Ep. 8 How To Make Your Sketchbook More Interesting

art podcast 8 make your sketchbook more interesting

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Today we share some tips on how to make your sketchbook more interesting. Plus, as usual, we go on a few tangents and talk about other things that pop into our heads, usually art related, but we can’t completely promise that!

We also mention our April Art Challenges which had just started as we recorded the episode – Abstract Art April, Imitation April and Quick Kick April. Quick Kicks are our monthly challenges that you can complete in 15 minutes or less, so most people can fit them into their day.

Making your sketchbook cover more interesting

Anyway, just like the podcast, I have already managed to divert my attention away from the main topic of sketchbooks. First, we discuss different suggestions for making your sketchbook cover more interesting. Sandra is a big advocate of this, but I prefer to concentrate on the insides. It reminds us both of having to cover exercise books when we were back at school in the dark ages. Does anyone else remember Fablon that sticky plastic stuff or is it a figment of my imagination? Do kids still cover exercise books? Do exercise books even exist anymore or have they been replaced by holograms?

Tips for your sketchbook pages

Next, we look at the inside of your sketchbook. There is something really satisfying about pre-messing up your sketchbook pages. Maybe this isn’t a very eloquent way to put it, but starting with a bit of collage or a wash on the paper can take away your fear of the blank page. We have plenty of suggestions for things you can try. Apparently rather too many as it took hours for Sandra to edit us down to a reasonable time. If that’s not your bag, we also have some ideas on how you can use different marks, borders and effects to add interest to your pages.

Ideas for what to draw

One of the problems some artist have, especially when they’re short of time is deciding what to draw. We have some suggestions here too, plus you can always join one of our challenges where we give you an optional prompt and reference each day.

Thank you for all of your answers to our previous question. It was fun reading out your answers.

This weeks question

How do you get over the fear of the blank page?

question getting over the fear blank page

Please put your answers in the comments below or get in touch on social media – via the Facebook Group, Instagram or Twitter

We’ll read out the best answers in the next episode.

Don’t forget you can subscribe to our podcast in lots of places including – iTunes, Stitcher and Podbean

If you enjoyed the podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes which will help us get found by more listeners and we’ll love you forever (or something like that)

Ep 7 The Benefits of Having a Creative Mentor

Ep 7 Creative Mentor

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Hello again and welcome to another podcast. Today’s episode is about having a creative mentor. but within that, we are also encompassing the idea of having creative friends or allies. These are the people who help encourage you to create and improve. We also talk a little about our April challenges – Abstract Art April, Imitation April and Quick Kick April.

We love how the challenges have bought so many artists come together to share their work. The Facebook Group has been amazing, we’ve got artists of all levels who are cheering each other on offering advice and acting as mentors to each other. I think we’ve only seen positive words in the Group. It’s great to see new connections and friendships being made and people supporting each other.

Online mentors and allies

We discuss how you can find like-minded people online who can become your biggest supporters and mentors. You don’t even have necessarily to have ever met the other person. You want to find people that can be encouraging and offer constructive criticism.

Some of Sandra’s Online mentors

Tracey Fletcher King www.traceyfletcherking.com/
Nicola Mclean www.artbynicolamclean.com/
Suzanne Berry www.suzanneberry.com/
Karen Budan www.karenbudan.com/

Family as mentors

Sometimes family members can be your mentors, but it’s difficult when they are so close to you. They may be supportive, but not completely understand what you are trying to do or be worried about hurting your feelings.

Finding a Creative Mentor

We also talk about how to find a mentor including the first suggestion of joining our Facebook Group :-).

Ep 6 How to Find Your Creative Style

Art podcast Ep 6 How to Find your Creative Style

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Hello again and welcome to another podcast episode. Today we are talking about how to find your style and of course there’s a bit of arty chat thrown in for good measure. We also mention some of the fantastic work we have been seeing for our two March Art Challenges March Mixed Media and 5 Minute March. There are a few shoutouts for the work that has really caught our eyes too.

So first of all, just how important is it to find a style?

I guess it totally depends on why you are drawing and painting.

If you are painting purely for fun, then it doesn’t matter in the slightest. You can just paint what you want without considering if people will recognise that it’s your work. You don’t have to try and impress a gallery in this case either.

But, if you want to stand out from the crowd, then, of course, it’s very important to have something about your work that makes it stand out as your own… Your ‘style’.

Sandra already has the experience of finding her style

Sandra already has the experience of finding her style and talks about some of the things she has learned along the way. These include taking on a commission in her early painting career for a topic she didn’t enjoy painting, plus attending painting workshops. Sandra had a very mixed experience of art workshops, from the one that left her feeling deflated to the one that she really loved

She also talks about how her painting style has evolved over time, which is partly due to being taken out of her comfort zone at one of the workshops.

Tara is currently trying to find her style

Tara is currently trying to find her style, even though Sandra thinks she already has one. She is experimenting with different medium trying different techniques and even looking at little things like the size of paper that she likes working on. Tara has also attended a workshop. It was just a small local one which was a little too basic for her, and she kept getting told off by the teacher 🙂 for being a delinquent with her brushes.

Suggestions for ways you to experiment

We offer our suggestions for ways you can experiment and discover your own style, plus tell you about the challenges we’ve got coming up next.

This episode’s question

What subject do you least like painting and why?
The best answers will be read out in the next podcast.

Subject least like painting

Ep 5 Do You Have to Go to Art School to Be an Artist?

Creative podcast - Do you have to go to art school

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In today’s episode, we’re discussing whether or not you have to go to art school in order to become an artist. There is no right or wrong path to follow here. We’re all different and where some of us will benefit hugely from going to art school, others will only be stunted by it.

Going to art school does not necessarily make someone a good artist! And NOT going to art school doesn’t make someone a bad one either!

Sandra’s art school experience

Sandra has had the experience of both going to art school and also abandoning it and teaching herself. Art college, was just not teaching the things she wanted to learn. Her course was more about imagination and experimenting, which is important, but in Sandra’s opinion, you need to master basic drawing and painting skills first.

Tara’s art school experience

Tara also went to art college (many, many years ago) and had a very mixed experience too. There were elements she loved, but then a lot of things that were a complete waste of time. 10 years ago Tara, also tried going back to college one day a week to learn animation. The tuition was very poor and she dropped out after a couple of months.

Last month’s art and writing challenges

We also talk a bit about last months challenges, February Faces and February Fables. Sandra and Tara have been working on a combined effort for February Fables. One person writes 250 words and then passes it to the other. Who knows where this story will go, or if it will ever end!

Your answers to the last podcast question

We share your answers to our previous podcast question – Which Artist, Writer or other creative would you most like to spend a day with and what would you do…?

This weeks question

If you were only allowed to paint or draw just one subject for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Let us know your answers in the comments or via social media and we’ll read out the best ones in the next episode.

art podcast question

We always love to hear from you with any suggestions for the podcast, so feel to get in touch.


Ep 4 Tracey Fletcher King – Artist, Illustrator, Printmaker and Teacher

Podcast Ep 4 Tracey Fletcher King artist illustartor printmaker

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Today’s guest is Tracey Fletcher King, an artist, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher from Queensland, Australia.

In this episode, Tracey talks about how she grew up within a creative family and how her own artistic journey was almost inevitable.

Traceys’ Background

After leaving college, Tracey worked as an art teacher before getting married to her Golf-Pro husband. His career took them travelling for 9 years with their daughter, before they finally settled back in Queensland. She describes what it was like to start painting again following such a long break from art and how difficult it was to push past the hurdle of having to relearn her skills.

Tracey porcelain art

© Copyright Tracey Fletcher King

An Evolving Art Style

Tracey’s art style has continuously evolved over the years, from creating very realistic botanicals to lively paintings of household objects to the big, bold realistic watercolours that she is enjoying now. She talks about what led her style to evolve in this way.

Tracey loose watercolour

© Copyright Tracey Fletcher King


Tracey swimsuit painting

© Copyright Tracey Fletcher King

Art journalling through difficult times

In 2013, Tracey was diagnosed with breast cancer. She talks about the art journal that she kept throughout this difficult time and how it helped her through some of the darker times. She talks about how it was also important to throw it away when she felt the time was right.

Making time for her art

Tracey Watercolour Art

© Copyright Tracey Fletcher King

Tracey’s diagnosis has also forced her to become an expert at time management. She has to fit her art in around her treatments and during the times when she feels well. Tracey talks about how she has managed to continue to produce so much work despite her dramatic reduction in working hours and she shares some of the time management tips that she’s had to learn along the way.

This is an inspiring interview about following your passion, doing what you love and making time for your art, no matter what the obstacles.

Where to connect with Tracey

Tracey’s website www.traceyfletcherking.com
Tracey’s Esty Shop www.etsy.com/au/shop/TraceyFletcherKing
Instagram @traceyfletcherking
Facebook @traceyfletcherkingartist
Tracey’s online courses www.traceyfletcherking.com/classes-1/

Ep 3 Kick Your Inner Critic’s Butt

Ep3 inner critic creative

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That niggly voice of your inner critic

In this episode, we talk about that niggly voice in the back of our heads, our “inner critic”. It’s the voice that questions everything we do and whether it’s good enough. As creatives, we can spend a lot of time on our own with only that one voice for company… and it’s really hard not to listen! We talk about our ways of dealing with that irritating inner critic.

Make the inner critic work in your favour

We all see our inner critic as our enemy. What we need to try and do is make it work in our favour. That voice is only really there to protect us from being hurt. We have to try and use it to help us strive to produce better work, without letting it crush our confidence.

A little about Art Journal January

We also talk a little about Art Journal January and some of the art we’ve loved. As usual, we brutalise people’s names as we try to pronounce them. Plus I (Tara) talk about my experience of taking part in the challenge and trying to overcome my inner critic. Sandra, who was in the Caribbean for the first half of January mentions how she felt she was missing out by not taking part in the challenge. It was quite a hardship for her to lie by the pool in the sun and drink cocktails (PS. Can you tell it’s Tara writing these show notes!)

A mention of our February challenges

We also give a mention to our two February challenges –
February Faces, an art challenge to create a face drawing (sculpture, collage, etc) every day of the month
February Fables, a challenge to write a children’s story during the month.

We will both be taking part in February Faces. We’re also going to put a twist on February Fables by collaborating. I will write exactly 250 words, then Sandra will write 250 more until we have completed a story. Who knows what that will turn out like, but we’re sure to mention it in an upcoming episode.

Kick in the Creatives Facebook Group

If you haven’t already, you can join our Facebook Group, where you will find like-minded creatives. Plus we have some free downloadable inspiration pdfs for the challenges. They are also available when you sign up for our newsletter.

We hope you enjoy the show!

Ep 2 Interview with Illustrator and Art Journaller Megan Jeffery

Ep 2 Megan Jeffery Art Journalling Podcast

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Megan Jeffery is an illustrator, maker and teaching artist who lives in Connecticut. She came from a family where they were always making things. They used up a lot of old things that would normally be thrown away for art and craft. She continues to do this to today.

Megan’s Background

Megan has always had a lot of notebooks. When she was a kid they weren’t necessarily journals, but she used to write and draw in them. She also used to attend a lot of art and craft camps as a child. When she was in second grade at school she decided she wanted to be an illustrator. Later she went to Rhode Island School of design and got a degree in Fine Art and illustration.

Now she loves to try and infuse some sort of craft into her illustration work. She does educational illustration (creating illustrations for educational workbooks).

Megan Jeffery Art Journal Page

©Copyright Megan Jeffery

How Megan Started Journalling

Megan first got inspired to start journalling when she saw some Youtube videos by Liz Drake She saw she was doing something called Faxubonichi. This was using stuff that she already had in her home. Megan liked the idea of using existing “junk” that she already had, it was very much like her childhood.

Megan also finds she gets ideas for her work through her journalling. Sometimes the prompts that people give through different challenges spark off new ideas via word association. They might give her ideas for characters or images.

Megan Jeffery art journal

©Copyright Megan Jeffery

Tips for starting an art journal

Megan likes to use cheap composition/exercise books for her journals. She covers the front and back of them and makes it look like “her” or the season, she will also laminate it. Inside she glues 2 pages together with a glue stick so that markers or wet media don’t bleed through. She washy tapes the edges too. She likes the fact that using cheap composition books means that you don’t have to be precious about your work. If you make a mistake it doesn’t matter and if worst comes to worst you just start a new one. Start off by putting simple things like the date and the weather/temperature. You can also put the type of moon for that day. By doing all this you have immediately got rid of the scary blank page.

Megan Jeffery art journalling

©Copyright Megan Jeffery

Megan’s painting and craft work

Megan also paints and creates puppets. She has a series of paintings on her blog “Girls in a Dress” which were inspired by a book called 100 Paintings by Tim Biskup. She has completed about 30 paintings so far. Claudine Claudine Hellmuth also has a book called Collage Discovery Workshop, where she explains how to make backgrounds that you weren’t expecting. Megan started the paintings by creating a background and then seeing how she could make what she created into a Girl in a Dress.

 girl in a dress painting series by Megan Jeffery

©Copyright Megan Jeffery

The finger puppets that Megan makes were inspired by a magazine from Martha Stuart. It was a craft that Megan had not yet explored and so she wanted to try it. Megan enjoys going into detail and so the puppets became very elaborate. She sold the puppets at craft shows and stores and did an exhibit at the children’s museum.

Megan Jeffery Artist Finger puppets

©Copyright Megan Jeffery

New creative challenges

Megan is now trying a sketchbook challenge. If you are intimidated by drawing she suggests having a conversation or listening to a podcast at the same time. This means you can allow yourself to draw freely, without worrying what your drawing looks like. When she starts sketching she might begin with an object that is in the room like a lamp but then adds to it with patterns and things from her imagination.

Books Megan Likes

Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice by Ivan Brunetti

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry

Year of The Doodle by Dawn DeVries

Where to find Megan

You can find Megan on Instagram and on her blog www.megillustrations.typepad.com/beetlegrass/

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Ep1 How to Kick Your Fear of Sketching

Podcast Ep1 Kick The Fear of Sketching

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Happy New Year and welcome to our new, Kick in the Creatives Podcast show! Thank you to everyone who has followed us and subscribed far. Please encourage your creative friends to join in.

This episode is about kicking the fear of sketching. We’ve all been there. You have a beautiful sketchbook just sitting there waiting to be used, but you’re too scared of spoiling it.

We both have very different ways of dealing with our sketching fears which we discuss in the show. Some of this stems from the differences between an artist and graphic designer’s approach. We also make suggestions for overcoming the blank white page before you start and what you can do to cover up mistakes.

The important thing is that you make a start. Even if your first sketches don’t work out as planned they are just a stepping stone to better ones. In a few months or years, you can look back and see how much you have improved. So start now and Kick that Fear of Sketching.

PS. If you want some encouragement on the way please join our Kick in the Creatives Facebook Group, share your work and chat with the other artists and creatives

join the Kick in the Creatives Facebook Group

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join the Kick in the Creatives Facebook Group
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