Ep 25 Why Creative New Year Resolutions are Not Always a Good Idea

Ep 25 Creative New Years Resolutions Bad Idea

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Today’s episode is all about Creative New Years Resolutions. Don’t you just love them?

Why is it that after chugging down a load of wine and eating too much chocolate we feel that we need to make a resolution? Oh yeah, maybe it’s just that we’ve chugged down a load of wine and eaten too much chocolate.
Anyway, allow yourself to breathe and let that top button pop open, as we don’t think you should be making resolutions. However, we do think there are better ways we can make positive changes and build those creative habits too. One of your resolutions was going to be to be more creative or draw more, wasn’t it? And to listen to more podcasts?

Some of the New Year’s Resolution ideas we discuss:

  • Why you might make New Year’s resolutions in the heat of the moment (after wine) rather than thinking through what’s actually achievable.
  • You’re not taking into account what is really doable, how much time you really have to dedicate to it
  • How having goals rather than resolutions is more achievable
  • How chunking down your goals can help
  • How doing smaller challenges and reviewing them might be a better option

So get out that last chocolate you’ve been eyeing up (it’s bound to be a coffee cream – yuk) and savour it while you listen to the dulcet tones of Sandra and I nattering on about New Year’s resolutions.

This week’s creative question

Creative with a pencil question

What is the most creative thing you can think of doing with a pencil, other than to write or draw?
Now you may have trouble hearing the question on the podcast as I was practically crying as Sandra read it out, and she was too when she realised how funny it sounded. (Ahem… Let’s keep those answers clean shall we?)

The best answers will be read out on the next joint podcast.

You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.

join the Kick in the Creatives Facebook Group

If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.

What’s the Hardest Part of Learning to Draw?

There will be lot’s of you answering that question with things like ‘Glass’, ‘Portraits’ or ‘Perspective’… But the fact is, the hardest part of learning to draw is picking up the pencil and starting!

There is this inbuilt fear of failure in all of us and of course, none of us wants to draw something that turns out looking like a 6 year old drew it! But the fact is, that when some of us pick up a pencil for the first time in years, we literally are picking up where we left off as a child… So, of course, we can’t draw a masterpiece yet!

The hardest part of learning to draw aside from starting, is being able to look at our pitiful attempts and try again anyway. Only those people who look beyond their initial drawings and simply move on to the next, will go on to improve.

You can only get better

However bad you think you are right now, if you treat each bad drawing as a new lesson learned and continue to practice on a daily basis, you can only get better. And by doing this, it is very possible that in time you will be very good at it indeed!

To get through these initial stages takes two things. Character and determination. Do you have these things?

Ep 24 Why Too Much Social Media Can Kill Your Creative Confidence

Ep24 Creative Podcast Too-Much-Social-Media-Creative-Confidence

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Today’s episode is all about why too much social media can kill your creative confidence. Of course, social media can be a great place to share your work and meet like-minded people. However, along with the good side of social media, scrolling through too much of it can be a sure way of feeling inferior and it can even end up destroying your confidence.

We talk about how what you see on social media is not necessarily the whole truth. Images can be manipulated and filtered and you don’t often see the background struggle behind what’s going on. So you might see images of friends smiling and looking like they are having an amazing time at a barbecue. But what you don’t see is that all the food was burned (or maybe that’s just our barbecues) and the actual party was quite dull. It’s just that no-one is going to post an “I’m bored to death” photo online.

In general, it’s the same with art and creativity. We mostly share the work we like, not the pieces that look like you were using a wobbly jelly pencil (In case you were wondering, I don’t have a link where you can buy one of those). We only see a finished piece of art. We don’t see the bin full of scrunched up paper or the artist’s strop when arms were thrown into the air shouting “I’m crap at this!” prior to creating the finished piece. When I created a timelapse drawing of a 10-minute sketch of Danny Gregory, I drew him about 10 times. Plus I forgot to press record or set the timer once or twice. Only then did I think I had a reasonable version that we could use to promote our podcast interview with him. You didn’t see the previous 9 attempts – poor Sandra did!

Some of the social media creative confidence issues we discuss:

  • How easy it is to feel intimidated by other artists on social media
  • Why you shouldn’t take everything at face value (retouched eye bags)
  • How we can use social media for inspiration and encouragement
  • How timelapse can distort our view on the ease of creation
  • How we can curb our social media addiction
  • How we should compare our own work with our past work rather than anyone else’s

Apps we mention on the Show

This week’s creative question

Your in a plain white, empty room with no windows. All you have is a pen and a sketchbook. What do you draw?Creative question of the week

The best answers will be read out on the next joint podcast.

You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.

join the Kick in the Creatives Facebook Group

If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.

How to Create a Hands-Free Sketching Platform for Drawing Outside

When our Out and About October Challenge was about to start I wondered if there was any way to make a hands free platform for sketching outside. I had a look around and saw that there were a couple of sketching bags which could also act as something to lean on. However, they were a little expensive for someone who only occasionally sketches outside.

Was it possible to make something to do a similar job?

Take a look at the videos below to see how I made an outside hands free sketching platform.

Hands-free sketching option 1

hands free urban sketching

  • Chopping board with 2 holes drilled in the corners
  • 2 x Carabiner Clips
  • Pipe Insulation
  • Velcro
  • Duct tape
  • Bag or laptop shoulder strap

Hands-free sketching option 2

hands-free-sketching-outside

  • Rectangular Cooling Rack
  • Old plastic folder
  • Pipe Insulation
  • Velcro
  • Duct tape
  • Bag or laptop shoulder strap

Have fun, but don’t blame me when you’ve got nowhere to cool the bread you baked, and nowhere to cut it!

Ep 23 Time Management for Creatives

Ep 23 Time Management for Creatives

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Today’s episode is all about how time management for creatives. One of the common things we hear that creatives struggle with is finding the time to create something, whether it’s finding time to write each day, or time to draw or paint. In this podcast, we discuss ways that you can make the best use of whatever time you have to keep your creative projects alive.

One of the problems many people have is that creative time ends up at the bottom of their list of priorities. Even below those important things… like stuffing your face with that last piece of cheese in the fridge before anyone else had time to pinch it.

Some of the time management ideas we discuss:

  • How to curb your use of social media
  • How to fit your creative passion into small chunks of time
  • The Pomodoro time management technique
  • Taking the resistance out of creating by having your creative materials at hand
  • Getting up an hour earlier each day – That evil Sandra tortured me and challenged me to do this for a couple of weeks a while back.
  • Using waiting time (waiting rooms, picking up kids) for creativity
  • Scheduling ideas to build a balance of work, life and creativity into your day.

Our lovely followers on Facebook and Instagram also had some great suggestions for time management which we read out on the podcast. Thank you for all your suggestions

Apps we mention on the Show

  • Todoist – A To do App that Sandra and I use for Kick in the Creative
  • Trello – another To-Do app
  • Focus – Social Media and Website Blocker for Mac. If you are on PC try Cold Turkey and for phones and tablets Freedom (Mac, PC iOS) or Antisocial (Android).

December Challenges

We also give a quick mention of some of the exciting creative challenges we’ve got coming up for December

  • Doodling December – Create a doodle a day for the month of December.
  • Digital Art December – Create and share a piece of digital art, every day throughout the month of December.
  • Quick Kick December  – We are challenging you to sketch something ‘festive’ every day (in 15 minutes or less).
  • Kick Time December – Create one piece of art, writing, poetry, craft using December’s prompt trouble

This week’s creative question

What is a subject you most avoid in your work and why?

what subject do you avoid painting

The best answers will be read out on the next joint podcast.

You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.

join the Kick in the Creatives Facebook Group

If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.

Should you Quit a Creative Challenge?

Quit creative challenge

One thing I’ve noticed about creative challenges is that everyone starts strong and keen. But then gradually some people drop out as life gets in the way, or that initial burst of enthusiasm fades. But if you’ve made the decision to start a challenge, shouldn’t you make sure you see it through? Even if that means missing the odd day or finishing late?

I think the answer is, ‘it depends’. I’m answering this through recent personal experience. First, you need to work out why you picked the challenge in the first place. Was it for fun, to improve your skills, to build a portfolio or other reasons? Whatever it was, try and work out why your enthusiasm for it has now dwindled.

taking part creative challenge

Time/other things getting in the way

Sometimes when life gets busy, your creative time might be the thing that you drop. Work out if there is a way to make your challenge easier. Could you leave your materials all out ready, could you make time in your lunch hour or during a commute? Could you just spend 10 minutes each day on your project instead of the 30 mins or hour you planned?

You Chose the wrong challenge – to narrow, too broad, too difficult

Perhaps you’ve chosen a challenge that is too limiting for you creatively. For example, imagine you had set yourself a challenge to paint a bird each day, but after a week found yourself getting bored of the subject. Could you change the challenge to be animals instead to give yourself more scope?

Maybe your challenge is too broad which leads you to indecision. For example, you may have decided to draw outside every day. You then can’t decide what you should draw, there are so many options. In this case, you might want to limit yourself to trees, or buildings or whatever your favourite subject is.

Another possibility is that the challenge is too difficult for your current level. Maybe you’ve set yourself a challenge to paint with acrylics every day, but trying to paint a full picture with your lack of experience is proving difficult. In this case, maybe it would be better to take a step back, watch a few tutorials and work on one or two paintings over the month rather than one a day

You’re not happy with the work you’re creating

If you’re not happy with the work you are creating, you need to look at why. If it’s because you are comparing yourself to more experienced artists, remember that they were once where you are now and the only way to get better, is to keep practising. If it’s because it’s a new medium or subject to you, it could be a case of just sticking with it while you’re in beginner phase. Everyone has to go through this phase. Like I mentioned above it could be a case of taking a step back, producing slightly less, but following some tutorials over the challenge.

You’re just feeling lazy

We’ve all been there, sometimes Netflix and the sofa is far more appealing than working on your creative challenge. I remember taking part in the 100-day project. Some days the last thing I felt like doing was creating another cartoon. But I knew there was no real reason, I was just feeling lazy and couldn’t be bothered. This is the time to push through and create something. It may not be your best work, but you’ve kept that chain of creating going. If you do fall off the wagon and miss a day, it’s not the end of the world. It’s a bit like a diet, if you eat something bad one day, just forgive yourself, and carry one eating well the next.

You’re just not enjoying it

There are times when you may find you are just not enjoying your challenge. This could be for any of the reasons I have already mentioned. When you feel like this push on and try the next day, just to make sure it’s not just an off day. If you keep getting the feeling that you SHOULD be creating, rather than you want to be creating it might be time to take a short break and then come back fresh and ready to work on a new challenge that you’ll enjoy more.

I recently went through this with our Out and About October Challenge. Not only had I set myself the task to draw outside or in public every day, but also that I would video myself every day too. After only a few days I started to dread it, Not only do I find drawing in public a little awkward, but I then had to video myself too. I was worried that I should be setting an example, and so shouldn’t quit. After creating a bad drawing that I did as quickly as possible to get it done, I realised there was no point in continuing. I might have ended up sending myself into another art block. People in our Facebook Group were supportive too. So I quit and I felt much better. I will be drawing again soon though.

I hope you don’t have to quit your creative challenge, but don’t feel pressured. Only do something that makes you happy. That’s what art and creativity should be all about. So just have fun and if you can’t complete one of the challenges, then just feel good that you have created more than you would have normally.

Ep 22 Creative Chat with Artist Jon Burgerman

Podcast Interview Jon Burgerman Artist Doodler

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This week’s guest is artist Jon Burgerman. I think we’ve mentioned Jon in nearly every joint podcast episode we’ve done so far. But if you haven’t heard of him you should definitely check out some of his work.

Jon was born in the UK but moved to  New York City in 2010. His art has a doodle like quality about it. What I like about his work is that it seems to be very much about play and experimentation.

Jon’s work exists in many forms including canvases, murals, sculpture, toys, apparel, design, print and even tatoos. He also does some really funny animation and video projects.

As well as writing and illustrating books, teaching on Skillshare and his other projects Jon has also collaborated with some very high profile brands including CocaCola, Samsung, Nintendo, Nike and Sony.

John talks to us about his artistic life and how he thinks you develop an artist style. He shares a few of his fun creative projects that he has done on the subway, which he does spontaneously. The projects start because he is perhaps bored, or feeling mischievous or perhaps just spots something he finds interesting.

We hope you enjoy the show.

The video that Sandra mentions in the podcast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=UIjGLK3Hzr4

Jon’s Books:

You can find Jon’s Books on Amazon, they include:

Books on his art:
Pens are my Friends (I love this one)

Colouring books such as:
Jon Burgerman’s Burgerworld: A Colouring Book

Creativity and Drawing Books such as
It’s Great to Create: 101 Fun Creative Exercises for Everyone

Children’s books such as:
Splat!

Jon’s Skillshare Courses

Digital Illustration: Doodles to Designs

Creative Exercises: 6 Prompts to Jumpstart Your Next Project

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and our newsletter so you get notified of all our challenges.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you use the link to make a purchase we will receive a very small commission, without any extra cost to you. This will help to support our website and podcast. Thank you so much.

Which Watercolour or Mixed Media Sketchbook is Right for You?

watercolor mixed media painting

If you’ve been working with mixed media or watercolours in an ordinary cartridge paper sketchbook, you’re probably finding that the papers are buckling with the water. Consider switching to a mixed media or watercolour sketchpad, which will prevent this from happening so much.

The weight of your paper

Generally, watercolour and mixed media papers are heavier than standard sketching paper and can take a lot more punishment. If you choose a watercolour sketchbook with a weight of 200gsm or more you should certainly get better results. The heavier the paper the less it will wrinkle up when you apply water or wet media.

The type of binding of your sketchbook

Along with the weight of your paper, think about the type of binding you would prefer. If you like to keep your sketches all together, then a good choice would be either a ringbound watercolour sketchbook or a hardback one. Ringbound sketchbooks mean that you also have the ability to tear a page out without ruining the rest of the book. They are also good for working outside, whereas a hardback one takes up twice the space when it’s open. However, with a hardback sketchbook, you can work across the spreads to create panoramic sketches.

If you like the ability to tear out your drawings after you’ve finished them, glued pads might be a good option for you.

Choosing a paper surface texture

What sort of surface texture do you prefer? You can choose from hot pressed which is smooth and good for detailed work. There’s cold pressed (also known as NOT) a medium texture paper. You can also get a rough texture paper, which might work well if you want to paint loose landscapes allowing the texture to show through.

Choosing the size of your watercolour/mixed media sketchbook

Where you are going to sketch will probably influence the size of your sketchbook. For example, on holiday recently, I took a small A6 sketchbook that fitted in my pocket for a chilly morning on the beach. Back at the holiday house, I worked in a larger A4 watercolour sketchbook as space was not an issue.

You don’t have to stick to white paper

You can also get tinted (pastel shades) watercolour paper and toned mixed media paper which I will talk more about later.

My favourite watercolour sketchbooks

moleskine watercolour sketchbook seawhite Hahnemuhle

Moleskine Watercolour sketchbooks

My personal favourite hardback watercolour sketchbooks are made by Moleskine. They have a very slightly off-white paper with lovely round corners with 60 pages. The paper is 200gsm cold pressed/NOT (medium texture) surface. It has a bound cardboard cover which is black and shiny with a slight texture (a leather-like look). It has an elastic enclosure to hold the pages together so they don’t bend in transport. At the back, there is a pocket that you can store things in if you wish.

Buy from Amazon

Also very similar –

Hahnemuhle Watercolour Paper Sketchbook

60 pages, 200gsm, which is available in textures fine and rough. This sketchbook is similar to the Moleskine but has a bound cardboard cover covered with a black linen-like material. I’m not quite so keen on this cover as I prefer the ability to wipe the cover if I spill paint on it by mistake.

Buy from Amazon

Seawhite Watercolour Travel Journal

60 pages, 200gsm, NOT finish watercolour paper (slight texture). Another sketchbook that’s similar to the Moleskine, although I think the Moleskine cover appears slightly better in quality.

Buy from Amazon

I also like the A4 watercolour Journal from Moz Art

Moz Art watercolour paper

Moz Art sells a really economical A4 watercolour pad. It has 50 Sheets (100 pages) of hot pressed (smooth) paper with a weight of 220gsm. It has a blue linen hardback cover with an elastic band to keep your work safe. What’s neat about this watercolour sketchbook is that it has a perforation near the spine, so you can easily tear a page out if you want.

White mixed media sketchbooks I suggest

white mixed media paper

Canson Imagine Mixed Media 200gsm paper

This is a natural white, A4 mixed media pad including 50 sheets (100 pages) of paper. Glued on the short edge, it’s a smooth paper that’s very economical.

Buy from Amazon

Also very similar –

Clairefontaine Paint’On A5 Multi-Technique Pad

40 Sheets (80 pages), 250gsm. Glued on the short edge, this is a smooth white paper that’s also fairly cheap to use.

Buy from Amazon

Love these tinted watercolour pads

There is something lovely about using tinted/toned papers which really make your highlights ping.

Curtisward Bockingford tinted watercolour paper

bockinford tinted watercolour paper

Bockingford makes a sketchbook which contains tinted watercolour paper in mixed pastel shaded. Size 19x28cm 300 gsm cold pressed (medium texture) 10 sheets of paper.

Buy from Amazon

Toned mixed media papers I use

toned mixed media paper

Both Clairfontaine and Strathmore produce tan and grey toned mixed media papers that are really nice to use. They can stand a fair amount of water and have a nice smooth surface. Strathmore paper is slightly heavier, but seems a little harder to get hold of in the UK and is more expensive per sheet than Clairfontaine.

Clairefontaine Paint’On A5 Multi-Technique Pad

250 gsm, 30 Sheets – tan smooth paper.

Buy from Amazon

Strathmore Toned Mixed Media Paper

300gsm, 15 sheets – grey or tan smooth paper.

Buy from Amazon

Don’t buy sketchbooks that look so good you’re scared to use them

Sitting in my art drawer is a Khadi handmade watercolour sketchbook. It’s been sitting there for nearly a year now. When I bought it I had only recently started drawing by hand again and it felt too precious to use. Don’t make the same mistake that I did!

Which watercolour or mixed media sketchbook will you choose?

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you use the link to make a purchase we will receive a very small commission, without any extra cost to you. This will help to support our website and podcast.

Ep 21 Recognising and Dealing with a Creative Block

Ep 21 Art Podcast Creative Block

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In today’s episode, we talk about how to recognise and deal with a creative block. And, more importantly, why do we even have them?

And it comes at a good time because both myself and Sandra have been through one quite recently.

It seems that just about every Artist out there goes through this at some point, if not a couple of times a year and it is all part of being a Creative. But knowing that doesn’t always make it any easier to deal with.

Amongst our normal sidetracking chatter, including Sandra getting the completely wrong idea when I mentioned “Idea Sex” we discuss the following things.

Some of the things we discussed:

  • Some of the causes of a creative block
  • Warning signs that you are having a creative block
  • Ideas to help get you out of a creative block
  • Why you should try not to worry too much about your creative block

We both share what some of the causes of our creative blocks were and the things that helped us to get over them. Along with that, we mention some of the fantastic tips that you suggested on our Facebook Page, Group and on Instagram.

November Challenges

We also give a quick mention of some of the exciting creative challenges we’ve got coming up for November

  • Linovember – A lino print challenge (or another type of printing if you prefer – got any potatoes handy?)
  • Quick Kick November – Draw using a brush and ink (or paint if you don’t have ink)
  • Kick Time November – Create one piece of art, writing, poetry etc, etc using the prompt during the month
  • Kick Collage – Use collage every day in your work, this can be pure collage or you can paint or draw over a collaged surface.

This week’s creative question

Is Creativity something that we are born with or is it something we can learn?

Creativity Question

The best answers will be read out on the next joint podcast.

You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.

join the Kick in the Creatives Facebook Group

If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.

When does Harmless Copying become Plagiarism?

One of the best ways to learn how to draw is by studying the techniques of other artists.

By looking carefully at their mark making methods and practicing them ourselves, we can learn so much. In fact, a really great way of getting to understand how the mind of an Artist works, is to have a go at copying their work as closely as possible.

But When does Harmless Copying become Plagiarism?

The difference between copying someone else’s work in order to try to learn new techniques, and out and out plagiarism is huge. There is no harm in copying something you find online and even posting it yourself, as long as you make it clear that you have done so and that you credit the original Artist… And if you don’t know who the Artist is, then it’s still important to say where you found your reference. If you don’t do this, or worse still, you pass it off as your own work (plagiarism), you are not only doing yourself harm, but also the original artist.

What’s to Gain by Copying someone else’s Art?

Copying is a wonderful way to learn from others, but ultimately most artists want to find their own style… A style that makes them easily recognisable from other artists. So have fun, copy, learn, but then use what you have learned to improve your own work. This way you can be truly proud and say ‘I drew that’.

Happy creating!

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