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.
Join my newsletter for weekly inspiration, workshops, and ways to connect to nature through art.