative folks like you make and sell better things, I’m launching a new project to help you start your own creative tiny business. It’s going to be in early release soon!
In the meantime, if you’ve got business dreamy questions, head over to the Shiny Designs Facebook group and catch me there. I would love to hear from you!
How do you feel about stencils? Personally, I’m a fan!
Stencils add amazing complexity and patterns to your work without hours of numbing effort. By choosing your stencils carefully, you lay the foundation of a coherent and beautiful finished work. Patterns and textures work together to allow you to build on your own personal imagery and express your distinct style.
So, how do you combine different stencils so they work together instead of being a hot mess?
I limit myself to three stencils and usually only one or two. Too many patterns – especially if they’re distinctive – starts to look mechanical instead of artful. Sometimes one really nice pattern is all you need. I like this brocade pattern and use it frequently.
When combining stencils, look for contrast in the sizes of the elements and the quality of the patterns and textures: linear vs organic, regular vs random, etc.
I like to use only parts of the stencil pattern on the paper. I’ll usually choose a portion of the pattern and place it carefully. Then, shift the stencil and use another part somewhere else on the paper. I seldom stencil the entire surface with any one pattern because it’s more interesting and visually appealing to have the patterns appear and disappear.
As you place your stencils, look for chances to highlight the focal point of your work and parts of the stencils your eye is drawn to. If you’re layering contrasting stencils, test the layered effect before you commit to your work because it doesn’t always look like you expect!
My experience is a lighter hand applying paint is best for several reasons. One is that it helps keep the stencil edges crisp. More than that, I like to keep my stenciling subtle, both in color and depth of paint. The muted low-key background effect adds a lot of interest without standing out. My favorite tool for paint application is the humble cosmetic sponge.
As you apply your paint, try for a sheer application so that the background is barely covered. Choose colors that are similar to the background or a little lighter or darker to help sink the stenciling into it. As you stencil, you can even wipe away part of it while it’s still damp to help blend it even more.
Stencils: Your Secret Tool Kit
I use stencils extensively in my mixed media work. And, I’m currently experimenting with ways to incorporate them into watercolor artwork and even three dimensional works like art dolls. They really are a secret treasure to solve boring art!
Here are some of my favorite stencils from the shop. All of these are sturdy, reusable Mylar, made in the US and in the studio, ready to ship.
Are you curious? If you’re like most deeply creative people, your curiosity, about everything, knows no bounds – even though you might keep your relentless questions quiet from time to time to not annoy your friends.
Curiosity is the gateway to creativity. Asking questions is the natural way to move forward. After all, the creative process itself is often sparked with the question “What if?”
Harness Your Curiosity
Curiosity is a great start but to really make creative gains, you’ll want to direct and amplify that force. Here are 3 essential practices to develop your creative curiosity.
Keep a Journal
Yes, we’ve all heard this time and again, but it really is the beginning of a meaningful creative practice. It doesn’t matter if your notebook is plain or fancy, lined or unlined or bound or loose pages – it only matters that you carry it with you and use it regularly. Don’t worry about being “writerly” or “artistic” either. Use it for everything that strikes your fancy.
Mine are usually smaller notebooks that I can carry with me that I use to make notes, sketches, lists (sometimes it’s just my shopping list) and even attach clippings and other scraps that interest me. The pages are a mash-up of my daily life and aren’t very often beautiful, but they’re mine. This is the one I’m working in right now:
Of course, asking questions is the realm of the curious but how often and how deeply do you really question what you encounter everyday?
Start a new page in your notebook for something in your daily life – say your commute to work or a project you’re working on – and ask the basic questions: Who is involved? What happens? When does it happen? Where does it happen? How does it happen? and Why does it happen?
Don’t be overly concerned with the answers as you write and try for multiple answers even if they seem silly. Make sketches or lists or margin notes if you like, the point is to become more familiar with questioning. Bonus points for finding answers that move you forward!
Try New Things
Do you have a daily routine? Most of us do and some parts are useful and necessary like brushing your teeth every day. But, other parts are ripe for change. Trying new things doesn’t have to mean big, bold life altering changes.
Start small: vary the route you take on a routine errand or to work, try a new brand of food, personal items or art supplies on your next shopping trip, listen to a different station for unfamiliar music, etc. Make a point to change something regularly and see how it affects your creativity.
Creativity is in the Questions
While curiosity drives creativity, it can be hard to hold on to that questioning spirit when the world around us wants to get to the right answer without enjoying the creative questioning that takes time to unfold a truly new answer. What ways do you keep asking your creative questions? Let me know – I’d love to hear!
*This notebook is covered in the Shiny Designs Signature Print and has both lines and space for drawings. That’s hard to find, so I made this one! Grab yours from Amazon here!
I was looking at a mixed media artist pack the other day and thought to myself – actually I just said it out loud because I talk to myself pretty much all day – you know what would make these even more awesome? More Creative Stuff!
So, that’s just what I did. I added more papers and more cool studio stuff to each kit so you get over 50% more creative goodness for the same price!
I still hand paint, pick and curate the items in the kit so they’re a sampling of the fine and unusual offerings from my personal stash. And, I’ll probably talk to myself, and you too, as I choose and coordinate your kit.
Go ahead and grab one today and make amazing things with it – I know you can!