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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Some quick, no-pressure ways to make art every day

Index card art is simple and quick, but fun!

Many of my artsy friends complain that have trouble finding the time to do art. Responsibilities of children, jobs, and just life in general often make leisurely art days a huge challenge. However, since putting our energies into art can be so rewarding -- and so relaxing -- it's great for us (and our families!) when we CAN make the time for artsy activities.

Here is a great way I've found to work some creative projects into a busy day: Use a small canvas. I don't mean a small stretched linen canvas; I mean a small surface. A blank book -- or even a large blank page in a sketchbook -- can be intimidating if I only have a few minutes for art. Using a small surface allows me to accomplish something in a minimum amount of time. My favorite small canvases are:

  • Index cards
  • Playing cards
  • Rolodex cards
All of these are small, inexpensive, and easily accessible.  If you don't have any around your house, all three can be found at thrift shops, flea markets or Dollar Stores.

There's no need for expensive or extensive collections of art supplies either. An inexpensive glue stick, a pair of scissors, some paint or ink pads, old magazines or a stack of incoming junk mail can give you plenty to work with. I also like to use decorative napkins; more on that technique later.

Pull out your supplies and put them on a tray or in a basket so you can grab them when you have a few minutes to spare. Multitask! You can make a little piece of art while drinking your morning coffee, watching television, talking on the phone, or waiting for something to bake in the oven. 

If you are at a loss for ideas, prompts can be very inspiring. Tammy Garcia's Daisy Yellow art blog is full of theme suggestions. Tammy created a popular group challenge called "Index-Card-a-Day (ICAD)" and, even though her recent Summer challenge is over, her prompts for previous challenges can inspire you. You can find these on her blog.

Here are some of my ICAD projects and the prompts or themes that inspired them.

ICAD theme: Nature (The flower and butterfly are cut from a paper napkin.)
ICAD prompt: The color orange
ICAD prompt: Make a collage using one staple (Fun and VERY quick!)
ICAD prompt: The color yellow

ICAD prompt: Just stickers (Another one that's easy and quick!)

You can see how simple and quick these are, but creating a little art every day is great way to lift your spirits. If you are pressed for time, you can still make one. If you have a little more time, you can make more than one. You get a creative break and you gain a sense of accomplishment because an index card is something you can easily finish. (Sometimes all those unfinished art projects can CAUSE stress instead of relieve it!)

Next time I'll show you some quick projects you can do with playing cards and decorative paper napkins.

I hope you'll take a art break today!