The Three P’s Of Making More Art

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

Folks often ask me how I find time to make art. It is hard to make time to make art sometimes. It’s my job to make art, and even I struggle sometimes when I’m really busy with the business side of things. But there are a few tricks that make it so much easier to weave art into my days. I like to think about the 3 Ps of making art: permission, preparation, and playfulness.

The Three Ps of Art Making

Permission is the first and most important part of making art. Once you decide that you are worth the time and the (few) supplies needed to make art, not much can stand in your way. And you are worth it. Some people need time in the gym, or in the woods, or time cooking in the kitchen, or chatting with friends. We all need time doing the things that make us feel more grounded, whole and alive. You deserve art making time, no matter how “talented” or “untalented” you judge yourself to be. It’s a vital way to care for yourself.

Preparation is the next key to making more art. When you have the supplies at hand to create, you’ll be ready to dig in without much fuss. Carrying a small portable art kit in your bag, and also keeping one accessible at home can help you make art in all the in between moments. I often make art while waiting in the parking lot to pick up my kids, in doctor’s offices, or while the water boils, and while others watch tv.

Playfulness is the last key to making more art. Playfulness goes a step further beyond permission. It’s about immersing yourself in the creative process – like a wide-eyed kid – fully exploring each idea with delight. This is the joy of the creative process. We make art because it’s fun. And happily, I find the more room I give myself to play and explore, the more my skills improve.

More art play = more practice = better skills = better art = more art making. It’s a beautiful positive feedback loop, isn’t it?

Let Me Show You How I Make Time For Art

I’m visiting friends and family in California right now, and this is a good opportunity to illustrate how I make time for art. Yesterday in the morning, everyone was sitting on the porch in the sun, chatting, so I started drawing.

Sometimes we can feel a bit on stage drawing in front of people. I won’t draw in front of someone that I know will be critical, but aside from that, I pull out my sketchbook and don’t make a big deal about it. Most people let me do my thing and get used to me drawing sometimes. Especially with my slow drawing patterns, the repetitiveness means that I can engage in conversation while I’m drawing if I want to, or I can just be a listener.

I try to almost always carry a journal and a pen. This small coptic bound journal I made is great it’s got a hard cover and is easy to carry. You can find what else I carry in a portable art kit here, and if you are interested in all my favorite supplies, including the Lamy fountain pen I’m using, you’ll find those in my favorite art supplies.

Once we are off on our adventure, when others stop to rest, I can quickly make a sketch of something that captures my attention. I like having a journal with a hard cover, like my coptic journal, so I don’t need anything to lean on. These sketches are just ways to capture ideas. They look messy and interesting and snuggle up on the page next to the lunch order I wrote earlier. Your journals don’t need to be perfect. They need to feed your art practice and your life.

Some journal pages are a messy mix of things, while others are more careful and studied, like this exploration of the Fortuna pattern.

In the evening, some folks were watching tv, and others were playing music. I sat adjacent to the music and drew for quite a while. I love drawings like this because it’s something I can begin in one moment, and then continue to work on as little opportunities arise throughout a day or over several days. All the gentle lines are so soothing.

I don’t know if this particular page is done yet or not, but I know that there’s a lot here that I would like to explore in future pieces. I’m so happy I was ready to take advantage of the windows of time to make art.

How do you find time to make art? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Creatively Yours,

Amy

21 Comments

  1. Suzie Amelia Kline

    Thanks for sharing your process when you’re among others and also your beautiful drawings photos, Amy!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      I’m so happy this speaks to you Suzie Amelia!

      Reply
  2. Linda Higham

    Thank you Amy for this very informative and enjoyable Blog read. I’m am hoping that you will do another Inchie Summer Drill.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      YES! We are doing an inchie challenge in August! xo

      Reply
      • Linda Higham

        Yea!!! Thank you Amy

        Reply
  3. Donna Cain

    All good advice and that page is gorgeous! Thanks, Amy!

    Reply
  4. Deborah

    Amy, I like your 3 p’s and will add them to my art practice. Another p for me is priority. I try to give my art-making a high priority as many days in the week as possible. I like your ideas in “preparation,” carrying a small hardcover journal, a pen, even a portable watercolor set in my bag, so I can take advantage of opportunities I’m currently missing.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Oh yes Deborah, I like the way you put it – taking advantage of opportunities you are currently missing. I know I have some of those too. It’s a process! xo

      Reply
  5. Liz Abel

    Hi Amy, like you I squeeze it in where I can (although I am not quite as good at it as you are). I too have coptic bound books I have made (mostly A5 but lately an A6) that I can carry for art on the go. I also take my friends and family on art dates – coffee with the intention of talk and drawing – getting as much out of (or into) the time as possible. I find your slow drawing patterns are inspirational. I love drawing and looking at patterns and find they are a quick and easy way to bring artmaking into small spaces of time. Thank-you for providing the impetus (and reminder emails) for this. x

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Liz: It sounds like you are doing a great job making time for art! I’m so happy that the slow drawing process is a part of that for you. Spreading the art and nature love! xo

      Reply
  6. Jan Brandt

    Thanks for sharing how you make time for art! I’m retired, so you’d think I have all the time in the world for art – whenever I darn well please! I think what gets in my way is “the shoulds”. It was deeply ingrained in me as a child to do your work first, then you can play later. My husband is a wonderful man who encourages and supports my passion for making art, so he’s not the problem! I just need to “catch myself” in the act of “shouding” and go make art! Your Wednesday Slow Drawing sessions are of immense help! Thank you very much. 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      HI Jan: I totally understand the power of the word should and it’s weight. Sometimes I like to ask the oldest version of myself what she would hope I chose to do..xo

      Reply
    • Sandy Skinner

      Hi Jan,
      I once did a Bible study on “The Tyranny of the Urgent”! It was about the urgent things in life running our days and lives so that we never got to do what we wanted to do.
      Then a few years ago, our pastor was saying to himself, “do now, now”. It’s stuck with me and helped me with my ping pong brain! Of course, there’s still distractions that keep me from doing now, now!
      Just wanted to share this.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Yes, the pressure to go go go is hard to resist sometimes. xo

        Reply
  7. Janet Bevan

    If I have a small sketch book and a pen, I can do some drawing. So I now take one with me most of the time. Usually a micron pen after my fountain pen leaking inside my purse!

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Janet:

      Oh it makes me so happy to hear that you carry your sketchbook and pen. This helps me SO MUCH. And I wonder why your fountain pen leaked? Cheers!

      Reply
  8. Cindy

    I love to travel. I have a sketch book, micron black pens and mechanical pencils with erasures. You never have to sharpen them.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      Oh yes, that’s a wonderful way to work!

      Reply
  9. Sonia

    Excellent advice Amy. My handbag kit consists of a handmade A6 watercolour sketchbook (a friend gifts me a new one each year), a propelling pencil, a Pilot G-Tec watersoluble pen, a white Gelly Roll (useful on toned paper), a water brush, a Koh-i-Noor multi-coloured pencil and maybe a couple of watercolour or Inktense pencils. The pens and pencils all fit neatly into an old, soft spectacle case.

    Reply
    • Amy Maricle

      OH that sounds like such a lovely portable art kit. Thanks for sharing what’s in yours. And I love that you get a handmade journal every year! xo

      Reply

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