Yesterday was the first swim meet of the summer season so it was no surprise that I was sketching swimmers waiting for their race this morning.
Have you seen my Swimming Laps fabric print?
A crowded beach is a great place for sketching people. I didn’t have a notebook with me, so I took photos for reference and sketched when I got home.
Yesterday at the pool I was prepared with a notebook. Sitting near the diving boards, I sketched the people waiting in line. But they move!
My mom called to say, “You haven’t painted today.” Thanks for the reminder mom.
Yesterday I didn’t feel like it but I grabbed my sketchbook anyway. I didn’t want to break my streak. I grabbed a magazine and inspired by the feathers on the cover, started drawing. One night this week I even got out of bed when I realized I’d forgotten to draw! I know how quickly one skipped day can become two or three or more.
Even when I’m reluctant to start drawing or painting once I get started the switch flips and I’m into it.
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Just like I knew it would, working every day in my sketchbook has really opened me up creatively. That and working beyond the beach theme. It’s been 12 consecutive days!
This week the dogwoods right outside our windows have been calling to me! I’m thinking about using my dogwood illustrations to create a repeating pattern. I’ve been designing a pattern a month this year. See my other designs here.
Eight consecutive days in the sketchbook and everything is inspiring me! I’m loving the warm spring days. Seeing the dogwoods blooming every time I pull up to the house makes me happy. With three kids to pick up and drop off, I pull in and out of the driveway many times a day.
The dogwoods have sentimental value to me, as I wrote in a post last year,
“They were in bloom the first time we looked at our future home. We posed in front of them when we brought our daughter home from the hospital. The house itself has changed – expanded to fit our family that also includes two sons. But the Dogwoods have remained and every time they bloom, I’m reminded of the early days and that this is home.”
Playing around in my sketchbook, first in ink and then in watercolor. And a little lettering practice. Still debating if I should add ink to the watercolor. It’s a common question I struggle with. Either way I have to wait for it to dry. Nothing worse than adding the ink too early and it bleeds.
Hope you are enjoying a beautiful spring day!
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Yesterday morning the first thing that caught my eye was a robin on my patio. I was inspired to paint him, but hesitated for a moment. I’ve been painting the beach and beach related things since January. A robin doesn’t fit into my theme. Then I had a break through thought – I’m letting my theme and focus stifle my creativity.
For weeks I’ve been trying to get back into painting. I knew that – for me – working daily in my sketchbook helps bring out other creativity. What I love about my sketchbook is the lack of pressure – draw anything, mess up, add watercolor – it’s all good! But, I had been putting pressure on myself by limiting myself to beach things. Pressure to stay within the theme, pressure to post daily on Instagram.
I’ve recognized my mistake and am changing my attitude. I painted the robin. And tomorrow who knows?
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For the past couple of weeks I’ve done minimal drawing and painting. Periods like this seem to be a pattern for me. I think about doing creative work all the time, but I put everything before it – even binge watching shows on Netflix. It’s not creative block. I have tons of ideas. I just can’t seem to make myself pick up the sketchbook or sit down with my paints. And as the days go by it gets harder, and harder.
Experience has shown me that these periods can be avoided if I maintain the habit of drawing daily in my sketchbook. So today as I finally grabbed my sketchbook – I made the commitment to draw in it everyday. Other than making the time, I don’t put pressure on myself to make the results great. I know if I do the work, and play around, good things will come. I already feel happier after drawing these shells that I collected recently.
I first learned about the power of habits when I read Gretchen Rubin’s book, “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life.” Back then I had also fallen out of the habit of being creative. I learned from the book that it was harder for me to be creative because I had to make the conscious decision to do it. It was an internal willpower battle every time and was no longer something I did without thinking.
Rubin perfectly states it here,
“When we change our habits, we change our lives. We can use decision making to choose the habits we want to form, we can use willpower to get the habit started; then – and this is the best part – we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. We take our hands off the wheel of decision, our foot off the gas of willpower, and rely on the cruise control of habits.”
Read “Better than Before.“
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My goal this year is to design a pattern a month. So as the month starts to wind down, I’m thinking about swimmers.
Last month I created an ice cream truck pattern from illustrations in my sketchbook. It’s available for purchase on Spoonflower here.
In January I designed a penguin polar bear pattern. Available here.
See all my designs in my Spoonflower shop.
Want to learn how to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop? Read: