A quick perusal of my home or planner might make me look like an artist, but I’m really not. As I mentioned in this post, there are many benefits to practicing creativity. Because of this, we needed a follow-up post for some simple tricks to help YOU embrace your inner creative—even, or especially, if you don’t find yourself artistic.
Look like an artist by doodling:
Anyone can doodle. A-ny-one. Yes, this includes you.
A big part of creating art is embracing the beauty of imperfection. We have to be willing to let ourselves mess up. While I don’t understand it, I can totally relate to the paralysis of looking at a blank piece of paper and thinking, “What can I put here that will actually look good?”
Let go of the desire to look good. Just create and enjoy the process.
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If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know I love Zentangle and began my artsy journey with this book. If you do nothing else artistic in your life, please at least give Zentangle a try. One Zentangle a Day takes you on a 42-day journey of learning and exploring this art style.
Zentangle is all about patterns and repetition. You are instructed to always draw in pen and remind yourself that there are no mistakes—just new patterns.
Instagram is one of the best resources I’ve found for discovering new art tricks. It was there I started seeing comments about sketchnoting. Twenty minutes later I was on Amazon ordering Mike Rohde’s book The Sketchnote Handbook (also available at http://rohdesign.com/books).
Like Zentangle, Sketchnoting is for everyone. Mike shows you how to use simple shapes to make pictures. Mike was kind enough to approve my sharing the following spreads with you. These are some of my favorite from the book, because they highlight how we don’t have to be great to produce art.
Shading is your BFF when it comes to looking like an artist. Rather than do a lot of talking here, I’ll draw it out for you.
First of all, here are some shapes: a square, triangle, sphere, and cylinder. Check out the difference before and after shading:
All you have to do to shade decently (remember, good enough is our motto for these baby steps) is to determine where your light source is coming from. I’m pretty
lazy consistent and almost always have my light come from the left, so my shadows are on the right, as shown above.
Adding borders and corner designs to your doodles can add interest. A border is whatever you make it, but a great place to look for ideas is Pinterest.
Look like an artist with your lettering:
It’s confession time: I’ve always been ashamed of my handwriting. The private school I attended as a preschool and elementary student was very child-focused, which meant I didn’t get a lot of instruction in the printing and penmanship department. My Catholic-school educated (read: crazy-good penmanship) mom tried to remedy this when she began homeschooling, but it wasn’t until I took myself through this Italic Handwriting Series at 14 that my writing became legible. (I’m not even lying. I can’t read my pre-italic writing.)
If you struggle with basic legibility, I cannot overemphasize the benefit of the Italic workbooks. This is a self-taught series, or can be purchased to teach school-age children.
Once your handwriting is legible, faux calligraphy is one of the quickest ways to make it artistic. It looks amazing, but is super simple. All you do is write out your word/sentence/whatever, and then you thicken every down stroke.
Change the mid-line of your letters
Another simple way to produce fun lettering is to change your mid-line. This is the line where you cross your lower-case t’s and f’s and where your capital R curves in and then slants down. Savvy?
So you can raise the mid-line or lower it:
Get ideas from other fonts
I love going to dafont.com and looking at different fonts for ideas. While my goal isn’t to copy that font exactly, it’s a jumping off point. The lettering below found inspiration somewhere, but for the life of me I no longer remember where. I just play around with it until I’m happy with the result.
You can also take your basic printing and make the letters tall and skinny, short and fat, or anything in between. The sky is the limit.
Look like an artist by following these artists:
I would never have dared draw without the inspiration I first found on Pinterest. Baby steps are where it’s at. Listed below are several of my favorite online instructors. The best part? These are sites and feeds you can follow for FREE!
@__apsi__ has lots of beautiful doodles, although there aren’t any actual instructions.
@llamaletters was one of the first letterers I followed. If you check out Cindy’s blog (details below), she offers a free, multi-part course on lettering hacks.
@passion.themed.life offers up a monthly doodle challenge, which is fun…not that I was super faithful…
@randomthingstodraw is a feed of step-by-step tutorials that are super simple.
@therevisionguide is my absolute favorite! I could hang out on their feed all. day. long.
Websites with tutorials:
Both of these websites have courses including video and homework. This is barely scratching the surface of what’s out there, but I wanted to share what I knew and had actually tried.
Are you ready to look like an artist?
Let’s go! Pick up a pen, grab some paper, and make your mark.
BONUS: you can download my handy-dandy Look Like an Artist Cheat Sheet on the Goodies tab. This is a fashionistas-only portion of the site. For access, just subscribe and you’ll get the super-secret password. Cheers!