The Power of Starting Simple

simple drawing patterns, art journal line drawing, simple pattern ideas

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

What is the simplest thing I could do artistically right now? I’ve found this is such a powerful question for my art practice. I don’t ask: What masterpiece could I make? We need to build our skills over time. You’re not going to reach those big creative goals if you don’t reach the little ones first. Plus, I love layering simple things to make something magical.

And I find that as I focus on process, I gain mastery more quickly without the pressure from the inner critic.

I also really appreciate a minimal approach to art journal pages sometimes. We don’t need to fill every inch. Our work needs room to breathe.

That’s why I love to work on simple little ideas – I’ll cut little swirling shapes out of a circle, or explore watercolor dashes that move from one side of the page to another. Another day I’ll draw my dog, trying to capture the graceful turn of his paw before he shifts in his sleep.

Over time, I find I’ve created a treasure trove of beautiful bits and pieces. I love to put them together and see how they “speak” to each other.

Sometimes this leads to ideas for larger works I compose on paper, but often it leads to collage, and often in my art journals.

Sometimes simple lines, writing about your feelings, or a natural pattern is all a journal page needs. These simple things lead to further creative action, and when we layer simple things, they gain depth and beauty.

If you’d love the idea of making simple things, check out my class: The Simplest Thing Journal.

I hope that you enjoy these tips on starting simple. I’d love to hear what helps you do the simplest thing and create more.

Creatively Yours,



  1. Holly Lemieux

    I love to randomly doodle

    • Amy Maricle

      Yes, doodling is a wonderful way to create. Happy drawing!

  2. brigitte

    je suis super motivée mais avec un frein : celui de la langue. Je vais faire ce que je comprends !

    • Amy Maricle

      Bonjour Brigitte! Je comprends. C’est dificile. Vouz pouvez faire ce qui vous vient à l’esprit en fonction de ce que vous comprenez. Just do your best and be inspired. I’m glad you’re here! xo

    • Jenn Smith

      I love that these simple, nature-inspired patterns allow me to focus only on what I’m doing at that moment and quiet the rest of my mind. It’s a meditation.

      • Amy Maricle

        It sounds like we are on the same page, Jenn! xo

  3. Joann Tomsche

    Observing a scene, I isolate colors and paint a page of vertical stripes with my travel watercolor set.

    • Amy Maricle

      That sounds so fun! I love this simple idea – thank you for sharing! xo

  4. valerie lowens

    thank you! cannot begin to explain how helpful this was!

  5. Lava

    Thank you Amy for everything. I always found excuses to not sit down for myself. It had more to do with me being a beginner and the works of all those talented people made me apprehensive. Then I discovered you and it all changed. Starting simple has its own magic and seeing what you do with it has got me going. I now join you every Wednesday and I am enjoying it all.
    Thank you!

    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Lava: Oh I’m so happy to see this. What you say is true for so many and I’m thrilled that my approach has invited you into a new space of creativity. YAY! xo


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