Ep 52 The Power of Continuous Practice for Your Art

Podcast Ep 52 The Power of Continuous Practice for Your Art

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Today we are talking about the power of continuous practice… And I think that most of the people who joined Kick in the Creatives at the start and have been joining in with the challenges ever since will be able to see how much they have improved by adopting a creative habit. So if you haven’t joined us yet and you want to improve your skills, then now is a good time to start. Our Facebook Group is a great place to share your work, get encouraged by other artists and hold yourself accountable.

Any amount of practice is good, but like anything, regularity is the key. If you look at it like going to the gym, well going once a week is good for you, but you won’t see results anywhere near as quickly as you would by going three times a week. Basically, the more you do it, the quicker the results.

Some of the things we discuss:

  • How to set things up so that practice is easier, by having your tools close at hand so there is less resistance
  • How setting yourself a challenge or joining an existing one can help with motivation
  • How little and often is the key to your work improving
  • How a teacher tested the theory of quantity vs quality with students
  • How practising a specific thing for a period of time can be more beneficial than practising lots of things
  • Why there will be times in your practice where your art won’t seem to improve
  • That sometimes you don’t notice how much you have improved until you look back

The video talk I mentioned in the podcast about the man who bet his cousin $1000 he could learn to draw and get 1000 likes on Art Station within 6 months is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists

If you enjoy the podcast you can support us by buying us a coffee. We want to make a coffee froth moustache. Thank you!

This week’s creative question

Q. What are your creative goals for the 2020?

What are your creative goals for 2020?

The best answers will be read out on a future 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.


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Ep 51 Ask us Anything Christmas Special Part 2

Art Podcast Ep 51 Ask us Anything Part 2

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This podcast is a little different to our normal episodes in the fact that it’s an “Ask us Anything” Christmas Special. This is the second part of a two-parter, as we talked way too much for one episode!

You can find Part One here: Ep 50 Ask us Anything Christmas Special Part 1

For this special podcast, we invited you to ask us questions. They could be anything, art or creativity related, personal (thank you for keeping it clean!!!) or random things. And we got a bit of everything so there is a good mix and we hope you enjoy the show?

Here are the questions we answered in part 2

  • What’s the difference between copyright/plagiarism/ and using an image you see on google or elsewhere for
  • Is the Hokey Cokey really what it’s all about?
  • What era and area would you travel to and who would you then study under/with?
  • What do you do with all these random stuff we create my poems are contained easily but all these canvas tile mixed media paintings etc ? I am being overrun and don’t know what to do with it all
  • What other artists do you most admire (voraciously envy the talent of) and why?
  • I have a question about copyright. I understand pretty well about photos that are recent and will use sites like Pixabay or Unsplash. I will also share and share alike and give credit or use the proper licences. Where things get tricky is when using vintage photographs. I imagine, that where a photographer has been named there might still be copyright or at least credit should be given. What about where you don’ t know who the photographer is and the photo is over 50 years old? I really love old photos and would like to use them as references.
  • My drawing and painting are getting better, but I still lack depth. I need more help working out tones and being able to see and use them better- can you brilliant ladies help a girl out?
  • What inspired you to start kick in the creatives? It is an outstanding resource for me, and can’t thank you enough for the endless inspiration.
  • If you can, should you?
  • Favourite hot drink?
  • Which inspires your creativity more, nature or man-made?
  • Best way to deal with a cat that demands to sit on your artwork when you’re drawing it?
  • Do you 2 ever have a stand-off? What happens when you do?
  • What about the copyright of our art? We get to keep our name on it? I hope this makes sense…
  • What do you do for fun?
  • How are you able to find time for all you do, with managing KITC, your work, family, Art, etc.? (I’m in awe of how you both seem to fit everything in!)
  • Where does KITC, plan to be – in 2021, and 2023?

Don’t forget to listen to Part 1 of the “Ask us Anything Christmas Special” which came out on 9h December. The normal podcast will resume on the 13th January and we also have some interesting guests coming up in the new year.

If you enjoy the podcast you can support us by buying us a coffee. We want to make a coffee froth moustache. Thank you!

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.


We’ve now got a Youtube Channel where we put up a new Art Video every Sunday.
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Ep 50 Ask us Anything Christmas Special Part 1

Ep 50 Ask us Anything Art Podcast Special Episode

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This podcast is a little different to our normal episodes in the fact that it’s an “Ask us Anything” Christmas Special. Well, in fact, it’s part one of a Christmas Special. Now whether that’s because you asked us too many questions or Sandra and I talk way too much, I will let you decide. Personally, I think it’s the former. But anyway Part 2 will air on the 23rd of December, so you can listen while you slurp on a little Eggnog or snog your significant other under the mistletoe (that’s going to be a very long kiss)!

Anyway, for this, our Fiftieth episode (which we didn’t notice until after we recorded it) we invited you to ask us questions. They could be anything – art or creativity related, personal (thank you for keeping it clean!!!) or random things. And we got a bit of everything, so we hope you enjoy the show?

Here are the questions we answered in part 1

  • I currently use acrylic paints, but thinking of trying oils…. I know they’re not ‘easier’ to use, but do they blend colours better? And give a better finish? Thinking for portraits
  • Favourite Artist?
  • Favourite Book?
  • Favourite City?
  • Greatest influence in your life?
  • Favourite Song?
  • What inspires you?
  • What makes you smile?
  • Who would you love to collaborate with ( alive or dead )
  • Best advice given/received?
  • Best advice for others?
  • If you had a magic want to wave and instantly master a medium that you shy away from what would it be?
  • What made you guys decide to do a podcast together?
  • How do you create your videos/podcasts?

Don’t forget to listen out for Part 2 of the “Ask us Anything Christmas Special” on the 23rd of December. The normal podcast will resume on the 6th January and we also have some interesting guests coming up in the new year.

If you enjoy the podcast you can support us by buying us a coffee. We want to make a coffee froth moustache. Thank you!

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.


We’ve now got a Youtube Channel where we put up a new Art Video every Sunday.
Subscribe to our channel and click the notifications bell to be alerted on all our new videos.

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Ep 49 Drawing from Photos or from Life which is Better?

Ep 49 Draw from photos versus draw from life

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Today we are talking about drawing from life versus drawing from photos and which is best. And I think we know, now more than ever before, what a different skill drawing from life is since we started doing a lot more sketching trips out and about.

It’s really easy to rely on photo’s for practice, and while there’s nothing wrong with drawing from photos, it’s important to also practise drawing from life as much as you can.

Some of the things we discuss:

  • How photos can distort perspective and also colour too
  • That your eyes can pick up far more than a camera
  • How drawing from life makes you think more about composition
  • Why Drawing from life is much more challenging, but with that comes a sense of achievement when it works
  • Why photos are great for manipulating and experimenting before drawing.
  • How Sandra uses a combination of life and photos for her paintings
  • Why photos are great for practising different mediums
  • How drawing from photos gives you the confidence to go and try drawing from life outside
  • How useful photos can be as a starting point/reference point for a piece of art, they don’t have to be taken literally

Sandra also tries to explain a recent issue she had when she was painting a glass bottle. Unfortunately, her choice of words for the floppy distortion effect left me sniggering in the background like an idiot (check the blooper at the end too).

If you enjoy the podcast you can support us by buying us a coffee. We want to make a coffee froth moustache. Thank you!

This week’s creative question

Q. What is your favourite colour, and how would you describe it to a blind person?

favourite colour question

The best answers will be read out on a future 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.


We’ve now got a Youtube Channel where we put up a new Art Video every Sunday.
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Ep 48 Creative Chat with Artist and Urban Sketcher Ian Fennelly

Podcast Interview with Ian Fennelly Artist and Urban Sketcher

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In today’s podcast interview, we are talking to Artist Ian Fennelly. Ian is an urban sketcher who creates and sells his amazing sketches. His work mainly features buildings which are painted with splashes of beautiful vibrant colours and use lively linework. Not only is Ian a fantastic painter he is also very entertaining and tells some interesting stories in this podcast.

Se do Porto - Ian Fennelly Urban sketch

Se do Porto – Ian Fennelly Urban Sketch

Ian talks about

  • How he got started with his art.
  • How he was undecided between abstract and more realistic art until an artist who visited the college helped make up his mind (but not in the way you would expect)
  • How his Art career developed
  • Why he loves urban sketching and what got him started with painting on location
  • His urban sketching process (we loved hearing about this)
  • Tips for a beginner artist who is starting urban sketching
  • Composition tips for urban sketching when you are out on location.
  • How he decides what colours to use beyond what he sees in front of him
  • His favourite urban sketching materials and tools

Ian also tells us about his plans for a future trip and project to paint along Route 66 in the USA

Ian Fennelly Artist urban sketcher workshop

Quarante - Ian Fennelly Urban Sketch

Quarante – Ian Fennelly Urban Sketch

Ian Fennelly Urban Sketch

Ian Fennelly Urban Sketch

Find out more about Ian Fennelly

You can find out more about Ian and see more of his work on his website www.ianfennelly.co.uk

Instagram  – @ianfennelly 

The Sketchbook Skool Course where Ian Fennelly is one of the teachers is Watercolor Rules!—and how to break them

The video of Ian that was shot by a student on his workshop https://youtu.be/uYbIC5dCwiQ


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Ep 47 Fun Things You Can Do with a Creative Friend

Ep 47 Things to do Creative Friend

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Today we are talking about fun things you can do with a creative friend. Art can be a solitary activity, but it needn’t always be that way. Particularly now we have the internet. More than ever before we can connect with other creative people and find fun things to do together without even having to meet! In fact, Sandra and I didn’t meet in person for at least a year. Before meeting in person, we had set each other fun challenges, like our “Does alcohol make you more creative challenge” (we talk a bit about it in the show). We had also recorded podcasts together and created the Kick in the Creatives Website and Facebook Group

We have plenty of suggestions for things you can do with a creative friend/s.

Some of the things we discuss:

  • Sharing an art space/studio if you live nearby
  • Taking a creative course together – either online or in-person
  • Sketching trips and virtual sketching trips
  • Drawing while your both online on video chat
  • Going to a creative event together
  • How you can teach each other things
  • How you can encourage each other to experiment
  • Art swaps – We have monthly postcard art swaps in our Facebook Group
  • Creative collaborations
  • Creating each other an art box – We talk about how we got on with the mystery art boxes that we created for each other

the worst art subscription box

Plus we read out some of your great suggestions for fun things to do with creative friends

This is the website I was trying to remember where artists do collaborative painting www.collaborativepainting.uk

If you enjoy the podcast you can support us by buying us a coffee. We want to make a coffee froth moustache. Thank you!

This week’s creative question

Q. What’s the craziest creative thing you have ever done, or would like to do with a creative friend?

What’s the craziest creative thing you have ever done, or would like to do with a creative friend?

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.


We’ve now got a Youtube Channel where we put up a new Art Video every Sunday.
Subscribe to our channel and click the notifications bell to be alerted on all our new videos.

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Ep 46 Why Taking a Break from Your Art is Sometimes a Good Thing

Ep 46 Why Taking a Break from Your Art is Sometimes a Good Thing

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Today we are talking about why taking a break from your art is sometimes a good thing! Around this time of year that we can start to flag a little bit. I don’t know if it’s the cold (and you want to hibernate like I do), or the fact we do so much more during the summer when the days are longer. Sometimes there comes a point where we can really benefit from a little time out of our art.

We can put so much pressure on ourselves to be productive and creative. But when you never allow yourself a break, you can deny yourself an opportunity to recharge and sometimes even face a complete art block.

So how do you recognise the difference between just not being in the mood, and when actually it’s time to take a little time out to recharge?

Some of the things we discuss:

  • The difference between stopping creating art because you are feeling lazy and stopping because you are feeling burned out
  • How a big creative challenge can make you want a break or change of direction
  • How the time of year can affect our creative output or the type of art we create
  • How you can take a break from your art without going completely cold-turkey with your creativity
  • Why a break could be the perfect time to fill yourself with new creative inspiration
  • Why it might be a good idea to set a time for an art break, rather than letting the time drift.

The urban sketching tutorial site we mentioned

The site I mention that I have been watching Urban sketching Tutorials on is MyBluprint. It was a site I learned about from our previous guest, Urban Sketcher Lynne Chapman.

Sandra’s urban sketch that got rained on

This was the urban sketch that Sandra did that got rained on that we talked about on the show. It formed a lovely effect.

Sandra urban sketching street scene

If you enjoy the podcast you can support us by buying us a coffee. We want to make a coffee froth moustache.

This week’s creative question

Q. What subjects do you tend to avoid sketching and why?

Question: What subjects do you tend to avoid sketching and why?

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.

 


We’ve now got a Youtube Channel where we put up a new Art Video every Sunday.
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Ep 45 Creative Chat with Illustrator and Urban Sketcher Lynne Chapman

 Ep 45 Creative Chat with Illustrator and Urban Sketcher Lynne Chapman

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Today’s guest is Illustrator and Urban Sketcher Lynne Chapman. Lynne has had a fascinating career and lots of tips to share if you’re an aspiring illustrator. But what made us reach out to Lynne was her amazing urban sketching. As you may know Sandra and I are both working on improving our sketching on location and whenever I’d google “urban sketching tips” Lynne’s name would pop up. So if you’re interested in illustration or urban sketching I think you’ll really enjoy this interview.

Originally Lynne wanted to be a painter, but it worked out that illustration was a better fit. She has had lots of interesting twists and turns to her career. After many years of working as an illustrator, she is now lucky enough to make her living from sketch (how cool is that!)

urban sketching materials

Lynne’s urban sketching kit

Lynne talks about

  • How she trained in Printed Textile Design, but then made the change into illustration
  • How she moved from illustrating greeting cards, to editorial work, and eventually to children’s illustration.
  • Tips for drawing things from your imagination. Lynne also has an online course for creating Children’s Characters
  • The value of keeping sketchbooks (she has over 200)
  • How she started urban sketching and how that developed over the years
  • The materials she recommends for urban sketching – Lynne also has a fantastic book about sketching people
  • How she now makes her living Urban Sketching

Lynne Chapman – Urban Sketching Mine section

Urban sketch fire engine

Urban sketch fire engine

Lynne talking about illustrating traditionally rather than digitally

I’m always getting emails from people who want to want to do children’s book illustration. And they asked me what software I use. And they were worried because they don’t know how to use the software. And you know, they think they need to learn it. And I’m always able to reassure them that actually learning illustration is a hard enough challenge on its own, you really don’t need to layer over the top of that, learning this kind of new media if you’re not all, if you’re not already okay with it. So it’s not necessary to do it digitally. And quite a lot of illustrators actually are still not even techie that we’re a funny bunch, actually.

Lynne Illustrating Jungle Grumble

Lynne Illustrating Jungle Grumble

Lynne talking about when she joined the Urban Sketchers Group

…I saw people using watercolour, and I’d never been able to paint. And I’d never learned how to use watercolour. And every time you get a book on how to use watercolour, it’s all about stretching paper and laying layers down. And it’s all very complicated and, you know, slow. And I’m incredibly impatient. And I couldn’t be doing with any of that. So I never painted with colour, and then I saw this stuff. And there are all these people just they’re not doing any of that they’re just chucking paint over paper and drawing all over it. And I thought, oh my god, you can do that. It’s allowed So I started to experiment with colours.

And from the moment I joined Urban Sketchers, I started to draw and colour, either using watercolours, or the other thing I discovered was something that I still use all the time is Derwent Inktense pens, pencils. Because on a train, you can’t really be using watercolours. It’s a bit of a kind of a faff. And, yeah, you don’t want to be tipping paint over anybody or paint water. So I use these pencils, which were, they bought coloured pencils, but they’re not like watercolour pencils you’ve ever used before. They’re sort of like watercolour pencils on acid, you know.

Lyne Chapman RHB urban sketching beach-painting

Lynne sketching on Robin Hood’s Bay Beach

 

Lynne's Textiles - crazy plastic

Lynne’s Textiles – crazy plastic

Find out more about Lynne Chapman

Lynne Chapman - Very Warm Welcome

Lynne Chapman – Very Warm Welcome

 


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Ep 44 Urban Sketching – How to plan a successful sketching trip

Ep 44 Urban Sketching Trip

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Today we are talking about the importance of going out specifically to sketch from life, and how to plan a successful trip.

Obviously, not everyone can dedicate a whole day to sketching on a regular basis. It might be that you can only spare your lunch hours at work, but we can talk about ‘snatching time to sketch’ in a future episode. Today we are focussing on arranging a dedicated sketching day trip.

We forgot to mention on the podcast that there is a website http://www.urbansketchers.org/ and Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/urbansketchers/ dedicated to urban sketching around the world. If you live near a city, you might be lucky enough to find a group near you.

Some of the things we discuss:

  • Whether you want to sketch alone or with other people, including organising local sketching meetups.
  • Where to sketch
  • What to take with you, from art materials to something to sit on
  • What sort of bag you might want to use
  • What to wear
  • Planning what you want to achieve
  • Apps to help you plan your sketching trip – Rome to Rio, GPS my City, Find my Friends App iOS and Android 
  • Getting deals on travel – Groupon, Tesco Club Card deals on Hotels.com

And we also talk about getting those warm-up sketches out of the way. In fact, every time you do a sketch you don’t like, just call it a warm-up! Oh and Sandra thinks it’s important to mention, not to forget your tampons. She doesn’t even have a weird use for them like some of the suggestions she had in our Art Tips Podcast!

If you enjoy the podcast you can support us by buying us a coffee. We want to make a coffee froth moustache.

This week’s creative question

Q. If you could go urban sketching anywhere, where would it be and why?

If you could go urban sketching anywhere, where would it be and why?

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.

 


We’ve now got a Youtube Channel where we put up a new Art Video every Sunday.
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Ep 43 Creative Chat With Artist and illustrator Barbara Johansen Newman

ep43 podcast Artist and illustrator Barbara Johansen Newman

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Today’s creative guest is artist and illustrator Barbara Johansen Newman from www.johansennewman.com

Johansen Newman - Year of the Rooster

Johansen Newman – Year of the Rooster

Barbara has had a fascinating career from puppetry to illustration to licensing. And now she has gone back to her first love which is painting. What is interesting about Barbara’s art is that although her figurative paintings are interesting in themselves, she builds a world around them using found objects and by painting on unusual surfaces.

Johansen Newman - Pilot

Johansen Newman – Pilot

Barbara talks about

  • How she started drawing in her crib (yes she was born to be an artist)
  • How she initially went to a private art college, which turned out to be a bad match for her
  • How she got involved in creating puppets and became a puppeteer
  • How she transitioned from creating puppets to illustration and writing children’s books
  • Why she has come back to her first love which is painting and where she gets her inspiration
  • Her advice on doodling and keeping sketchbooks
  • What inspired her to use found materials in her art
  • Her tips for discovering your art style
Johansen Newman - She Who Wears the Color

Johansen Newman – She Who Wears the Color

Find out more about Barbara

Recent work and works in progress get shared on Instagram at  https://www.instagram.com/johansennewman/

Barbara’s website: www.johansennewman.com

Barbara’s Facebook Page:  www.facebook.com/JohansenNewmanART

Johansen Newman - Family Portrait

Johansen Newman – Family Portrait

Barbara also kindly answered our initial podcast questions in text form which you can read by clicking below.

To see Barbara's answers in writing click here

When did your love for drawing begin?

This will seem somewhat unbelievable, but I actually started drawing in my crib. My mother used to give me crayons and let me go to town on the wall. It was an older house so she didn’t mind at all. Some years later I happened to visit that house and, sure enough, my scribbles were still on the wall.

Did you take the traditional route and go to art college?

I started out going to a private college, having applied to and gotten into their art program. It was near NYC and I wanted access to the museums. It turned out to be a bad match. I just wanted to draw and paint and everything back then (talking early 70s here) was conceptual art, especially in that school. So I came home and took almost all art classes at a local community college for a year. That was wonderful. I drew, I painted, I did printmaking, and I made sculpture. And many of my teachers were actually professional artists, fairly well known in their fields. Some would drive up from New York (where their studios were) to teach. What I thought I would get in the private college I really got in the NY State community college, for next to nothing in tuition. After that year I made plans to transfer to another school. I got into Parsons in NYC and into the State University at Buffalo. I ended up in Buffalo.

You started your career in a puppet theatre. Can you tell us a bit about that and what made you change direction and go into illustration?

While was going to the community college I was teaching part-time at a school. There I met a fellow teacher who was a puppeteer. I ended up driving into New York with her several times a week to study at the Bil Baird Theater in the Village. When I transferred up to Buffalo I began performing with my husband in that area. We were often hired to perform at craft fairs and so I began to make puppets and dolls to sell at those fairs. Eventually, all I did was create the soft sculptures. When we moved to Boston, I just wanted to draw and paint again. Illustration was something I had intended to study at Parsons. So I spent some time creating work for a portfolio and then I pounded the pavement looking for work—literally. There was no internet back then. You had to take your “book” around to get work. I pursued both the children’s book market and the editorial market. Ultimately, my first illustration work was editorial.

How did you go about creating your characters?

When I was in that community college for a year, there was a wonderful professor who was the head of the art department. One day he gave me advice that I have followed to this day. “Barbara,” he said, “Draw from your head.” And I do. I almost always start out with blank paper and a pencil and just draw figures and faces that come out of the blue. Even when I am working on portraits of specific people, I first do pencil sketches from my imagination.

You also wrote three of your own children’s books. What made you decide to do that and how did you find the process?

I have always enjoyed writing to some extent (blogged for years), but I began focusing on children’s books because I wanted to create my own venues for illustrating. It was as simple as that. I will say this: of all my artistic endeavors, the kids’ book market was/is the most challenging and often the most artistically stifling. I‘m glad I did it (worked in the field for about 20 years) but I am very happy to have that world behind me.

You later moved on to design, licensing and finally painting, which you describe as your first love. What made you venture away from illustration and what is it about painting in particular that you love so much?

In the end, I find that I am my own best art editor. I love the freedom of creating what I want to create without worrying about specs and art direction. That is actually how the doll work was for me, as well. I made what my heart told me to make, then sold it. Licensing was a little bit of that; I did the patterns I wanted to do and then found the market to sell them to. Now that I am painting I am happier than ever. I love putting paint on a surface and I am never without an idea for a new piece. Ironically, though, I do check out the “Calls for Art” on various sites. Sometimes I will even paint something that might fit the bill for the show theme. And, of course, those applications have deadlines. So in some ways, I have put restrictions on myself again. Old habits die hard.

You work is mainly figurative. What draws you to painting people?

The figure has always fascinated me. Even as a doll maker, I loved creating the persona of a character and then presenting it. I’m enamored with the details that distinguish one person from another. I am also a storyteller at heart. Figures hint at a narrative yet to be told.

Do you use reference images as a starting point to your work or are they completely from imagination?

I always work from my imagination to start. If I need reference, I find it afterwards.

I read that you love to draw and paint listening to books, movies, or TV in the background. How do you feel that helps you?

I like to work from my heart and gut instead of from my head. Do you find that you do the best doodles while talking on the phone? I do. It’s the same concept. I try to create from a place that is instinctual, rather than something I think too much about. I do my best work that way. I’ll listen to

anything sometimes, but I now love Podcasts like yours and others. And I love great books. It just takes me away and the painting or drawing seems to emerge from some subconscious place inside of me. I’ll even listen to junky TV. For a while I listened to every ghost hunting television program known to man.

You use found materials and different surfaces in your work, please can you talk us through your process?

Right now I am starting first with my painting idea then deciding on the frame and embellishments afterwards. I prefer to paint on a hard surface, so almost always use either wood or a wood panel. If I work on a canvas tarp, I pin it against a hard surface. My husband helps me build the frame I design. For some of the earlier pieces, I created the frames first then the painting afterwards. But often, something would need to be added to the frame to complement the painting. Sometimes the frame and the painting are worked on at the same time, and one informs the other.

What inspired you to use found materials, can you remember the first piece you created that way?

An artist friend whose work we have collected and who created an installation on our kitchen first inspired me. He showed me ways to take the antique dough boards I was using and make them unique. He made me think outside the box when it came to found objects and materials. The first piece created this way was the larger painting with the sled runners on the side, which he created with me. After that, I did not want to return to unaltered canvas or surfaces.

Your style is very distinct, has your style changed and developed over time?

My painting work has become more like my early editorial illustration work in that it’s edgier and tighter. My paintings from around 2012, when I was still illustrating books, had more whimsy to them. That whimsy is leaving me. There is still an element of not taking myself too seriously (I love art that sometimes brings a smile to your face), but I would say my work is more determined now and less lighthearted.

What tips would you have for an artist that is trying to discover their style?

Get hold of several sketchbooks and plenty of pencils and draw, draw, draw. It’s like handwriting—your mark-making will be unique to you. The only way to discover a personal style and help to solidify it is to keep doing it. Even if you work abstractly, draw. Draw abstractly. But keep making marks. Your style will eventually be recognizable.

Do you have any tips for promoting and selling your work?

I could write volumes for this answer if you asked me about building an illustration career. Feel free to ask me that at some point.

Now I am painting and I feel like I am swimming in strange waters. But I am beginning to have increasing success in the 2-3 years I have only focused on painting, and I would say that it is because I paint many hours every single day and I look for opportunities to get my work seen. For me, those opportunities come by submitting to juried shows at galleries and venues around the country. I have not seriously sought out gallery representation yet, but I have begun to sell my work privately, through word of mouth. I also think that Instagram is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s a great way to share your work with the public and even get some feedback. I have not yet translated Instagram exposure into sales, but it has given me some opportunities for showing my work. And some galleries and venues for showing my work have contacted me.

How important do you think regular sketching is for an artist? Are you a sketcher yourself?

It’s everything. It’s how you take the seeds of even the smallest idea and help them develop. It’s how you realize your own style. It’s immediate and satisfying. And it helps you to gain confidence when generating new work concepts. I love sketching as much as I love painting. I recently set up a new studio space strictly for working on paper.

What are your plans for the future?

I want nothing more than to continue to make art and get it seen by a growing number of people. Increased sales might be nice, but it is not what drives me. In fact, sometimes I hate parting with my work. I sold a favorite piece recently and it was very difficult to let it go, but the collectors were the best kind of collectors, so I know it has a great home.

Where can people find out more about you and your books?

(My most recent work and works in progress get shared on Instagram) On my web site:

On my Instagram account:

https://www.instagram.com/johansennewman

On my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/JohansenNewmanART


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