• How to Balance Life and Making Art

    All stages of life come with different time constraints and responsibilities. With so much on your plate, how can you fit making art into your schedule? In this article, we’ll explore six ways to comfortably incorporate creative projects into your life.

    Remy and Lindsey Sketchbooking

    I can assure you: everyone who reads the TPK blog wishes they had more time for making art (of all types: illustration, calligraphy, ceramics — you name it). Today, we’ll talk about how to give yourself grace when it comes to making time for creating and the types of projects that you make!

    1. Do What Makes Sense for Your Situation

    As your situations change throughout the years, so will the types of projects that you feel compelled to make. For example, I had an assistant who used to bullet journal a lot in high school. She loved how organized it made her feel! When she got to university, though, she didn’t have time to bullet journal anymore. Instead, she channeled her creativity into making doodles in her class notes.

    Snooping Inside a Bullet Journal - Ideas + Examples
    My assistant, Geni, used to keep detailed bullet journals. As a university student, however, she didn’t have time to make detailed journals anymore.

    My experience has been similar: as my life has progressed, my projects have morphed. Now, as a mother in my early 30’s, my priority is on making gifts and mail art for my friends and family. To me, it makes sense to use my creativity to strengthen my relationships. I also take on the occasional sketchbook page to relax! In short: take on projects that make sense for your life stage and priorities. 

    2. Work On Projects In Chunks of Time

    Even if you’ve got a busy schedule, it’s perfectly fine to take on ambitious projects. Just make sure you can give yourself plenty of time to make those projects! The trick, I’ve found, is to keep the project in plain sight so that you’re compelled to work on it when you have a moment. Oftentimes, projects that are created over the span of several days (or weeks) end up looking more polished because you approach them with fresh eyes with every creation session.

    The Watercolor Illustrated Map eCourse is Here!
    Projects like this illustrated map will — and should — take you several days to make. Don’t worry if those days are spaced far apart!

    3. Don’t Be Afraid to Take a (Long) Break

    There are some seasons of life that will be less creative than others. For example, I’ve got a new baby due any day now. The adjustment to having a new person in the house combined with sleep deprivation won’t leave me rushing to make anything for at least a few weeks! I know from experience, however, that the creative slump is just temporary. Sometimes, other things take precedence over making art, and that is to be expected! You won’t lose your creative skills if you don’t use them. They’ll always come back, even if they’re a bit rusty at first.

    Remy and Lindsey in 2018
    This is me with Remy, my first baby, in 2018. Big life changes almost always cause an interruption in your motivation to create art and the amount of time you can dedicate to projects.

    4. Be Flexible

    While the thought of a dedicated space and time for making art is wonderful, the reality is that life gets in the way! Especially if you’ve got other demands, it’s good to be able to settle in with what you have, wherever you are, and create there. That might mean doing brush pen calligraphy at work, or maybe doodling on the couch while watching a movie with your family.

    Sketchbook spread
    I made both of these sketchbook pages while watching movies with my family on cozy winter evenings.

    5. Work With the Tools That You Have

    Sometimes, it might feel out of reach to make beautiful things if certain supplies are out of your budget. Take on the challenge of finding a substitute! You’ll be surprised at how much you can innovate. For example, a cheap watercolor palette can become a vast collection of calligraphy inks. A crayon can become a wax seal, and a child’s marker can be a wonderful brush pen alternative! Use your imagination, and don’t worry about making substitutions.

    Watercolor Calligraphy
    Add a little bit of moisture, and your watercolor palette can transform from dry paint to vibrant calligraphy ink! (Learn how to use watercolors for calligraphy here.)

    6. Collect Motivation

    The point of making art is to enhance your life. For a lot of people, having a specific goal in mind will lead to you actually sitting down to create! So, always be on the lookout for motivation to make you excited about the creation process. (A Pinterest board can go a long way in helping you to collect ideas.) And remember: you don’t have to finish your project in one day!

    Adding Leaves to the Calligraphy Family Tree
    Always be on the lookout for project motivation! I created this family tree after seeing several family trees online. Pinterest is a great tool for saving photos that make you feel excited about taking on certain projects.

    I hope that no matter what stage of life you’re in, this article helps you to feel good about how you incorporate making art into your schedule. You might not get to create as much as you’d like to, and that’s not something to worry about! To quote Dr. Seuss: “Life’s a great balancing act.”


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock