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1. Journal pages of a foodie-artist

Food illustrations are great! I enjoy awing over the huge collection of illustrated recipes on ‘They Draw And Cook‘, and love it if one of my recipes gets published there, or even featured! But even without a recipe or an end result in mind, food just never gets boring as a subject to draw!





The post Journal pages of a foodie-artist appeared first on Make Awesome Art.

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2. Draw Tip Tuesday – Illustration ideas

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

When you don’t know what to draw… Then, what to draw?
The things you like most are actually a lot of fun to draw. The subject will be familiar to draw, and enjoyable.
I love food related art, and I love good coffee, so today I just pick a few favourite styles of coffee, and draw those. Adding banners to use as ‘titles’ for each item is a great way to unify the elements in your illustration. For these coffees, I can write the ingredients and even the measurements next to it, and then it becomes an illustrated recipe!

There’s more where this came from! Follow me on YouTube by clicking here

One of my favourite “go-tos”, to draw in my art journal is coffee. What’s yours?

The post Draw Tip Tuesday – Illustration ideas appeared first on Make Awesome Art.

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3. The Amsterdam Urban Sketchers – sketchcrawl

Often during sketch meet ups, I feel torn between: ‘I wanna make a ton of sketches!’, ‘I love meeting and hanging out with other sketchers!’, ‘I want a look into each everyone’s sketchbooks!’… And then I end up with one or two pages with half-hearted drawings, just because I was distracted by my own thoughts or not focusing on either hanging out with the others or my drawings….
Yesterday, though, it went well. The ‘official’ sketch crawl started at 2 in the afternoon, but I hooked up with some early bird sketchers to draw in the hall of the Rijksmuseum for a couple of hours. A perfect place to observe, study and sketch people. I stood close to where people line up for tickets, so sometimes there would be a long line of people waiting, that I could study closely, and then I would alternate that by drawing people from a bit further away when the line got shorter.

I had to ‘collage’ people (especially in the second drawing, in which I wanted to capture a scene), as they were coming and going. So I would draw someone’s coat or hairdo, combine it with someone else’s legs or posture, and use a third, fourth, or even fifth person for the hands, shoes, features…
A lot of fun!

Later we met up with a group of about 20 sketchers and hung out in Vondelpark, at ‘t Blauwe Theehuis, which is one of my favourite places because of the building, its location and the great atmosphere. Oh and pretty good coffee too. The weather was nicer than expected but very cold, so I just enjoyed drawing the bar and the people in the cafe inside.

Later we all ‘crawled’ to the next location – it had to be an inside location because it was just too cold. Great hanging out for hours with this fun mix of people who all have one thing in common: the love for drawing!


20160423_Urbansketch1 20160423_Urbansketch2 20160423_Urbansketch4 20160423_Urbansketch5 20160423_Urbansketch6

The post The Amsterdam Urban Sketchers – sketchcrawl appeared first on Make Awesome Art.

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4. Not Doing It Hurts

Last week I shared a blogpost about how I am hooked on hatching. Today I read a definition about habits: “A habit is when not doing an action causes a bit of pain.” It’s true! Not making art because other things seem more important or urgent does hurt. So I’ll stick to my healthy addiction and habit and keep on hatching!


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5. Selfies

Drawing self portraits might be considered by some people as opportunistic or selfish. I don’t agree. Self portraits are a great way to play and practice, and to also record certain feelings, emotions and thoughts. Each selfie shows a different you, because each time you will actually be different; your mood, your hair, your state of mind – they influence both your reflection in the mirror, and your drawing hand.

I like to make faces and expressions – to draw those I take pictures otherwise my face will cramp up! The pictures will be a great starting point to study features and expressions, look at shadows, colours and details.

20160313_selfiesWith just 2 colour pencils, you can fill a page full of expression

20160611_selfiePracticing hatching to create shadows and shades using a fountain pen

20160321_selfiePlaying with ink and experimenting with white space and a contrasting background

20160320_selfieI almost forgot about the fountain pen I filled with brown ink! It had been sitting on the shelf for weeks and I am glad I picked it up! Such a different style and feel, when using coloured ink instead of plain black. I coloured the background using an HB pencil.

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6. Draw Tip Tuesday – Urban Sketching

…and then suddenly you catch the flu! Well, I did, in any case. I think it’s been 20 since I caught the flu virus that kept me in bed for over a week. It messed with my body, my brain, my schedule, even my drawing skills… And it meant I couldn’t make any new Draw Tip Tuesdays!
I feel a lot better now, thanks, even though I’m still in recovery mode.

So anyway, that’s why today will be Throwback Tuesday – once again, by popular demand: How to draw buildings without feeling intimidated!

The post Draw Tip Tuesday – Urban Sketching appeared first on Make Awesome Art.

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7. 3 Tips To Give Yourself a Kick-In-The-Butt

Because January is now behind us, let’s be honest to ourselves. How are you doing on those new year’s resolutions? Are you still sticking to them?

Last Monday, my online workshop ‘Awesome Art Journaling’ has started. Some of the participants are there because their new year’s resolution was: make more art. They took action by taking the class!

Struggles I see a lot in my classes are things like:

‘I really want to make art, but I don’t have time’, ‘I procrastinate, even though I know I feel happy when I make art’, ‘I think of sitting down to draw, but then I don’t’.

Is any of the above slightly familiar perhaps?

Here are 3 tips to give yourself that extra push and take action

20150718_shoes kopie

1. Take responsibility

You can wait for something to miraculously happen, like the week suddenly turning into 8 days, life getting less busy, or an hour consisting of 80  instead of 60 minutes. But who are you fooling anyway?

I can THINKabout going to the gym, but that’s not going to make my butt any thinner, is it?

The only person who can make it happen is YOU. Don’t blame circumstances or make up excuses. There is always a way.

2. Stop being scared

20160201_JustDoItNow, of course I don’t know what kind of challenge you are aiming for on tackling, but assuming it’s related to creativity: step out of that comfort zone and go for it. You need to follow new paths to learn and grow. And after all: what can REALLY go wrong? It’s just pen and paper. Or paint and canvas, or whatever your poison is.

3. Just Do it.

With every step you take, you will get such a great feeling of accomplishment. Another result: you don’t need to beat yourself up for making excuses. Because you don’t make them anymore.

Need an extra kick-in-the-butt?

Be quick then! ‘Awesome Art Journaling’ started last Monday, and if you haven’t already, this week will be the last chance for you to join in a whole month of making art every single day!

Click here to join now!

The post 3 Tips To Give Yourself a Kick-In-The-Butt appeared first on Make Awesome Art.

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8. A Valentine's Day Giveaway

Happy Valentine's Day! I know it was yesterday, but a holiday about Love should last so much longer than one day....how about every day? No? Well, we can start with a week. ;)

Valentine's Day is all about the love we share and feel towards those most important to us. Love is very important to me, to share with others....especially those that I don't know, because everyone needs it. A truth that is always good to share.

Today I want to share something with you, an original drawing...the first original drawing of my Mermaid Portrait series for my upcoming coloring book.

Here's what you need to do to be entered into the Giveaway:

♥︎ Go to my Pinterest page and Follow
♥︎ Pin something you like from my Pinterest page
♥︎ Share here or on my Facebook Page a link to the Pin you liked  

The more you Pin, the more your name is entered!
This will be running through the entire week of Valentine's. Today February 15th through Sunday, February 21st. All entries AFTER midnight February 21st will not make it to the list.

Winner will be announce Monday February 22nd!
winner announced on facebook and here on the blog. winner will also be contacted via message/email

Happy Pinning! ♥︎

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9. Places

I love drawing on location! Lately, I really enjoy drawing interiors, for some reason, and i love the fact that there’s always surprises and interesting corners to draw, when you really take a close look. An extra challenge is also people coming and going, or other things changing while you are drawing a scene. While I was doing the drawing below, the waiter suddenly started to move tables to prepare for a large group coming in later – it messed with my reference points but luckily, I had most of the needed things in there already and didn’t need to bother drawing the tables in their changed positions. It happens, you know – it’s a bit of ‘risk-taking’.  And that’s part of the fun: you can’t always control the situation.20160116_speijkervet2

But what if you can’t go to a cafe, a mall, or some interesting place for a drawing? Well, your living room will do just as well!
Each time I draw our living room, I notice different things. I choose different angles to draw from and it never gets boring.


…especially when living with a musician, there are many instruments scattered around. And again: it’s a bit of risk-taking because you never know if any of the instruments you’re drawing is going to be picked up and played on!


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10. Hooked on Hatching

As a kid in high school, I learned about hatching and cross hatching in art class. I absolutely loved it! A while ago, my dad found this drawing I made in class, for an assignment on cross hatching. I got an 8.2 for it, which is a very fine grade! (homework is graded on a scale of 1-10)20160604_KK1982

I still really do love hatching and crosshatching. Adding it to a line drawing creates such a fantastic sense of light and depth and volume and shape. Another advantage is that it brings you into an almost meditative state.
The drawings below were done in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I ran out of time on that right hand side page, but I quite like the unfinished drawing. I added a splash of watercolour to bring some balance to the journal spread.20160206_rijksmuseum

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11. 3 Daily Habits To Boost Your Creativity

20151130_whatIAteEveryone is creative. Whether you realize it or not, each day you are being creative as you make choices. To name just a few: what wil you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner? What will you wear today? How will you articulate the words in that email you’re sending out?

Still, you may feel your creativity can use a bit of a boost. Because you want to get into the habit of creating, but sometimes you get sloppy and before you know it, there are so many other things that need your attention, and you feel there is no more space for your creative habit.

Here are three tips:

1. Empty Your Mind


Quick blind contour drawings to empty my mind and focus on what I see only

There are so many things going on and so many thoughts racing through your head! They pile up throughout the day. You can make it stop by taking a little bit of time to workout, or meditate for example.

For me, drawing (even if it’s just a few minutes) is a great way to empty my mind: it feels like meditation, and it is a workout for my drawing muscles!
Do it every day – not just occasionally. You will benefit from this. Clearing your head will make you more creative during the day, and you will be able to focus a lot better.

2. Look At What You Have Created

Feeling uninspired? Well, take a look at your sketchbook pages, art journal pages, drawings and/or paintings. You may get some ideas AND you will see how much progress you made throughout time.
It’ll definitely make you feel like picking up a pen and put something down on paper to keep developing your skills.


3. Keep Learning

We’re never done learning. This is true in life, but also when you’re an artist.
So, read books about creativity, find how-to videos on YouTube, attend a life drawing class, or learn online and sign up for an online drawing class.
I will shamelessly plug my own drawing class ‘Just Draw It’ here, because it starts March 7 and you don’t want to miss it.les3_appelsteps9

“Just Draw It” is a small-group online art class.
During this 6-Week course, every week you and your classmates will learn a new technique through examples and instruction, step-by-step video-tutorials and photo-tutorials, assignments, and my personal feedback on the drawings you make in class.
It’s $99 and you will definitely catch the drawing bug!
Click here to find out more and to sign up!

If you follow the three steps above every day, you will give yourself a fantastic gift: your daily creative habit!

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12. How To Draw People

Life drawing sessions are fantastic to practice drawing people, and actually, I’d like to attend them more often. Studying proportions, shadows, staring at a person who gets paid to be stared at during 20, 10 or 5 minute poses, being surrounded by others who are also focusing on the same model… it all adds up to a wonderful experience and great practice. However, unplanned drawing and sketching is more my ‘thing’. I bring my sketchbook with me, everywhere I go, because there will be sketching opportunities on many occasions, even if it was just for a few minutes.

Lynne Chapman‘s book ‘Sketching people‘ has reminded me of how much I love drawing people, and I am enjoying filling my sketchbook pages while observing the people around me.

The best places to draw people are where people are pre-occupied, focused on their phone, ipad, laptop, waiting in line for something, or in converstaion with somebody else:

20160301_schipholUsing a bold, cheap rainbow pencil makes it easier to work quickly and the blunt tip won’t allow me to go into detail.

20160301_manchesterI often choose an aisle seat when I travel by plane or train; so I can get a good view of my fellow travelers – even when it’s from the back

20160305_people1When people stand in line, they will stay still for a little bit, but you know you need to be quick. Sometimes, if I am not fast enough, I just combine two, three or even four persons into one. If people are sitting down in a coffeeshop, cafe or restaurant, check if they have something to drink or eat. Usually you will then know if they will be there for a while and you can get into more detail when drawing them.

20160305_people2Sometimes it’s a bit scary – I feel like a stalker, watching someone intensely for a while, when I draw them. Most of the time, people don’t even notice at all, but if they do and I feel that it annoys them that they’re being watched, I stop and focus on someone or something else. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes people come up to me because they noticed me drawing (them) and they want to see. Then I may feel hesitant to show them because I often don’t go for the likeness, but rather focus on posture, shadows, gesture and line. But it doesn’t matter to them either – they will recognize something about them in the drawing and are flattered to have been the subject – they won’t judge me for not drawing them perfectly!


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13. Draw Tip Tuesday: How To Draw Your Hand

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

A lot of people find it hard to draw hands. It takes practice -and what better way to practice, than using your own hand as a model?

Want more videos? Subscribe to my Youtube Channel!

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14. Drawing Feet

Feet. I know people who are totally grossed out by them. Well, by other people’s feet. I am on the other end of the spectrum. I think feet are intriguing.

Like drawing hands, I love drawing my own feet. They are great for drawing negative spaces, for practiciing gesture drawings, or to study shadows, to name a few things.
They are always there to model for me in many poses, and are willing to go naked; that’s when they look best.

20160227_MyFeetDrawn with a Lamy Safari fountain pen, medium nib, filled with Carbon Ink, coloured with watercolours

Luckily, there are more bare feet in our household, so I get to draw them from many angles, using different art tools to play with.

20160229_MandolinFeetDrawn with a Lamy Safari fountain pen, medium nib

20160227_FeetDrawn with green and blue coloured pencils from prismacolor and a red Staedler ergosoft coloured pencil

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15. Drawing the mondaine things in life

Sometimes the hours go so fast – before I know it, the day is already coming to an end, even though the work hasn’t. It’s easy to complain about being busy and not getting the chance to draw because of it. However, there are always moments throughout the day that offer great sketching opportunities. Like when you’re on the phone, or when you’re waiting for the computer to calculate or restart.

The two drawings below are quite random sketches, at random times. I will keep doing these kinds of drawings and they will add up to a story taking place in my studio over time.20160310_Studio


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16. Draw Tip Tuesday – Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
How are your coloring pages going, we started last week? And have you decorated the cover yet?
Let’s do that today, and make sure that the coloring book becomes a great new-years-resolution project!

Want more videos? Subscribe to my Youtube Channel!

This project is a great way to start the new year with, and if you want a little extra push towards creating an art habit, join my online workshop ‘Awesome Art Journaling’. It starts February first and I will guide you through a whole month of art journaling with fun tips, drawing prompts, videos and tutorials. And to keep you going, at the end of the class, you get another month worth of art prompts and tips in the ‘Awesome Art Journaling’ workbook.

Sign up today by clicking here

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17. Foodie Art!

Here’s just a collection of fun foodie-art!

20151208_recipe 20151208_WhatIAte 20151211_VeggieRosti 20151211_WhatIAteToday 20151216_haring

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18. Draw Tip Tuesday – Drop Shadows

Welcome to Draw Tip Tuesday!

Remember a while ago I showed you how to combine watercolors and colour pencils? Well, here’s a super quick tip that can make a huge difference: add cast shadows. A simple trick with a great effect!

There’s more where this came from! Follow me on YouTube by clicking here

If you need a little extra push to keep making art a habit: join my online class ‘Awesome Art Journaling’. It’s a 4 week class, filled with great tips, tricks, drawing ideas and a little kick in the pants! Starting February first. Click here and sign up for $69 today

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19. Travel Journal Pages #1

Now that I’m catching my breath after the very exciting pre-launch week of the new term in Sketchbook Skool (you didn’t sign up for “Expressing” yet? Seriously? You still can; there are a few seats left! Click here to sign up right now before enrollment closes!), I would like to share my travel journal pages I filled during the trip to Thailand I came back from last weekend.


The excitement of a holiday starts in the plane! So great to kill time during a long flight. I didn’t even watch any movies; drawing this was very satisfying. After finishing, I put an eye mask over my eyes, an audiobook in my ears and managed to get a little bit of sleep.

You may have noticed I have visited Thailand more than once – I and my husband just really love the country. There are so many beautiful places to discover, the people are so lovely, the pace is so much slower than here in the Netherlands, the temperatures are so lovely in winter, and of course… the food is delicious!



We stayed in Chiang Mai City for the first days, to acclimatize a little and to shake off business and busy-ness.

And to spend new year’s eve.



The tradition of letting up paper lanterns for good luck is (although quite polluting) very magical.


I wanted to draw that! So I decorated the first page of my sketchbook – there was a LOT of hatching, I kept coming back to it to fill the dark sky.

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20. Travel Journal Pages #2

Yesterday I showed the travel journal pages I filled before the new year started. Here’s more!

Food, of course… I just have to document it, when it’s good. Can’t help myself.


We rented a motorcycle and left Chiang Mai City. Travelling light has a lot of advantages. You don’t need to schlepp around all kinds of unnecessary things (that you won’t use anyway) all the time, and you can travel with 2 people on one motorcycle. One bag in front, one at the back and you’re good to go!
So we went up north and found a gorgeous place – a treehouse resort of which I will share a drawing later, in a different post. 20160102_Rabaeng-Pasal-Resort


Oh and.. more food…20160104_Lhongkhao

A page in my mini-sketchbook on a sleepy morning in Mae Ha Pra. Doing art during breakfast.20160104_minisketchbook

And one of those typical drawings where the hand goes and starts drawing lines and the mind goes: “What are you doing? are you really going to draw all these leaves? This is way too complex!”. Because I really loved the feeling of the black ink lines flowing onto the watercolour background I prepared the night before, it was easy to ignore that voice in my head and just go along with it, bit by bit. I am very happy how it turned out and it reminds me of the fact what a difference it can make to work on a watercolour background – the sunny yellow adds so much to this line drawing!


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21. Travel Journal Pages #3

On my recent trip to Thailand, I brought a Moleskine, a tiny sketchbook for quick small sketches, and a Strathmore Grey toned peper sketchbook, which I dedicated a while ago to draw ‘places’ in. These can be interiors, or interesting places I visit – well anything really. For the drawings I use black pen and I hatch the colour in with colour pencils.

So I drew my view sitting in front of our hotel room in Chiang Mai City:


And I drew the most spectacular tree house in Rabaeng Pasak Treehouse Resort:20160102_Treehouse

And the view from the bed right after waking up in Lhongkao Resort:


And one at the last day before flying back to Amsterdam – the view from the hotel in Chiang Mai City: I did this drawing kind of rushed and I like it the least of this series, because it has no particular focus point and it looks a bit disorganized. But still – it contains great memories, and when I look at it i feel the heat again, hear the city sounds and the chattering of the people below the balcony. And capturing the moment and the memory is what it’s all about.

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22. Travel Journal pages #4

Sometimes you just don’t know where to start when you are somewhere and you want to capture the scene or the vibe, or all the colours that you see… Well I learned a fantastic trick from Miguel Herranz: capture parts of the scene in frames, and fill your page like that. 20160106_ChiangDao

If you draw a scene, but don’t have time to fill the whole page with all the things you see in the background, add lettering instead. A great way to document things and make notes so you won’t forget.20160106_lunch

Or if a scene overwhelms you, you could just use a tiny sketchbook, and make a quick, tiny drawing. When it’s small, you can’t add too much detail, so the size helps you to filter them out:


Here’s another way: to capture different moments all on one page:


What I also really like doing, is to use a grey brush marker to add quick background shapes – it adds a certain sense of depth to a line drawing.


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23. Pen Crush

If you’re even remotely interested in making art, there’s a good chance you cannot pass by an art supply shop without popping in. To smell the paints, touch the sketchbooks, check out the rainbows of colours in the colour pencil section, and to investigate pens. And yes, once you’re in the shop, there is NO way of leaving without having bought at least one item. Is it a trap? Or an addiction? If it’s the latter, it’s a fairly harmless and healthy one, causing instant happiness and inspiration. You could also call it an artsy crush.
I have quite a few art related crushes. Here’s one of them:

Juicy pens
Not just for drawing, but for writing as well!
For example I have a whole bunch of Lamy Safari fountain pens. I’ll admit that it was not love at first sight, because the first one I bought (because I read about it on almost every single blog about drawing) has a fine nib, and it felt a bit too scratchy for me. Over time, I found out that I like the bolder ones better. But I got used to the finer nib as well and use it when I want to make more detailed drawings, or feel like drawing a finer line. By now, I am a Lamy Believer, especially of the Safari series, because I think the pens are affordable,not too precious because of that, and light in your hand. You can get converters for them, that you can fill and refill with your own choice of fountain pen ink.

My two favorites at the moment: The coral pink one that I have, has a broad nib for bold and juicy lines, and the color makes it easy to find it in my bag or on my desk. The Lamy Joy brings me joy indeed: it has a calligraphy nib and you can buy it in several sizes. I love writing with this, but it’s also great to draw with.
Wanna win a Lamy pen? Check out the giveaway over at the Sketchbook Skool blog!

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24. Travel Journal Pages #5

It’s so great to go through all my travel sketchbook pages again. They contain so many memories!
So these are the last pages of my recent Thailand trip:

Flying back to amsterdam, waiting for a delayed flight in the China Airlines Lounge, and capturing some fun memories from our vacation.

Whenever you take a trip, I can highly recommend doing a page like the one below: drawing from memory and document the highlights of each day. So fun to remember those things you already almost forgot about – especially when you’re with a travel buddy, it’s a lot of fun to go through all the adventures together and capture them once more!


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25. Shortcuts And Secrets For Your Art Skills

Occasionally, in my online classes or in reaction of my Draw Tip Tuesday videos, people ask me questions that start with: ‘What is the secret to…’. Or comments like ’You make it look so easy’.


Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the simple answer would be: “If you buy this pen by Brand X, you will be able to draw everything you want”. But, as you already suspected – that’s not the case.
Maybe if we were studying on Hogwarts we could make it work, but even then you would need to really search for the right wand that fitted your needs best, before even starting to learn the first small steps towards making magic happen.


Walking the Path
As a kid I had this image in my mind of me behind a beautiful piano, playing music as if it would flow right out of my fingers. Even though I kept hoping I would some day magically be able to play complex classical pieces, I learned that just attending class each week, wasn’t going to get me there.20150307_music2

Practicing every day was the only key to moving forward, learning a piece bit by bit. Eventually I gave up, believing I was lacking the talent, but in fact I was lacking the motivation, endurance, patience and, well… ‘passion’. I wanted to be that piano player, but I didn’t want to walk the path to become one. It felt like an obligation rather than something I really wanted to do, all the time – like drawing.

Years of practice
When people comment on my art and say: “you make it look so easy” or “you are so talented”, I feel quite honored and I take it as a huge compliment. But what they often don’t realize is that what I now draw in half an hour time, took me years and years of practice. And I’m never done learning – which I love!

There are no Shortcuts
Enough about me. What can you do to develop your art skills?
With any form of art, and with developing a creative habit or any habit at all, there are no shortcuts.
You need to take one step at a time, make mistakes, learn from them, explore different tools and techniques and find out if they fit you and your needs. lowering expectations helps on the one hand, but you also need to keep challenging yourself to accomplish new goals and stay motivated. You need to find the balance by not setting the bar too high.

NewSketchbookTo boil it down for you, here are 5 ‘Secrets to Success’:

1. There are no shortcuts
2. Make as many mistakes as you can – and learn from them
3. Explore tools and techniques – and find out what works best for you
4. Lower expectations – don’t set the bar too high right away
5. Keep challenging yourself

Now get your creative habit going!
Starting February 1, in my online art class ‘Awesome Art Journaling’ I will guide you through the weeks, and together we will fill our journal pages with awesome art. You can learn to make memorable daily journal entries with the practical tips and tricks I give you, and through experimenting with materials and techniques. Develop creative ideas and make every day an Awesome Art Journal day.
It’s only $69 for a whole month and at the end of class you will receive a workbook to keep nurturing your art habit for another month. If you haven’t joined already, what are you still waiting for?
Click here to join today!

Whatever you do, I hope you will enjoy walking that path – no shortcuts, just a lot of fun making awesome art!

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