Why Every Artist Needs A Mod Notebook

Mod Notebooks for every artist

I used to LOOOOOOVE Moleskine notebooks. The thick pages and hard cover really won me over. Not to mention the social community of artists they have. However, a few months ago I found these wondrous, perfectly-sized sketchbooks called Mod Notebooks and I think I have a new love in my life.

thick notebook pages

These notebooks also have nice thick pages and a hard cover, so what’s the difference?

Mod Notebooks- welcome page

Well, with Mod Notebooks, I have the ability to digitize all of my drawings. Actually, I don’t even have to do it. There’s a little pocket in the back of each notebook with a pre-paid shipping envelope inside. When I fill up the sketchbook, all I have to do is pop it in the mail. The company will digitize the book I sent them and all of my drawings will be accessible through the app within 5 days. Aaaaaand I can choose whether or not I want them to send the sketchbook back to me or recycle it.

Who can argue with a deal like that?

Who should have one?

Arguably, everyone. But I’m realistic and I understand that not everyone wants to spend $30 on all of that.

Any artists could benefit from using these sketchbooks. Architects, illustrators, crafters, CAD designers, product developers… the list goes on.

you can customize the pages to your preferences, too. If you need plain, dotted, or lined paper, it is available. I’m actually surprised that that didn’t have graph paper available, but I wouldn’t doubt that is coming.

 

Full disclosure: I was not paid to write this post. I am just a huge advocate of awesome sketchbooks and wanted to tell everyone I know about it.

 

Take the #inktober Drawing Challenge!

Take the #inktober challenge

So, I know I’m getting a bit of a late start here, but it’s October, which means that it’s time for #inktober. And I want you to participate.

What is #inktober?

#inktober is a challenge that artists (and non-artists) all over the world take to improve their ink drawing habits. All you have to do is pick up a pen and draw something once a day, every other day or once a week.

You don’t have to be an artist. The drawing doesn’t even have to be good! It just has to be with ink.

How do you participate?

Take a picture of your drawing and post it to social media with the #inktober hashtag. Easy peasy.

People will be searching for that hashtag all month long. It allows them to see what other people are drawing. Not to mention that there is awesome community around it.

Take the challenge with me!

I’m always game for something that will improve my creative skills and it wouldn’t hurt you to do the same. There are plenty of reasons to draw, so grab a pen and show me what you can do 🙂

Halloween-inspired drawings are always appreciated, but not necessary. You can draw whatever you like.

Where did the #inktober challenge come from?

The challenge was created in 2009 by Jake Parker.  He started InkTober as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor. You can read more about it here.

Check out some drawings from the InkTober challenge so far this year

InkTober drawing by Katherine Tattersfield

InkTober drawing by Katherine Tattersfield

InkTober Drawing by Jennifer Broderick

InkTober Drawing by Jennifer Broderick

InkTober drawing by Matthew Price

InkTober drawing by Matthew Price

My 2014 inktober drawings

I missed a few days here and there, but these are the drawings I made throughout the month. Click the links to see the drawings for each week.

Octopus sketch for #inktober

Week 1 of Inktober

Sun glasses drawing for #inktober

Week 2 of Inktober

Dandelion drawing

Dandelion drawing

Week 3 of Inktober

Heart #inktober Sketch

Week 4 of Inktober

Amazing Design Inspiration Website: From Up North

I found this website today that I’ve never heard of before. It’s called From Up North. I have no idea how I’ve never heard of it because it is a GREAT site for design and all types of creative inspiration. You’ll never have a problem becoming inspired again.

From up North is a design blog focusing on promoting and inspiring creatives all over the world. We deliver inspiration within Graphic Design, Advertising, Photography, Illustration, Web Design, Motion Graphics, Print & Packaging just to name a few.

It’s filled with images of great typography, photography, graphic design, traditional art, and just about anything you can think of. I found the images below on a blog post of theirs, but there is a ton of work to check out in the Discover tab and the Inspiration Galleries. You’ll want to check out the articles too! Good stuff.

The Girl With the Headphones Ice cream lips illustration Amazing celebrity illustrations

Why You Should Draw Even If You Don’t Think You Can

Why everyone should draw When I was a kid, I was always drawing or coloring in those cheap yellow-paged, blue-lined notebooks. Surprisingly, there wasn’t anyone in my family that was particularly artistic that could teach me techniques or give me advice, so I learned by drawing what was in front of me. It was the perfect way for me to learn and it became somewhat of an addiction. Now, I realize that not everyone thinks they have the ability draw, and maybe you think I’m naive for thinking anybody can. But drawing is just like singing, or dancing, or cooking, you get better if you work at it. I continued to sketch because I had the motivation to get it right, but the lessons I’ve learned along the way have been amazing.

You learn so much from drawing

Patience

Ask anyone who knows me… I am SO impatient. It’s amazing that I can sit still long enough to draw something for an hour. Believe it or not, I used to be a lot worse in the patience department. My dad always told me “patience is a virtue”, at least once a day. He still reminds me of it sometimes. But it’s true. And drawing anything for any amount of time makes you realize that you will eventually get it right. It just takes time.

Dedication

Every artist develops a new level of dedication through their work. There’s always motivation to learn to draw what I can’t draw, and the dedication that evolves carries over into other aspects of life.

Reality

One of my favorite lessons learned from drawing is understanding reality. You start developing a greater awareness of what is going on around you, how things really look, and how they behave. The best advice ever given to me on the subject was from my junior high art teacher. He said “draw what you see, not what you know”. That sounds pretty obvious, but when you start drawing something that you’re familiar with, like your best friend or your dog, then you think you know what it looks like. So you just draw and you don’t really look at your subject. But when you take a good look at your work in comparison to your subject, you realize that you brain just starts to fill in the details and they usually aren’t accurate.

Stability

When I have bad days I doodle in my sketchbook because it helps to ground me. It sounds silly because, when I doodle, I draw abstract lines and unworldly things, but those oddities get all of that emotion out and always brings me back to reality.

Appreciation

When you draw what’s in front of you, whether it be a person, a pet, or nature, it gives you a greater appreciation of your subject and the evolution of your skills. When you observe your subject, it makes you appreciate every line, the way the colors blend, the way the light hits the surface… everything. You start to recognize the beauty in the world. Then, when you look back at your work, even over the course of a few days, and you see the improvement in your skill, you can’t help but smile.

Your turn to draw

So, even if you don’t draw, and don’t think you can, give it a shot. Set a small goal to draw in the evening for 15 minutes every Tuesday, or when you’ve had a bad day. You might surprise yourself.

Here’s some inspiration to get you started:

Michelle Curiel: An artist who uses bright colors in all of her drawings. Her style is feminine and unique. She’s the ultimate doodler. Moleskin sketchbook artists: A compilation of some really awesome sketches and artists I found while searching #moleskin on Twitter. Twisted tree sketch: One of my many sketchbook views. Charlie Layton: This guy draws on his freezer instead of in a sketchbook.

All artists have their own way of finding inspiration

Why I Love Art

the best art quote
In a few simple words, this is why I love art. Somehow, getting lost in your own work allows you time to think and become things you never imagined. Join us in the #onething project on Google+ and create something (anything) new every day. Use the hashtag! There are so many opportunities to create and to find yourself… or lose yourself. Whichever you prefer.

The Hemloft: The Ultimate Tree House

Hemloft tree house

Who doesn’t love a tree house? You can’t honestly say that you didn’t make a tree house as a kid, right? I hope not. I was always climbing around when I was little and making tree houses was one of my favorite past times. This tree house is waaaaay beyond anything I could’ve dreamed up though. this is just proof that you should never let go of your childhood hobbies. As an adult you can make them so much greater.

This tree house is better know as the Hemloft. It is a “secret” (and I put that in quotes because it can’t be a secret if there are pictures on the internet) tree house deep in the woods of Whistler, Canada. The maker used plywood ribs to make the frame and scavenged wood to fill in the rest. To learn more about the Hemloft, check out the original post on My Modern Met.

tree house windows Tree house entrance Hemloft's office space

Where to Find Creative Inspiration on the Web

Last week, I wrote an article on how to beat creative block. From that article, I got a lot of questions about where I look for inspiration. That is a good question. Aside from going for a walk or talking to someone else, I get creative inspiration from other people. There is a pool of artists and designers out there who upload their work and ideas to websites and forums. But, which are the best ones to browse when you’re stuck in a rut? I’ve compiled some of my favorites for you.

For Design Inspiration

I Love Typography

i love typography

I go to this blog when I’m going through a font phase. Most designers drool over fonts on a regular basis, but I get in moods. Whether you realize it or not, font has a very important role in our everyday lives. You might overlook an ad just because the font doesn’t match the design. You’ll notice it when you see one designed by someone who has no idea what they are doing. All of the designers in crowd will be like “That doesn’t fit with those curves at all! They should’ve used Futura instead”, or something along those lines. This is a great place to learn about fonts and to discover new ones.

The Matboard

The Matboard

The Matboard is like a mixture between Behance and Pinterest. It is one of the greatest sites ever for creative inspiration. You can upload work, browse work, and network with other designers. When  can’t find something art related on Pinterest, this is my go-to site. It really is fantastic for all types of project inspiration.

Behance

Behance

I know, this is a common one. But you have to remember that it is common because it is GOOD. You can find all kinds of creative projects on here whether you are looking for graphic design, illustration or website projects, Behance has it all. I also enjoy the project shuffle filter that gives you random projects that you might like. It is also a good way to find a creative company if you are looking to get some marketing materials made.

For logo Inspiration

LogoPond

LogoPond for logo design inspiration

LogoPond has always been one of my favorite sites for logo inspiration. Every design on that site is clean and and thought out. It isn’t just a dump of work. The site is organized and highly functional, just how I like it.

Random Inspiration

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is bookmarking site. You can designate your interests and it will show you information based on your likes. When you go to a site through StumbleUpon, you can choose to like it or dislike it. Over time, the site learns what you like over what you dislike, and can show you articles or websites based on your interests. You can also add sites or articles to the StumbleUpon. It will ask you for the URL, some keywords, a category that it fits in, and a description. This way, it can share that page with other users that have the same interests as you do. It is pretty cool. I use this one when I’m bored, mostly (which isn’t as often as I would like it to be). But it is also very helpful for finding inspiration on a specific topic.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Go ahead and yell at me if you feel the need to, but I LOVE Pinterest. It doesn’t matter what I am looking for, I can always find it here. Sometimes, I just go there for color palettes. It sounds strange, but just looking at the screen shot above, I can pick out fun and new ones. I love it!

When you’ve hit a wall and you need some inspiration where do you go? What do you do? I want to hear about the sites you visit when you’ve hit a wall.

How to Beat Creative Block

It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, an artist, or a designer; all creatives get creative block and many of us just ride it out. One day you’ll get another great idea. But you have to beat it! Creative block is a mind set and you can’t let it take over or it will consume other areas of your life. So I’ve compiled some of my best remedies for overcoming it.

How to Beat Creative Block

Creative Block Busters You Can Use Right Now

Brainstorming

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but it is an incredible (yes, I’m that enthusiastic about it) exercise to get all of your ideas out on the table. If you’re working on a project and you just can’t come up with a good idea, try brainstorming. Get it all out. Write it all down on paper whether it is the best or worst idea you’ve ever had. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes your brain gets foggy because you have so much on your plate that you can’t focus. When you’re finished, take a look at your ideas. Cross out the terrible ones and focus on the good.

Brainstorming is always my go-to approach when I’m stuck because, I have ideas, but they don’t make sense until their on paper. If you’re a visual learner, like most creatives, then this approach will likely work. Don’t shun it…

Get Outside

Getting over creative block can be as easy as changing your surroundings. Take your notepad or your sketchbook and get outside. Being surrounded by nature helps to clear your mind so that you can focus on more important things. Go for a walk, sit on a bench, or go weed your garden. There are some beautiful things in the world and, sometimes those visuals give you the inspiration you are looking for.

Do Something Else

I know, this is the last thing you want to do when you’re frustrated because you can’t come up with that groundbreaking idea. But the more you stress about it, the worse it is going to get. If you go and do something you enjoy, the activity destresses you, and then you can come back to your project with an open mind.

Being stressed really hinders your ability to be productive.  Research has shown that happy people are more creative. You can’t argue with that!

Clean

It sounds ridiculous, I agree, but every time I’m stressed about a project (or anything really) I clean. I think that cleaning is such a mindless activity that it clears your mind and helps to calm you down. That is if you aren’t getting mad that everything is such a mess all the time.

Doodle

Doodling has always been my escape. Just draw something. Anything. It doesn’t even have to be good, and no one else has to see it. Just like brainstorming, doodling helps you get things off of your mind and it helps you focus at the same time. When I was a freelance designer, I worked with a company that encouraged doodling during their morning meetings. They told me they always got better work from their employees throughout the day if they doodled while talking about their goals and projects. Who knew?

Check out these fun projects for some doodle inspiration:
DIY Doodle Bookmarks
Michelle Curiel: The Ultimate Doodler
Doodling on Vinyl Dolls

Creative Block Busters to Work On

Inspiration Boards

Whenever you see something creative, pin it to a inspiration board on Pinterest. It can be anything from photography, to ads, to articles. Having a bank of creative information at your finger tips can be a great fall back. Just browsing other creative work can really boost your spirits and get you back in the mood to make something new.

If you don’t use Pinterest, you could always put together an inspiration book for future reference.

Get Feedback

Talking to other people about your ideas, or lack of, can be a great motivator. Just because your stuck on something doesn’t mean that there’s no one out there who can help you. Even someone who is unfamiliar with your industry can be a big help. You could go find a coworker, ask questions in a forum, or start a conversation on social media. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been inspired to create something from a conversation I had with someone on Twitter or Google Plus. There are some great people out there who are always willing to give you feedback.

Learn Something New

Keep your brain active by continuously learning. Sometimes, creative block stems from lack of exposure. If you ensure that you are learning something new on a regular basis, there is less of a chance of getting stuck. Learning also improves confidence, which never hurts.

Make Time for Y-O-U

Of course, this is easier said than done, but making time for your hobbies helps you to relax. Everyone needs a little me time or they will eventually go crazy. You might love your job, but YOU have to be able to stay creative so YOU are the one you have to take care of. Take half an hour at the end of every night to do something that relaxes you, or just something that makes you happy. Maybe you take a hot bath, read a chapter in a book, or play video games. Just make sure that whatever you’re doing isn’t going to cause you any stress.

Networking

Find a group of creatives in your home town that you can collaborate with. Go to Meetups or other networking events to get in touch with people who enjoy the same things you do. When you are constantly surrounded by creative people, the creative block has to fight its way in.

That’s all I’ve got!

How do you beat creative block? If you have more ideas, leave them in the comments. I would love to hear how you stay creative at work and at home.

#onething Creative Challenge

You’re busy. You have so much to do every day and I can totally relate. But when do you find time to do something just for you? Creativity is a massive energy booster and it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished more than just your daily schedule, so I am urging you to take the #onething creative challenge.

#onething creative challenge

The challenge: create one new thing every day for one year. The idea came out of the re:Design community in Google+ and has flourished ever since. It is a personal challenge to be true to your passion whether it be drawing, painting, cooking, writing, or anything else. Create something. Create anything. If you can’t do it every day, commit to once a week. Whatever works best for you.

Whenever you create something, post a picture of it on Google+, and tag it #onething. You will have a bevy of supports and a endless stream of creative projects to observe for inspiration, or just for fun.

Are you in? I am. You can follow me here.

These are just a few examples that I pulled from the stream:

rain drops on flowers #onething

By John Prothero

Create Light Painting #onething

By Katherine Tattersfield

banana graffiti #onething

By Matthew Price

turning trees into glass #onething

By Paul Biedermann

cabbin in the woods #onething

By Drew Myler