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Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year! New Art Challenge!

"The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strongly enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe." -Bob Ross

Hello folks, welcome to a new year! It's 2016, and there's a million art challenges to choose from so you can start the year off right creating, making, and doing.  For the month of January, I've decided to join self-proclaimed patternthusiast Anika Starmer (@aisforanika) for a daily pattern making challenge on Instagram where you can follow the hashtag #patternjanuary.  She has graciously provided daily prompts for the entire month of January, and you can check out her blog post "Preparing for a Successful Creative Daily Challenge" for more information about the challenge including helpful tips to make any art challenge successful.

So guess what?! It's only been three days, but I feel like I'm on a roll!  After reading Anika's post, I felt inspired to expand on her tips as well as share my own process for making patterns and how I plan to tackle each prompt day by day through the end of January.

                                   Day 1: Happy                                                           Day 2: Forest

TIP 1: Use Your Favorite Medium. Everyone has a favorite art medium they like to use. It's your go-to, your best pal, your happy place that draws you in and sparks a bright light inside you. Whether it be paint, pencil/pens, markers, and/or digital, I say choose one and stick to it. You're already familiar with the product and you enjoy working with it, so it may make it easier to slide into that creative mode and get started making patterns. Of course, if you'd like to experiment with other mediums throughout the month, that's your prerogative. Remember, there are no rules here! As a matter of fact, this brings me to my next point.

TIP 2: Don't Be Afraid to Mix It Up.
I love to draw and doodle, but mixed media speaks to me on a whole other level. Sometimes blank pages freak me out, and other times I just don't feel like sitting down to draw at my leisure. Needless to say, mixed media has become my go-to. Take a stroll through your craft room or rifle through your craft bin as I did, and you'll realize patterns are everywhere!! Scrapbook paper, fabric, stamps, etc. How much fun would it be to mash all these pre-made materials together?!

If you decide to go this route like me, I would suggest you select a limited amount of materials to work with at a time. I've found having too many options can be overwhelming, and then I get frustrated trying to decide what to do next. For myself, I like to divide the materials I plan to use into two categories: 1) background and 2) embellishments. Background materials may include paint, scrap paper, scrap fabric, even washi tape!! (raise your hand if you need to de-stash!).  Embellisments can be anything ranging from stickers to stamps and ribbon to sequins. After you gather a few materials, you'll be done before you know it!

                                                               Materials prepared for Prompt 3

TIP 3: Brainstorm Ideas Ahead of Time.
As I mentioned before, Anika has already provided a list of prompts for the entire month. I decided to copy her list in a separate journal I use strictly for brainstorming; this way I can jot down ideas beside each prompt way ahead of time. It is easy to get "stuck" on a prompt and you can quickly find yourself discouraged from doing anything.  If you keep the list of prompts handy to look at as a whole, I think you'll find yourself more prepared when you come to a new prompt each day.

In addition, try using sticky notes to write down different ideas and layout possibilities. I like to slap a quick note right on the page I'll be working on so I can refer back to it just in case I lose my whole train of thought (You know how all of our best ideas like to seep into the deep, dark crevices of our brain, never to be found again?! Yeah, let's avoid that.).

                     Brainstorm on a sticky note!                                                                      Day 3: Olive

TIP 4: No Fuss/No Pressure.
The great thing about this art challenge is that there's no real pressure to complete it. You might skip a day or two, and you might not make it to the end of the month, but that's A-ok! To make it easier for me, I'm using a mini composition notebook (measures 3.25" x 4.5", smaller than an index card!). Also, I've decided to dedicate 15-30 minutes out of my day to work on each prompt.  I may even finish several in one day just to stay on the ball (Mm..that may be the caffeine talking, but stay with me here)!  The point is it doesn't matter if you're a busy beaver or a sitting goose, it's all just for fun!!

So are you ready to make patterns together?! These are just a few tips and tricks to get your creative juices flowing, and I hope they will be helpful to you in some way. Hope you like!

Many people participate in weekly, monthly, even 365-day art challenges. What helps you stay centered in creativity and how do you keep the momentum going?


  1. I'm loving your patterns & your philosophy! So many great tips here! (For example... Printing out the prompt list & brainstorming notes in advance! Brilliant!!!) but yeah... You had me at "Bob Ross"! <3<3<3

    1. Hi Lauren, thanks a bunch! I'm glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment as well (totally made my day!).