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!

Some Creative Blocks go Deeper than Others…

Almost every artist I’ve ever spoken to has been through a creative block at some point.

Most often they don’t last for very long. Perhaps you’re simply uninspired and need to re-fill your creative well, or maybe you’re just tired and need to take a break to recharge.

But what if your creative block goes on for much longer… What if the reasons behind it go far deeper… What if you are left wondering…

Will I ever even want to create again?

…In my own experience, making art could be likened to riding waves. When you’re riding that crest, it’s the biggest high you can imagine, but by the very nature of things, it’s only a matter of time before you have to come down… and sometimes to a crushing low. And who knows how long you’ll be struggling to take a breath? But when you finally feel yourself bobbing back to the surface, there’s just no other feeling like it.

There’s no way that anyone who didn’t have a true passion and desire to create, would be able to stick it out for very long. The emotions that come with it can be all-consuming.

This year I went through a very deep block. So deep, that it even scared me a little.

I had to remind myself that blocks do pass… Only this time I needed to do a little soul searching and work out what had been the trigger. Once I realised where it had started, I was able to take the action I needed in order to overcome it. And here I am… completely over my block and loving life in the art studio again.

What Can You Do About It?

The next time you go through a block, you must trust that it will pass. But meanwhile, there are plenty of things you can do to help it pass a lot more quickly.

Tara and I have both been through a block this year. So, it seemed appropriate to make an episode all about how to recognise and deal with a creative block on our Podcast. We’ll be sharing our own experiences and all of the ways we have learned to help get over them.

So, if you have lost your creative mojo, this episode is certainly one to listen out for.

We will be airing it on the 15th October, so if you haven’t already subscribed to the Podcast, I recommend that you do, so you don’t miss it!

Click on the link below to find all of the Podcast episodes…

Ep 20 Creative Chat with Joanna Penn – Writer and Award Winning Creative Entrepreneur

Joanna Penn The Creative Penn - Writer, Author, Podcaster, Creative Entrepreneur

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This weeks guest is Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn. Joanna is an Award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She’s an independent (indie) author and has written 27 books and sold over 500,000 books in 84 countries and 5 languages. And as if that’s not enough, she’s also an international speaker and award-winning creative entrepreneur. Joanna shares the secrets to her success in multiple ways including her award-winning blog and her own Podcast for writers, ‘The Creative Penn’ (spelt with a double n)

A few of the topics we cover in the podcast:

How and why Joanna started writing

In this podcast, Joanna talks about the first non-fiction book she ever published and why she decided to publish it independently. This was well before it was commonplace to do so. Even though financially that first book was not a success, it was successful in terms of how it moved her forward in her career. She talks about how miserable she was in her corporate job and how she knew she had to make a change.

Joanna didn’t believe she could write fiction

You will learn that Joanna didn’t believe she could write fiction. It was only after someone challenged her that she had a block in that area that she created her first novel. She began writing it by taking part in the writing challenge, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Since then her fiction work has gone from strength to strength.

Goal Setting and Advice

Joanne talks about how she sets herself very specific goals, and you can tell by listening to her just how driven she is. Also, her enthusiasm and positivity are infectious. Not only will the writers learn valuable tips on how to build a successful writing career, but much of her advice is applicable to other creatives too.

Connect with Joanna

You can find out more about Joanna at www.thecreativepenn.com where you can also download her free Author 2.0 Blueprint and Email Mini-Course. The blueprint Includes tips on writing fiction and non-fiction, self-publishing, book marketing, and how to make a living with your writing.

Don’t forget to check out her podcast, books and courses too

We really hope you enjoy the show, don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review at  – iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify | RSS


Creative Collaborations

I’d never really thought much about creative collaborations until 2 Creatives in our Kick in the Creative’s Facebook Group collaborated on a piece of work.

Collaborations with Creatives with complementary talents

Kim Lewis (poetry) Kim Hine (painting)

It was a collaboration that happened when Kim Lewis was inspired to write a poem when she saw a painting that Kim Hine had done for our challenge 31 Animals August. Kim Hine loved the poem and decided to combine her image and Kim Lewis’ words into one piece.

Kim Hine Kim Lewis art poetry collaborations

More art and poetry

Devon-based artist Rhian Wyn Harrison collaborated with a poet Becky Nuttall. Rhian said “Becky Nuttall wrote a poem that I then created a piece inspired by it. It was about snails invading the garden at night! It was really fun to do. It was for an exhibition called Words and Pictures. Poets and artists were randomly chosen to work together.”

artist rhian poetry collaboration

Writer and Illustrator collaborations

Mike Young (Youngman Brown) Your Creative Push and his sister Christina Moyer brought their skills together to create a children’s book. Mike, a writer write the book while his sister an elementary art teacher created the illustrations. The Adventures of Tidy, Messy & VeryMessy, is a project that had been in the works for a decade. It finally came together when Christina discovered an art style that she wanted to use for the book.

writer illustrator collaboration

Collaborating for a joint Event

Artist Rhian Wyn Harrison (mentioned above) has also collaborated with her friend Lee Pover, a 3d ceramic artist twice on joint exhibitions. Their latest exhibition in Dartmouth has a common nautical theme which ties it together well. Fish and Ships Twice. Rhian concentrated on seabird/fish artworks to complement the 3D pieces Lee creates. Rhian said, “It worked very well, as not competing like with like styles”

artist rhian whyn harrison collaboration artist rhian gallery collaboration

Collaborations which spur you on

Sandra Busby and I not only collaborate on the Kick in the Creatives Podcast website and Facebook Group, but we’ve also recently co-written a children’s story. We did this in a slightly unusual manner. We started with an overall idea over a tooth fairy who wanted to quit her job. Then we took it in turns to write 250 words at a time, so neither of us ever knew exactly where the story would go next. Without doing this as a collaboration I would have got bored and never finished the story. It was a bit like a gym buddy, those days when you really can’t be bothered, you show up because you’ve agreed on it with your friend.

Visual artists collaborating on joint paintings

My friend and artist Jo Richardson “Two years ago I organized my son’s year group to do a buddy bench, as our school emblem is a dolphin, the sea was the theme. Each of the 109 kids did a part of the painting. Did I show this to you before? We will be coming up with another project this school year for my younger son’s year group, I have a few ideas already!!”

jo richardson student art collaboration

Artist Sheryll Pond “In high school, me and another art student did a huge painting backdrop from Moody Blues cover. It was for a modern dance performance. It was such fun. I’ll always remember that and it would be fun to collaborate on something again.”

It seems to be much more common to work on joint paintings as students. I remember working on a joint mural with 2 other artists when I was at school too. I wasn’t aware that this happened as much with adults, but Morwhenna Woolcock shared a project where a few artists come together to create collaborative paintings.

Collaborative Painting

Collaborative Painting UK facilitates opportunities for groups of artists from different creative backgrounds to work together on producing a single work of art.”
What a cool idea! I really can’t imagine what is would be like to work this way and make one cohesive piece of art, but it would definitely be interesting to try.


Quirky collaborative projects

I have mentioned designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman
on the podcast before. They come together to do all sorts of quirky collaborative projects. One such project was Quotes on Shit.

design collaboration

‘We all use so much shit. We collect shit, buy shit, steal shit, trade shit and then throw shit away. So what happens with all this old shit? Is there a life after it leaves our hands? Shit winds up in our garbage, on our streets, in our landfills, and in our junk shops. We feel bad for this abandoned and rejected shit so we’re rescuing these objects and breathing new life into them by giving them a voice with words. We want to turn old shit into new shit, and give them a second chance to be loved and help find this shit a new home.”

It would be interesting to know if the duo would contemplate doing these sort of projects on their own, or if the fun comes from doing them together? These sort of quirky projects must help them stand out from other designers.

Would you take part in a collaborative creative project?

Keep an eye on our website and sign up for our newsletter for future creative collaboration challenges.

Ep 19 Painting Commissioned Artwork vs Painting for Joy

Ep 19 Painting Commissions Versus Painting for Joy

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In today’s episode, we are talking about painting/drawing for commissions versus painting for joy. Within the idea of paid commissions, we are also including those “jobs” where friends or family ask you to create things for them (we’ve all been there!).

We’ve been thinking about doing this episode for a while. Sandra has done a lot of commissions this year and I’ve also done a tiny commission recently and some in the past. So we thought now was a good time to talk about it. We’ve both recently been having a creative slump too, could that be to do with commissions? We talk about that in this episode.

Meanwhile, Sandra has been continuing with our Early Rise August Challenge to get up an hour earlier to create (rather her than me). She’s been doing a thing called the Miracle Morning which is supposed to “Transform your life” (read that in a deep movie voice) according to the website. I’ve tried it too in the past. Basically, it’s about doing things in the morning  – exercise, meditation etc that set you up well for the day. It’s a great idea in principle, but Sandra has her own ideas for a twist on the theme.

We also talk about how we recently met in person, much to Sandra’s surprise. She knew nothing about it as her husband had arranged it all

Anyway, I digress, back to the art commission’s topic I’m supposed to be writing about.

Here are a few of the things we discussed:

  • When to say yes or no to a commission
  • How to choose which commissions are right for you
  • How commissions can be good for stretching yourself, but how far should you go?
  • Why you’ve got to be careful not to let commissions kill your confidence
  • Things to bear in mind when pricing a commission
  • What happens if it doesn’t work out, and how to do your best to avoid that

Oh, and I delve back into the furthest recess of my mind to doing a few art commissions when I was about 15. I wonder what I bought with the money, maybe it was art stuff, maybe it was a Jackie magazine or a cool cassette tape. Who knows?

This week’s creative question

What’s your favourite art or creative quote and why?

favourite art quote

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.

The Diary of a Procrastinator…



I really want to do some sketching today. I’m definitely going to do it…


Ooh… the book I ordered on sketching has arrived. Yay! I must read it before I start. Then I’ll do some sketching…


I’m feeling really inspired now. I really want to try some of those techniques out. I must just quickly look up the author online first to see if I can find a video demo… Then I’ll do some sketching…


Ooh… This YouTube Video looks really interesting. I’ll quickly just watch that… Then I’ll do some sketching…


Wait a minute… this artist has loads of videos… A whole channel! These are really going to help me. I’ll just watch a few more… Then I’ll do some sketching…


Ooh… That pen he’s using looks really cool. Maybe I should order one. Maybe if I have that very same pen, my drawings will look like that! I’ll just quickly go on Amazon and order one… Then I’ll do some sketching…


Actually, there’s no point in starting now. I need that ‘special pen’! I’ll just wait until I get that… then I’m definitely going to do some sketching…


Ooh, look. Another art book…!

Is this you?

If you recognise yourself in the above, then you might be someone who thinks that they’ve spent half of their day ‘researching’. After all, you read a book about art, you’ve watched a ton of art videos and you’ve even ordered some fancy new art materials. All of this is going to make you a much better artist, right? WRONG!

What you have actually been doing is procrastinating; convincing yourself that by consuming as much art as you can from external sources, it’s going to turn you into the artist you want to be. Again… WRONG!

This is not uncommon, but it’s a bad habit and one you will need to break if you want to get better, faster.

By procrastinating like this, you are denying yourself hours of real practice. These are hours you will never get back. And I guarantee that the ‘fancy pen’ you just ordered will NOT make you a better artist! All you need is a pen. Any old pen. Just a Bic will do, some paper and a little time… You know? The time you just wasted?

So. The next time you get some time to sketch… SKETCH!!  Even if the result is bad, you will have learned a lot more from actively doing it, than you would have learned by watching that video!

There is, of course, a place for videos and art books. They are a fantastic way of picking up new ideas and techniques… but only AFTER you have spent the time actually doing it yourself.

Remember. The quickest way to learn is in this order:

  1. Sketch
  2. Sketch
  3. Sketch
  4. Read art books and watch art tutorials


Sandra x

Ep 18 Creative Chat with Artist and Illustrator Jake Parker (Inktober)

Podcast Ep 18 Jake Parker Artist Inktober Challenge

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This week’s guest is Jake Parker. Jake is an illustrator, writer, and teacher based in Utah. Jake has worked on everything from animated films to comics to picture books since 1999. He’s lived in six states, working at the best studios with some of the most amazing and talented people in the country. Now Jake freelances out of his own studio in Utah.

Jake started his professional drawing career straight out of school, and in the podcast, he explains how he got that first break which kick-started his career. Since then he has worked for many high profile clients including Disney, Warner Brothers and Google.

Jake’s work has been published countless times in way too many places to list here, but despite that, he might be best known to our listeners as the founder of the hugely popular October drawing challenge ‘Inktober’.

A few of the topics we cover in the podcast:

Talent versus learning how to draw

Jake talks about whether he thinks that some people are just born with a natural talent, or whether it’s possible for anyone to learn how to draw

Dealing with Creative block

Jake goes deeply into the kind of things that can cause a creative block and how to deal with it by filling up your creative bank account

Inktober Drawing Challenge

In the podcast, Jake explains how he started the popular drawing challenge Inktober to improve his brush pen skills and how the art challenge has grown ever since.

Kickstarter for Art Projects

Jake produces his own drawing and comic books some of which were funded via KickStarter including his latest graphic novel – The Star Seed.

Other projects funded on Kickstarter

The Antler Boy and Other Stories


Artists that Jake admires

Two of the artists that Jake admires that he mentions in the podcast are Aaron Draplin (Graphic Designer) and William Joyce (children’s book illustrator)

Teaching Art and Illustration Online

As well as producing his own amazing artwork Jake also teaches art and illustration on the online platform he co-founded with Will Terry called SVSLearn.com. Here you can learn anything from portrait painting to children’s illustration.

We really hope you enjoy the show.

Even if You Think You Can’t Draw You Can Do This

Fun doodling exercises for you to try

If you don’t feel like you can draw or simply want some fun exercises to experiment with here’s a couple of things to try.

Doodle Art Idea 1

Take some coloured or Kraft paper and cut or rip 2 or three random shapes that will fit on a page of your sketchbook. Arrange them until you get a composition you like and then stick them down. Repeat this and create a few more pages.

messed up collaged pages

Then choose one of the pages. Look at the shapes, what do they remind you of? If you can’t see anything, turn your page upside down or on its side. Once you have an idea, take a black marker and start drawing a continuous line. When you’ve finished, if you want to, go back and thicken up some areas. You’ll probably find that some pages turn out really well while some are a bit meh. What’s important is that it’s fun and it forces you to be loose and unprecious with your art. Try another one on your pre-prepared pages tomorrow.

doodles on messed up sketch pages


Instead of cutting or ripping up the paper, paint some random shapes on a sketchbook page. Once it’s dry, work over the top with a marker doodle as above.

Doodle Art Idea 2

Take a fineliner pen or biro and draw a loopy scribble on your page. What does the scribble look like? Maybe you see several faces, an animal or a plant.

scribble for doodling exercise

Make the scribble into whatever you think of, it could be multiple little pictures or just one. Alternatively, why not draw patterns within each section of your scribble Zentangle style. Whatever you create, enjoy the process rather than worrying too much about the end result.

doodled on scribble

Have fun!

Ep 17 General Tips for Artist

Ep 17 General Art Tips for Artists

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In today’s episode, we share lots of ‘general tips’ for artists. It follows on quite nicely from Episode 15 about making the best of your creative space.

We cover a lot in this episode. Just in case you’re not aware, Sandra is an experienced oil painter who paints highly detailed still lifes. Prior to discovering her love of oils, she used to paint in watercolours. So Sandra has a wealth of tips to share, plus I throw in a few tips of my own that I’ve learned over the years too.

One of the biggest things you’ll learn is to take your bathroom cabinet out of the bathroom and transfer it to your art space. It appears that Sandra has miraculously found a use for everything in hers for painting. Even I found some of the suggestions a little eye-opening!

Some of the tips we share include:

  • How to stop your paint from drying out so quickly
  • How to clean and preserve your brushes, including the magic of Murphy’s Oil Soap
  • How Gamblin oil paints are better for your health (also check out Sandra’s blog post about oil painting safety)
  • How to stop dipping your brush in your coffee and drinking your painting water/medium
  • How to stretch watercolour paper, including modern watercolour stretchers and watercolour boards.
  • Some great apps for artists – including one that can replace that ridiculous wooden mannequin that would never stay in place
  • A very ‘unusual’ way of removing dust from a painting!

We also include art tips shared by members of our Facebook Group, Page and our followers on Instagram.

Here’s the list of apps mentioned in the podcast

  • ArtPose is an app that is a much better alternative to one of those wooden artist mannequins. With Artpose you can choose a figure, pose it in virtually any position, look at it from different angles and light it too.
  • ProCreate is a fantastic app on the ipad that allows you to paint digitally, Some artists do the most amazing things with it. One of the really clever things about the app is it also automatically makes a video of you creating your art.
  • Jackson’s ArtGrid lets you create an instant grid over a photograph which you can then translate onto your canvas so you can create an accurate drawing
  • The ipad app Graphic – creates vector graphics very much like you would on a computer with Adobe Illustrator. Vector graphics are good as you can blow them up to any size without the quality deteriorating.
  • Autodesk Sketchbook – this is another comprehensive drawing app available on desktop and tablet.
  • Paper app by Fifty three – is an app for digital sketchbooks. It’s also beautifully designed.
  • Adobe has a suite of apps for digital art on a tablet or phone which you can use for free.

This week’s question

What do you listen to while you create?

What do you listen to while you create

The best answers will be read out on the next 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.

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.

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