Doodle Diary Not Just for Girls

Last week I introduced you to uber-creative Dawn Devries Sokol and this week I want you to meet her latest book, Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls. I am a twitter follower of Dawn’s and when I saw this book was being released, I begged for a review copy. I guess I just knew that with a title like that it would be good and fit right into the theme of my blog.

Anyway, after receiving the book, I giddily flipped through it and quickly realized that not only is this book not just for girls (women of all ages will love it too!) but also it is the kind of book I wish I had had when I was growing up.

The introduction features a host of how-tos for getting started doodling, as well as tips for using the book and getting the most out of it. My favorite part includes a statement about how mistakes often make better art! If only, I had read that as a young artist, I wouldn’t have had to learn it later in life, but I digress… Dawn also includes a list of tools, which include suggestions beyond a simple pencil. She mentions gel pens, sharpie pens, and crayons among others.

The rest of the book is filled with brightly colored and creatively laid out doodling prompts with plenty of extra space to well, just doodle. What I really like about the book is not only the emphasis on expanding creativity for girls but also the subtle messages of self-improvement aimed at a group that could probably use a boost of self-esteem.

With that said, I’d highly recommend this book to girls (of all ages) and even to boys. It’s an overall magical book that everyone will glean a bit of creativity and inspiration from.

  • Sample prompt: 5 Things That Make Me Happy. Now get doodling!

Play Like a Kid

I’ve written before about the importance of play for kids. But it wasn’t until recently (after writing more about creativity and kids!) that I realized how integral play is for adults.

Reflecting on my own busy summer, I noticed how little of it I spent just playing. Remember when you were in school and you couldn’t wait for summer so you could play outside all day and into the evening?

Then you grew up and your life became over scheduled and there was little time left for play, even in the summer!

There is still time to add a little play time into your life. Even as summer comes to an end, find ways to look at life like a child:

  1. Get sidewalk chalk and color to your heart’s content
  2. Find a swing and soar to new heights
  3. Spend an afternoon blowing bubbles
  • What will you do to play like a kid?

Design a Pattern

Regular readers to this blog know that I love to share online resources where you can create your own art. The intersection of technology and creativity has been a gradual fascination for me. Plus, many of these sites provide much needed online exercise for your right brain.

The latest site I found, actually via Twitter, allows you to create a design, using pre-created black and white patterns, by adding your own color and imagination. The pattern I completed earlier this week is entitled, “Ode to Autumn” and is filled with random dabs of rich oranges, reds, and browns.

  • Create your own or search for mine and rate it at Altair Design.

Image Altair Design

Creative LA

I’m no Richard Florida, but I think LA is one of the most creative cities. After my latest trip there, I am now further convinced by this. Why?

1. Location: Not only does LA have inspiring warm weather and beautiful light, but the ever-changing landscape of this metropolis is simply breathtaking. Whether you travel to the beach and become mesmerized by the ocean, drive through the awe-inspiring mountains or simply admire all of the colorful flora, LA is a feast for the eyes and imagination.

2. Attitude: The vibe in LA changes from community to community, but for the most part there is an underlying casual attitude that encompasses the entire area. Such a vibe can only foster the creative spirit and encourage you to take creative risks.

3. Diversity: Not only is the landscape diverse, but so are the 10 million+ residents that inhabit Southern California. Everywhere you travel, you see evidence of cultural diversity and often hear another language or two spoken nearby. There is such an assortment of inspiration around every corner.

  • What’s your favorite creative city?

The Creative Power of Kids

Last week I taught about seven art classes in a row for kids in kindergarten through third grade. It was part of a Cultural Arts Day at an elementary school. I’ve participated in this program for the last three years as an artist.

This year, I noticed something interesting about the students. Normally, I have a mix of grades, but this year I started with the kindergartners and finished with the third graders. This progression gave me the opportunity to observe creative expression from the youngest kids in the school to the oldest.

And what did I notice?

The youngest students were done with the project the quickest, while the older students finished just in time or not at all. I wondered why this was. Then I realized it was because the kindergartners had less inhibitions than the second and third graders. The older kids spent so much time analyzing the colors they chose and filling in all the details. Yet the younger kids went with their intuition and just had fun coloring.

Creative Patterns

In my last post, I encouraged readers to increase their observation skills by looking closely as a tool to enhance creative thinking. I even described my own experience with this new way of looking at the world. I continued that exercise on my recent trip to Washington, DC – a city in which I lived for many years.

So you might assume that I had already seen everything there. But with my camera in hand, I learned there was a lot that I had missed. Mainly they were small details that I had overlooked in the past.

For example, above, I captured textiles at the National Museum of African Art. The textiles have similar colors and patterns and blend together to create a new pattern in my cropped image of them.

It made me stop and think how patterns can inspire creativity. Creativity is really about connecting existing patterns or objects and creating something new much like the textiles above.

  • What can you combine to create something new?

World Community Arts Day 2009

Celebrated on February 17, the third annual World Community Arts Day is a festival of art and activism. This year’s celebration will be the largest so far. All event organizers ask is that you create an artwork, any media is fine, that highlights how the arts promote caring and sharing.

Last year, I contributed by creating a green collaged circle, the symbol that represents the day and submitting it to the festival’s green circle flickr page. This year, I’ve joined their facebook group.

Flash Forward

When I first started this blog, one of my goals was to highlight creativity in the international, national, and local spotlight. I realize I have been a little lax in the last area.

I hope this post makes up for that. On Friday, I attended the opening of Flash Forward at SPACES here in Cleveland. Well, me and about several hundred other also people attended. This is the first time I’ve been to an opening here that was so crowded I could barely enjoy the art.

However, I did have a chance to check out works by two up and coming artists, each who use traditional materials in very non-traditional and creative ways.

The first is Jon Nathaniel Cotterman, a local artist working in glass. What is so interesting about his work lies in the way he deconstructs glass goblets. Cotterman reuses the pieces to create box-like sculptures transforming their original decorative and utilitarian purpose into art.

The other artist is Yumiko Goto. She works in ceramics and her work is based on nature. One of her most stunning pieces is an installation of many ceramic containers nestled together to create a new larger piece of art that you can move around and admire.

  • What could you create out of ordinary materials?

Keeping a Visual Journal

One of things that I am not too good at is keeping a journal. When I have tried to keep one, it usually lasts no more than a few months at a time. That’s why I am so impressed with people who are diligent at documenting their lives and even more so with those who keep a visual journal.

This article on local artist/designer Karen Blados gave me new hope and inspiration that even I could start a visual journal. I think I will add this to my list of things I want to try to incorporate into my creative practice in 2009.

  • Start your own visual journal today!

Karen Blados Image

Inspiration Quote

Imagination is the true magic carpet.

– – – Norman Vincent Peale

  • How can you use your imagination to achieve your creative goals?