Making time for yourself is of the utmost importance! But, what do you do when you have the time?
Whether you have no ideas or too many, making an art routine for your creative time can really help.
Oh no! I said routine! That’s almost as bad as the evil word… schedule!
All silliness aside, I know a lot of people, (formally) myself included, who think that you can’t be creative with something as regimented as a schedule or routine. I think this Picasso quote says it best..
“Inspiration exists, but it must find you working.”
Obviously this is not exclusively true, sometimes in the shower or right before you go to sleep you get the best ideas.
However, if you want to be able to be creative when you want to be…this article might help!
Set the mood
Romance your creativity so to speak. Take some time to make yourself comfortable wherever you’re going to be creating.
Light a candle
A wax warmer or oil diffuser will work just as well. Just make sure it’s a scent you really like, I use apple candles or wax melts. Try to use the same scent each time because this can help your routine by triggering an olfactory response.
Put on music
The type doesn’t matter as long as it’s something you like. Classical can be useful because there are no words, but I used to use a whole Kelly Clarkson album on repeat. The words, after the first few times I did this, kinda faded away. Pick something you like, but not love.
Once you pick the album/song and the scent you’re ready to start. Be sure that you don’t use either until you’re sitting down to be creative.
Why do this?
You’re basically making yourself triggers using scents and sounds. This is a powerful tool to unlocking your creativity on cue.
I’ve even used this method for writing.
When you start this routine, you’re going to be setting your brain up to allow creative thought when you smell and listen to your specific triggers.
If you’re not over flowing with creativity after the first couple times you do this that’s perfectly okay! Everyone is different so don’t stress.
If the time you have is a little bit more sporadic like once a week or half-hour here, an hour there it can be a little bit fiddly. As long a you stick to it you’ll eventually form a creative habit.
It took me a full 7 days, dedicating an hour daily, for my creativity to become triggered. This is by no means a standard and you might have it happen sooner or take a bit more time.
Be sure to have a plan for the first 7 days worth of creative time(count only the days you do this). Because if you do nothing or become fustrated you might be triggering a negative response and giving yourself a creative block instead.
We certainly don’t want that.
So, I’ve written down a few ways to get more out of the time you set aside for your art…
Make it as easy as possible to get started!
No matter how much time you have to make art, here are some preparation tips, so you can get started on your art right away.
- Get your area ready, make sure it’s clean.
- Gesso your canvas ahead of time.
Stretch your watercolor paper or tape it down, depending on your preference.
- Participate in an art challenge with prompts, don’t worry about a time frame.
- Use reference photos! You have an artistic license to change anything you like in a photo just make sure it’s from A Creative Commons Source like unsplash or pixabay.
- (psst! There’s a free photo of the month on this site to get you started!)
- Gather your reference photos before you’re ready to start drawing. You don’t want to be looking through your phone or on your computer when you’re supposed to be creating. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge)
- Plan your drawing before you start. Do your sketch ahead of time, this can also help you get excited about working on it.
- Start with a piece you’re already working on. This can take away the “scary” ‘how do I start?’ feeling.
- Follow a short tutorial. Choose an easy one so that you have time to do your art too. It’s just to get you going it doesn’t have to be perfect.
- If you’re doing soft pastels or charcoal, make sure your tortillions and blending stumps are clean and that you have a clean damp cloth to clean your hands with.
- Start with some warm ups
- Have a piece of copy paper near by to cover areas that you’ve worked on so you don’t smudge them or transfer oils(natural or hand cream). This goes for watercolor paper too. Oils and creams can stain the paper, and block the water.
- For acrylic, gouache, or watercolors, get your water ready and make sure there’s enough of it so your not going back and forth to the sink.
- Tip: Get two buckets that you can lift while full. Fill one with clean water, leave the other empty. Dump paint water into the empty bucket and refill with the clean water.
- Most importantly, relax, have fun, and enjoy your creative time.