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Tips for Creating Art

By Tuesday, September 6, 2016 (MST) 2 Comments
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Today I’m sharing my best and most useful 5 Tips for Creating Art.

As part of the 5 years of Anna Aspnes Designs at Oscraps celebrations, I challenged a few members of the Creative Team to provide a layout from 5 years ago with one from the present day and share 5 things they’ve learned over the past 5 years in creating art.

We’ll be sharing these posts throughout the month of September and I’m kicking off the ‘Then and Now’ series.

Here’s a layout I made 5 years ago.

Tips for Creating Art

And one I created more recently.

Tips for Creating Art

Tips for Creating Art

I have been creating digital art for over 14 years now but many of the lessons learned have been gleaned over the past 5 years.

It’s not that there weren’t pearls of wisdom to be had in those beginning years. Rather, it was a case of being preoccupied with learning the art.

I was so wrapped up with navigating the winding path to discovering my style and mastering the techniques that there was little wiggle room for observing the process.

Over time you gather experience and this is what I know to be true.

1. Find Balance. Balance is elusive but pertains to all aspects of life. The irony is that we humans are wired for balance. But when we like something a lot, we tend to overdo it a bit (and sometimes a LOT). The end result is that we end up tipping that balance out of whack. We try too hard, we do too much and this ultimately leads to burn out, frustration and less joy in the process. Try creating fewer layouts but make them count. Keep the process simple by using fewer products – I personally like to create from just one 5-product AnnaRelease or ArtPlay Palette at any given time. Focus on a single technique per layout or use just one brush multiple times. Oftentimes less is more.

2. Embrace What Is. We always want to be better, do more, and in effect get to that place where we’re all brilliant artists. Stop it. Progress is a good goal to have, but not at the expense of enjoying the process. If you’re constantly looking ahead at what could/should be happening, you will miss the magic of what is happening in the current moment. You will bypass all the small adventures and discoveries along the way, and be frustrated rather than delighted by the small successes that contribute to your ultimate goal.  Have patience, silence your inner critique and be confident in the artist you are now. You are entitled to create art and/or scrapbook your way. Focus on the journey and not just the destination.

3. Knowledge is Power. It’s never too late to learn something new. Regardless of whether you’ve been creating art for 1 year, 5 years or longer – please know that there is always something new to learn about using Adobe Photoshop.  It’s the beauty of this craft and the main reason it’s kept my interest for 14 plus years.  Even in that moment when you think you might know all there is to know, you’ll discover a new twist on an old technique, or better still, Adobe will provide you with an update offering new tools to play with. Watch videos, take classes and follow tutorials, then experiment and take a few risks on your own.  Doing this work will not only keep you interested in this ‘sport,’ but will also play a big part in ultimately making the ArtPlay that you’ve been dreaming about actually happen.

4. Step By Step. Adobe Photoshop is a powerful, immense program and can provide challenges for even the most seasoned artist or digital scrapbooker. Now let’s also consider the enormous number of resources and digital products available, including those in the Anna Aspnes Designs store. It’s understandable that you’ll be overwhelmed at times. When faced with a massive task I have always found the best course of action is to break it down into manageable baby-sized steps. Mastering the first part before moving onto the next enables you to test the waters and avoid feeling like you’ve been thrown in at the deep end. It helps you to forge through the fear more slowly and provides breaks to assess the worst case scenario of any action. You might also come to the conclusion that the fear holding you back is a little mundane after all.

5. Focus. You can choose to be a jack of all trades or a master of one. I encourage you to hone in onto some key techniques that you enjoy and then really focus your attention on doing them well. This approach will help you find balance in your art, enable you to drill down into the techniques you love to learn and be more comfortable in the process. It also helps curb overwhelm and overcome the fear I was talking about. In my case, I choose to spend my time using brushes, masking and blending modes in creating my art and digital scrapbooking pages. These are the tools and techniques that provide me with the most satisfaction. I can do extractions and create realistic drop shadows, but it’s not where my joy factor lies.

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Anna Aspnes

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